Kristine Lichtlider

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Snowblind

It's hard to find good sci fi that doesn't fall into tropes (or try to rip off The Expanse), but Chris Wagoner's Snowblind is a breath of fresh air. There's a female fighter pilot--and she gets to be bad ass! Thankfully, she doesn't get raped or assaulted, which is also a nice change.
The 'main' protagonist is a young black man named Rex. He's an officer in the GSS (think the Federation of Planets if it was an evil corporate entity) but itsn't too happy with his station, especially when he nearly gets court martialed for foiling a robbery he wasn't supposed to stop.
He ends up on the frozen planet of Zero, far on the galactic rim, where he meets a sex neutral being. There's a really rich sub plot about the sex neutral beings, but I won't spoil it here.
The three POV characters are all distinct and feel real. In spite of all the high technology and strange alien creatures, this feels like a timely story that resonates with today's headlines.
The only thing I didn't appreciate is the strong presence of Japanese culture; The author is Native American, not Japanese, so it might be a minor amount of cultural appropriation. At least he manages to accomplish his goals by not fetishizing their culture.
I recommend Snowblind to fans of Dune, the Hunger Games, Divergent, or Star Wars/Trek.. Can't wait to see what else this author comes up with!

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