Must-Have Monday #24!

Posted 15th February 2021 by Siavahda in Must-Have Mondays / 0 Comments

We have EIGHT incredible fantasy-and-sci-fi books being released this week!

The Black Coast (The God-King Chronicles, #1) by Mike Brooks
Representation: Nonbinary PoV character, queernorm cultures, nonbinary gender system
on 16th February 2021
Genres: Secondary World Fantasy
Goodreads

Epic world-building at its finest, in an upcoming author’s fantasy debut. The Black Coast is the start of an unmissable series filled with war-dragons, armoured knights, sea-faring raiders, dangerous magic and crowd-pleasing battle scenes.

When the citizens of Black Keep see ships on the horizon, terror takes them, for they know who is coming: for generations, Black Keep has been raided by the fearsome clanspeople of Iwernia. Saddling their war dragons, the Naridans rush to defend their home only to discover that the clanspeople have not come to pillage at all. Driven from their own homeland by the rise of a daemonic despot who prophesies the end of the world, they have come in search of a new home. Meanwhile the wider continent of Narida is lurching toward war. Black Keep is about to be caught in the cross-fire of the coming war for the world – if only its new mismatched society can survive.

The Black Coast is even better than it sounds – I wrote a very incoherent review, but basically??? It’s peerless worldbuilding + feathered dragons + different kinds of normalised queerness + brilliant characters, all wrapped up in the start of an epic fantasy series that I just know is going to knock our socks off. Even if you’ve been feeling meh about epic fantasy lately (as I have) you’re going to want to read this one!

The Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey
on 16th February 2021
Genres: Sci Fi
Goodreads

The Echo Wife is a non-stop thrill ride, perfect for readers of Big Little Lies and enthusiasts of "Killing Eve" and "Westworld­"

Martine is a genetically cloned replica made from Evelyn Caldwell’s award-winning research. She’s patient and gentle and obedient. She’s everything Evelyn swore she’d never be. And she’s having an affair with Evelyn’s husband.

Now, the cheating bastard is dead, and the Caldwell wives have a mess to clean up. Good thing Evelyn Caldwell is used to getting her hands dirty.

This has been incredibly hyped, and who can be surprised – it’s Gailey! Echo Wife sounds a bit like Gone Girl, but with clones – and women working together, which is usually better than one woman working alone. I have no idea what to expect, but I am very intrigued.

Reaper of Souls (Kingdom of Souls, #2) by Rena Barron
on 16th February 2021
Goodreads

After so many years yearning for the gift of magic, Arrah has the one thing she’s always wanted—at a terrible price. Now the last surviving witchdoctor, she’s been left to pick up the shattered pieces of a family that betrayed her, a kingdom in shambles, and long-buried secrets about who she is.
Desperate not to repeat her mother’s mistakes, Arrah must return to the tribal lands to search for help from the remnants of her parents’ people. But the Demon King’s shadow looms closer than she thinks. And as Arrah struggles to unravel her connection to him, defeating him begins to seem more and more impossible—if it’s something she can bring herself to do at all.
Set in a richly imagined world inspired by spine-tingling tales of voodoo and folk magic, Kingdom of Souls was lauded as “masterful” by School Library Journal in a starred review. This explosively epic sequel will have readers racing to the can’t-miss conclusion.

This is the sequel to Kingdom of Souls, and I don’t recommend jumping into it until you’ve read the first book! Barron’s writing really impressed me in Kingdom, though, so I expect Reaper will also be excellent.

Soulstar (The Kingston Cycle, #3) by C.L. Polk
on 16th February 2021
Goodreads

With Soulstar, C. L. Polk concludes her riveting Kingston Cycle, a whirlwind of magic, politics, romance, and intrigue that began with the World Fantasy Award-winning Witchmark. Assassinations, deadly storms, and long-lost love haunt the pages of this thrilling final volume.

For years, Robin Thorpe has kept her head down, staying among her people in the Riverside neighborhood and hiding the magic that would have her imprisoned by the state. But when Grace Hensley comes knocking on Clan Thorpe’s door, Robin’s days of hiding are at an end. As freed witches flood the streets of Kingston, scrambling to reintegrate with a kingdom that destroyed their lives, Robin begins to plot a course that will ensure a freer, juster Aeland. At the same time, she has to face her long-bottled feelings for the childhood love that vanished into an asylum twenty years ago.

Can Robin find happiness among the rising tides of revolution? Can Kingston survive the blizzards that threaten, the desperate monarchy, and the birth throes of democracy? Find out as the Kingston Cycle comes to an end.

It’s the finale of the Kingston Cycle! Again, you probably shouldn’t pick this up until you’ve read Witchmark and Stormsong, but at that point you should definitely pick it up.

We Are the Fire by Sam Taylor
on 16th February 2021
Goodreads

As electrifying as it is heartbreaking, Sam Taylor's explosive fantasy debut We Are the Fire is perfect for fans of An Ember in the Ashes and the legend of Spartacus.

In the cold, treacherous land of Vesimaa, children are stolen from their families by a cruel emperor, forced to undergo a horrific transformative procedure, and serve in the army as magical fire-wielding soldiers. Pran and Oksana―both taken from their homeland at a young age―only have each other to hold onto in this heartless place.
Pran dreams of one day rebelling against their oppressors and destroying the empire; Oksana only dreams of returning home and creating a peaceful life for them both.

When they discover the emperor has a new, more terrible mission than ever for their kind, Pran and Oksana vow to escape his tyranny once and for all. But their methods and ideals differ drastically, driving a wedge between them. Worse still, they both soon find that the only way to defeat the monsters that subjugated them may be to become monsters themselves.

I don’t know much about this book, but the cover is beautiful and the premise sounds interesting. It’s also a standalone, which we don’t see in YA too often, and all the reviews I’ve seen for it are glowing. I’ll definitely be picking it up and giving it a go.

The Centaur's Wife by Amanda Leduc
on 16th February 2021
Goodreads


Amanda Leduc's brilliant new novel, woven with fairy tales of her own devising and replete with both catastrophe and magic, is a vision of what happens when we ignore the natural world and the darker parts of our own natures.

Heather is sleeping peacefully after the birth of her twin daughters when the sound of the world ending jolts her awake. Stumbling outside with her babies and her new husband, Brendan, she finds that their city has been destroyed by falling meteors and that her little family are among only a few who survived.

But the mountain that looms over the city is still green--somehow it has been spared the destruction that has brought humanity to the brink of extinction. Heather is one of the few who know the mountain, a place city-dwellers have always been forbidden to go. Her dad took her up the mountain when she was a child on a misguided quest to heal her legs, damaged at birth. The tragedy that resulted has shaped her life, bringing her both great sorrow and an undying connection to the deep magic of the mountain, made real by the beings she and her dad encountered that day: Estajfan, a centaur born of sorrow and of an ancient, impossible love, and his two siblings, marooned between the magical and the human world. Even as those in the city around her--led by Tasha, a charismatic doctor who fled to the city from the coast with her wife and other refugees--struggle to keep everyone alive, Heather constantly looks to the mountain, drawn by love, by fear, by the desire for rescue. She is torn in two by her awareness of what unleashed the meteor shower and what is coming for the few survivors, once the green and living earth makes a final reckoning of the usefulness of human life and finds it wanting.

At times devastating, but ultimately redemptive, Amanda Leduc's fable for our uncertain times reminds us that the most important things in life aren't things at all, but rather the people we want by our side at the end of the world.

This sounds so delightfully strange and dreamy??? However, it does seem like it’s only being published in Canada for the moment. Fingers crossed it makes it to the rest of us asap!

The Memory Theater by Karin Tidbeck
on 16th February 2021
Goodreads

In a world just parallel to ours exists a mystical realm known only as the Gardens. It is a place where feasts never end, games of croquet have devastating consequences, and teenagers are punished for growing up. For a select group of Masters, it's a decadent paradise where time stands still. For those who serve them, however, it's a slow torture where their lives can be ended in a blink.

In a bid to escape before their youth betrays them, Dora and Thistle--best friends and confidants--set out on a remarkable journey through time and space. Traveling between their world and ours, they hunt the one person who can grant them freedom. Along the way they encounter a mysterious traveler who trades in favors and never forgets debts, a crossroads at the center of the universe, our own world on the brink of war, and a traveling troupe of actors with the ability to unlock the fabric of reality.

Endlessly inventive, The Memory Theater takes the reader to a wondrous place where destiny has yet to be written, life is a performance, and magic can erupt at any moment. It is Karin Tidbeck's most engrossing and irresistible tale yet.

This one wasn’t on my radar at all, until an excerpt from it was posted on Tor.com…and then I knew I absolutely had to read it. This is probably the book I’m most excited for this week (although that’s in large part because I’ve already read Black Coast and The Galaxy, and the Ground Within!)

The Galaxy, and the Ground Within (Wayfarers, #4) by Becky Chambers
on 18th February 2021
Goodreads

With no water, no air, and no native life, the planet Gora is unremarkable. The only thing it has going for it is a chance proximity to more popular worlds, making it a decent stopover for ships traveling between the wormholes that keep the Galactic Commons connected. If deep space is a highway, Gora is just your average truck stop.

At the Five-Hop One-Stop, long-haul spacers can stretch their legs (if they have legs, that is), and get fuel, transit permits, and assorted supplies. The Five-Hop is run by an enterprising alien and her sometimes helpful child, who work hard to provide a little piece of home to everyone passing through.

When a freak technological failure halts all traffic to and from Gora, three strangers—all different species with different aims—are thrown together at the Five-Hop. Grounded, with nothing to do but wait, the trio—an exiled artist with an appointment to keep, a cargo runner at a personal crossroads, and a mysterious individual doing her best to help those on the fringes—are compelled to confront where they’ve been, where they might go, and what they are, or could be, to each other.

I mean, it’s the new (and last!) Wayfarer book!!! Of course you need to read it! That said, this is actually it’s UK release date; it won’t be available in the US until April. But wherever you are, you should definitely preorder it; you can read my review if you need more convincing.

Witherward (Witherward, #1) by Hannah Mathewson
on 16th February 2021
Goodreads

Welcome to the Witherward, and to a London that is not quite like our own. Here, it’s summertime in February, the Underground is a cavern of wonders and magic fills the streets. But this London is a city divided, split between six rival magical factions, each with their own extraordinary talents – and the alpha of the Changelings, Gedeon Ravenswood, has gone rogue, threatening the fragile accords that have held London together for decades.
Ilsa is a shapeshifting Changeling who has spent the first 17 years of her life marooned in the wrong London, where real magic is reviled as the devil’s work. Abandoned at birth, she has scratched out a living first as a pickpocket and then as a stage magician’s assistant, dazzling audiences by secretly using her Changeling talents to perform impossible illusions. When she’s dragged through a portal into the Witherward, Ilsa finally feels like she belongs.
But her new home is on the brink of civil war, and Ilsa is pulled into the fray. The only way to save London is to track down Gedeon, and he just so happens to be Ilsa’s long-lost brother, one of the last surviving members of the family who stranded her in the wrong world. Beset by enemies on all sides, surrounded by supposed Changeling allies wearing faces that may not be their own, Ilsa must use all the tricks up her sleeve simply to stay alive.
SIX OF CROWS meets THE PRESTIGE in a debut YA/crossover fantasy set in an alternate Victorian London, perfect for fans of V.E. Schwab.

This is another YA fantasy that sounds strange in a good way, with a premise that has a whole lot of potential. I’m pretty excited to see what Mathewson does with it.

And that’s it! Did I miss any? Will you be reading any of these? Let me know in the comments!

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