Top Ten Tuesday: spring reads

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. With the equinox at hand, it’s time to look at what we’ll be reading this spring.

Ah, TBRs. Somewhere between intention and aspiration, possibly with a sprinkling of guilt and a large dose of anticipation. What mine are not – especially at the moment – are predictive. Which is to say, in any way accurate. As I keep banging on about how I’m going to read on a whim and follow my nose, this is hardly surprising. However, I’ve got a lot of commitments through spring as I have probably sign up to one too many categories in the Subjective Chaos Kind of Awards and I haven’t resisted ARCs as hard as I ought. So my spring reading needs to be very, very focused (which is a shame; between the state of the world and a major family upset, I really need to dive into comfort reads. So we’ll see how this goes).

Let’s start with Chaos. I’m reading for Best SF, Best Series and Best Novella and there are rather a lot of nominees. I’ve made a good start on Series and Novellas, but I’ve barely scratched the surface of SF. A sensible reptile would prioritise SF (given May will be all about fantasy reads) – if you see a sensible reptile, please send them my way to teach me a few things. With a pinch of salt, my Subjective spring reads will likely focus on finishing off the novellas and reading books I need to physically borrow from the library:

This is a bit of a cheat because I’m reading Witchmark right now (and I may have finished it by the time this post goes live, because it’s really good), but I include it as I already suspect I’ll be wolfing down Stormsong before summer too. I have reservations about Girls of Paper and Fire – both literally, at the library, and because it’s not my cup of tea – but will give it my best shot. I also have reservations about Notes From The Burning Age, but I’m hoping this will be the year I finally enjoy a Claire North novel rather than admire it whilst wishing I didn’t have to actually read it. Thankfully, I’m really looking forward to Several People Are Typing by Calvin Kasulke, which promises to be the tongue-in-cheek digital sentience / PR agency presumably satirical cross-over I didn’t know I wanted.

The bar for novellas is set exceedingly high given I adore both our Premee Mohamed nominees and was bowled over by Shingai Njeri Kagunda’s & This Is How To Stay Alive. I am currently planning to spend Easter finishing off the category and seeing whether The Past Is Red, A Spindle Splintered, The Future God of Love, Sun-Daughters Sea-Daughters and A Manslaughter of Crows, (not pictured) can edge out my current favourites. Valente is another author I admire but rarely enjoy, but I’m very curious to read The Future God Of Love and Sun-Daughters, Sea-Daughters.

All going well, I’ll squeeze in more nominees through the spring. But it can’t all be chaos. In spite of my best intentions and attempts to resist, I have a growing stack of 2022 ARCs to read too (some more urgently than others).

So far, 2022 is another year where I fail to resist interesting fantasy releases.

I was helpless in the face of the Solaris spring line-up: The Carnival of Ash by Tom Beckerlegge, a political fantasy of poets in an Italianate Renaissance setting; The Knave of Secrets by Alex Livingston, in which a magician turned cardsharp wins a dangerous secret in a card tournament (will this finally be a book to break my distaste for fantasy covers featuring Mysterious Hooded Figures?); and Silk Fire by Zabé Ellor which features so many cool ideas – dragons! necromancers! matriarchy! polyamorous romance! intrigue – I don’t know where to start. Necromancy also comes up in CSE Cooney’s Saint Death’s Daughter, where a necromancer who is allergic to violence and her psychotic sister must find a way to survive murder, debt and the ghost of their great-grandfather. Sounds like an absolute blast, right?

Elsewhere, I’m intrigued by Saara El-Arifi’s The Final Strife. Promising a blend of African and Arabian mythology (although sadly the UK cover has lost the epic US character art in favour of pretty architectural detail) this features sapphic allies fighting a powerful Empire. The blurb hints at a trial / competition format, which is a trope I love, so I didn’t even try to resist.

I’m also interested to see what Rebecca Zahabi does with the fairly traditional dark fantasy tropes she brings to her debut The Collarbound: rebellions, mysterious pasts and magical hierarchies don’t always do it for me, but with The City of Brass and The Poppy War cited as comp titles, I’m in.

And that’s the whole of my spring plan. I hope to either squeeze in more Subjective Chaos titles or – gasp – make space to from my backlist as the mood or my monthly challenge prompts take me; but I’ll see how I get on.

What will you be reading?