Top Ten Tuesday: coming up in 2022

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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, we’re looking ahead to the books we’re excited for in the first half of 2022.

I’m not sure whether I’ve been out of the loop about what’s coming up, or genuinely not as excited as I sometimes get – either way, I’ve not really known much about upcoming releases since the autumn. This bodes well for my ambitions to read off the shelf in 2022, but made today feel like more of a challenge than it should have been. It was also an excuse to do a bit of research and set myself up for destroying my NetGalley score again in the coming months…

I’m not saying 2022 is all about gender-flipped retelling, but there are some seriously cool gender-flipped retellings coming our way. In the Ancient Greek corner – in addition to Kate Elliot’s Furious Heaven (the sequel to Unconquerable Sun) – I’ve got my eye on Wrath Goddess Sing by Maya Deane. Sing, goddess, of the wrath of Achilles, Peleus’ son – but here Achilles is a daughter, a trans woman unwilling to die as a man; and Helen of Troy is no disputed bride but a cruel immortal in search of a hero who will provide a diverting challenge. You bet I’m here for it.

Vaishnavi Patel opens up a new world of retellings with a feminist take on a tale from the Ramayana, transforming a hated queen into a powerful woman determined to forge her own path in the face of patriarchies and uncaring gods. If you loved Circe and are keen to explore legends beyond Europe’s shores, Kaikeyi is a must read.

Back in Europe, Nicola Griffith has turned her gaze to the Matter of Britain and rewritten Percival as a young woman who becomes a hero at the heart of King Arthur’s court. Spear combines Griffith’s skills as a historical writer and her imagination as a genre writer in this very queer, very Celtic reimagining of 6th century Britain.

Next up, three new-to-me authors whose 2022 books sound too delicious to resist. In Woman, Eating, Claire Kohda explores the challenges of living away from home for the first time and learning to embrace a multicultural heritage… with a vampiric twist. Lydia longs to eat the Japanese food of her father’s people, but is bound to drink only blood like her mother – and keen not to bite down on the interesting new people she’s meeting in London. This sounds like a really interesting way to explore both vampire tropes and contemporary themes.

I have been meaning to read Peng Shepherd’s debut The Book of M for so long she’s only gone and written another book that sounds even more like my jam. I’m a shoe-in for any pitch that breathes the word cartomancy and The Cartographers features mysterious maps, conspiracies and family secrets. Can’t wait.

The Shadow Glass is Josh Winning’s homage to the 80s fantasy films I grew up on, making it another irresistible pitch. A man struggling at life falls into an adventure to save London when the puppets his film director father used to make a failed fantasy movie come to life. Dark fantasy meets my childhood: yes, this is flying straight onto my bookshelf.

Last up, some new releases from authors I know and love. In addition to the third Singing Hills novella, Nghi Vo has a new stand-alone fantasy of an early 30s Hollywood where predatory movie moguls literally sacrifice starlets for the studios. Siren Queen’s Chinese American heroine determined to make her name, even if she too must become a monster to do so. I resisted The Chosen and the Beautiful because eh Gatsby, but I won’t be resisting Luli Wei.

Gareth L Powell is back with a new space opera set in a near future of AI-piloted ark ships fleeing a dying Earth. Stars and Bones features divergent human cultures specific to each ark, terrifying alien contact, and talking cats (which is surely worth the price of admission alone).

Scalzi’s new book had me at the title: The Kaiju Preservation Society. That’s it, I don’t need to know any more to know I’m interested (for those who do, this is a light-hearted dimension-hopping thriller… with kaiju. If that hasn’t persuaded you, this probably isn’t your bowl of monster mash).

I’m perhaps most excited by two sequels: The Grief of Stones by Katherine Addison and Sisters of the Forsaken Stars by Lina Rather. Yes, my darling Thara Celehar is getting his own series and I can’t wait to see him unravel more uncomfortable secrets and grapple with his own baggage. And the Order of St Rita are back too, the unwilling focus of a growing movement to reject Earth’s influence. Already on the run for their intervention on Phyosonga IV, the Sisters are in a precarious position. What response will their faith and conscience allow?

What are you looking forward to this year?