It’s once again that time! April is a very light month for me – there’s really only two books on my aboslutely-must-read list, and I’ve already read one of them – so I’ve decided to combine it with May, where there are a LOT of books to read. Too many, some might say!
As always, links go to Goodreads, which is where the descriptions come from, too.
Victories Greater than Death, by Charlie Jane Anders
Expected Publication April 13th, 2021, by Tor Teen Young Adult, Science Fiction, Space Opera 288 pages (Hardcover Edition)
A thrilling adventure set against an intergalactic war with international bestselling author Charlie Jane Anders at the helm in her YA debut—think Star Wars meets Doctor Who, and buckle your seatbelts. Tina has always known her destiny is outside the norm—after all, she is the human clone of the most brilliant alien commander in all the galaxies (even if the rest of the world is still deciding whether aliens exist). But she is tired of waiting for her life to begin. And then it does—and maybe Tina should have been more prepared. At least she has a crew around her that she can trust—and her best friend at her side. Now, they just have to save the world.
This is the one I’ve already read – here’s my review, in case you missed it. The short version is that I liked but didn’t love it; Charlie Jane Anders’ YA debut has a diverse group of main characters and is set in a thrilling space-opera world, but I ultimately just didn’t connect. YMMV – check it out if especially if you like Anders’ previous work.
Witches Steeped in Gold, by Ciannon Smart
Expected Publication: April 20, 2021, by HarperTeen Young Adult, Fantasy, Witches 544 pages (Hardcover Edition)
Iraya has spent her life in a cell, but every day brings her closer to freedom - and vengeance. Jazmyne is the Queen’s daughter, but unlike her sister before her, she has no intention of dying to strengthen her mother’s power. Sworn enemies, these two witches enter a precarious alliance to take down a mutual threat. But power is intoxicating, revenge is a bloody pursuit, and nothing is certain - except the lengths they will go to win this game.
Interesting that both the books on my TBR list for April are YA – which just goes to show how vital the genre is. This one sounds super cool and I’ve read some great things about the writing and characters, so count me in!
Firebreak, by Nicole Kornher-Stace
Expected Publication May 4th, 2021, by Saga Press Science Fiction, Adult, Computers I Guess?? 416 pages (Hardcover Edition)
Like everyone else she knows, Mallory is an orphan of the corporate war. As a child, she lost her parents, her home, and her entire building in an airstrike. As an adult, she lives in a cramped hotel room with eight other people, all of them working multiple jobs to try to afford water and make ends meet. And the job she’s best at is streaming a popular VR war game. The best part of the game isn’t killing enemy combatants, though—it’s catching in-game glimpses of SpecOps operatives, celebrity supersoldiers grown and owned by Stellaxis, the corporation that runs the America she lives in. Until a chance encounter with a SpecOps operative in the game leads Mal to a horrifying discovery: the real-life operatives weren’t created by Stellaxis. They were kids, just like her, who lost everything in the war, and were stolen and augmented and tortured into becoming supersoldiers. The world worships them, but the world believes a lie. The company controls every part of their lives, and defying them puts everything at risk—her water ration, her livelihood, her connectivity, her friends, her life—but she can’t just sit on the knowledge. She has to do something—even if doing something will bring the wrath of the most powerful company in the world down upon her.
A people-centered, anti-corporate cyberpunk tale featuring an aro/ace protagonist? Count me in! (My excitement for this book is proof that I DO actually read science fiction occasionally!)
We Are Satellites, by Sarah Pinsker
Expected Publication May 11th, 2021, by Berkley Books Science Fiction, LGBT, Speculative Fiction 368 pages (Kindle, ARC Edition)
Val and Julie just want what's best for their kids, David and Sophie. So when teenage son David comes home one day asking for a Pilot, a new brain implant to help with school, they reluctantly agree. This is the future, after all. Soon, Julie feels mounting pressure at work to get a Pilot to keep pace with her colleagues, leaving Val and Sophie part of the shrinking minority of people without the device. Before long, the implications are clear, for the family and society: get a Pilot or get left behind. With government subsidies and no downside, why would anyone refuse? And how do you stop a technology once it's everywhere? Those are the questions Sophie and her anti-Pilot movement rise up to answer, even if it puts them up against the Pilot's powerful manufacturer and pits Sophie against the people she loves most.
ANOTHER sci-fi book! This blog really living up to its name in May! Anyway, this is a book I’ve been really looking forward to, and I recently got an e-ARC via NetGalley. Review should come about a week before publication.
A Master of Djinn, by P. Djèlí Clark
Expected Publication May 11th, 2021, by Tor.com Fantasy, Steampunk, Historical Fiction 400 pages (Hardcover Edition)
Cairo, 1912: Though Fatma el-Sha’arawi is the youngest woman working for the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities, she’s certainly not a rookie, especially after preventing the destruction of the universe last summer. So when someone murders a secret brotherhood dedicated to one of the most famous men in history, al-Jahiz, Agent Fatma is called onto the case. Al-Jahiz transformed the world 50 years ago when he opened up the veil between the magical and mundane realms, before vanishing into the unknown. This murderer claims to be al-Jahiz, returned to condemn the modern age for its social oppressions. His dangerous magical abilities instigate unrest in the streets of Cairo that threaten to spill over onto the global stage. Alongside her Ministry colleagues and her clever girlfriend Siti, Agent Fatma must unravel the mystery behind this imposter to restore peace to the city - or face the possibility he could be exactly who he seems....
I’ve enjoyed Clark’s novellas in this series, and I’m curious to see how well the characters and world make the jump to novels. Plus, that cover art!
Black Water Sister, by Zen Cho
Expected Publication May 11th, 2021, by Ace Books Fantasy, LGBT, Adult 384 pages (Kindle, ARC edition)
Jessamyn Teoh is closeted, broke and moving back to Malaysia, a country she left when she was a toddler. So when Jess starts hearing voices, she chalks it up to stress. But there's only one voice in her head, and it claims to be the ghost of her estranged grandmother, Ah Ma. In life Ah Ma was a spirit medium, the avatar of a mysterious deity called the Black Water Sister. Now she's determined to settle a score against a gang boss who has offended the god--and she's decided Jess is going to help her do it. Drawn into a world of gods, ghosts, and family secrets, Jess finds that making deals with capricious spirits is a dangerous business. As Jess fights for retribution for Ah Ma, she'll also need to regain control of her body and destiny. If she fails, the Black Water Sister may finish her off for good.
Sounds really interesting, and I’ve got an ARC of it! Expect a review around or on the publication date for this one.
The Blacktongue Thief, by Christopher Buehlman
Expected Publication May 25th, 2021, by Tor Books Fantasy, Horror, Thievery 416 pages (Hardcover edition)
Kinch Na Shannack owes the Takers Guild a small fortune for his education as a thief, which includes (but is not limited to) lock-picking, knife-fighting, wall-scaling, fall-breaking, lie-weaving, trap-making, plus a few small magics. His debt has driven him to lie in wait by the old forest road, planning to rob the next traveler that crosses his path. But today, Kinch Na Shannack has picked the wrong mark. Galva is a knight, a survivor of the brutal goblin wars, and handmaiden of the goddess of death. She is searching for her queen, missing since a distant northern city fell to giants. Unsuccessful in his robbery and lucky to escape with his life, Kinch now finds his fate entangled with Galva's. Common enemies and uncommon dangers force thief and knight on an epic journey where goblins hunger for human flesh, krakens hunt in dark waters, and honor is a luxury few can afford.
The cover is AMAZING, and sometimes that’s all I need, but this also sounds really cool – what can I say, I love a good thieve’s guild. Goblins? Krakens? The handmaiden of death? One of my most anticipated reads of the year, for sure.
Other Books and Reading Plans
As always, there are plenty of books I’d like to read, but whether or not I’ll get the chance is open to debate. The books releasing in April and May that I’ll read if I have time include:
- The Helm of Midnight, by Marina J. Lostetter – 4/13
- Sorrowland, by Rivers Solomon – 5/4
- The Ones We’re Mean to Find, by Joan He – 5/4
Currently reading Winter’s Orbit, by Everina Maxwell; should have a review for that up by the end of the week.Next after that … either Firebreak or The Bone Maker, by Sarah Beth Durst. I’ll start Witches Steeped in Gold when it releases, and once I finish that I might finally read A Dowry of Blood and Remote Control, two January releases I still need to catch up on.