Must-Have Monday #32!

Posted 26th April 2021 by Siavahda in Must-Have Mondays / 0 Comments

SIX new SFF releases have caught my attention this week, ranging from the new Murderbot novella to Korean folklore and divine triplets!

Shadow of the City: A Rocío and Hala novel by R. Morgan
Representation: Cast of colour (presumably?)
on 27th April 2021
Genres: Secondary World Fantasy

A delightful fantasy of friendship and mystery in a setting reminiscent of Latin America, by a fresh new talent.

La Bene is a city poised on the edge of change, where automobiles mingle with horse-drawn trolleys and musicians rub shoulders with politicians in trendy cabarets. Every day brings new magical machines, new immigrants … and a new mystery to solve.

Detectives Rocío Díaz Rossi and Hala Haddad Sosa have investigated many crimes together, and Rocío’s intuition and Hala’s logic make them ideal partners. But this time they’re baffled by a newly discovered crypt in the subway, a missing choreographer, and reports of impossible magic.

As the clues pile up, they discover that they’re not working any ordinary kidnapping. Something darker and more sinister is taking root in the city, perhaps the return of a magic so destructive that no one dares to speak of it. If their suspicions are correct, they will have to face an opponent who threatens not only their commitment to justice, but everyone living in their beloved city.

Rachel Neumeier, an author I adore, called this ‘A police procedural set in one of the snazziest fantasy settings ever’, so obviously I am here for this! Lady partner-detectives in a Latin-America-esque fantasy setting??? Yes please!

Meet Me in Another Life by Catriona Silvey
Representation: Bisexual rep
on 27th April 2021
Genres: Science Fantasy
ISBN: 0063020203

Two people. Infinite lifetimes. One impossible choice.

Thora and Santi are strangers in a foreign city when a chance encounter intertwines their fates. At once, they recognize in each other a kindred spirit—someone who shares their insatiable curiosity, who is longing for more in life than the cards they’ve been dealt. Only days later, though, a tragic accident cuts their story short.

But this is only one of the many connections they share. Like satellites trapped in orbit around each other, Thora and Santi are destined to meet again: as a teacher and prodigy student; a caretaker and dying patient; a cynic and a believer. In numerous lives they become friends, colleagues, lovers, and enemies. But as blurred memories and strange patterns compound, Thora and Santi come to a shocking revelation—they must discover the truth of their mysterious attachment before their many lives come to one, final end.

I’ll be honest, the blurb had me rolling my eyes a little bit – I am very tired of the idea that people are always reincarnated as the same gender, which seems to be implied here – but some of the reviews I’ve seen claim this really is a deep and intricate story, with parallel universes and alternate selves coming into play, so I’m intrigued. There’s also supposed to be bisexual rep, although I’ve got no more details than that, so I don’t know how major a part of the story it’s going to be.

The End of Men by Christina Sweeney-Baird
on 27th April 2021
Genres: Sci Fi
ISBN: 0593328132

Set in a world where a virus stalks our male population, The End of Men is an electrifying and unforgettable debut from a remarkable new talent that asks: what would our world truly look like without men?

Only men carry the virus. Only women can save us all.

The year is 2025, and a mysterious virus has broken out in Scotland--a lethal illness that seems to affect only men. When Dr. Amanda MacLean reports this phenomenon, she is dismissed as hysterical. By the time her warning is heeded, it is too late. The virus becomes a global pandemic--and a political one. The victims are all men. The world becomes alien--a women's world.

What follows is the immersive account of the women who have been left to deal with the virus's consequences, told through first-person narratives. Dr. MacLean; Catherine, a social historian determined to document the human stories behind the "male plague"; intelligence analyst Dawn, tasked with helping the government forge a new society; and Elizabeth, one of many scientists desperately working to develop a vaccine. Through these women and others, we see the uncountable ways the absence of men has changed society, from the personal--the loss of husbands and sons--to the political--the changes in the workforce, fertility, and the meaning of family.

In The End of Men, Christina Sweeney-Baird turns the unimaginable into the unforgettable.

I feel a bit sorry for Sweeney-Baird – it can’t be fun having a book featuring a pandemic coming out, well, during an actual pandemic. But I’m cautiously interested. It might be that I can’t handle a pandemic plotline right now – we’ll have to see how dark/miserable it gets – and I’m really hoping Sweeney-Baird remembers to at least acknowledge trans and other genderqueer people, and cover how this virus affects them, too.

Fugitive Telemetry (The Murderbot Diaries, #6) by Martha Wells
Representation: Agender asexual MC
on 27th April 2021
Genres: Queer Protagonists, Sci Fi
ISBN: 1250765374

No, I didn’t kill the dead human. If I had, I wouldn’t dump the body in the station mall.

When Murderbot discovers a dead body on Preservation Station, it knows it is going to have to assist station security to determine who the body is (was), how they were killed (that should be relatively straightforward, at least), and why (because apparently that matters to a lot of people—who knew?)

Yes, the unthinkable is about to happen: Murderbot must voluntarily speak to humans!

Come on, Murderbot doesn’t require an introduction at this point, does it?

Folklorn by Angela Mi Young Hur
Representation: Korean-American MC
on 27th April 2021
Genres: Fantasy, Magical Realism
ISBN: 1645660168

A genre-defying, continents-spanning saga of Korean myth, scientific discovery, and the abiding love that binds even the most broken of families.

Elsa Park is a particle physicist at the top of her game, stationed at a neutrino observatory in the Antarctic, confident she's put enough distance between her ambitions and the family ghosts she's run from all her life. But it isn't long before her childhood imaginary friend—an achingly familiar, spectral woman in the snow—comes to claim her at last.

Years ago, Elsa's now-catatonic mother had warned her that the women of their line were doomed to repeat the narrative lives of their ancestors from Korean myth and legend. But beyond these ghosts, Elsa also faces a more earthly fate: the mental illness and generational trauma that run in her immigrant family, a sickness no less ravenous than the ancestral curse hunting her.

When her mother breaks her decade-long silence and tragedy strikes, Elsa must return to her childhood home in California. There, among family wrestling with their own demons, she unravels the secrets hidden in the handwritten pages of her mother’s dark stories: of women’s desire and fury; of magic suppressed, stolen, or punished; of the hunger for vengeance.

From Sparks Fellow, Tin House alumna, and Harvard graduate Angela Mi Young Hur, Folklorn is a wondrous and necessary exploration of the myths we inherit and those we fashion for ourselves.

Folklorn has been hailed from one end of the internet to the other, and since I have so far loved everything Erewhon Books has published (bar one) I am immensely invested on getting my hands on this! I’m really not at all sure what to expect, since it seems to be one of those books that defies easy labels and descriptors, but the premise sounds wonderful and so many reviewers I trust have praised it to the skies. I’ll have to write a review of my own once I’ve read it!

Dream Country by Ashaye Brown
Representation: Cast of colour
on 27th April 2021
Genres: Fantasy

A sibling rivalry to fuel your worst nightmares.

The dysfunctional triplet gods of Sleep, Dreams and Nightmares are kept separate by the deadly Gates of Horn and Ivory. Only one fact keeps them tightly bound: each of them is a suspect in their mother’s murder. Their knife-edge feud worsens when a mortal enters the world with astounding abilities that threaten to change the game for them all.

In this thrilling young adult fantasy, Ashaye Brown brings to life a visionary world infused with Kenyan, Brazilian, Caribbean, and Grecian cultural references. A story like no other with stakes as high as they come.

In contrast to Folklorn, there seems to have been very little talk of Dream Country pre-release – at least around my usual watering holes. But I’ve been excited by this premise since I first stumbled across it on Goodreads, and I really want to give it a go!

That’s it for this week! Will you be reading any of these? Let me know in the comments!

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