Fiction & Fantasies: May Anticipated Reads
By Sarah Ernestine, Alfie Kimmins, Meg Jones and Georgia Wells
Book of Night by Holly Black
3 May, Penguin Books
After two decades championing the world of young adult literature, #1 New York Times bestselling author Holly Black has written her first book for adult readers, Book of Night. This highly anticipated title follows the curious life of Charlie Hall. For years, she has worked for gloamists, dark shadow magicians willing to kill for secrets. After trying to walk a path in the light, a stranger from Charlie’s past pulls her back into the dark, murderous places she once knew.
Black is considered a master of fantasy fiction and, with endorsement quotes from fan-favourite authors including Leigh Bardugo, Alix E. Harrow, V.E. Schwab and Olivie Blake; readers around the world are preparing for Book of Night to be their newest obsession.
Seasonal Fears by Seanan McGuire
3 May, Tor Books
In the companion novel to Middlegame, the second book in what is now named the Alchemical Journeys series, McGuire continues to explore themes of duality and balance. Where Middlegame explored the relationship between the personifications of words and numbers, Seasonal Fears follows Melanie and Harry, childhood sweethearts who also happen to be Winter and Summer incarnates.
The novel follows their race to become the Summer King and Winter Queen with the help of ‘Jack Frost’, a seasonal ascendant who inhabits the body of a twelve-year-old girl. Melanie and Harry are not the only ones looking to take the crown, meaning bloody battles need to be fought with the other seasonal incarnates to claim their thrones. However, given a heart condition Melanie has struggled with her whole life, the stakes couldn’t be higher. If he doesn’t ascent to Winter Queen, she’ll die.
The e-book is available from 3 May, but those who want the hardback will have to wait until 14 June.
When Women Were Dragons by Kelly Barnhill,
3 May, Hot Key Books
The award-winning middle-grade author of The Girl Who Drank the Moon, Kelly Barnhill, has reimagined the story of 1950s America in her new speculative fiction title, When Women Were Dragons. When Alex is four years old, the kind elderly woman with tomatoes in her garden that lives across the road turns into a dragon. She is never seen again. No one talks about her – or any of the other disappeared women.
Alex’s mother also disappears, but she returns a week later. Only, she is not the mother Alex remembers. Her actions are different, her mannerisms have changed and Alex no longer recognises her. Newspaper extracts, lab reports, scientific journals and other documents accompany the story of Alex’s memory and the years leading up to the Mass Dragoning. It cannot be stopped, but will it be forgotten? This striking, feminist alternate history title is the best next Spring read for fans of The Power and The Handmaid’s Tale.
Witchlings by Claribel A. Ortega,
5 May, Scholastic
Witchlings is a spooky and enchanting new middle-grade story from the author of Ghost Squad.
The Black Moon Ceremony approaches and Seven Salazar, a young Latina witchling, eagerly awaits placement in a coven which will unlock her full powers and transform her from witchling to witch. But, when the night arrives, Seven isn’t placed in the most powerful coven she hoped for… she isn’t placed in the covens at all. She’s a Spare – virtually powerless, and unworthy of the town’s approval. Desperate to receive it, Seven and the other two spares attempt to create their own coven, but the spell fails, cursing them to remain witchlings.
Only an impossible task can save the three witchlings now; by working together, succeeding can grant them their full powers and seal their coven. But the last witches that attempted it ended up becoming toads… the odds are against them, but friendship is a powerful magic.
Elektra by Jennifer Saint
28 April, Headline Publishing Group
Three women suffer at the hands of the curse of the House of Atreus, a tainted bloodline created by a generational cycle of brutality and revenge:
Clytemnestra, wife of Agamemnon, sister of Helen. With hopes of ending the curse lost to her sister’s decision to marry worthless Paris, her husband raises an army to help their side win in the Trojan War.
Cassandra, princess of Troy. Her curse leaves her helpless as she can foresee her city fall but nobody believes that she is telling the truth.
And finally, Elektra, youngest daughter of Clytemnestra and Agamemnon. Horrified by the violence of her family, she lives in fear that she won’t be able to shake the same vicious tendencies of her kin.