Must-Have Monday #98

Posted 15th August 2022 by Sia in Must-Have Mondays / 0 Comments

NINE new SFF books I’m excited for this week! Check these out!

Warlady (The Calpurnian Wars, #2) by Jo Graham
Genres: Sci Fi
Published on: 15th August 2022

The Warlady of Morrigan has been assassinated, and it’s up to her military attaché, Sandrine Dal-Vesta, to find the killer. For Sandrine and her former secret lover, the electromancer Jauffre Castal-Edo, it’s a race against time with control of the planet hanging in the balance. From the snow-scoured peaks of the north to the imaginary deserts of virtuality, from the lost tomb of the Warlord Khreesos to the battlestations of tidally-locked Morrigan’s space fleet, Sandrine and Jauffre must trust in each other and the dangerous gift of electromancy. But the ruthless killer isn’t the only threat to Sandrine’s world. The Calpurnian Navy has been waiting for a moment of weakness to strike Morrigan with all the power at their command!

Warlady is the sequel to Graham’s Sounding Dark, although from the description, it sounds like it might work as a standalone. I encourage you to read Sounding Dark first, though, because it’s great and why would you deny yourself great books???

The Worthy by Anna K Moss
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Sapphic MC
Published on: 15th August 2022

Blood is thicker than water. Tell that to Prince Barsten, betrayed and abandoned on foreign soil. His sister is intent on claiming the throne and he’s intent on stealing it back. One of them might succeed, if it weren’t for a sacred creature infecting people with its emotions. Rage, fear, paranoia, despair. As their country collapses, the royal siblings must stay true to themselves or find out just how thick their blood really is.

Moss’s compelling debut novel dives into a desperate kingdom, full of intrigue, treachery and sapphic-longing. Fast-paced and awash with sinful characters and fetid settings, The Worthy is a must-read for all lovers of dark fantasy.

Content warning: This novel contains scenes of violence, assault and occasional dialogue of a homophobic and racist nature. The opinions of the awful people within are not the author's own.

I know very little about this one, but I’m cautiously optimistic!

The Oleander Sword (Burning Kingdoms, #2) by Tasha Suri
Genres: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Desi-coded setting and cast, F/F
Published on: 16th August 2022

The prophecy of the nameless god—the words that declared Malini the rightful empress of Parijatdvipa—has proven a blessing and curse. She is determined to claim the throne that fate offered her. But even with the strength of the rage in her heart and the army of loyal men by her side, deposing her brother is going to be a brutal and bloody fight.

The power of the deathless waters flows through Priya’s blood. Thrice born priestess, Elder of Ahiranya, Priya’s dream is to see her country rid of the rot that plagues it: both Parijatdvipa's poisonous rule, and the blooming sickness that is slowly spreading through all living things. But she doesn’t yet understand the truth of the magic she carries.

Their chosen paths once pulled them apart. But Malini and Priya's souls remain as entwined as their destinies. And they soon realize that coming together is the only way to save their kingdom from those who would rather see it burn—even if it will cost them.

Listen, as I said in my review, The Oleander Sword is amazing – even better, imo, than The Jasmine Throne was!!! I can’t praise it enough – no question, it’s one of the best books of 2022!

Second Spear (Border Keeper, #2) by Kerstin Hall
Genres: Fantasy
Published on: 16th August 2022

The thrilling follow-up to Nommo Award finalist The Border Keeper
After surviving the schemes of the goddess Fanieq and learning some shattering truths about her former life, the warrior Tyn feels estranged from her role guarding her ruler. Grappling with knowledge of her identity, she unleashes her frustrations on all the wrong people.

When an old enemy returns wielding an unstoppable, realm-crushing weapon, Tyn is swept up in the path of destruction.

I loved the first book in this series, The Border Keeper, and I absolutely adored Second Spear – you can read my review here, but the TL;DR version is that it’s officially my new favourite Kerstin Hall book!

Alternative Alamat: An Anthology: Myths and Legends from the Philippines by Paolo Chikiamco, Mervin Malonzo
Genres: Fantasy
Representation: Filipino cast
Published on: 16th August 2022

An anthology of speculative short fiction from 12 talented Asian authors!

Dip into the rich treasure trove of Filipino alamat (legends) with this new collection of contemporary short stories. This anthology includes works by a dozen talented and award-winning Filipino writers including Budjette Tan (Trese) and Eliza Victoria (Dwellers). Explore richly imagined realms where powerful gods and magical creatures are responsible for the twists and turns of fate in the lives of ordinary people.

The 13 amazing stories in this collection include:
The fate of the lingering Sky Maiden
The diwata Maria Makiling seeking romantic partners in the human world
Depictions of Philippine deities, including Balitok, Bangunbangun, Dagau, Haliya, Hukloban and Melu
Encounters with celestial power beneath the sea, at the movies and in a pawnshop
And many more!

Each tale is reimagined for a modern sensibility and reinvented for the current generation of fantasy fiction fans. This gripping collection is essential reading for anyone interested in magical realism and contemporary Filipino fiction.

Filipino mythology is not something I know much about – but I’m eager to learn! And this sounds like a wonderful place to start.

Tinderbox by W.A. Simpson
Genres: Fantasy
Representation: Black MC
Published on: 16th August 2022

Isbet returns home to find the witch who raised her murdered and her prized possession, the Tinderbox stolen. She discovers a common man has used it to seize the throne. The same who conquered Prince Bram’s kingdom. Isbet’s goals are vengeance and reclaim the Box. For Bram, it is to free his homeland. When they are summoned to an underground kingdom, they must set aside their personal desires as they learn dark fey are bringing an ancient source of magic back to life. If they cannot halt the rise of the old magic, it will tear apart the Riven Isles.

The Tinder Box by Hans Christian Andersen is one of my favorite stories, but it’s not very popular/well-known. So I’m always so excited when we get a retelling of it! I haven’t heard much about Simpson’s Tinderbox, but I can’t wait to dive in and discover all its secrets for myself!

Tune in Tomorrow: The Curious, Calamitous, Cockamamie Story Of Starr Weatherby And The Greatest Mythic Reality Show Ever by Randee Dawn
Genres: Fantasy, Contemporary or Urban Fantasy
Published on: 16th August 2022

A funny, thrilling and mysterious adventure into the world of alternate reality television... Perfect for fans of Jasper Fforde and Christopher Moore. 

She’s just a small town girl, with big mythic dreams.

Starr Weatherby came to New York to become… well, a star. But after ten years and no luck, she’s offered a big role – on a show no one has ever heard of. And there’s a reason for that. It’s a ‘reality’ show beyond the Veil, human drama, performed for the entertainment of the Fae.

But as Starr shifts from astounded newcomer to rising fan favorite, she learns about the show’s dark underbelly – and mysterious disappearance of her predecessor. She’ll do whatever it takes to keep her dream job – though she might just bring down the show in the process.

I am very disappointed that the subtitle isn’t on the cover (The Curious, Calamitous, Cockamamie Story Of Starr Weatherby And The Greatest Mythic Reality Show Ever is objectively marvellous) but everything else about Tune in Tomorrow has me EXTREMELY INVESTED. This seems to promise to approach Urban Fantasy from an angle I’ve never seen before – magic reality tv!!! – and several of my best-beloved authors are already big fans, so yes, I will be pouncing on it!

The Honeys by Ryan La Sala
Genres: Queer Protagonists
Representation: Genderfluid MC
Published on: 16th August 2022

From Ryan La Sala, the wildly popular author of Reverie, comes a twisted and tantalizing horror novel set amidst the bucolic splendor of a secluded summer retreat.

Mars has always been the lesser twin, the shadow to his sister Caroline's radiance. But when Caroline dies under horrific circumstances, Mars is propelled to learn all he can about his once-inseparable sister who'd grown tragically distant.

Mars's genderfluidity means he's often excluded from the traditions -- and expectations -- of his politically-connected family. This includes attendance at the prestigious Aspen Conservancy Summer Academy where his sister poured so much of her time. But with his grief still fresh, he insists on attending in her place.

What Mars finds is a bucolic fairytale not meant for him. Folksy charm and sun-drenched festivities camouflage old-fashioned gender roles and a toxic preparatory rigor. Mars seeks out his sister's old friends: a group of girls dubbed the Honeys, named for the beehives they maintain behind their cabin. They are beautiful and terrifying -- and Mars is certain they're connected to Caroline's death.

But the longer he stays at Aspen, the more the sweet mountain breezes give way to hints of decay. Mars’s memories begin to falter, bleached beneath the relentless summer sun. Something is hunting him in broad daylight, toying with his mind. If Mars can't find it soon, it will eat him alive.

I can’t swear this is SFF – the reviews I read danced around the question, which means a clear yes it is/no it isn’t is probably a spoiler – but it is Ryan La Sala, and his writing is certainly magical, so I’ll take it!

Weird Fishes by Rae Mariz
Genres: Fantasy, Sci Fi
Published on: 18th August 2022


When Ceph, a squid-like scientist, discovers proof of the ocean’s slowing currents, she makes the dangerous ascent from her deep-sea civilization to the uncharted surface above. Out of her depths and helpless in her symbiotic mech suit, Ceph relies on Iliokai, a seal-folk storyteller, who sings the state of the sea and has seen evidence of clogged currents as she surfs the time gyres throughout the lonely blue. Navigating the perils of their damaged ocean environment, and seemingly insurmountable cultural differences, Ceph and Iliokai realize that the activities of terrestrial beings are slowing the spiralling currents of time. On a journey that connects future and past, the surface and the deep, the unlikely friends struggle to solve a problem so big it needs a leviathan solution.

I’ve been warned to pay attention to the trigger warnings at the start of this novella, but otherwise this seems to have garnered a lot of pre-pub praise and I’m really intrigued. I love what I’ve heard of the worldbuilding!

Will you be reading any of these? Let me know!


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