Must-Have Monday #18!

Posted 7th September 2020 by Sia in Must-Have Mondays / 0 Comments

It’s been kind of quiet around here, and I’m sorry about that – but I wasn’t going to miss Must-Have Monday! Here we have EIGHT fantastical fantasy and sci-fi releases coming out this week!

Master of Poisons by Andrea Hairston
Genres: Epic Fantasy
Representation: Cast of Colour, F/F, secondary nonbinary/nonbinary
Published on: 8th September 2020

“This is a prayer hymn, a battle cry, a lovesong, a legendary call and response bonfire talisman tale. This is medicine for a broken world." —Daniel José OlderAward-winning author Andrea Hairston weaves together African folktales and postcolonial literature into unforgettable fantasy in Master of Poisons

The world is changing. Poison desert eats good farmland. Once-sweet water turns foul. The wind blows sand and sadness across the Empire. To get caught in a storm is death. To live and do nothing is death. There is magic in the world, but good conjure is hard to find.

Djola, righthand man and spymaster of the lord of the Arkhysian Empire, is desperately trying to save his adopted homeland, even in exile.

Awa, a young woman training to be a powerful griot, tests the limits of her knowledge and comes into her own in a world of sorcery, floating cities, kindly beasts, and uncertain men.

Awash in the rhythms of folklore and storytelling and rich with Hairston's characteristic lush prose, Master of Poisons is epic fantasy that will bleed your mind with its turns of phrase and leave you aching for the world it burns into being.

I’m reading this right now, and hoping to get my review up this week. It’s a brilliantly original book, where even the writing style defies what we think of as ‘normal’ – an epic fantasy quest, framed and told in a new and different way. I really hope everyone loves it as much as I do once it’s released tomorrow!

Night Shine by Tessa Gratton
Genres: Secondary World Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Queer Cast, F/F
Published on: 8th September 2020

An orphan girl must face untold danger and an ancient evil to save her kingdom’s prince in this lush, romantic fantasy perfect for fans of Girls of Paper and Fire and Tess of the Road.

How can you live without your heart?

In the vast palace of the empress lives an orphan girl called Nothing. She slips within the shadows of the Court, unseen except by the Great Demon of the palace and her true friend, Prince Kirin, heir to the throne. When Kirin is kidnapped, only Nothing and the prince’s bodyguard suspect that Kirin may have been taken by the Sorceress Who Eats Girls, a powerful woman who has plagued the land for decades. The sorceress has never bothered with boys before, but Nothing has uncovered many secrets in her sixteen years in the palace, including a few about the prince.

As the empress’s army searches fruitlessly, Nothing and the bodyguard set out on a rescue mission, through demon-filled rain forests and past crossroads guarded by spirits. Their journey takes them to the gates of the Fifth Mountain, where the sorceress wields her power. There, Nothing will discover that all magic is a bargain, and she may be more powerful than she ever imagined. But the price the Sorceress demands for Kirin may very well cost Nothing her heart.

I mean, this was pitched as ‘queer Howl’s Moving Castle‘, and I really don’t need to hear anything else – although Tessa Gratton has written really beautiful, unique queer stories before, so I’d be looking forward to this one no matter what the premise was. But this was on my Most Anticipated list for the second half of the year, and I cannot wait to get to start reading it!

Architects of Memory (The Memory War, #1) by Karen Osborne
Genres: Queer Protagonists
Representation: F/F, Chronic illness
Published on: 8th September 2020

Terminally ill salvage pilot Ash Jackson lost everything in the war with the alien Vai, but she'll be damned if she loses her future. Her plan: to buy, beg, or lie her way out of corporate indenture and find a cure.

When her crew salvages a genocidal weapon from a ravaged starship above a dead colony, Ash uncovers a conspiracy of corporate intrigue and betrayal that threatens to turn her into a living weapon.

As someone who lives with a chronic condition, it’s always kind of emotional when I get to see characters like that in the books I read. But Architects of Memory is also queer, and showcases a future where instead of countries or even planets, the human race is divided up into corporations – which is kind of terrifying! And I’m really hoping we get to see the aliens, and that they are properly not-human ones, which few authors seem able to pull off. But I’ve heard very good things about Architects, so I’m excited!

The Bone Shard Daughter (The Drowning Empire, #1) by Andrea Stewart
Genres: Epic Fantasy
Representation: Cast of Colour, F/F
Published on: 8th September 2020

In an empire controlled by bone shard magic, Lin, the former heir to the emperor will fight to reclaim her magic and her place on the throne. The Bone Shard Daughter marks the debut of a major new voice in epic fantasy.

The emperor's reign has lasted for decades, his mastery of bone shard magic powering the animal-like constructs that maintain law and order. But now his rule is failing, and revolution is sweeping across the Empire's many islands.

Lin is the emperor's daughter and spends her days trapped in a palace of locked doors and dark secrets. When her father refuses to recognise her as heir to the throne, she vows to prove her worth by mastering the forbidden art of bone shard magic.

Yet such power carries a great cost, and when the revolution reaches the gates of the palace, Lin must decide how far she is willing to go to claim her birthright - and save her people.

I was super excited this book – then less excited – and now I’m hyped up for it again! The premise is brilliant and I’ve heard nothing but praise from it from all corners, and I really want to get my hands on it tomorrow!

When Villains Rise by Rebecca Schaeffer
Genres: Queer Protagonists
Representation: Asexual & Aromantic MCs
Published on: 8th September 2020

Dexter meets Victoria Schwab in this dark and compelling fantasy about a girl who is determined to take down the black market once and for all in the conclusion to the trilogy that started with the critically acclaimed Not Even Bones.

Nita finally has Fabricio, the boy who betrayed her to the black market, within her grasp. But when proof that Kovit’s a zannie—a monster who eats pain in order to survive—is leaked to the world, Nita must reevalute her plans.   With enemies closing in on all sides, the only way out is for Nita and Kovit to take on the most dangerous man in the world: Fabricio’s father. He protects the secrets of the monsters who run the black market. Stealing those secrets could be the one thing that stands between Nita and Kovit and certain death in the thrilling conclusion to the trilogy that began with the critically acclaimed Not Even Bones.

The Market of Monsters trilogy is probably one of the unabashedly darkest set of books to hit the YA Fantasy genre – book one, Not Even Bones, caused a huge, but very appreciative, stir. I loved Not Even Bones but decided I was too much of a wimp to continue reading; recently I changed my mind, and started reading book two, Only Ashes Remain. So I’ve tried not to hear too much about When Villains Rise to avoid spoilers! But I did hear that When Villains Rise is supposed to confirm on-page that the main characters are asexual and aromantic – which I think most of us will have seen coming!

The Other Side of the Sky (The Other Side of the Sky, #1) by Amie Kaufman, Meagan Spooner
Genres: Queer Protagonists
Representation: Cast of Colour, secondary F/F, background polyamory
Published on: 8th September 2020

Prince North’s home is in the sky, in a gleaming city held aloft by intricate engines powered by technology. Nimh is the living goddess of her people on the surface, responsible for providing answers, direction—hope.

Linked by a terrifying prophecy and caught between duty and fate, they must choose between saving their people or succumbing to the bond that is forbidden between them.

Magnetic and gorgeously thematic, New York Times bestselling author duo Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner have crafted a gripping tale of magic and logic, fate and choice, and an impossible decision between an empty future and a deadly love. Perfect for fans of Claudia Gray and Laini Taylor.

I love this cover, and I was really excited to discover that at least one of the societies in this book allows three-person marriages! And the entire concept – magic and science having to work together – is really, really cool.

Iron Heart (Crier's War, #2) by Nina Varela
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: F/F
Published on: 8th September 2020

Critically acclaimed author Nina Varela delivers a stunning sequel to the richly imagined queer epic fantasy Crier’s War, which SLJ called “perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass.”

For too long, Automae have lorded over the kingdom of Rabu, oppressing its human citizens. But the human revolution has risen, and at its heart is Ayla. Once a handmaiden, now a fugitive, Ayla narrowly escaped the palace of Lady Crier, the girl she would’ve killed if she hadn’t fallen in love first. 

Now Ayla has pledged her allegiance to Queen Junn, who can help accomplish the human rebellion’s ultimate goal: destroy the Iron Heart. Without its power, the Automae will be weakened to the point of extinction. Ayla wants to succeed, but can’t shake the strong feelings she’s developed for Crier. And unbeknownst to her, Crier has also fled the palace, taking up among traveling rebels, determined to find and protect Ayla.

Even as their paths collide, nothing can prepare them for the dark secret underlying the Iron Heart.

This is the sequel to Crier’s War, about a world where humans serve an aristocracy of Automae – people not made of flesh and blood, but still living. The first book was deeply loved by my corner of the reading community, and I suspect the sequel will be too.

Caley Cross and the Hadeon Drop (Caley Cross, #1) by Jeff Rosen
Genres: Fantasy
Published on: 8th September 2020

Caley Cross has always known she's not a “normal” thirteen-year-old (her ability to create zombie animals was her first clue). Still, she never expected to be whisked off to a faraway world―Erinath―where she is Crown Princess and people have “baests” that live inside them, giving them fantastic, animal-like powers. Which would be cool, except that Caley’s baest turns out to be an ancient monster that can swallow planets.

Despite this, Caley manages to make the first friends of her life, Neive Olander and Kipley Gorsebrooke. They help her navigate the Erinath Academy, where students train to compete in the annual―and deadly―Equidium contest, flying giant, dragonfly-like orocs. But to add to her usual (bad) luck, an evil “Watcher” known as Olpheist is seeking her, anxious to retrieve something that will make him immortal. The first in an epic fantasy series from Jeff Rosen that will keep readers laughing and on the edge of their seats.

This is another beautiful cover! It’s also the only MG release in this list, but it’s one I really wanted to call attention to – the MG genre often has books brilliant enough that adults can enjoy as well, but I’m not sure how many ‘grown-ups’ realise it. And since this sounds exactly like something my little sister would read – and she has excellent taste – you can bet I’ll be checking it out!


Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.