2022 is going to have some incredible books, and I’m especially looking forward to certain series continuing on or wrapping up entirely. There are too many to cover in a single article, so this is only the first 1/3rd of the year. And, as always, the best way to support authors is to preorder their books, or request that your library preorder them.
Akata Woman (Nnedi Okorafor) – The long-anticipated third book in the Nsibidi Scripts trilogy, we will finally get to learn more about what Sunny and her friends are up to in their mundane lives and their sorcerous ones as part of the Leopard Society. If you haven’t been reading, this is the perfect time to get started, because Okorafor and Nigerian Fantasy are only going to get bigger.
The Stars are Not Yet Bells (Hannah Lillith Assadi) – Strange lights haunt Elle, a woman who long ago moved to the tiny island of Lyra to find them and a new life with her husband. But are her secrets fading because of the creep of Alzheimers, or is there an even more mysterious cause?
Joan is Okay (Weike Wang) – Bitter truths, salty humor, and ultimately sweet conclusions made Wang’s first novel, Chemistry, a perfectly well-rounded book, and even though it wasn’t about cooking I can’t resist using the language of food because there’s no other word than satisfying. I have every reason to hope her second book will be just as delectable even though–again–it’s not about food but about a doctor struggling to find her place.
Servant Mage (Kate Elliott) – A lowly lamplighter mage gets embroiled in a series of plots after being freed from her indenture, and finally has the chance to prove she’s not so lowly after all.
Dead Collections (Isaac Feldman) – I ardently adored Feldman’s Breath of the Sun, a story that took sacred land and mystic experience as seriously as it did toxic love. Heartbreaking and hopeful by turns, that thoughtful book has pride of place on my shelf, and I can’t wait to read his next novel about an archivist and a widow finding themselves and a romance via history, preservation–and vampirism.
The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea (Axie Oh) – I am thrilled that there is more Korean fiction on the market, and I can’t wait for this retelling of the story of Shim Cheong and the Sea God. Mysterious underwater kingdoms are a particular favorite of mine, too, so I’m sure I will not be able to put this down.
In the Serpent’s Wake (Rachel Hartman) – Tess of the Road was a beautiful book, and I can’t wait to hear more about her story now that she’s found firmer footing in her life. I’m also excited to learn more about the wider world that Hartman has been slowly establishing since Seraphina.
Bitter (Akwaeke Emezi) – Pet is the kind of book that very firmly takes up space in your mind. I read it, and I will simply never forget it, nor will I stop reflecting on it. So I’m glad that Emezi is returning to the city of Lucille, albeit at a different point in its history (it seems like). There’s no question in my mind that this will be a spectacular book.
Queen of the High Fields (Rhiannon A. Grist) – Part of a collection of novellas all being released on the same day, I chose this one narrowly as the most intriguing but I’m interested in quite a few of them. This novella features a fractured friendship, two outcast girls who found a magical refuge that eventually divided them with its terrifying power.
Book of the Most Precious Substance (Sara Gran) – Lily is a rare book dealer with a past, but her clients don’t care about her personal tragedies. They want her to find a book rumored to be the most powerful magical tome in existence. It also happens to be a work of sex magic.
Sundial (Catriona Ward) – I think Ward writes unmatchable twists because she’s not even trying to surprise you. She’s just trying to tell the truth about trauma–how it changes you, how it hides within you, and how ultimately it explodes out of you, either to be excised or to destroy you at last. Ward understands how cruelty and tragedy can fester in families, and she never looks away. And she doesn’t let you look away either–not that you’d want to.
The Bone Orchard (Sara A. Mueller) – Oof, this is a heavy read about the absolute abuse of absolute power, but also the ways that trauma itself can form the core of resistance. Mueller’s debut novel does not hold back, but that only meant I could not hold myself back from racing through it in two days. It’s a diamond of a book: shining, hard, and flawless.
Sisters of the Forsaken Stars – I thought Sisters of the Vast Black was a tremendous little book, and although it was complete unto itself, I’m glad to be able to return to the world for another dose of daringly moral space nuns. (Publishing is fond of space nuns lately, which is cool.)
Nettle and Bone (T. Kingfisher) – If horror’s not your jam, hopefully the more fantasy-leaning story of a princess rescuing her sister from an abusive prince will suit your tastes. It has the trademark animal companion and promises to be snarky and heartbreaking in equal measure.
Saint Death’s Daughter (C. S. E. Cooney) – Murder! Mayhem! Necromancy! Sociopathy! It’s all the darkest delights in one place and I couldn’t be more thrilled that Cooney is conducting it all. I know all the various threads she’s promising us will get tied up in a gloriously elaborate bow by the end.
Spear (Nicola Griffith) – Just like sci-fi shows have to have a body swap episode and a Groundhog’s Day episode, I think it’s obligatory that fantasy authors try their hand at Arthurian legends. This is Griffith’s, and she chooses to focus on Percival, or a version of Percival who is female and queer.
The Discord of Gods (Jenn Lyons) – Wow. Wow, wow, wow. Not only is this series incredible beyond most other things I have read in this decade, Lyons has wrapped it all up within the time it takes GRRM to write one book (or not even that). Her breakneck pace is echoed in the pace of the books, which are racing toward an epic conclusion that will decide the fate of an entire universe.