Must-Have Monday #28!

Posted 15th March 2021 by Sia in Must-Have Mondays / 0 Comments

This week we have EIGHT new releases that should definitely be on your radar, ranging from pre-Islamic Arabic mythology to aliens to fox whisperers!!!

The Descent of the Drowned (The Descent of the Drowned, #1) by Ana Lal Din
Genres: Fantasy
Representation: Cast of colour
Published on: 15th March 2021

She is bound to serve. He is meant to kill. Survival is their prison. Choice is their weapon.

As the sacred slave of a goddess, Roma is of a lower caste that serves patrons to sustain the balance between gods and men. What she wants is her freedom, but deserters are hunted and hanged, and Roma only knows how to survive in her village where women are vessels without a voice. When her younger brother is condemned to the same wretched fate as hers, Roma must choose between silence and rebellion.

Leviathan is the bastard son of an immortal tyrant. Raised in a military city where everyone knows of his blood relation to the persecuted clans, Leviathan is considered casteless. Lowest of the low. Graduating as one of the deadliest soldiers, he executes in his father's name, displaying his worth. When he faces judgement from his mother's people—the clans—Leviathan must confront his demons and forge his own path, if he ever hopes to reclaim his soul.

But in the struggle to protect the people they love and rebuild their identities, Roma's and Leviathan's destinies interlock as the tyrant hunts an ancient treasure that will doom humankind should it come into his possession—a living treasure to which Roma and Leviathan are the ultimate key.

Set in a colonised Indo-Persian world and inspired by pre-Islamic Arabian mythology, The Descent of the Drowned is a tale about power, identity, and redemption, and what it takes to hold on to one's humanity in the face of devastation.

I’ll be honest, this wouldn’t be on my radar at all…if not for that bit about being ‘set in a colonised Indo-Persian world and inspired by pre-Islamic Arabian mythology’. Because that sounds amazingly awesome, and I am so here for it. Pre-Islamic Arabian mythology is my jam, and I’m so excited to be getting a story inspired by it!

The Blue-Spangled Blue by David Bowles
Genres: Sci Fi
Published on: 16th March 2021

Tenshi Koroma’s people, the Aknawajin, were brought to the planet Jitsu as workers more than a century ago. Against all odds, they managed to win their independence from the world’s corporate owners. During a long period of isolation, a theocratic government arose, dominated by fundamentalist views. Now, as Jitsu begins to open itself to the rest of humanity, Tenshi—a controversial architect and leader of a religious reform movement—meets Brando D’Angelo, who has left Earth to accept a teaching position on Jitsu. As the two grow closer, Tenshi begins to teach Brando about her faith—The Path—and he decides to accept its tenets, to shatter his identity and rebuild himself with her guidance so that he can be worthy of a soul.

But the dogmatic struggles on Jitsu are a mask for the machinations of a diabolical mind, and the couple’s life will be forever altered by the cruelty of Tenshi’s enemies. In the aftermath, their family will find a perilous new Way along The Path. And their steps will echo throughout history.

I really love this cover, and I’m intrigued by the blurb. I feel like I have no idea what the story’s about, but sometimes that’s fun, going in not knowing what to expect. I don’t know if I’m in the headspace for what this is hinting at – dogmatic struggles, etc – right now, but it’s definitely going on my tbr!

The Memory Collectors: A Novel by Kim Neville
Published on: 16th March 2021

Perfect for fans of
The Scent Keeper
and The Keeper of Lost Things, an atmospheric and enchanting debut novel about two women haunted by buried secrets but bound by a shared gift and the power the past holds over our lives.

Ev has a mysterious ability, one that she feels is more a curse than a gift. She can feel the emotions people leave behind on objects and believes that most of them need to be handled extremely carefully, and—if at all possible—destroyed. The harmless ones she sells at Vancouver’s Chinatown Night Market to scrape together a living, but even that fills her with trepidation. Meanwhile, in another part of town, Harriet hoards thousands of these treasures and is starting to make her neighbors sick as the overabundance of heightened emotions start seeping through her apartment walls.

When the two women meet, Harriet knows that Ev is the only person who can help her make something truly spectacular of her collection. A museum of memory that not only feels warm and inviting but can heal the emotional wounds many people unknowingly carry around. They only know of one other person like them, and they fear the dark effects these objects had on him. Together, they help each other to develop and control their gift, so that what happened to him never happens again. But unbeknownst to them, the same darkness is wrapping itself around another, dragging them down a path that already destroyed Ev’s family once, and threatens to annihilate what little she has left.

The Memory Collectors casts the everyday in a new light, speaking volumes to the hold that our past has over us—contained, at times, in seemingly innocuous objects—and uncovering a truth that both women have tried hard to bury with their pasts: not all magpies collect shiny things—sometimes they gather darkness.

This sounds soft??? Magical realism isn’t usually a genre I stray into that much, but this sounds really lovely somehow. I’ll probably end up giving it a go!

The Mirror Season by Anna-Marie McLemore
Genres: Magical Realism, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Pansexual latina MC, past F/F, lesbian secondary character, minor M/M
Published on: 16th March 2021

"An unforgettable story of trauma and healing, told in achingly beautiful prose with great tenderness and care." —#1 New York Times-bestselling author Karen M. McManus

When two teens discover that they were both sexually assaulted at the same party, they develop a cautious friendship through her family’s possibly-magical pastelería, his secret forest of otherworldly trees, and the swallows returning to their hometown, in Anna-Marie McLemore's The Mirror Season...

Graciela Cristales’ whole world changes after she and a boy she barely knows are assaulted at the same party. She loses her gift for making enchanted pan dulce. Neighborhood trees vanish overnight, while mirrored glass appears, bringing reckless magic with it. And Ciela is haunted by what happened to her, and what happened to the boy whose name she never learned.

But when the boy, Lock, shows up at Ciela’s school, he has no memory of that night, and no clue that a single piece of mirrored glass is taking his life apart. Ciela decides to help him, which means hiding the truth about that night. Because Ciela knows who assaulted her, and him. And she knows that her survival, and his, depend on no one finding out what really happened.

OBVIOUSLY the exception to my ‘no magical realism, please’ rule is McLemore!!! The Mirror Season is obviously going to be dealing with some rough topics, but between their grace and beautiful prose, I trust McLemore to not leave my heart in too many pieces by the end of the book!

Skyward Inn by Aliya Whiteley
Published on: 16th March 2021

Skyward Inn, within the high walls of the Western Protectorate, is a place of safety, where people come together to tell stories of the time before the war with Qita. But safety from what?

Qita surrendered without complaint when Earth invaded; Innkeepers Jem and Isley, veterans from either side, have regrets but few scars. Their peace is disturbed when a visitor known to Isley comes to the Inn asking for help, bringing reminders of an unnerving past and triggering an uncertain future.

Did humanity really win the war?

A thoughtful, literary novel about conflict, identity and community; a fresh new perspective in speculative fiction from critically-acclaimed writer Aliya Whiteley. Jamaica Inn by way of Jeff Vandermeer, Ursula Le Guin, Angela Carter and Michel Faber, Skyward Inn is a beautiful story of belonging, identity and regret.

This sounds so weird, but in a good way??? I am intrigued!

Body of Stars by Laura Maylene Walter
Published on: 16th March 2021

Vox meets The Immortalists in this bold and dazzling exploration of fate and female agency in a world where women own the future but not their own bodies.

Celeste Morton has eagerly awaited her passage into adulthood. Like every woman, she holds a map of the future in her skin, every mole and freckle a clue to unlocking what will come to pass. With puberty comes the changeling period - when her final marks will appear, those that will solidify her fate - and that of those around her. The possibilities are tantalising enough to outweigh her worry that the future she dreams of won't be the one she's fated to have - or the fact the changeling period is the most dangerous in a woman's life. A time when abduction is rife.

For some, glimpses are not enough. There are men who wish to possess these futures for themselves. Whose only way to take control of the future is to take control of the women who hold the script. Abducted changelings return shunned from society with their futures stolen.

Celeste's life, and her marks, have always been closely entwined with her brother, Miles. Celeste's skin holds a future only he, as a gifted interpreter, can read and he has always considered Celeste his practice ground. But when Celeste changes she learns a secret about her brother, Miles, that she will do anything to keep to herself - and Miles is keeping a secret too. When the lies of brother and sister collide, Celeste determines to create a future that is truly her own.

This premise is fascinating, but this is being hailed as another Handmaid’s Tale and I don’t think I can cope with that kind of story right now. But again, it’s definitely going on my tbr for when I can handle it!

What Abigail Did That Summer : A Rivers Of London Novella by Ben Aaronovitch
Representation: Black MC
Published on: 18th March 2021

Ghost hunter, fox whisperer, troublemaker.

It is the summer of 2013 and Abigail Kamara has been left to her own devices. This might, by those who know her, be considered a mistake. While her cousin, police constable and apprentice wizard Peter Grant, is off in the sticks, chasing unicorns, Abigail is chasing her own mystery. Teenagers around Hampstead Heath have been going missing but before the police can get fully engaged, the teens return home - unharmed but vague about where they've been.

Aided only by her new friend Simon, her knowledge that magic is real, and a posse of talking foxes that think they're spies, Abigail must venture into the wilds of Hampstead to discover who is luring the teenagers and more importantly - why?

Pfft, like I would ever skip a Rivers of London book!!! This is one of my favourite series, and Abigail is freaking awesome, so I’m delighted we’re getting a novella all about her!

That’s it for this week! Did I miss any? Will you be reading any of these? Let me know!

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