Must-Have Monday #187

Posted 20th May 2024 by Sia in Must-Have Mondays / 0 Comments

Must-Have Monday is a feature highlighting which of the coming week’s new releases I’m excited for. It is not meant to be a comprehensive list of all books being published that week; only those I’m interested in out of those I’m aware of! The focus is diverse SFF, but other genres sneak in occasionally too.

SIX books this week!

(Books are listed in order of pub date, then Adult SFF, Adult Other, YA SFF, YA Other, MG SFF.)

Goddess of the River by Vaishnavi Patel
Genres: Adult, Fantasy
Representation: Desi cast and setting
Published on: 23rd May 2024

A powerful reimagining of the story of Ganga, goddess of the river, and her doomed mortal son, from Vaishnavi Patel, author of the instant New York Times bestseller Kaikeyi.

A mother and a son. A goddess and a prince. A curse and an oath. A river whose course will change the fate of the world.

Ganga, joyful goddess of the river, serves as caretaker to the mischievous godlings who roam her banks. But when their antics incur the wrath of a powerful sage, Ganga is cursed to become mortal, bound to her human form until she fulfills the obligations of the curse.

Though she knows nothing of mortal life, Ganga weds King Shantanu and becomes a queen, determined to regain her freedom no matter the cost. But in a cruel turn of fate, just as she is freed of her binding, she is forced to leave her infant son behind.

Her son, prince Devavrata, unwittingly carries the legacy of Ganga’s curse. And when he makes an oath that he will never claim his father’s throne, he sets in motion a chain of events that will end in a terrible and tragic war.

As the years unfold, Ganga and Devavrata are drawn together again and again, each confluence another step on a path that has been written in the stars, in this deeply moving and masterful tale of duty, destiny, and the unwavering bond between mother and son.

Patel made a huge splash with her debut Kaikeyi, and pretty much everyone has been looking forward to her next book! Which is heeeeeeeeeere!

Once again, Patel is writing about mythology I know next to nothing about – I knew the Ganges is an incredibly sacred river in Hinduism, but I had never heard of the goddess Ganga until I was looking into the inspirations behind this book. And sorry-not-sorry, but it is SO GREAT to see mythologies featured that I DON’T know inside-and-out!

The next Greek retelling that comes at me is going OUT THE WINDOW, I s2g

The Years Shall Run Like Rabbits by Ben Berman Ghan
Genres: Adult, Sci Fi
Published on: 21st May 2024

A gorgeously complex work of literary speculative fiction that spans centuries The Years Shall Run Like Rabbits starts in 2014 with a winged alien sowing the seeds of a strange forest on the moon. The novel then moves through humanity’s colonization of the moon and its consequences, onto a war with alien beings within a space-going whale, a cyborg mind that sleeps for hundreds of years after sheltering the city of Toronto from the worst of the war and finally a re-creation of humanity. Ghan poses thoughtful questions about artificial intelligence, humanities quest for the stars and ecological destruction in this wide-ranging story, which is held together equally by beautiful writing and deft characterization. The end result is an ambitious debut that leaves the reader contemplating many amazing possibilities for the future of our world.

This sounds very odd, but interesting-odd. Aliens who live inside a space-whale? A winged alien (not from the species who lives in the whale?) making a forest on the moon? Recreating humanity after an interspecies war? I’m wary of anything calling itself Literary Fiction, but you have my attention, sir!

A Swift and Sudden Exit by Nico Vincenty
Genres: Adult, Queer Protagonists, Sci Fi
Representation: F/F
Published on: 21st May 2024

An immortal, doomed to die. A time traveler, desperate to save her.

When Zera travels back in time to 2040, she aims to investigate the geomagnetic storm that scorched the earth. Instead, she finds the beautiful Katherine, who speaks of past storms and asks with her dying breath, “Is this the first time we meet?”

From WWII-era New York to early 2000s New Orleans and everywhere in between, Zera chases both storms and Katherine, thinking her immortality is the key to fixing the future. But as the immortal goes from a reluctant ally with a deadly hunter to a romantic complication, Zera wonders if the past is really set in stone, or if she can still save the world—and Katherine.

I can’t remember the last time I read a time travel book, but a time traveller in love with a doomed immortal??? Just from the blurb, I’m already so invested in there two getting their happy ending!

The Shabti by Megaera C. Lorenz
Genres: Adult, Fantasy, Historical Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: M/M
Published on: 21st May 2024

Can you flimflam a ghost?

It’s 1934. Former medium Dashiel Quicke travels the country debunking spiritualism and false mediums while struggling to stay ahead of his ex-business partner and lover who wants him back at any cost. During a demonstration at a college campus, Dashiel meets Hermann Goschalk, an Egyptologist who’s convinced that he has a genuine haunted artifact on his hands. Certain there is a rational explanation for whatever is going on with Hermann’s relics, Dashiel would rather skip town, but soon finds himself falling for Hermann. He agrees to take a look after all and learns that something is haunting Hermann’s office indeed.

Faced with a real ghost Dashiel is terrified, but when the haunting takes a dangerous turn, he must use the tools of the shady trade he left behind to communicate with this otherworldly spirit before his past closes in.

For readers who enjoy A Marvellous Light by Freya Marske, The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune, and Malice by Heather Walter

Initially I did not realise this was historical fantasy OR queer – I thought it was historical fiction about someone debunking the supernatural. Which it kinda is, but turns out the supernatural is real sometimes! I am intrigued.

We Mostly Come Out At Night: 15 Queer Tales of Monsters, Angels & Other Creatures by Rob Costello, Kalynn Bayron, David Bowles, Shae Carys, H.E. Edgmon, Michael Thomas Ford, Val Howlett, Brittany Johnson, Naomi Kanakia, Claire Kann, Jonathan Lenore Kastin, Sarah ("S") Maxfield, Sam J. Miller, Alexandra Villasante, Merc Fenn Wolfmoor
Genres: Fantasy, Horror, Queer Protagonists, YA
Representation: Queer MCs
Published on: 21st May 2024

An empowering cross-genre YA anthology that explores what it means to be a monster, exclusively highlighting trans and queer authors who offer new tales and perspectives on classic monster stories and tropes.

Be not afraid! These monsters, creatures, and beasties are not what they appear. We Mostly Come Out at Night is a YA anthology that reclaims the monstrous for the LGBTQA+ community while exploring how there is freedom and power in embracing the things that make you stand out. Each story centers on both original and familiar monsters and creatures—including Mothman, Carabosse, a girl with thirteen shadows, a living house, werebeasts, gorgons, sirens, angels, and many others—and their stories of love, self-acceptance, resilience, and empowerment. This collection is a bold, transformative celebration of queerness and the creatures that (mostly) go bump in the night.

Contributors include editor Rob Costello, Kalynn Bayron, David Bowles, Shae Carys, Rob Costello, H.E. Edgmon, Michael Thomas Ford, Val Howlett, Brittany Johnson, Naomi Kanakia, Claire Kann, Jonathan Lenore Kastin, Sarah Maxfield, Sam J. Miller, Alexandra Villasante, and Merc Fenn Wolfmoor.

‘Monsters, angels and other creatures’? I am SOLD! Give me all the queer beasties and beings, please and thank you! I love stories that conflate queerness and monstrousness (in a not-queerphobic way) so this is my JAM!

Together in a Broken World by Paul Michael Winters
Genres: Queer Protagonists, Sci Fi, YA
Representation: M/M

Two boys fall in love in a deadly world, but it’s the secrets they keep that might kill them.

Seventeen-year-old Zach was visiting his uncle in a small Montana town when a mysterious illness ripped through the world. Most died, but those who survived the Infection became mindless killers, spreading the disease with a single scratch. Now, a year later, civilization lies in ruins, and Zach is the town’s sole survivor. Desperately lonely, he longs to return to his family in Seattle, but his fears hold him captive.

Eighteen-year-old Aiden is on a critical mission for the covert Scientific Collective, delivering vials whose contents could cure the Infection. Tortured by his boyfriend’s death, he welcomes the risks of the perilous journey. When a militia attacks Aiden, he flees to Zach’s town.

The boys escape together and soon form a bond as they comfort each other in this desolate and broken world. The farther they travel, the more their affection grows, as do the forces pulling them apart. But their greatest threats are the secrets they keep. Zach hides details of his uncle’s death, and Aiden conceals the vials’ sinister origins. In order to survive, they’ll have to confront the truths that could tear their love apart.

Love in the apocalypse! Which will definitely not survive if these twits keep secrets this important from each other. WHEN WILL PEOPLE LEARN THAT CLEAR AND OPEN COMMUNICATION IS THE FOUNDATION OF A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP AND ALSO THE ONLY WAY TO MAKE IT OUT ALIVE???

Will you be reading any of these? Did I miss any releases you think I should know about? Let me know!


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