There are still WAY too many good books coming out for this list to be comprehensive, so here’s the second 1/3rd of my most anticipated books. The middle of the year is particularly bountiful since a lot of books had their release dates pushed back due to supply chain issues. It’s been another chaotic year, and as ever, the best way to support authors is with preorders.
The Embroidered Book (Kate Heartfield) – Heartfield is a dedicated historian, and so I have no doubt that this will be exquisitely researched in addition to being exquisitely written. Marie Antoinette and her lesser-known sister Charlotte trade spells to try to take control of their lives, but the consequences turn deadly. Whether Heartfield will rewrite either of their endings already has me on the edge of my seat.
The Book of Night (Holly Black) – Black’s first foray into adult lit seems like it will have all her trademark tropes that make her such a successful YA author. Dark magic, bad bargains, and strange wild places all feature, this time all based on a type of magic that works with shadows. Charlie, our main character, wants to leave that life behind, but with what she knows and what she can do, the life might not let her.
Not Good for Maidens (Tori Bovalino) – “The Goblin Market” is a perennial favorite of mine, and I’m interested to see what Bovalino will do with the story.
Second Spear (Kerstin Hall) – I loved the weird, wonderful The Border Keeper, and I’m glad we get to return to that mysterious and deadly place armed with a bit more information than last time around. Hall’s imagination is prodigious and I know that no matter what I expect, I’m going to be surprised.
The Stone Road (Trent Jamieson) – Jean and Furnace are tied to one another. They both came into existence at the same time, and the Furnace drew her father out of her life, never to be seen again. Is Furnace a place? An entity? Something even greater? In a world overrun with monsters and magic, what can Jean do against relentless evil?
Little Bird (Tiffany Meuret) – Josie’s life has fallen apart, so what’s another disaster? Supernaturally overgrown backyard? Sure. Talking skeleton? Bring it on! But when Skelly insists on dragging Josie out of her alcoholic misery back into the world, she’s not sure she can do that—especially when the world needs her specifically to save it from certain disaster.
Drunk on All Your Strange New Worlds (Eddie Robson) – Lydia is just a humble translator for an alien civilization. She never wanted to be part of an intergalactic incident. Robson, who’s written for Doctor Who, has imagination and humor in spades, and this promises to be quite the ride.
Locklands (Robert Jackson Bennett) – The Foundation Trilogy barrels forward with Sancia’s quest to defend the world, but also looks backward to the very founding of scriving itself. Bennett always delivers on his cosmic stakes, and I can’t wait for this conclusion of his second trilogy.
Kalyna the Soothsayer (Elijah Kinch Spector) – Kalyna has a gift, but unlike the rest of her family, it’s not for prophecy. It’s for survival. The only member of her family who keeps them fed and housed, things are already too much for her when the king’s spymaster turns up. He wants to use the visions she’s been faking to protect the kingdom, and he won’t tolerate failure.
What Moves the Dead (T. Kingfisher) – This is only one of (at least) two books Kingfisher has coming out this year, and it’s in the vein of her recent and remarkable forays into straight-up horror. Like The Hollow Places, this takes a classic story (“The Fall of the House of Usher” this time, following her take on Blackwood’s “The Willows”) and puts a modern twist on it. I expect to be happily petrified.
Our Wives Under the Sea (Julia Armfield) – Leah is a deep-sea explorer, but when her submarine sinks too deep and returns too late, her wife Miri knows something is very wrong. But how she can fix it is another matter.
A Prayer for the Crown-Shy (Becky Chambers) – Hope is in short supply these days, and so even though I mean to pace myself with Chambers’ next installment of the adventures of tea monk Dex and questing robot Mosscap, I will invariably read it in a single setting. The combination of philosophical musing and gentle world exploration is probably what everyone needs.
Reluctant Immortals (Gwendolyn Kiste) – The Gothic Victorian meets California in the 1960s in this innovative take on some classic characters: Kiste brings in not just the brooding Dracula and Mr. Rochester, but their neglected brides Bertha and Lucy. Lucy and Bertha survived their encounters with the less-than-gentlemen once, but what will it take for them to do it again—and maybe even thrive?
The Spear Cuts Through Water (Simon Jimenez) – An imprisoned god unwillingly supports a brutal empire, but when she finally escapes, she seeks a way to bring down the emperor and his sadistic heirs. Jimenez’s first book, Vanished Birds, was exquisitely heartbreaking and I am looking forward to getting shattered all over again.
We don’t yet know enough about publishing schedules for the last 1/3rd of the year, but I will still confidently say that my most anticipated will be…
Nona the Ninth (Tamsyn Muir) – I cannot wait to meet Nona, and I cannot wait to hear more about Harrow, Gideon, and the rest of the our sweet murder-babies.