Top Ten Tuesday: spring TBR

Text only: top ten TUESDAY

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish, and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. It’s all about books, lists and sharing the love we have of both with our bookish friends. This week, it’s time to take a look at our spring TBR!

Having sworn I would read on a whim throughout 2021 – and then promptly requesting far too many ARCs, so I’ve read almost entirely to a schedule – I’ve only managed to read about half my winter TBR. That’s not going to stop me putting together a fresh one for spring!

I’m nearly through the immediate deadlines, which means my next couple of months are likely to involve alternating overdue ARCs with the novellas and series I’m judging for the Subjective Chaos Kind of Awards. Usually I’d throw in some fantasy for Wyrd And Wonder, but as those ARCs and awards nominees are heavily fantasy-biased already, I think it means I’ve got room – finally! – to just follow my nose… so I’ll limit this TBR to books I have to read, rather than second guess what might smell right on the day.

I took the plunge this year and volunteered to read for the Series category in the Subjective Chaos Kind of Awards. It’s always a risk – in past years, this category has contained between 15 and 24 books. This year, it’s 19 books across 6 series – but by happy chance I’ve already read most of them. That leaves me with 3 series to focus on:

First up, I’ll be finishing The Poppy War by RF Kuang. I’ve read the first one, so this means bracing myself for whatever devastating next steps Rin takes in The Dragon Republic and The Burning God. I am not ready. I may never be ready. Better just get on with it.

Thankfully the next series looks far more comforting: Sweet Black Waves is a reimagining of the legend of Tristan and Iseult, promising Celtic twilight, magic and star crossed lovers. This is catnip to me and it’s been years since I last indulged so I’m super excited to read Kristina Pérez’s debut.

Last up is Islands of Blood and Storm by Kacen Callender, starting with the World Fantasy Award winning Queen of the Conquered so I know I’m in for a good time. This is a Caribbean fantasy of mind control, murder and colonial resistance, and I can’t wait to sink my teeth into it.

One category is never enough, so I’ve also signed up for novella because novellas never sound intimidating until you realise you have to pick one and start screaming because the whole shortlist is so damn good. I’ve read half of them so far and the screaming has already begun. Still to go:

Returning from my winter TBR, The Four Profound Weaves is Rose Lemberg’s first full-length fiction, a tale of identity set in their long-running Birdverse. This desert fantasy embraces craft, family and mythology as two older protagonists seek a way to challenge a tyrant and define who they truly are.

Tochi Onyebuchi’s Riot Baby examines structural racism in a tale of supernatural powers and revolution. This has a great reputation, although I’ve mostly avoided reviews so I can go in unspoiled.

I had completely missed the release of Claire North’s latest novella, Sweet Harmony, so this nominee took me by surprise. Exploring our obsession with perfection, this examines the social impact of technology. I didn’t love 84K, finding it a bit close to the bone, but I’m curious to try another of North’s works.

I can’t wait to dive into the final novella in this group – Sarah Gailey is always a riot, and Upright Women Wanted features queer revolutionary librarians in a post-apocalyptic West. What’s not to like?

Okay, my final group are a selection of ARCs – I have more, but I want to get to these three in particular and everything else is a bonus (safe in the knowledge that I’m reading The Unbroken right now, don’t worry).

The Archive of the Forgotten by AJ Hackwith is the sequel to The Library of the Unwritten, one of my favourite reads of 2020. I adored Claire and Brevity, and can’t wait to see what new perils await them in the aftermath of the assault on the Library.

Andrea Stewart’s debut The Bone Shard Daughter is out in paperback next month, so it’s past time I caught up on this necromantic SE Asian inspired fantasy. It’s also a Subjective Chaos nominee – I’m not officially reading for that category, but it can’t hurt to follow along!

Last up, I was surprised and delighted to be granted a copy of Zen Cho’s upcoming novella, Black Water Sister. A contemporary fantasy, an expat returns to Malaysia only to be haunted by her estranged grandma – avatar of the Black Water Sister and determined to settle a grudge against a mob boss. How complicated can a homecoming get? This is out in June, so will likely feature for Wyrd and Wonder.

After that, who knows?

What will you be reading this spring?