Make Some Room: April

Header (text): MAKE SOME ROOM (there's always room for one more)

After the challenges of getting releases out the door in 2020, it feels like 2021 is just a steady stream of excitement – and April is no different. If There’s Always Room For One More, these are the ones I am considering for my shelf…

As usual, I’ll start my round-up with some books that are more or less on my shelf already (Sistersong is this month’s Goldsboro SFF pick, so will join them in due course).

First out the gate this month is Sistersong by Lucy Holland (aka Lucy Hounsom), which had me at ‘murder ballad’. This is a reimagining of Britain in the wake of the Romans, where three Cornish sisters work to save their people from the Saxons – and the arrivals of Myrddhin and Tristan brings change, power and dark secrets. Remember, murder ballad. Out on April 1st from Macmillan.

Also on April 1st is the belated UK release of Canadian author Cherie Dimaline’s Empire of Wild from Weidenfeld & Nicolson. A modern tale of the Rogarou, an abandoned woman believes she’s found her missing husband when a charismatic preacher comes to town. But Reverend Wolff doesn’t recognise her – and if she cannot remind him of who he is, disaster will trail in his wake.

Much to my delight, April also brings us Advanced Triggernometry by Stark Holborn, taking us back to a reimagined Wild West where economics is a dirty word and mathematicians are dangerous outlaws. Mad Malago Browne determination to retire is once again tested when a town begs her to help save them from their corrupt sheriff. Expect familiar tropes given a highly entertaining make-over on April 8th – if you haven’t read Triggernometry yet, the ebook is currently pay what you wish directly from the author.

There’s also some tantalising debuts coming out next month. Ciannon Smart had me intrigued by her Caribbean-inspired YA fantasy as soon as I heard the title: Witches Steeped in Gold. The first in a duology, this promises a tale stolen magic and deadly alliances as two witches team up to seek revenge against a murderous ruler. Out from Hot Key Books on April 20th.

One of my favourite folktales gets a fantasy makeover in Alexandra Overy’s queer reimagining of the Russian tale of the Firebird. Here twin princesses are separated, one to be heir to the throne, one to study magic with her aunt, the Firebird. But when the girls come into their inheritance, they must grapple with love, trust – and murder. These Feathered Flames is released by Inkyard Press on April 20th.

Any publicist who pitches a novel as evoking Mad Max and Sense8 will get my attention (and sets a dangerous set of expectations), so I’m curious about Elly Bangs post-apocalyptic cyberpunk debut Unity. With undersea metropolises and scorched badlands, this promises epic worldbuilding, action and philosophy as it explores identity and grief. Out from Tachyon Publications on April 16th.

Kim Bo-Young is an acclaimed South Korean writer, whose work is getting an English edition for the first time from HarperVoyager on April 15th. I’m Waiting For You features two pairs of inter-linked short stories starting with the tale of two lovers who must cross the galaxy and centuries to be together. I’m excited to explore the world’s of Bo-Young’s imagination.

I’ve been meaning to read Marina Lostetter, and with her fantasy debut The Helm of Midnight coming out on April 13th from Tor Books this may be the year I finally do. This sounds like a fabulous fantasy/crime mash-up as a long-dead serial killer returns to stalk the streets after his death-mask is stolen…

Such Pretty Things by Lisa Heathfield is a diversion from my typical reading because I’m a total wuss and usually steer well clear of horror. After a terrible accident, two children are sent to live with their aunt and uncle in their remote home. This promises Gothic chills and disintegrating relationships, and is an early candidate for my Spooktastic Reads TBR this year. Out from Titan Books on April 13th.

And that’s not all (blimey)! Other notable releases include the next Murderbot from Martha Wells (Fugitive Telemetry); the paperback release of KB Wagers queer found family space force romp A Pale Light In The Black; and shiny new editions of The Beautiful Ones, Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s Belle Epoque romantic fantasy and The Recollection, an early space opera by Gareth L Powell. In fact, I’ve barely scratched the surface today – so here’s hoping we’ll be able to wander into a bookshop this month to admire the newcomers…

What releases are you looking forward to in April?

All release dates and publishers are for the UK unless otherwise mentioned.