Must-Have Monday #34!

Posted 10th May 2021 by Sia in Must-Have Mondays / 0 Comments

This week’s seven new releases take us from fantasy-West Africa to Cairo to Malaysia, with pit-stops for ghosts and kraken along the way!

The House of Always (A Chorus of Dragons, #4) by Jenn Lyons
Genres: Queer Protagonists, Epic Fantasy
Representation: Bisexual MC, genderqueer love interest, asexual secondary characters, secondary F/F or wlw, queernorm world
Published on: 11th May 2021
ISBN: 1250175674

For fans of Brandon Sanderson and Patrick Rothfuss, The House of Always is the fourth epic fantasy in Jenn Lyons' Chorus of Dragons series that began with The Ruin of Kings.

What if you were imprisoned for all eternity?

In the aftermath of the Ritual of Night, everything has changed.

The Eight Immortals have catastrophically failed to stop Kihrin's enemies, who are moving forward with their plans to free Vol Karoth, the King of Demons. Kihrin has his own ideas about how to fight back, but even if he's willing to sacrifice everything for victory, the cost may prove too high for his allies.

Now they face a choice: can they save the world while saving Kihrin, too? Or will they be forced to watch as he becomes the very evil they have all sworn to destroy.

If you’ve been following this series, you’re as desperate as I am to get your paws on the latest installment – THE ENDING OF THE PREVIOUS BOOK!!! – and if you haven’t been following along… What the hell are you waiting for, pick them up already!!!

Black Water Sister by Zen Cho
Genres: Queer Protagonists
Representation: Lesbian Malaysian MC, cast of colour
Published on: 11th May 2021
ISBN: 0425283437

A reluctant medium discovers the ties that bind can unleash a dangerous power in this compelling Malaysian-set contemporary fantasy.

Jessamyn Teoh is closeted, broke and moving back to Malaysia, a country she left when she was a toddler. So when Jess starts hearing voices, she chalks it up to stress. But there's only one voice in her head, and it claims to be the ghost of her estranged grandmother, Ah Ma. In life Ah Ma was a spirit medium, the avatar of a mysterious deity called the Black Water Sister. Now she's determined to settle a score against a gang boss who has offended the god--and she's decided Jess is going to help her do it.

Drawn into a world of gods, ghosts, and family secrets, Jess finds that making deals with capricious spirits is a dangerous business. As Jess fights for retribution for Ah Ma, she'll also need to regain control of her body and destiny. If she fails, the Black Water Sister may finish her off for good.

Zen Cho’s Sorcerer Royal books are fabulous, and fabulously diverse, regency-esque fantasy, so I am more than ready for this new book! I don’t usually like ghost stories, but a) it’s Cho, and b) this sounds like much more than a simple haunting. And I’m excited for the Malaysian setting!

A Master of Djinn by P. Djèlí Clark
Genres: Queer Protagonists, Historical Fantasy
Representation: Lesbian Egyptian MC, F/F or wlw, cast of colour
Published on: 11th May 2021
ISBN: 1250267684

Nebula, Locus, and Alex Award-winner P. Djèlí Clark returns to his popular alternate Cairo universe for his fantasy novel debut, A Master of Djinn

Cairo, 1912: Though Fatma el-Sha’arawi is the youngest woman working for the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities, she’s certainly not a rookie, especially after preventing the destruction of the universe last summer.

So when someone murders a secret brotherhood dedicated to one of the most famous men in history, al-Jahiz, Agent Fatma is called onto the case. Al-Jahiz transformed the world 50 years ago when he opened up the veil between the magical and mundane realms, before vanishing into the unknown. This murderer claims to be al-Jahiz, returned to condemn the modern age for its social oppressions. His dangerous magical abilities instigate unrest in the streets of Cairo that threaten to spill over onto the global stage.

Alongside her Ministry colleagues and her clever girlfriend Siti, Agent Fatma must unravel the mystery behind this imposter to restore peace to the city - or face the possibility he could be exactly who he seems....

It feels like the entire internet is hyped for this one! It’s the first novel in the Dead Djinn Universe series, which up until now has been short stories and a novella. The setting is ridiculously cool, and the main character is even more fabulous. I’ll be surprised if this doesn’t end up on all the Best of 2021 lists come December!

Son of the Storm (The Nameless Republic, #1) by Suyi Davies Okungbowa
Genres: Epic Fantasy
Representation: Black cast + MC, minor nonbinary characters
Published on: 11th May 2021
ISBN: 0316428949

From one of the most exciting new storytellers in epic fantasy, Son of the Storm is a sweeping tale of violent conquest and forgotten magic set in a world inspired by the pre-colonial empires of West Africa.

In the ancient city of Bassa, Danso is a clever scholar on the cusp of achieving greatness—only he doesn’t want it. Instead, he prefers to chase forbidden stories about what lies outside the city walls. The Bassai elite claim there is nothing of interest. The city’s immigrants are sworn to secrecy.

But when Danso stumbles across a warrior wielding magic that shouldn’t exist, he’s put on a collision course with Bassa’s darkest secrets. Drawn into the city’s hidden history, he sets out on a journey beyond its borders. And the chaos left in the wake of his discovery threatens to destroy the empire.

I loved Okungbowa’s urban fantasy debut, David Mogo, Godhunter (click the link for my review) – and now he’s writing epic fantasy! Epic fantasy in a West African-inspired setting! With two moons!!! And tell me that cover doesn’t make you swoon?

Angel of the Overpass (Ghost Roads, #3) by Seanan McGuire
Published on: 11th May 2021
ISBN: 0756416892

Lady of shadows, keeper of changes, plant the seeds of faith within me, that I might grow and flourish, that I might find my way through danger and uncertainty to the safety of your garden. Let my roots grow strong and my skin grow thick, that I might stand fast against all who would destroy me. Grant to me your favor, grant to me your grace, and when my time is done, grant to me the wisdom to lay my burdens down and rest beside you, one more flower in a sea of blooms, where nothing shall ever trouble me again.

Rose Marshall died when she was sixteen years old and on her way to her high school prom. She hasn’t been resting easy since then—Bobby Cross, the man who killed her, got away clean after running her off the road, and she’s not the kind of girl who can let something like that slide. She’s been looking for a way to stop him since before they put her body in the ground.

But things have changed in the twilight world where the spirits of the restless dead continue their “lives.” The crossroads have been destroyed, and Bobby’s protections are gone. For the first time, it might be possible for Rose to defeat him.

Not alone, though. She’ll need every friend she’s managed to make and every favor she’s managed to add to her account if she wants to stand a chance…and this may be her last chance to be avenged, since what is Bobby Cross without the crossroads?

Everything Rose knows is about to change.

I’ve loved the Ghost Roads series from day one (one of the few exceptions to my no-ghosts rule) but the description for Angel of the Overpass makes it sound like this series is going to be ratcheting it up a level! (Switching it up a gear? I don’t know cars well enough for puns.) I’m so excited to see Rose and Bobby finally go head to head – but it’s a scenario I don’t know how Rose can win: if Bobby wins, he feeds her to his car, but if Rose actually ends Bobby Cross… Can she survive as a ghost if she’s no longer defined by her opposition to him? I’m pretty sure I remember that question being raised in the earlier books…

I am anxious, but also, like I said, SO SO SO EXCITED!

Erebus Dawning (Seven Stars Saga, #1) by A.J. Super
Genres: Queer Protagonists, Sci Fi
Representation: Secondary M/M or mlm, major nonbinary character (AI)
Published on: 11th May 2021

“Those who can destroy a world can control the universe.”

Everyone wants the Star of Erebus. Space-pirate Nyx Marcus is no exception. With it, she can prove to her father that she is worthy of his legacy. But she’s come up empty-handed aboard the space-ship Thanatos and now Malcam, her father’s First Officer, is mutinying. As Nyx flees with a loyal skeleton crew, she discovers that the planet-killing weapon, named after one of the seven gods, is more than what it seems. Erebus isn’t a simple weapon, but an ancient AI and a technological god.

With the oppressive Queen of the Protectorate and new pirate captain Malcam searching for the Thanatos and Erebus, the AI god has more surprises for Nyx. Waking dormant AI code in Nyx’s blood, Erebus reveals they are family and Nyx is the head of the Seven Stars pantheon. But while Nyx’s only choice is to protect Erebus, she wants no part of her AI responsibilities. Now Nyx must learn to control her power without sacrificing her own humanity or give her enemies a new way to oppress the known universe and lose the family she holds dear.

This has been described to me as a villain origin story…and I am so here for it! I enjoyed the AI gods in Ada Hoffman’s Outside, and I’m curious what Super’s will be like – they sound quite different. But morally grey characters who get shit done? And several reviewers mentioning very cool worldbuilding??? Sign me up, please!

The Year's Midnight (Death's Lady, #1) by Rachel Neumeier
Genres: Portal Fantasy
Published on: 15th May 2021

A gifted psychiatrist, Daniel Dodson is perfectly aware that he's in a tough place personally following the death of his wife. Then a mysterious new patient offers a welcome professional distraction.The world of swords and magic that Tenai so vividly remembers obviously can't be real. The deadly enmity and long war that left such deep emotional scars plainly symbolize something else. But perhaps Daniel can use the signposts of those confabulated memories to aid Tenai in moving forward into a new life in the real world.

Rachel Neumeier has been one of my favourite authors since her Griffin Mage trilogy utterly bewitched me. She’s been self-publishing her more recent books, and the Death’s Lady trilogy is her latest! All three books are finished, and I believe the next two books are being published either on the same day as book one, or within about a week of The Year’s Midnight‘s release date. I’m not sure what to expect from this trilogy, but the premise has me very intrigued…

And that’s it from me! Will you be reading any of these? Did I miss a book you’re looking forward to? Let me know!


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