Speculative Fiction Book Releases in May 2022

Speculative Fiction Book Releases in May 2022

Hello! It’s time for the speculative fiction book releases for May 2022 in the UK, going through all the fantasy, horror, science fiction releases that sound neat to me, plus a few others, be they mixing genres, historical fiction, non-fiction or something else. These may be traditionally or independently published, and as ever, I may update throughout the month of May so keep coming back to keep up to date!

Please do send over your future releases for these posts. I have to do a lot of research to find new releases and I am bound to miss some great titles. If you or somebody you represent has a book coming out that you feel might be of interest to me and the upcoming releases lists, please get in touch. Though I may not include everything, I will consider everything. I’d also like to extend my thanks to Rob J. Hayes for his wonderful monthly Self Published Fantasy Release posts that really help me find some hidden gems, on top of my other research. Make sure you check his post as well, there are certainly things I do not include that may be of interest to you and he updates it throughout the month as well!

To go to a book’s Goodreads page for further information, just click on the respective book cover. Now, let’s get into it!

 

Fantasy

Sins of the Mother (The War Eternal #4) by Rob J. HayesSins of the Mother (The War Eternal #4) by Rob J. Hayes

3rd May (Self-Published) 

In her darklight the world will burn.

Eskara Helsene is missing. She left her queendom, her friends, her children, even her own name behind. No one has seen the Corpse Queen for a decade.

Someone is murdering Sourcerers, forcing them to reject their magic and opening scars in reality, and monsters from the Other World are pouring through.

When an old acquaintance turns up out of the blue, Eska has no choice but to investigate the murders and the holes in reality. Can she stop the killer before the entire world is consumed? And will the conflict reveal her true nature?

Sins of the Mother is the 4th book in the best-selling The War Eternal Series. A gripping dark epic fantasy perfect for fans of Patrick Rothfuss and Mark Lawrence.

The more I see of and hear about Rob J. Hayes, the more eager I am to pick up one of his books and check his work out. I have heard nothing but good things about his books and his monthly “Self Published Fantasy Releases” posts are absolutely invaluable. Sins of the Mother is the 4th book in his War Eternal series which sounds incredible and trust me, I will be looking into this series as soon as I’m able to. So many books, so little time and all that…

Book of Night by Holly BlackBook of Night by Holly Black

3rd May (Del Rey)

#1 New York Times bestselling author Holly Black makes her stunning adult debut with Book of Night, a modern dark fantasy of shadowy thieves and secret societies.

Charlie Hall has never found a lock she couldn’t pick, a book she couldn’t steal, or a bad decision she wouldn’t make. She’s spent half her life working for gloamists, magicians who manipulate shadows to peer into locked rooms, strangle people in their beds, or worse. Gloamists guard their secrets greedily, creating an underground economy of grimoires. And to rob their fellow magicians, they need Charlie.

Now, she’s trying to distance herself from past mistakes, but going straight isn’t easy. Bartending at a dive, she’s still entirely too close to the corrupt underbelly of the Berkshires. Not to mention that her sister Posey is desperate for magic, and that her shadowless and possibly soulless boyfriend has been keeping secrets from her. When a terrible figure from her past returns, Charlie descends back into a maelstrom of murder and lies. Determined to survive, she’s up against a cast of doppelgängers, mercurial billionaires, gloamists, and the people she loves best in the world – all trying to steal a secret that will allow them control of the shadow world and more.

You know, I’ve not read anything by Holly Black yet. I have a couple of her books but I just haven’t gotten around to them. Book of Night sees her make her adult debut which is a pretty big deal, and I’m always down for some dark fantasy and secret societies.

Bravely by Maggie Stiefvater

3rd May (Disney Press)

What if you had one year to save everything you loved?

ONE PRINCESS. Merida of DunBroch needs a change. She loves her family–jovial King Fergus, proper Queen Elinor, the mischievous triplets– and her peaceful kingdom. But she’s frustrated by its sluggishness; each day, the same. Merida longs for adventure, purpose, challenge – maybe even, someday, love.

TWO GODS. But the fiery Princess never expects her disquiet to manifest by way of Feradach, an uncanny supernatural being tasked with rooting out rot and stagnation, who appears in DunBroch on Christmas Eve with the intent to demolish the realm – and everyone within. Only the intervention of the Cailleach, an ancient entity of creation, gives Merida a shred of hope: convince her family to change within the year – or suffer the eternal consequences.

THREE VOYAGES. Under the watchful eyes of the gods, Merida leads a series of epic journeys to kingdoms near and far in an attempt to inspire revolution within her family. But in her efforts to save those she loves from ruin, has Merida lost sight of the Clan member grown most stagnant of all – herself?

FOUR SEASONS TO SAVE DUNBROCH – OR SEE IT DESTROYED, FOREVER.

It has been several years since I watched Brave but I loved the magical Celtic-inspired Disney movie. I’m sure I’ve said this before, but I’m not usually huge on tie-in novels. It’s way too easy for them to just feel a little hollow. However, I can’t say I’m not intrigued by a novel by a beloved YA author set several years after Brave. What did Merida and her family get up to in the years following? I’m down to return to this world.

Heroic Hearts edited by Jim Butcher & Kerrie HughesHeroic Hearts edited by Jim Butcher & Kerrie Hughes

3rd May (Ace)

An all-star urban fantasy collection featuring short stories from #1 New York Times bestselling authors Jim Butcher, Patricia Briggs, Charlaine Harris, Kelley Armstrong, and more …

In this short story collection of courage, adventure, and magic, heroes–ordinary people who do the right thing–bravely step forward.

But running toward danger might cost them everything. . . .

In #1 New York Times bestselling author Jim Butcher’s “Little Things,” the pixie Toot-Toot discovers an invader unbeknownst to the wizard Harry Dresden . . . and in order to defeat it, he’ll have to team up with the dread cat Mister.

In #1 New York Times bestselling author Patricia Briggs’s “Dating Terrors,” the werewolf Asil finds an online date might just turn into something more–if she can escape the dark magic binding her.

In #1 New York Times bestselling author Charlaine Harris’s “The Return of the Mage,” the Britlingen mercenaries will discover more than they’ve bargained for when they answer the call of a distress beacon on a strange and remote world.

And in #1 New York Times bestselling author Kelley Armstrong’s “Comfort Zone,” the necromancer Chloe Saunders and the werewolf Derek Souza are just trying to get through college. But they can’t refuse a ghost pleading for help.

ALSO INCLUDES STORIES BY Annie Bellet * Anne Bishop * Jennifer Brozek * Kevin Hearne * Nancy Holder * Kerrie L. Hughes * Chloe Neill * R.R. Virdi

I’m always a little personally wary of short story collections like this one because I’m behind on so many series that I figure it’s not worth me reading the short stories without having their respective series as background. However, Heroic Hearts has a great selection of authors from all sorts of urban fantasy series!

Seasonal Fears (Alchemical Journeys #2) by Seanan McGuireSeasonal Fears (Alchemical Journeys #2) by Seanan McGuire

3rd May (Tor)

From New York Times bestselling author Seanan McGuire, Seasonal Fears is the extraordinary companion novel to Middlegame.

The king of winter and the queen of summer are dead. The fight for their crowns begins!

Melanie has a destiny, though it isn’t the one everyone assumes it to be. She’s delicate; she’s fragile; she’s dying. Now, truly, is the winter of her soul.

Harry doesn’t want to believe in destiny, because that means accepting the loss of the one person who gives his life meaning, who brings summer to his world.

So, when a new road is laid out in front of them—a road that will lead through untold dangers toward a possible lifetime together—walking down it seems to be the only option.

But others are following behind, with violence in their hearts.

It looks like Destiny has a plan for them, after all….

You know, I still, to this day, have not read anything of Seanan McGuire’s but this series sounds like an absolute treat! I have heard wonderful things about Middlegame and Seasonal Fears looks to be another great instalment to this world.

Legacy of Bronze (The Godforged Chronicles #2) by T.L. Greylock & Bryce O'ConnorLegacy of Bronze (The Godforged Chronicles #2) by T.L. Greylock & Bryce O’Connor

3rd May (Self-Published)

A crown forged by death.
A fleet bent on destruction.
A clash of cities that will change everything.

In a storm of fire, a dead tyrant stakes his claim on the world once more. Manon Barca, desperate to save her brother from a cruel fate, bends the knee, determined to withstand any price.

Across the sea, Eska de Caraval searches for a legend. Confronted with chaos and unanswerable questions, questions challenging her very identity, she must determine where her future lies.

In the Seven Cities, treason takes shape, threatening to shatter the oldest of alliances. Tasked with defending the Seven, Alexandre de Minos discovers secrets that shake even his resolve. But not his duty.

But beyond the treachery and turmoil within, two shadowy threats emerge—a queen bred for battle and an ancient power renewed, each determined to break the will of the Seven.

The cover for book 2 of the Godforged Chronicles was unveiled just the other day and holy heck it’s gorgeous… Book one is a SPFBO7 finalist too!

When Women Were Dragons by Kelly BarnhillWhen Women Were Dragons by Kelly Barnhill

3rd May (Hot Key Books)

Learn about the Mass Dragoning of 1955 in which 300,000 women spontaneously transform into dragons…and change the world.

Alex Green is a young girl in a world much like ours. But this version of 1950’s America is characterized by a significant event: The Mass Dragoning of 1955, when hundreds of thousands of ordinary wives and mothers sprouted wings, scales and talons, left a trail of fiery destruction in their path, and took to the skies. Seemingly for good. Was it their choice? What will become of those left behind? Why did Alex’s beloved Aunt Marla transform but her mother did not? Alex doesn’t know. It’s taboo to speak of, even more so than her crush on Sonja, her schoolmate.

Forced into silence, Alex nevertheless must face the consequences of dragons: a mother more protective than ever; a father growing increasingly distant; the upsetting insistence that her aunt never even existed; and a new “sister” obsessed with dragons far beyond propriety. Through loss, rage, and self-discovery, this story follows Alex’s journey as she deals with the events leading up to and beyond the Mass Dragoning, and her connection with the phenomenon itself.

This book is an interesting one I have seen around a bit. It’s a feminist novel about a 1950s America where 300,000 women turn into dragons and fly away, and how the people left behind deal with their lives following. It’s an event that’s taboo to even speak of as women are kept as small and quiet as possible.

From the Mouths of Sirens by Abigail HairFrom the Mouths of Sirens by Abigail Hair

7th May (Self-Published)

Win the Tournament. Kill the Prince. Take the Crown.

A high fantasy reimagining of The Little MermaidFrom the Mouths of Sirens is the first installment in a compelling new YA fantasy series. With a lush fantasy world, a high-stakes competition, and a thrilling love story, From the Mouths of Sirens is The Cruel Prince meets The Hunger Games.

Since childhood, Princess Saoirse has trained for the sole purpose of being chosen for the Tournament, a gladiator-style competition in which four enemy nations compete for the right to rule. The angel-like people of Aurandel have won the Tournament for a century and ruled the continent with a merciless grip. If Saoirse survives the three infamous trials, she will win the Crown of Revelore and overthrow the nation responsible for her mother’s death.

When Saoirse is denied entry into the Tournament by the Mer king, she makes a bargain with an imprisoned sea witch: in exchange for entrance into the competition, Saoirse agrees to kill the Auran prince. But while fighting for her life in the arena, the last thing Saoirse expects to do is fall for her greatest enemy, the arrogant Prince Rook.

From the Mouths of Sirens is a young adult fantasy, which doesn’t often catch my eye but offer me a tournament and a prince to kill…

To Wield a Plague (Passage to Dawn - Companion) by Derrick SmytheTo Wield a Plague (Passage to Dawn – Companion) by Derrick Smythe

9th May (Dorean Press)

There will be no victory here for anyone but those who thirst for blood.

Forced to choose between his mother’s life and his own exile, Dwapek embarks upon a journey wrought with trials no ordinary Renzik could hope to survive. Relics of legend, plagues of old, and monsters of unthinkable dread all collide in this epic fantasy adventure as a weapon capable of destroying an entire people is set to be unleashed.

This standalone story will be enjoyed by new and established fans of Smythe’s bestselling Passage to Dawn series. Patrons of Brandon Sanderson, Robert Jordan, Michael J. Sullivan, Edward W. Robertson, Patrick Rothfuss, and Michael Wisehart rejoice!

This one is a standalone story that works as a companion to Derrick Smythe’s Passage to Dawn series, which is pretty well rated on Goodreads! The story itself touches on an ultimatum: mother dies or you get exiled, and then goes into legendary relics and monsters and it ticks a lot of boxes for me.

Kagen the Damned (Kagen the Damned #1) by Jonathan MaberryKagen the Damned (Kagen the Damned #1) by Jonathan Maberry

10th May (St. Martin’s Griffin)

Kagen the Damned marks the first installment of an exciting new series of dark epic fantasy novels from bestselling author Jonathan Maberry.

Sworn by Oath
Kagen Vale is the trusted and feared captain of the palace guard, charged with protection of the royal children of the Silver Empire. But one night, Kagen is drugged and the entire imperial family is killed, leaving the empire in ruins.

Abandoned by the Gods
Haunted and broken, Kagen is abandoned by his gods and damned forever. He becomes a wanderer, trying to take down as many of his enemies as possible while plotting to assassinate the usurper, the deadly Witch-king of Hakkia. While all around him magic–long banished from the world–returns in strange and terrifying ways.

Fueled by Rage
To exact his vengeance, Kagen must venture into strange lands, battle bizarre and terrifying creatures, and gather allies for a suicide mission into the heart of the Witch-king’s empire.

Kings and gods will fear him.

I know of Jonathan Maberry as a horror writer so it kinda threw me for a second seeing him writing high fantasy, but in a good way!

Phoenix Rising (The Keeper Origins #3) by J.A. AndrewsPhoenix Rising (The Keeper Origins #3) by J.A. Andrews

11th May (Self-Published)

—Excerpt from Chapter 2 of “Interesting Beginnings” by Flibbet the Peddler

I wish more of the nudges that shaped history were the gentle kind—the signing of a treaty, the commitment to protect the weak, the spreading of a story that would enlighten minds.

Alas, humans are more prone to stagnate than to change willingly, and so most nudges are given with force and terror and blood.

Most nudges come at the slicing of a blade or the searing of a flame.

The final chapters of Sable’s beginning certainly did.

More blades than I hope to see again, and the fire…

Who could ever forget the fire?

***

Phoenix Rising is the final book in the Keeper Origins.

Book 3 of the Keeper Origins series didn’t come with a blurb but an excerpt, which is interesting. That said: “The Keeper Origins Trilogy, and the Keeper Chronicles Trilogy can be read in any order. They take place in the same world, but are standalone series.”

Equinox by David TowseyEquinox by David Towsey

12th May (Head of Zeus)

In this world, two souls inhabit a single body, one by day, one by night. But though they live alongside one another, their ends do not always align. For Special Inspector Morden, whose hunt for a dangerous witch takes him far from home, this will be a problem…

Christophor Morden lives by night. His day-brother, Alexsander, knows only the sun. They are two souls in a single body, in a world where identities change with the rising and setting of the sun. Night-brother or day-sister, one never sees the light, the other knows nothing of the night.

Early one evening, Christophor is roused by a call to the city prison. A prisoner has torn his eyes out and cannot say why. Yet worse: in the sockets that once held his eyes, teeth are growing. The police suspect the supernatural, so Christophor, a member of the king’s special inspectorate, is charged with finding the witch responsible.

Night-by-night, Christophor’s investigation leads him ever further from home, toward a backwards village on the far edge of the kingdom. But the closer he gets to the truth, the more his day-brother’s actions frustrate him. Who is Alexsander protecting? What does he not want Christophor to discover?

And all the while, an ancient and apocalyptic ritual creeps closer to completion…

First off, I love that cover and the title so much. Second, witchcraft and end of the world stakes – love it.

The Collarbound by Rebecca ZahabiThe Collarbound by Rebecca Zahabi

12th May (Gollancz)

A MAN MARKED BY MAGIC. A WOMAN MARKED BY HER PAST.

On the other side of the Shadowpass, rebellion is brewing and refugees have begun to trickle into the city at the edge of the world. Looming high on the cliff is The Nest, a fortress full of mages who offer protection, but also embody everything the rebellion is fighting against: a strict hierarchy based on magic abilities.

When Isha arrives as a refugee, she attempts to fit in amongst the other mages, but her Kher tattoo brands her as an outcast. She can’t remember her past or why she has the tattoo. All she knows is that she survived. She doesn’t intend to give up now.

Tatters, who wears the golden collar of a slave, knows that this rebellion is different from past skirmishes. He was once one of the rebels, and technically, they still own him. He plans to stay in the shadows, until Isha appears in his tavern. He’s never seen a human with a tattoo, and the markings look eerily familiar . . .

As the rebellion carves a path of destruction towards the city, an unlikely friendship forms between a man trying to escape his past and a woman trying to uncover hers, until their secrets threaten to tear them apart.

The Collarbound hooks from the opening page and will appeal to fans of magical, brink-of-war settings, like that of The Poppy War and The City of Brass.

I’m intrigued by this one. It’s not necessarily breaking new ground, going by the blurb, but it sounds like the kind of story I would enjoy. Also I love that cover art.

An End to Sorrow (The Obsidian Path #3) by Michael R. FletcherAn End to Sorrow (The Obsidian Path #3) by Michael R. Fletcher

15th May (Self-Published)

THE OBSIDIAN PATH IS IN RUINS

Abandoned by his god and chained in the bilge of Iremaire’s war galley, Khraen has lost everything.
His only friend is dead, his wife beheaded and thrown into the ocean.

In an act of true self-destruction, a shard of Khraen’s heart stalks the islands destroying the others.

His sword calls him home to PalTaq, where it all began.

Only there can Khraen find an end to sorrow.

There seems to be a lot of love for Michael R. Fletcher! Apparently An End to Sorrow is pretty eagerly awaited, and I get it. The Obsidian Path sounds like a really unique setting, I am going to have to get my hands on it.

The Stardust Thief (The Sandsea Trilogy #1) by Chelsea AbdullahThe Stardust Thief (The Sandsea Trilogy #1) by Chelsea Abdullah

17th May (Orbit)

Inspired by stories from One Thousand and One NightsThe Stardust Thief weaves the gripping tale of a legendary smuggler, a cowardly prince and a dangerous quest across the desert to find a magical lamp.

Neither here nor there, but long ago…

Loulie al-Nazari is the Midnight Merchant: a criminal who, with the help of her jinn bodyguard, hunts and sells illegal magic. When she saves the life of a cowardly prince, she draws the attention of his powerful father, the sultan, who blackmails her into finding an ancient lamp.

With no choice but to obey or be executed, Loulie journeys with the sultan’s oldest son to find the artefact. Aided by her bodyguard, who has secrets of his own, they must survive ghoul attacks, outwit a vengeful jinn queen and confront a malicious killer from Loulie’s past. And, in a world where story is reality and illusion is truth, Loulie will discover that everything – her enemy, her magic, even her own past – is not what it seems, and she must decide who she will become in this new reality.

Guys! Mm!! I love desert settings in fantasy, stories inspired by 1001 Nights, all of this. Not just that, I have been hearing great things about The Stardust Thief. I think this is one for the most wanted wishlist.

All the Seas of the World by Guy Gavriel KayAll the Seas of the World by Guy Gavriel Kay

17th May (Hodder & Stoughton)

On a dark night along a lonely stretch of coast, a small ship, the Silver Wake, sends two people ashore to a stony strand. Their purpose is assassination. They have been hired to do this by two of the most dangerous men alive. The consequences will affect so many lives both great and small, and possibly alter the balance of power in the world.

One of those arriving on that night strand is a woman abducted by corsairs from her home as a child, escaping that fate, that destiny, years after, now trying to chart her own course – and bent upon revenge. Another figure, on the boat, bringing it to meet the secretive landing party at the city where they are going, is a merchant who still remembers being exiled as a child with his family from their home, for their faith.

Returning triumphantly to the brilliantly evoked near-Renaissance world of his most recent novels, international bestseller Guy Gavriel Kay deploys his signature ‘quarter turn to the fantastic’ to offer readers a wide-ranging, vividly memorable set of characters in a story of vengeance, power, and love, built around profoundly contemporary themes of exile, loss, and memory.

In a narrative of page-turning drama, All the Seas of the World also offers moving reflections on choices, fate, and the random events that can shape our lives.

Kay is one of those authors I am determined to love. Historical fantasy that I’m reassured is excellent, and I’ve picked up a few of his novels by this point. Though when I tried to read him I wasn’t so successful, I am still hoping that was just my energy levels at the time because I just want to love his books.

Wayward (Witherward #2) by Hannah MathewsonWayward (Witherward #2) by Hannah Mathewson

17th May (Titan Books) 

Welcome to the Witherward, and to a London that is not quite like our own…

The grandchildren of the High Sorcerer are nothing but trouble. Cassia is determined to be inducted into the Society of Young Gifted Sorcerers. But the harder she trains, the more unreliable her spells become. And when Cassia accidentally awakens an archaic power, the fate of the entire city falls into her hands.

Ollivan, her disgraced older brother, is scheming to seize the leadership of the society and revoke his banishment. But if he is to succeed, he must unravel a vengeful plot he set in motion the night he was exiled. The problem? His sister has triggered the spell.

The city is divided between six rulers of six warring, magical factions. Each wields unique powers. Each is uniquely dangerous. The tenuous peace between them all is barely maintained by fragile accords. Now Cassia’s only chance to save that peace and put an end to the destruction she’s unleashed is to join forces with her estranged brother.

So, late last year, myself and some friends started worldbuilding for a Dresden Files RPG campaign set in 1950s London. We discovered so many cool legends and things that tied in so well to an urban fantasy setting and afterwards I found myself gravitating towards other series that tackle the setting idea. Witherward is another such setting and reminds me of our own with the magical factions, Changelings and such, I hope I’m able to pick it up.

The Umbral Storm (The Sharded Few, #1) by Alec HutsonThe Umbral Storm (The Sharded Few, #1) by Alec Hutson

20th May (Self-Published)

A thousand years ago the Heart of the World was shattered, its fragments scattered across the lands.

In the chaos that followed, martial orders arose to gather the shards, for it was found that great powers were granted when these pieces were bonded to the flesh of the chosen. These are the Sharded Few, warriors imbued with the divine energies that once coursed through the Heart, driven to absorb enough fragments to claim godhood.

Deryn has known nothing in his life except suffering. Orphaned at the edge of the realms, indentured to a cruel slaver, he has little hope of escaping his circumstances. But elsewhere, ancient powers are stirring, new alliances threaten the peace of the old order, and against all odds, Deryn will find himself a player in a game unlike anything he could have imagined.

Alec Hutson is the author of The Raveling trilogy, beginning with the award winning The Crimson Queen. The Umbral Storm is the first in a new series that sounds right up my street and has a jaw-dropping cover to boot.

The Legend of Black Jack by A.R. WithamThe Legend of Black Jack by A.R. Witham

20th May (Nepenthe House)

Thrilling fantasy adventure debut from Emmy-winner A. R. Witham.

Jack Swift can tell you every element on the periodic table, recite Treasure Island verbatim, and would remember in perfect detail every word you’d ever say to him. He has been alone for a long time, so he has buried himself in books, using them to plan his escape.

But no textbook could ever prepare him for the land of Keymark.

At 3:33 a.m. on his fourteenth birthday, Jack is kidnapped by a hideous monster to another sphere of existence. Now there are two moons in the sky, and he is surrounded by grotesque creatures and magical warriors training for battle. They want the impossible: Jack must use his abilities to save a life or be trapped in this bizarre world with no chance of rescue.

Jack doesn’t have secret magic, a great destiny, or any experience.

So why do they all expect him to become a legend?

The Legend of Black Jack is a coming of age fantasy adventure novel with full-page illustrations. I actually have this one one my Kindle for review and I’m really looking forward to sinking my teeth into it once I’m able to pull myself away from John Gwynne.

A King's Radiance by L.R. SchulzA King’s Radiance by L.R. Schulz

22nd May (Self-Published)

The sun’s light shines bright over the land of Zapour, and only a select few can harness its power. But all power comes with a cost, and the world is not kind to those who refuse to pay it.

Raiz Glaive, a strong shine wielder, was born into royalty, though even royals have to answer to someone. When the King-Radiant sends one of his precious underlings to the Kingdom of Trost, Raiz quickly learns who holds the true power in the realm. After his sister is taken prisoner simply for having the violet eyes of a mystic, Raiz swears vengeance. But when an unwilling father stands in his way, Raiz promises to take revenge into his own hands.

Dazen Glaive remains heir to the throne of Trost, and a sworn defender of the King-Radiant, but he has not forgotten what happened to his sister, and will not forgive their cruelty.

Forced to be the centrepiece of her “master’s” twisted human art gallery, Isha remains a prisoner. Though she has not lost hope. Finding friends among fellow captives, she begins to formulate a plan for escape. Though what she discovers has a much more sinister bearing on the fate of all of Zapour.

I immediately want to know more about this world, how it works, and what’s going on in this story. And doesn’t that magic system sound so interesting?

Cold as Hell (Black Badge #1) by Rhett C. Bruno & Jaime CastleCold as Hell (Black Badge #1) by Rhett C. Bruno & Jaime Castle

24th May (Blackstone Publishing)

In the West, there are worse things to fear than bandits and outlaws.

Demons. Monsters. Witches. James Crowley’s sacred duty as a Black Badge is to hunt them down and send them packing, banish them from the mortal realm for good.

He didn’t choose this life. No. He didn’t choose life at all.

Shot dead in a gunfight many years ago, now he’s stuck in purgatory, serving the whims of the White Throne to avoid falling to hell. Not quite undead, though not alive either, the best he can hope for is to work off his penance and fade away.

This time, the White Throne has sent him investigate a strange bank robbery in Lonely Hill. An outlaw with the ability to conjure ice has frozen and shattered open the bank vault and is now on a spree, robbing the region for all it’s worth.

In his quest to track down the ice-wielder and suss out which demon is behind granting a mortal such power, Crowley finds himself face-to-face with hellish beasts, shapeshifters, and, worse … temptation. But the truth behind the attacks is worse than he ever imagined …

The Witcher meets The Dresden Files in this weird Western series by the Audible number-one bestselling duo behind Dead Acre.

Listen, I have no interest in stories based on “the Wild West”. It’s not a genre I grew up with or ever cared for and I almost didn’t add this book to this list because of that. But that blurb just keeps going and by the end of it I found myself wandering over to wishlist it. Cold as Hell sounds cool as hell.

Second Spear (Mkalis Cycle #2) by Kerstin HallSecond Spear (Mkalis Cycle #2) by Kerstin Hall

24th May (Tor)

Kerstin Hall’s Second Spear is the thrilling follow-up to the Nommo Award finalist, The Border Keeper

After surviving the schemes of a vengeful goddess 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 and Tyn is swept up in the path of destruction, she must make a choice about who she is and who she wants to be.

Okay, I love stories about gods and the underworld and – mm! You know? Book 2 of the Mkalis Cycle releases towards the end of May so if you’re interested, you’ve got time. These look to be very quick reads!

The Merciless Ones (Deathless #2) by Namina FornaThe Merciless Ones (Deathless #2) by Namina Forna

26th May (Usborne Publishing)

Discover the gripping sequel to Namina Forna’s New York Times bestselling YA fantasy, THE GILDED ONES. Set in an ancient West African-inspired world, this series is perfect for fans of CHILDREN OF BLOOD AND BONE and BLACK PANTHER.

It’s been six months since Deka freed the goddesses in the ancient kingdom of Otera, and discovered who she really is… But war is waging across the kingdom, and the real battle has only just begun. For there is a dark force growing in Otera – a merciless power that Deka and her army must stop.

Yet hidden secrets threaten to destroy everything Deka has known. And with her own gifts changing, Deka must discover if she holds the key to saving Otera… or if she might be its greatest threat.

THE MERCILESS ONES is the second, thrilling instalment of the epic fantasy series in which a young heroine fights against a world that would dare tame her.

I heard nothing but great things for The Gilded Ones and now here’s book two! And with such a stunning cover.

Song and Wind (The Siren Wars, #1) by Alexis D. Johnson & B.A. JohnsonSong and Wind (The Siren Wars, #1) by Alexis D. Johnson & B.A. Johnson

31st May (Fox Burrow Publishing)

The Sirens taste our weakness.

They crept in through the cracks of our broken desert nation. While we shed our blood warring against foreign men, the Sirens hunt with talons sharp, snaring us with their song, feasting on our flesh. They are the hawks among doves…

My name is Medlar, and I am a true Desert Son. I sacrificed everything to free my people and save our way of life, but it came to nothing.

The war took everything from me. Everything, except my brother.

Now, the foreigners rule my homeland with a cruel fist. My own people betrayed me and I am little more than a dishonored soldier, destined to the executioner’s axe for my crimes.

I have but one chance to redeem myself – defend my enemies against the Sirens. Can I bring myself to protect the very people that murdered my father and burned my home to ash? Or do I let the monstrous creatures devour them as the war did my soul…

Another desert-setting and Sirens playing a heavy role, now this sounds really interesting and the cover is so striking.

 

Horror

Your Body is Not Your Body: A New Weird Anthology to Benefit Trans Youth in TexasYour Body is Not Your Body: A New Weird Anthology to Benefit Trans Youth in Texas

1st May (Tenebrous Press)

EXTREME CONDITIONS DEMAND EXTREME RESPONSES.
Over thirty creators from the Trans/Gender Nonconforming communities come together to voice their rage, defiance and fearlessness in the New Weird Horror tradition that Tenebrous Press exemplifies.

A centaur seeks illicit surgery in an alien bodily modification club.

Two medieval monks react to their transformation and demonic pregnancy in very different ways.

A resourceful trans teen destroys sports bigots through the power of pluckiness…and gratuitous body horror.

A spacebound cathedral crosses galaxies to dump the corpse of God into a star; hopefully they won’t be distracted from their mission by excessive psychedelic orgies.

A doxxed teen falls victim to violent assault…and dishes out some harrowing retribution of their own.

The rules of conventional Horror go out the f$%&ing window in this collection of stories featuring cosmic malice; technological killing machines; murderous pleasure-bots; acid-filled alien cops; Weird worm implants; witchcraft; mad science; proselytizing zombies; ghouls, sorcerers and cannibals…and that just begins to scratch the grave-dirt.

This anthology began in reaction to the attempted criminalization of trans/GNC youth and their families in the state of Texas. It has evolved into a rallying cry and Horror-drenched celebration of identity of every stripe. A portion of all proceeds go to Equality Texas.

Not only does this anthology sound fascinating as all hell but it benefits an amazing cause. The situation surrounding LGBTQ, specifically trans, kids in Texas and other parts of the US is so heartbreaking.

The Hacienda by Isabel CañasThe Hacienda by Isabel Cañas

3rd May (Berkley)

Mexican Gothic meets Rebecca in this debut supernatural suspense novel, set in the aftermath of the Mexican War of Independence, about a remote house, a sinister haunting, and the woman pulled into their clutches…

In the overthrow of the Mexican government, Beatriz’s father is executed and her home destroyed. When handsome Don Rodolfo Solórzano proposes, Beatriz ignores the rumors surrounding his first wife’s sudden demise, choosing instead to seize the security his estate in the countryside provides. She will have her own home again, no matter the cost.

But Hacienda San Isidro is not the sanctuary she imagined.

When Rodolfo returns to work in the capital, visions and voices invade Beatriz’s sleep. The weight of invisible eyes follows her every move. Rodolfo’s sister, Juana, scoffs at Beatriz’s fears—but why does she refuse to enter the house at night? Why does the cook burn copal incense at the edge of the kitchen and mark its doorway with strange symbols? What really happened to the first Doña Solórzano?

Beatriz only knows two things for certain: Something is wrong with the hacienda. And no one there will help her.

Desperate for help, she clings to the young priest, Padre Andrés, as an ally. No ordinary priest, Andrés will have to rely on his skills as a witch to fight off the malevolent presence haunting the hacienda and protect the woman for whom he feels a powerful, forbidden attraction. But even he might not be enough to battle the darkness.

Far from a refuge, San Isidro may be Beatriz’s doom.

Latin American gothic and magical realism really caught my attention earlier this year after reading Mexican Gothic and watching Encanto. I learned both genres are very big in that part of the world and the stories they have to tell are so interesting. The Hacienda popped onto my radar the other day and I am going to need to get my hands on this book.

Orphans of Bliss: Tales of Addiction Horror edited by Mark MatthewsOrphans of Bliss: Tales of Addiction Horror edited by Mark Matthews

4th May (Wicked Run Press)

Why do we crave that which is killing us?

Addiction is the perpetual epidemic, where swarms of human moths flutter to the flames of hell. Because that warm blanket of a heroin high, that joyful intoxication of a pint of vodka, that electric energy from a line of cocaine, over time leaves you with a cold loneliness and a bitter heart. Relationships destroyed, bodies deteriorate, loved ones lost, yet the craving continues for that which is killing us—living, as the title suggests, like an Orphan of Bliss.

Welcome to the third and final fix of addiction horror and the follow up to the Shirley Jackson Award Finalist, Lullabies For Suffering. A diverse table of contents brought together for an explosive grand finale–an unflinching look at the insidious nature of addiction, told with searing honesty but compassion for those who suffer.

Fiction inside by:
Kealan Patrick Burke. / S.A. Cosby  / Cassandra Khaw  / John FD Taff / Christa Carmen / Gabino Iglesias / Samantha Kolesnik  / Josh Malerman / Kathe Koja /  Mark Matthews

Addiction stories tend to be tough, very hard-hitting, and I’m positive this anthology is no different, but I’m so interested to know how these authors take the addiction story and brings the horror genre into things, with compassion for addiction sufferers (that last sentence is incredibly important).

The Exorcist's House by Nick RobertsThe Exorcist’s House by Nick Roberts

6th May (Crystal Lake Publishing)

In the summer of 1994, psychologist Daniel Hill buys a rustic farmhouse nestled in the rolling hills of West Virginia.

Along with his wife, Nora, and their teenage daughter, Alice, the family uproots their lives in Ohio and moves south. At first, they are seduced by the natural beauty of the farm and enjoy the bonding experience of fixing the old house, but that all changes when they discover a hidden room in the basement with a well, boarded shut and adorned with crucifixes.

Local legends about the previous owner’s predilection for performing exorcisms come to light, but by then, all Hell has broken loose.

Based on early reviews I was looking at, The Exorcist’s House is a decent take on the possession story with a decent twist. I’m always down for these kinds of stories. Throw in some red windows on the cover? Hell yeah.

Your Mind Is a Terrible Thing by Hailey PiperYour Mind Is a Terrible Thing by Hailey Piper

7th May (Off Limits Press LLC)

Communications specialist Alto’s shift aboard the starship M.G. Yellowjacket turns hellish after waking from a tryst to learn every crewmate has vanished. Worse, a sinister presence has crawled aboard the ship. It’s violent, destructive, and it can reach into your thoughts to make you see and feel what it wants.

Anxiety-ridden Alto might be the least-qualified person to face a creature that can hack minds like computers. Only a perilous journey to the ship’s bridge can reunite comms specialist with crew and give them a chance to call for help.

But the intruder only scratches the surface of this crisis, and discovering the truth will bring Alto face to face against a nightmare beyond flesh and thought.

Hailey Piper is the author of books such as Queen of Teeth and The Worm and His Kings among others, though that’s not why this book made the list. SciFi-Horror and messing with people’s brains, give it to me!

Howls from the Dark Ages: An Anthology of Medieval Horror edited by P.L. McMillan and Solomon ForseHowls from the Dark Ages: An Anthology of Medieval Horror edited by P.L. McMillan and Solomon Forse

12th May (HOWL Society Press)

Uncover the secret annals of untold history in these eighteen medieval manuscripts. Each tortured scribe will bring you face to face with ancient horrors lurking in cursed castles, wild woodlands, haunted hamlets, and mysterious monasteries.

Including a lineup of authors both established and emerging, HOWL Society Press presents the first-ever anthology of historical horror from the medieval period, fittingly introduced by the writer who arguably started it all: Christopher Buehlman, author of the medieval horror epic Between Two Fires.

Last year, I read The Tale of the Tailor and the Three Dead Kings by Dan Jones, a medieval ghost story first recorded by a fifteenth century monk, and it was a really cool story to read. So this anthology of medieval horror was an immediate click, that setting is very much my thing.

The Legacy of Molly Southbourne (Molly Southbourne #3) by Tade ThompsonThe Legacy of Molly Southbourne (Molly Southbourne #3) by Tade Thompson

17th May (Tor)

From Arthur C. Clarke Award-winner Tade Thompson, The Legacy of Molly Southbourne continues his chilling series.

Whenever Molly Southbourne bled, a murderer was born. Deadly copies, drawn to destroy their creator, bound by a legacy of death. With the original Molly Southbourne gone, her remnants drew together, seeking safety and a chance for peace. The last Molly and her sisters built a home together, and thought they could escape the murder that marked their past.

But secrets squirm in Molly Southbourne’s blood—secrets born in a Soviet lab and carried back across the Iron Curtain to infiltrate the West. What remains of the Cold War spy machine wants those secrets back, and to get them they’re willing to unearth the dead and destroy the fragile peace surrounding the last copies of Molly Southbourne.

The Legacy of Molly Southbourne brings the story to a bloody end.

The Legacy of Molly Southborne brings Tade Thompson’s Molly Southbourne trilogy to an end. The concept of this series sounds so chilling and heart-pumping, don’t you think?

Hide by Kiersten WhiteHide by Kiersten White

24th May (Del Rey)

A high-stakes hide-and-seek competition turns deadly in this dark supernatural thriller from New York Times bestselling author Kiersten White, perfect for fans of Stephen King and SQUID GAME.

The challenge: spend a week hiding in an abandoned amusement park and don’t get caught.

The prize: enough money to change everything.

Even though everyone is desperate to win – to seize their dream futures or escape their haunting pasts – Mack feels sure that she can beat her competitors. All she has to do is hide, and she’s an expert at that.

It’s the reason she’s alive, and her family isn’t.

But as the people around her begin disappearing one by one, Mack realizes this competition is more sinister than even she imagined, and that together might be the only way to survive.

Fourteen competitors. Seven days. Everywhere to hide, but nowhere to run.

Come out, come out, wherever you are.

This one grabbed my attention in three steps: Step 1 – That cover! Step 2 – Squid Games, you say? Step 3 – abandoned theme park?! Throw it into a pot of horror and I’m in for this ride.

Helpmeet by Naben RuthnumHelpmeet by Naben Ruthnum

24th May (Undertow Publications)

It’s 1900, and Louise Wilk is taking her dying husband home to Buffalo where he grew up. Dr. Edward Wilk is wasting away from an aggressive and debilitating malady. But it’s becoming clearer that his condition isn’t exactly a disease, but a phase of existence that seeks to transform and ultimately possess him.

“A sumptuous excursion into surreal body horror and an unsparing exploration of the extreme frontiers of connubial devotion. Ruthnum delivers a uniquely unsettling Gothic love story. It holds certain images so grotesque that they will linger in your dreams for weeks.”

— David Demchuk, Award-winning author of The Bone Mother, and RED X.

I’m not entirely sure what to think about this novella but there is a luscious gothic turn-of-the-century vibe that this book gives off. I’m very intrigued.

Black Tide by K.C. JonesBlack Tide by K.C. Jones

31st May (Tor Nightfire)

It was just another day at the beach. Then the world ended.

Mike and Beth were strangers before the night of the meteor shower. Chance made them neighbors, a bottle of champagne brought them together, and a shared need for human connection sparked something more.

Following their drunken and desperate one-night stand, the two discover the astronomical event has left widespread destruction in its wake. But the cosmic lightshow was only part of something much bigger, and far more terrifying.

When a lost car key leaves them stranded on an empty stretch of Oregon coast and inhuman screams echo from the dunes, when the rising tide reaches for their car and unspeakable horrors close in around them, these two self-destructive souls must fight to survive a nightmare of apocalyptic scale.

Here is another cover that really draws the eye. That long shot of the single isolated white car next to that black hole of dark water. Gorgeous. And the story sounds incredible. The world ends and the nightmares come out.

 

Science Fiction

Network Effect (The Murderbot Diaries #5) by Martha WellsNetwork Effect (The Murderbot Diaries #5) by Martha Wells

5th May (Tor)

Murderbot returns in its highly-anticipated, first, full-length standalone novel.

You know that feeling when you’re at work, and you’ve had enough of people, and then the boss walks in with yet another job that needs to be done right this second or the world will end, but all you want to do is go home and binge your favorite shows? And you’re a sentient murder machine programmed for destruction? Congratulations, you’re Murderbot.

Come for the pew-pew space battles, stay for the most relatable A.I. you’ll read this century.

I’m usually alone in my head, and that’s where 90 plus percent of my problems are.

When Murderbot’s human associates (not friends, never friends) are captured and another not-friend from its past requires urgent assistance, Murderbot must choose between inertia and drastic action.

Drastic action it is, then.

I have been meaning to pick up Murderbot for so long now. I’ve heard it’s a really fun series of sci-fi novellas from so many different people, and apparently book 5 is not only out this month but also happens to be the first full-length novel. I have got to get off my butt and get my hands on this series.

Star Wars: Brotherhood by Mike ChenStar Wars: Brotherhood by Mike Chen

10th May (Del Rey)

Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker must stem the tide of the raging Clone Wars and forge a new bond as Jedi Knights.

The Clone Wars have begun. Battle lines are being drawn throughout the galaxy. With every world that joins the Separatists, the peace guarded by the Jedi Order is slipping through their fingers.

After an explosion devastates Cato Neimoidia, the jewel of the Trade Federation, the Republic is blamed and the fragile neutrality of the planet is threatened. The Jedi dispatch Obi-Wan Kenobi, one of the Order’s most gifted diplomatic minds, to investigate the crime and maintain the balance that has begun to dangerously shift. As Obi-Wan investigates with the help of a heroic Neimoidian guard, he finds himself working against the Separatists who hope to draw the planet into their conspiracy-and senses the sinister hand of Asajj Ventress in the mists that cloak the planet.

Amid the brewing chaos, Anakin Skywalker rises to the rank of Jedi Knight. Despite the mandate that Obi-Wan travel alone-and his former master’s insistence that he listen this time-Anakin’s headstrong determination means nothing can stop him from crashing the party, and bringing along a promising but conflicted youngling.

Once a Padawan to Obi-Wan, Anakin now finds himself on equal-but uncertain-footing with the man who raised him. The lingering friction between them increases the danger for everyone around them. The two knights must learn a new way to work together-and they must learn quickly, to save Cato Neimoidia and its people from the fires of war. To overcome the threat they face they must grow beyond master and apprentice. They must stand together as brothers.

You know, I think Obi-Wan Kenobi may be my favourite Star Wars character and Brotherhood should be a great canon companion to the series.

Mercury Rising by R.W.W. GreeneMercury Rising by R.W.W. Greene

10th May (Angry Robot)

Mercury Rising is the first in an exciting new series from R W W Greene, author of The Light Years and Twenty Five to Life.

Even in a technologically-advanced, Kennedy-Didn’t-Die alternate-history, Brooklyn Lamontagne is going nowhere fast. The year is 1975, thirty years after Robert Oppenheimer invented the Oppenheimer Atomic Engine, twenty-five years after the first human walked on the moon, and eighteen years after Jet Carson and the Eagle Seven sacrificed their lives to stop the alien invaders. Brooklyn just wants to keep his mother’s rent paid, earn a little scratch of his own, steer clear of the cops, and maybe get laid sometime in the near future. Simple pleasures, right? But a killer with a baseball bat and a mysterious box of 8-track tapes is about to make his life real complicated.

So, rot away in prison or sign up to defend the planet from the assholes who dropped a meteorite on Cleveland?  Brooklyn crosses his fingers and picks  the Earth Orbital Forces. A few years in the trenches and then — assuming he survives — he’ll get his life back, right? Unfortunately, the universe has other plans, and Brooklyn is launched into a story about saving humanity, finding family, and growing as a person — while coping with high-stakes space battles, mystery science experiments and finding out the real enemies aren’t the tentacled monsters on the recruitment poster.

Unless they are.

Bit of alternate-history, bit of alien invasion. Mercury Rising sounds like a fantastic science fiction novel.

Momenticon by Andrew CaldecottMomenticon by Andrew Caldecott

12th May (Jo Fletcher)

From Andrew Caldecott, the author of the ROTHERWEIRD trilogy, comes a dark, enigmatic, compelling new adventure: think Alice in Wonderland meets Station Eleven, played out in places where paintings come to life.

The world is on the brink of utter destruction.

Despite the climate activists’ best efforts, the atmosphere has turned toxic, destroying plant life, animals, and most of humanity too.

The few survivors live in domes protected from the lethal smog, serving Tempestas and Genrich, the world’s last two great companies. They both have plans for mankind’s future, but their visions are very different – and an uneasy collaboration between them is about to end, with desperate consequences.

But not everyone is bound to the companies: far from these centres of power stands the Museum Dome, where persons unknown have assembled mankind’s finest paintings and artefacts. Fogg, the curator, thinks he must be the last man left alive, for in the three years he’s been there, he’s not had a single visitor, and his only company is AIPT, his automated physical trainer, who’s very good when it comes to hamstrings and push-ups, but rubbish at actual conversation.

Then a single mysterious pill – a momenticon – appears in the Museum, proving he’s not alone after all. Before Fogg knows what’s hit him, he is embroiled in a desperate fight against time and the rival forces which threaten to overwhelm all that remains.

The cover of Momenticon is really eye catching, isn’t it? And the story itself is a post-apocalyptic adventure after climate change has destroyed the planet and the life that remains live in specialised domes. It sounds fascinating.

Afterglow (Glow #2) by Tim JordanAfterglow (Glow #2) by Tim Jordan

24th May (Angry Robot)

Tim Jordan returns with the hotly-anticipated sequel to his mind-bending 2021 debut, Glow.

Glow is not gone. Glow remains. Glow is alive. The nanotech drug is now everywhere. It creeps across the world, a mind-bending plague, a brain-altering poison that lives on from host to host, twisting everyone to its will. Still recovering from his addiction, Rex remains in hiding, battling the voices in his head that are not all his own. Some days are peaceful, others are downright terrifying. But there are bigger problems to face – a new alliance threatens the balance of power in the world again, and a dangerous enemy from Rex’s past tracks him down. Can Rex really be the cure for the plague that Sisters promised him, or the root of humanity’s downfall? Faced with ultimate destruction, Rex must decide if he really is a prophet… or just a coward.

I hadn’t heard of Glow, the first book in this series, but the concept of a nanotech drug that steals identities, a very high-tech world… just a lot of science fiction goodness. It sounds like a lot of fun.

Eversion by Alastair ReynoldsEversion by Alastair Reynolds

26th May (Gollancz)

Eversion is a superb, original Gothic SF novel. A small group of intrepid explorers are in search of a remote and mysterious artefact. It’s a well-funded expedition, well organised, which is lucky as they’re sailing north of Bergen on the schooner Demeter, searching for a narrow inlet which will lead them to a vast uncharted lake – and their goal­­­–

Until disaster strikes.

Doctor Silas Coade wakes from disturbing dreams, on the steamship Demeter, in pursuit of an extraordinary find almost too incredible and too strange to believe, secreted within a lagoon in the icy inlets of Patagonia. But as they come in sight of their prize he and the crew see they are not the first to come so far: there is a wreck ahead, and whatever ruined it may threaten them as well–

Shaking off his nightmares, Doctor Silas Coade joins his fellow exploders on the deck of the zeppelin Demeter and realises something has already gone dangerously wrong with their mission. If any of them are to survive, then he will have to take the exploration – and their lives – into his own hands . . .

Something about this blurb gives me similar vibes to an on-hold WiP I have and I am here for it! I absolutely love the idea if heading into space and finding that not only are you lightyears away from help, something is drastically wrong and you might just be in serious danger. Yes. Please.

Weaponized by Neal AsherWeaponized by Neal Asher

26th May (Tor)

Weaponized is a thrilling far-future adventure by acclaimed science fiction author Neal Asher.

A bright new future for humanity – or a dark and inescapable past.

Ursula has lived twice the normal human lifespan, courtesy of the latest technology. But now she’s struggling to find excitement and purpose, so signs up to the Polity’s military. She excels in weapons development, and progresses rapidly up the ranks. But after botching a powerful new ammunition test, she’s dismissed from service.

Hunting for a simpler, more meaningful existence, the ex-soldier heads for the stars. And after founding a colony on the hostile planet of Threpsis, Ursula finally feels alive. Then deadly raptors attack and the colonists are forced to adapt in unprecedented ways. The raptors also raise a deeply troubling question: how could the Polity miss these apex predators? And alien ruins? Meanwhile, biophysicist Oren has formed his own survival plan – one he’ll pursue at any cost.

As a desperate battle erupts to consume the planet, Ursula finds she must dig deep into her past to ensure humanity’s future.

I believe this is a standalone set within Neal Asher’s Polity universe, though they also say it’s a follow-up to Jack Four, which sounds incredible. Definitely a series I’m not personally familiar with but I’m now intrigued. Any of you read Neal Asher before?

These Prisoning Hills by Christopher RoweThese Prisoning Hills by Christopher Rowe

31st May (Tor)

These Prisoning Hills is a post-apocalyptic Appalachian “weird fiction” novella by Hugo and Nebula Award nominee Christopher Rowe.

Deallocate all implications,
Fortran harrows all the nations.

In a long-ago war, the all-powerful A.I. ruler of the Voluntary State of Tennessee—Athena Parthenus, Queen of Reason—invaded and decimated the American Southeast. Possessing the ability to infect and corrupt the surrounding environment with nanotechnology, she transformed flora, fauna, and the very ground itself into bio-mechanical weapons of war.

Marcia, a former captain from Kentucky, experienced first-hand the terrifying, mind-twisting capabilities of Athena’s creatures. Now back in the Commonwealth, her retirement is cut short by the arrival of federal troops in her tiny, isolated town. One of Athena’s most powerful weapons may still be buried nearby. And they need Marcia’s help to find it.

This novella has such an eye-catching cover, I immediately want to know what that thing is and what led up to that moment.

 

Mixed

Last Exit by Max GladstoneLast Exit by Max Gladstone

3rd May (Titan Books)

From the co-author of the bestselling This Is How You Lose the Time War.

Gaiman’s American Gods meets King’s The Dark Tower in this electric, captivating road trip across America and alternate realities to stop the apocalypse, from a Hugo and Nebula Award-winning author.

Imagine that the American highway system is a vast magical network binding city to city. By soaking up magic from intentionally directionless travel, initiates can slip into alternate realities. Stray too far from our America, though, and things get weird. And dangerous. And terrifying.

When visionary mathematician Zelda Qiang was in college, she learned how to travel from one alternate reality to another. Her response was to take her friends on a road trip to strange new worlds. Six of them set out. Only five returned. Zelda’s lover, Sal, betrayed them: she walked into the jags―sharp cutting shadows like cracks in space―and didn’t come back.

Now Zelda still walks the road alone, a wandering magus keeping the jags from breaking through. But now Sal is coming back―with Dark Things in tow.

I have been hearing mixed things about Last Exit. Some saying it’s just a little off for them, others absolutely wowed by it. Now I loved a good old genre mash-up and Last Exit brings up alternate realities, magic, weird stuff, dark things… It sounds like a recipe for a fun story!

The House with the Golden Door (Wolf Den Trilogy #2) by Elodie HarperThe House with the Golden Door (Wolf Den Trilogy #2) by Elodie Harper

12th May (Apollo)

Freed from Pompeii’s brothel. Owned as a courtesan. Determined to have revenge. Her name is Amara. What will she risk for power?

Amara has escaped her life as a slave in Pompeii’s most notorious brothel. She now has a house, fine clothes, servants – but all of these are gifts from her patron, hers for as long as she keeps her place in his affections.

As she adjusts to this new life, Amara is still haunted by her past. At night she dreams of the wolf den, and the women she left behind. By day, she is pursued by her former slavemaster. In order to be truly free, she will need to be as ruthless as he is.

Amara knows she can draw strength from Venus, the goddess of love. Yet falling in love herself may prove to be her downfall.

The House with the Golden Door is the stunning second novel in Elodie Harper’s celebrated Wolf Den Trilogy, which reimagines the lives of women who have long been overlooked.

I’ve been meaning to read The Wolf Den for a while and now here’s book two coming along and I’m just trying not to read the blurb but I’m glad the cover is as beautiful as the first book’s!

The Dance Tree by Kiran Millwood HargraveThe Dance Tree by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

12th May (Picador)

The gripping new novel from Kiran Millwood Hargrave, Sunday Times bestselling author of The Mercies

Strasbourg, 1518. In the midst of a blisteringly hot summer, a lone woman begins to dance in the city square. She dances for days without pause or rest, and as she is joined by hundreds of others, the authorities declare an emergency. Musicians will be brought in to play the Devil out of these women.

Just beyond the city’s limits, pregnant Lisbet lives with her mother-in-law and husband, tending the bees that are their livelihood. And then, as the dancing plague gathers momentum, Lisbet’s sister-in-law Nethe returns from seven years’ penance in the mountains for a crime no one will name.

It is a secret that Lisbet is determined to uncover. As the city buckles under the beat of a thousand feet, she finds herself thrust into a dangerous web of deceit and clandestine passion, but she is dancing to a dangerous tune . . .

Set in an era of superstition, hysteria, and extraordinary change, and inspired by the true events of a doomed summer, The Dance Tree is an impassioned story of family secrets, forbidden love, and women pushed to the edge.

Here’s a novel set during the dancing plague, which I think we can all agree is a fascinating part of history. Apparently also LGBTQ themes, which during this period of history is really interesting.

What the Daemon Said: Essays on Horror Fiction, Film, and Philosophy by Matt CardinWhat the Daemon Said: Essays on Horror Fiction, Film, and Philosophy by Matt Cardin

26th May (Hippocampus Press)

For more than two decades, Matt Cardin has been one of the most profound and provocative critics and scholars working in the field of horror fiction, and this volume contains his collected essays on a wide array of topics within the genre.

Cardin has made a specialty in treating the multifaceted work of Thomas Ligotti, and in six substantial papers he discusses such subjects as H. P. Lovecraft’s influence on Ligotti’s work and thought, the nature of horror in such celebrated tales as “Nethescurial” and “The Bungalow House,” and other phases of the work of this master of the weird. And in a wide array of interviews, Cardin provides insight into his own vision and outlook, which have served as the basis of his weird tales.

But Cardin is best known as a critic who has brought a formidable knowledge of philosophy and religion to the analysis of horror fiction. Angels and demons; religion and vampires; the nature of cosmic horror—these and other topics are treated by Cardin in the context of horror fiction and film ranging from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein to George Romero’s “Living Dead” films. In these and other papers, Matt Cardin displays his effortless mastery of the many complex issues evoked by the very nature of the weird tale.

I don’t usually read essays but What the Daemon Said sounds like a really interesting look at horror and weird fiction that my inner-English Lit student is well eager for.

Lion (The Golden Age #1) by Conn IgguldenLion (The Golden Age #1) by Conn Iggulden

26th May (Michael Joseph)

After the Gods.

After the Myths and Legends came the world of Men.

In their front rank stood Pericles. The Lion of the Golden Age.

Conn Iggulden is one of those authors who comes up a lot within historical fiction, especially if you’re interested in ancient history and battles. The Golden Age takes a look at the stories Ancient Greece’s battlefields had to tell.

 

What’s catching your eye this month, readers? Once again, there’s a lot of great titles in here. Anything I’ve missed?

4 thoughts on “Speculative Fiction Book Releases in May 2022

  1. To answer your question on Neal Asher, I read one book by him many years ago and never felt the least inclination to read another. The very definition of forgettable, since I have indeed forgotten everything about it.

    I’ve never read any Holly Black but that blurb is just fantastic. I’m definitely going to be looking for that one when it comes in.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: