Karen Memory, by Elizabeth BearRead about the other entries on the list.
Bear’s steampunk adventure is set in the city of Seattle at a time when the streets were still being raised up and travelers found themselves passing through on their way to the gold territories of Alaska. The main character, Karen Memery, works as a “seamstress” in the house of Madame Damnable, until the night a strange man with a mind control device and a wounded young woman find their way into the parlor. The plot is plenty weird, with Karen tangling with enough mad science, serial killers, and outsize threats to give even Jonah Hex a headache. Through it all, the novel’s defining feature is Karen herself, a resourceful heroine with an unforgettable voice.