Must-Have Monday #40!

Posted 21st June 2021 by Sia in Must-Have Mondays / 0 Comments

This week we have SIX new releases to get excited about, from magic cannibal nuns to magic Jurassic Park!

Star Eater by Kerstin Hall
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Bisexual MC, multiple queer side characters
Published on: 22nd June 2021

All martyrdoms are difficult.

Elfreda Raughn will avoid pregnancy if it kills her, and one way or another, it will kill her. Though she’s able to stomach her gruesome day-to-day duties, the reality of preserving the Sisterhood of Aytrium’s magical bloodline horrifies her. She wants out, whatever the cost.

So when a shadowy cabal approaches Elfreda with an offer of escape, she leaps at the opportunity. As their spy, she gains access to the highest reaches of the Sisterhood, and enters a glittering world of opulent parties, subtle deceptions, and unexpected bloodshed.

A phantasmagorical indictment of hereditary power, Star Eater takes readers deep into a perilous and uncanny world where even the most powerful women are forced to choose what sacrifices they will make, so that they might have any choice at all.

This is only one of my most-anticipated books of the YEAR! I fell utterly in love with Hall’s novella Border Keeper last year, and I can’t believe we get to have a novel of her writing this soon! I have been promised giant cats and floating islands and optimistic fantasy (despite the cannabilism) and a cast of queer women, so GIVE IT TO ME ALREADY!

*grabby hands*

The Witness for the Dead (The Goblin Emperor, #2) by Katherine Addison
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Achillean MC, mention of past M/M
Published on: 22nd June 2021

Katherine Addison returns at last to the world of The Goblin Emperor with this stand-alone sequel.

When the young half-goblin emperor Maia sought to learn who had killed his father and half-brothers, he turned to an obscure resident of his Court, a Prelate of Ulis and a Witness for the Dead. Thara Celehar found the truth, though it did him no good to discover it.

Now Celehar lives in the city of Amalo, far from the Court though not exactly in exile. He has not escaped from politics, but his position gives him the ability to serve the common people of the city, which is his preference. He lives modestly, but his decency and fundamental honesty will not permit him to live quietly.

This is NOT a sequel to The Goblin Emperor – please do not go into it expecting it to be! – but it is a lovely read that is part murder-investigation and very slice-of-life-y. I was lucky enough to read it early and reviewed it here, so check that out for all my thoughts, but basically although my feelings about it are a little mixed, I still think it’s a wonderful book that many readers will enjoy!

Just don’t think it’s going to be about Maia in any way, okay?

Violet Ghosts by Leah Thomas
Genres: Queer Protagonists
Representation: Trans MC
Published on: 22nd June 2021

Acclaimed author Leah Thomas tells the story of a teen determined to right the wrongs of female ghosts haunted in the afterlife.

Dani’s best friend, Sarah, is a ghost. But maybe that’s normal when you've spent your childhood running from an abusive parent.

Dani and Sarah might be more than friends, though Dani dares not say so. Dani is afraid that if he tells Sarah he’s trans, she won’t bother haunting him anymore. Sarah’s got good reason to distrust boys, having been strangled by one.After Sarah and Dani come across another ghost haunted by her own brutal murder, they set out to bring peace and safety to spirits like her. But when an old rival reenters Dani’s life, their unexpected friendship gives Dani a strange new feeling of belonging. As Dani starts to find his place in the living world, he’ll need to let go of his ghosts.

With her signature lyricism, Leah Thomas has woven a poignant supernatural story for the #MeToo age.

I’ve been massively intrigued by this premise since I first heard of Violet Ghosts, and I’m still excited to get to read it. I’ve not read anything by this author before, but I’ve heard good things, so. Fingers crossed?

Questland by Carrie Vaughn
Genres: Sci Fi
Published on: 22nd June 2021

"Questland is a thrill ride…Richly imagined, action-packed, maximum fun." —Charles Yu, New York Times bestselling author of Interior Chinatown

YOU FIND YOURSELF IN A MAZE FULL OF TWISTY PASSAGES...   Literature professor Dr. Addie Cox is living a happy, if sheltered, life in her ivory tower when Harris Lang, the famously eccentric billionaire tech genius, offers her an unusual job. He wants her to guide a mercenary strike team sent to infiltrate his island retreat off the northwest coast of the United States. Addie is puzzled by her role on the mission until she understands what Lang has built: 

Insula Mirabilis, an isolated resort where tourists will one day pay big bucks for a convincing, high-tech-powered fantasy-world experience, complete with dragons, unicorns, and, yes, magic.  

Unfortunately, one of the island's employees has gone rogue and activated an invisible force shield that has cut off all outside communication. A Coast Guard cutter attempting to pass through the shield has been destroyed. Suspicion rests on Dominic Brand, the project’s head designer— and Addie Cox's ex-boyfriend. Lang has tasked Addie and the mercenary team with taking back control of the island at any cost.  

But Addie is wrestling demons of her own—and not the fantastical kind. Now, she must navigate the deadly traps of Insula Mirabilis as well as her own past trauma. And no d20, however lucky, can help Addie make this saving throw.

“Gamers rejoice! Carrie Vaughn has conjured up a fun and fast-paced story filled with elves, d20s, and Monty Python riffs.”—Monte Cook, ENnie Award-winning creator of the Numenera roleplaying game

This is another author I know nothing about, but I will follow you anywhere if you promise me unicorns – even if they’re only mentioned in passing – and honestly, the premise sounds kind of ridiculously fantastic and fun? Also, creating a magic version of Jurassic Park is exactly what I, too, would do if I was that rich, so, you know, I feel like I have a connection with this Harris Lang character already!

Cinders of Yesterday (Legacy of Shadows, #1) by Jen Karner
Genres: Queer Protagonists
Representation: F/F
Published on: 22nd June 2021

Paranormal Hunter Dani Black wants nothing more ardently than she does revenge. A year ago, the rogue Necromancer Spectre murdered her partner during a hunt gone wrong, and she’s been looking for a way to kill him —and keep him dead — ever since. When rumors of a weapon capable of killing anything surfaces in Dawson Maryland, she sets out on a mission to get her hands on it. While unraveling a web of clues about her own past, Dani runs into the alluring Emilie Lockgrove, eldest daughter of a magical family who are inexplicably tied to Spectre.

Emilie Lockgrove survived the catastrophic fire that killed her mother and hospitalized both her and her sister. Ten years later, she has returned to Dawson, expecting to confront the trauma of her past and move on. Instead, she discovers magic is real and encounters actual ghosts, namely the necromancer who has been hunting her family for 200 years.

Dani intends to kill Spectre, or die trying. Emilie wants to reclaim her life and her memories of the magic protecting her from Spectre. To survive, they’ll need to work together to confront their past, break the spell holding back Emilie’s magic, and destroy Spectre once and for all.

So, here’s the thing: I am wary of Urban Fantasy in general, and specifically blurbs that give me that kind of Kate Daniels vibe – but I have heard such amazing things about this one that I just have to give it a go regardless! The reviews are absolutely glowing, and there’s been some very cool discussion about it on social media, so yes, I’ll be snapping up a copy when it releases tomorrow.

Artifact Space by Miles Cameron
Genres: Sci Fi
Published on: 24th June 2021

Out in the darkness of space, something is targeting the Greatships.

With their vast cargo holds and a crew that could fill a city, the Greatships are the lifeblood of human occupied space, transporting an unimaginable volume - and value - of goods from City, the greatest human orbital, all the way to Tradepoint at the other, to trade for xenoglas with an unknowable alien species.

It has always been Marca Nbaro's dream to achieve the near-impossible: escape her upbringing and venture into space.

All it took, to make her way onto the crew of the Greatship Athens was thousands of hours in simulators, dedication, and pawning or selling every scrap of her old life in order to forge a new one. But though she's made her way onboard with faked papers, leaving her old life - and scandals - behind isn't so easy.

She may have just combined all the dangers of her former life, with all the perils of the new . . .

Miles Cameron is one of my favourite fantasy authors, so yes, I’m more than willing to follow him into scifi. (Especially since Janny Wurts praised it so highly!) I’m not sure what specifically to expect, but I’m expecting great things.

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

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