Samantha Mills

Samantha Mills lives in Southern California, in a house on a hill that is hopefully not a haunted hill house. She has a B.A. in Pre- and Early Modern Literature, and a Master’s in Library and Information Science. What a surprise: literature and libraries!

As an archivist, she worked primarily with local history collections. We’re talking diaries! We’re talking dramatic, confessional letters! We’re talking everything from business records to coroner’s inquests to oral histories to newspapers and court cases and bits of hair tucked into scrapbooks–everybody stop it right now, nobody wants to open an old book and find your hair in it!

When Sam isn’t writing or taking care of children, she’s watching B-movies, binding books, and sewing her own dorky costumes for comic conventions. Her short fiction has appeared in Uncanny Magazine, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, Strange Horizons, Escape Pod, and others. She blogs about life, reading, writing, and pop culture at samtasticbooks.com and makes jokes on Twitter @samtasticbooks.

Bibliography

  • FORTH
    Standalone
    The Wings Upon Her Back
    Samantha Mills
     

Reviews

Standalone

The Wings Upon Her Back
"THE WINGS UPON HER BACK is a triumphant debut novel. The complex narrative examines the intricacies of blind devotion, self-image, and the hidden motivations behind martial control. For fans of C.L. Clark’s The Unbroken looking for a timely perspective on the human cost of destructive nationalism."

Booklist, Starred Review!

"Mills debuts with an intricate and intriguing science fantasy... This cathartic adventure will stay with readers long after the final page."

Publishers Weekly, Starred Review!

"An absolute must-read—to paraphrase a line from the novel, fantasy fans will find themselves in literary heaven."

Kirkus, Starred Review!

"Mills’s debut novel is complex and haunting, filled with beautiful prose and timely themes of political and religious upheaval and personal journeys."

Library Journal, Starred Review!

"Fast, fun, and set in a brilliant science fantasy world, The Wings Upon Her Back by Samantha Mills is one of those really good books that reaches into your own life experience to draw upon memories that drive your emotional reaction to the story."

Grimdark Magazine

"THE WINGS UPON HER BACK is a masterful fantasy novel in which a powerful woman confronts the threats of fascism, zealous faith, and disillusionment."

Foreword Reviews

"Craft-wise, THE WINGS UPON HER BACK is immaculate. No sentence fails to draw emotion or pull the reader into Zemolai’s fraught world, and the story unfolds with a precision reminiscent of Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie. But most affecting was Zemolai’s reckoning with her relationship to fascism and what it means to be on the right side of history. As soon as I finished The Wings Upon Her Back, I flipped back to the first page and started reading again. Mills has created a science fantasy masterpiece, every bit as brilliant and trenchant as copper wings glinting on the horizon."

Wulfe Wulfemeyer, bookseller at Raven Book Store

“An intense, astute, and moving tale of redemption, by turns relentlessly grim and courageously hopeful.”

Kate Elliot, author of Unconquerable Sun and Servant Mage

“I’ve been hoping for a novel from Samantha Mills for years, ever since first stumbling upon her short story ‘Strange Waters.’ THE WINGS UPON HER BACK didn’t disappoint, giving us a thoughtful, wrenching, and beautifully crafted story of disappointment, failure, and redemption.”

C.L. Clark, author of The Unbroken

"Razheda is a city fallen to fascism, and Zemolai is at once a hero, a villain, and a victim. Mills weaves a deft and jagged narrative of choices and consequences, raw and real and heartbreaking, as a girl fights to achieve her goal, and the woman she becomes has to live with the consequences to herself, her family, her society. Zenya's rise and Zemolai's fall mirror the city's political crisis, and while Mills offers no easy remedies or resolutions, she does give us--and Zemolai--some hope and a satisfying shot of vindication."

K. Eason, author of The Weep duology and The Thorne Chronicles

"The prose in Samantha Mills' THE WINGS UPON HER BACK is truly incredible. Every sentence beautifully written, her worldbuilding is both refreshing and captivating. Readers will appreciate an older MC and the extensive cast around her. A really fun read!"

Charlie N. Holmberg author of Spellbreaker or Keeper of Enchanted Rooms

"The Wings Upon Her Back is a gripping, gorgeous exploration of the perils of worshipping gods and humans alike. It’s a book that refuses to look away from the damage that can be wrought by misplaced faith, but one that simultaneously insists on the possibility of redemption. Samantha Mills deftly undercuts any easy judgments, creating in Zemolai a character who is both flawed and deeply relatable. I couldn’t put it down!"

Emet North, author of In Universes

"A fierce, aching battle cry of a book, both cinematically epic and painfully intimate. Mills has crafted a striking world of sleeping gods, disillusioned revolutionaries, and metal wings -- and from it, she wrenches equal amounts of love and pain."

Julie Leong, author of The Teller of Small Fortunes

"Samantha Mills has crafted a truly innovative world filled with deeply flawed, compelling characters. A thought-provoking and achingly beautiful story of faith, doubt, regret, and redemption."

Amy Avery, author of The Longest Autumn

Awards & Accolades