Must-Have Monday #23!

Posted 8th February 2021 by Siavahda in Must-Have Mondays / 2 Comments

Okay, the publishing industry is definitely hitting its stride now – we have TEN NINE amazing books releasing this week!

The Velocity of Revolution by Marshall Ryan Maresca
Representation: Cast of colour, oppressed minorities, polyamory, secondary asexual character, secondary F/F, queernorm world
on 9th February 2021
Genres: Queer Protagonists, Urban Fantasy, Secondary World Fantasy
Goodreads

From the author of the Maradaine saga comes a new steampunk fantasy novel that explores a chaotic city on the verge of revolution.

Ziaparr: a city being rebuilt after years of mechanized and magical warfare, the capital of a ravaged nation on the verge of renewal and self-rule. But unrest foments as undercaste cycle gangs raid supply trucks, agitate the populace and vandalize the city. A revolution is brewing in the slums and shantytowns against the occupying government, led by a voice on the radio, connected through forbidden magic.

Wenthi Tungét, a talented cycle rider and a loyal officer in the city patrol, is assigned to infiltrate the cycle gangs. For his mission against the insurgents, Wenthi must use their magic, connecting his mind to Nália, a recently captured rebel, using her knowledge to find his way into the heart of the rebellion.

Wenthi's skill on a cycle makes him valuable to the resistance cell he joins, but he discovers that the magic enhances with speed. Every ride intensifies his connection, drawing him closer to the gang he must betray, and strengthens Nália's presence as she haunts his mind.

Wenthi is torn between justice and duty, and the wrong choice will light a spark in a city on the verge of combustion.

This is without question one of the best books of the year, full of heart and punk as hell. It has queerness, found-family, magic worked with motorcycles, and, of course, revolution. What more could you possibly want? If you need more convincing, my review is over here!

Curse of the Divine (Ink in the Blood, #2) by Kim Smejkal
Representation: Queernorm world, nonbinary characters
on 9th February 2021
Genres: Secondary World Fantasy
Goodreads

Return to the world of inklings, tattoo magic, and evil deities as Celia uncovers the secrets of the ink in order to stop Diavala once and for all. This eagerly anticipated sequel to Ink in the Blood is perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo and Wicked Saints.

Celia Sand faced Diavala and won, using ink magic to destroy the corrupt religion of Profeta that tormented her for a decade. But winning came with a cost. Now Celia is plagued with guilt over her role in the death of her best friend. When she discovers that Diavala is still very much alive and threatening Griffin, the now-infamous plague doctor, Celia is desperate not to lose another person she loves to the deity’s wrath.

The key to destroying Diavala may lie with Halycon Ronnea, the only other person to have faced Diavala and survived. But Halcyon is dangerous and has secrets of his own, ones that involve the ink that Celia has come to hate. Forced to choose between the ink and Diavala, Celia will do whatever it takes to save Griffin—even if it means making a deal with the devil himself.

This is the sequel to last year’s Ink in the Blood, which introduced us to an incredible world full of ink magic and auras denoting gender – but left some pretty major questions unanswered! I think we can be pretty confident they’re going to get answered in Curse, though.

A Tip for the Hangman by Allison Epstein
Representation: Gay MC, M/M
on 9th February 2021
Goodreads


Christopher Marlowe, a brilliant aspiring playwright, is pulled into the duplicitous world of international espionage on behalf of Queen Elizabeth I. A many-layered historical thriller combining state secrets, intrigue, and romance.

England, 1585. In Kit Marlowe's last year at Cambridge, he receives an unexpected visitor: Queen Elizabeth's spymaster, who has come with an unorthodox career opportunity. Her Majesty's spies are in need of new recruits, and Kit's flexible moral compass has drawn their attention. Kit, a scholarship student without money or prospects, accepts the offer, and after his training the game is on. Kit is dispatched to the chilly manor where Mary, Queen of Scots is under house arrest, to act as a servant in her household and keep his ear to the ground for a Catholic plot to put Mary on the throne.

While observing Mary, Kit learns more than he bargained for. The ripple effects of his service to the Crown are far-reaching and leave Kit a changed man. But there are benefits as well. The salary he earns through his spywork allows him to mount his first play, and over the following years, he becomes the toast of London's raucous theatre scene. But when Kit finds himself reluctantly drawn back into the uncertain world of espionage, conspiracy, and high treason, he realizes everything he's worked so hard to attain--including the trust of the man he loves--could vanish before his very eyes.

Pairing modern language with period detail, Allison Epstein brings Elizabeth's privy council, Marlowe's lovable theatre troupe, and the squalor of sixteenth-century London to vivid, teeming life as Kit wends his way behind the scenes of some of Tudor history's most memorable moments. At the center of the action is Kit himself--an irrepressible, irreverent force of nature. Thrillingly written, full of poetry and danger, A Tip for the Hangman brings an unforgettable protagonist to new life, and makes a centuries-old story feel utterly contemporary.

As far as I’m aware, this isn’t historical fantasy, just straight-up historical fiction – but it’s Christopher Marlowe!!! He’s one of my favourite historical figures and I’ve heard good things about Epstein, so I’m definitely going to be picking this one up.

Fireheart Tiger by Aliette de Bodard
Representation: Cast of colour, F/F
on 9th February 2021
Genres: Queer Protagonists, Fantasy
Goodreads


Award-winning author Aliette de Bodard returns with a powerful romantic fantasy that reads like The Goblin Emperor meets Howl’s Moving Castle in a pre-colonial Vietnamese-esque world.

Fire burns bright and has a long memory….

Quiet, thoughtful princess Thanh was sent away as a hostage to the powerful faraway country of Ephteria as a child. Now she’s returned to her mother’s imperial court, haunted not only by memories of her first romance, but by worrying magical echoes of a fire that devastated Ephteria’s royal palace.

Thanh’s new role as a diplomat places her once again in the path of her first love, the powerful and magnetic Eldris of Ephteria, who knows exactly what she wants: romance from Thanh and much more from Thanh’s home. Eldris won’t take no for an answer, on either front. But the fire that burned down one palace is tempting Thanh with the possibility of making her own dangerous decisions.

Can Thanh find the freedom to shape her country’s fate—and her own?

It seems like the entire internet has been shrieking about how incredible this book is, so yes, I’ll definitely be snapping up a copy tomorrow!

The Gilded Ones (Deathless, #1) by Namina Forna
Representation: Cast of colour
on 9th February 2021
Genres: Secondary World Fantasy
Goodreads

Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in fear and anticipation of the blood ceremony that will determine whether she will become a member of her village. Already different from everyone else because of her unnatural intuition, Deka prays for red blood so she can finally feel like she belongs.

But on the day of the ceremony, her blood runs gold, the color of impurity--and Deka knows she will face a consequence worse than death.

Then a mysterious woman comes to her with a choice: stay in the village and submit to her fate, or leave to fight for the emperor in an army of girls just like her. They are called alaki--near-immortals with rare gifts. And they are the only ones who can stop the empire's greatest threat.

Knowing the dangers that lie ahead yet yearning for acceptance, Deka decides to leave the only life she's ever known. But as she journeys to the capital to train for the biggest battle of her life, she will discover that the great walled city holds many surprises. Nothing and no one are quite what they seem to be--not even Deka herself.

There’s been mega hype for this book! The premise alone is hugely promising – I’m looking forward to finally getting to check it out!

The Absolute Book by Elizabeth Knox
on 9th February 2021
Goodreads

Taryn Cornick believes that the past--her sister's violent death, and her own ill-conceived revenge--is behind her, and she can get on with her life. She has written a successful book about the things that threaten libraries: insects, damp, light, fire, carelessness and uncaring . . . but not all of the attention it brings her is good.
A policeman, Jacob Berger, questions her about a cold case. Then there are questions about a fire in the library at her grandparents' house and an ancient scroll box known as the Firestarter, as well as threatening phone calls and a mysterious illness. Finally a shadowy young man named Shift appears, forcing Taryn and Jacob toward a reckoning felt in more than one world.
The Absolute Book is epic, action-packed fantasy in which hidden treasures are recovered, wicked things resurface, birds can talk, and dead sisters are a living force. It is a book of journeys and returns, from contemporary England to Auckland, New Zealand; from a magical fairyland to Purgatory. Above all, it is a declaration of love for stories and the ways in which they shape our worlds and create gods out of morals.

The Absolute Book is finally being released in the US! I’m ridiculously excited; I’ve heard nothing but unstinting praise for this book from every corner, and I’ve loved Knox since the days of Vintner’s Luck. Take it as read that I’ll be diving into this one on Tuesday!

A Song with Teeth (Los Nefilim, #3) by T. Frohock
Representation: Gay MC of colour, M/M
on 9th February 2021
Genres: Historical Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Goodreads

As the Allied forces battle to defeat the Nazis, a shadow war rages between angels and daimons fighting for the soul of humanity in this thrilling conclusion to the critically acclaimed Los Nefilim historical fantasy series.

The year is 1944, and the daimons are rising.

With the Inner Guard thrown into disarray by the German blitzkrieg, the daimon-born nefilim of the Scorpion Court gather in Paris, scheming to restore their rule over the mortal realm. Working as a double-agent, Diago Alvarez infiltrates his family’s daimonic court, but soon finds himself overwhelmed by his kin’s multiple deceits. 

Meanwhile, Ysabel Ramírez hunts a Psalm that will assist Operation Overlord, the Allies’ invasion of Normandy. Her objective takes her to Paris—into the heart of territories controlled by Die Nephilim and her power-hungry uncle, Jordi Abelló, who seeks the same Psalm in his quest to wrest control of Los Nefilim from her father. When their paths cross, he abducts her and leaves her to the mercy of his Nazi followers. 

But Ysabel is as cunning and bold as Jordi. She knows only one of them can survive to one day rule Los Nefilim, and she’s determined to be the one to succeed her father as queen.

Trapped in her uncle’s château hidden deep within the Fontainebleau forest, Ysabel discovers the truth behind her uncle’s lust for dominance: those that wear the signet of the Thrones are not blessed . . . they are cursed. And it may take a miracle to end this war once and for all.

I think this is the third full novel in the Los Nefilim series. I’m a few books behind, so I haven’t let myself read the blurb properly for fear of spoilers, but I love this series, and anyone with any interest in angels, demons, or nephilim should definitely give it a try!

The Witch's Heart by Genevieve Gornichec
Representation: Bisexual MC, F/F
on 9th February 2021
Goodreads

When a banished witch falls in love with the legendary trickster Loki, she risks the wrath of the gods in this moving, subversive debut novel that reimagines Norse mythology.

Angrboda's story begins where most witches' tales end: with a burning. A punishment from Odin for refusing to provide him with knowledge of the future, the fire leaves Angrboda injured and powerless, and she flees into the farthest reaches of a remote forest. There she is found by a man who reveals himself to be Loki, and her initial distrust of him transforms into a deep and abiding love.

Their union produces three unusual children, each with a secret destiny, who Angrboda is keen to raise at the edge of the world, safely hidden from Odin's all-seeing eye. But as Angrboda slowly recovers her prophetic powers, she learns that her blissful life—and possibly all of existence—is in danger.

With help from the fierce huntress Skadi, with whom she shares a growing bond, Angrboda must choose whether she’ll accept the fate that she's foreseen for her beloved family…or rise to remake their future. From the most ancient of tales this novel forges a story of love, loss, and hope for the modern age.

This was one I DNF-ed, but that was based purely on personal preference; it’s a wonderful book and a lot of people are going to love it!

Engines of Oblivion (The Memory War, #2) by Karen Osborne
Representation: Chronic illness, sapphic MC
on 9th February 2021
Genres: Sci Fi, Queer Protagonists
Goodreads

Karen Osborne continues her science fiction action and adventure series the Memory War with Engines of Oblivion, the sequel to Architects of Memory—the corporations running the galaxy are about to learn not everyone can be bought.

Natalie Chan gained her corporate citizenship, but barely survived the battle for Tribulation.

Now corporate has big plans for Natalie. Horrible plans.

Locked away in Natalie's missing memory is salvation for the last of an alien civilization and the humans they tried to exterminate. The corporation wants total control of both—or their deletion.

This is the second book in the Memory Wars series, and will hopefully be the kick up the arse I need to read book one! I did start it, and I remember that I adored what I read, but I got distracted… Now I’ll have to read it properly so I can jump into this sequel!

Those are all the books I know about! Did I miss any? Which of the week’s releases are you most excited for?

2 responses to “Must-Have Monday #23!

    • I actually had to edit the post – it looks like Never Have I Ever isn’t out until the 23rd! Alas. But that does give us more time to finish other books before getting to it.

      I hope you like Witch’s Heart! I’m interested to see what you think of it.

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