Make Some Room: April

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

It never rains but it pours: if March showered us with excellent releases, the April forecast is for a deluge that includes a few titles I’ve been looking forward to all year (and the tree editions of several books whose e-release I celebrated last month). It’s time to make some (more) room…

Let’s start with those books I’ve been feverish with anticipation for, shall we?

I love a good mythical retelling – even better, reimagining – so Kaikeyi (Vaishnavi Patel) and Spear (Nicola Griffith) have been on my radar all year. Kaikeyi was a wicked queen of the Ramayana; here she’s a young woman sick of being a pawn for the patriarchy who claims a magic that can propel her to power. I look forward to joining her cause on April 26th (ebook, Redhook) | May 12th (hardback, Redhook).

In Spear, Nicola Griffith gives us Arthurian hero Percival as a queer young woman and hell yes I’m ready to return to Camelot. I grew up inhaling any Arthurian material I could lay my hands on, and far too much of it was very straight and patriarchal so I am here for this. Spear is released on April 19th (ebook, Tordotcom) | May 24th (hardback, St Martin’s Press).

Not a retelling, but this book leapt onto my wishlist as soon as I read the frankly batshit synopsis: Saint Death’s Daughter by CSE Cooney has had incoherently positive feedback from friends with excellent taste, and I need this book in my hands. A necromancer who is allergic to violence – daughter of an assassin and a chief executioner – has quite a lot to overcome. When Lanie’s august parents are murdered and her dead great-grandfather starts paying her visits, her life is about to get a lot more complicated – and a lot riskier. That sound is my gleeful cackling. Can’t wait. Out from Solaris on April 12th (ebook) | April 14th (paperback).

From books I’m wild for to books I’m cautiously interested in. I haven’t yet read Black Sun, which began Rebecca Roanhorse’s new epic series of Pueblo-inspired secondary world fantasy, but it sounds so entirely like my jam that I can’t help but note the sequel Fevered Star is released on April 19th (hardback, Gallery / Saga Press) | 28th (UK digital, Rebellion Publishing).

I have read The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart, and the twisty backstory and world-building left me curious enough to want to lay my hands on sequel The Bone Shard Emperor even if I wasn’t entirely won over by other elements. Released in paperback by Orbit on April 21st, so it’s clearly time I got on and read it.

I have reservations about In A Garden Burning Gold, the adult debut of Rory Powers. Therein lies my first reservation: will it feel like adult or aged-up YA? But it promises ageless protagonists, family ties and an unusual Balkan setting – and it has a jawdropping cover. So, y’know, I’m sorely tempted. Out on April 5th from Titan Books.

Rosebud is the new Paul Cornell novella, a locked-room mystery in space. I have a weakness for the phrase ”locked room … in space” and I have been underwhelmed each time I’ve given in to it (I didn’t enjoy Six Wakes at all, and Far From The Light Of Heaven felt undercooked). But! A locked room mystery! In space! By Paul Cornell! Rosebud also promises a ramshackle crew on a disastrous mission who are increasingly out of their depth, and (unlike my cited examples) isn’t a murder mystery… We all know I’m going to snap it up on April 5th (paperback, Tor.com) | April 26th (ebook, Tor.com).

My last four intriguing titles this month are the most mixed of mixed bags. I am yet to read the Chris Panatier’s well-received dystopian debut (The Phlebotomist), but I am already sold on comic follow-up Stringers because I have been promised pickles in space. Yes, that’s all it took. What can I say, I love pickles. Out April 10th (ebook, Angry Robot) | May 12th (paperback, Angry Robot).

The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins is already on my shelf; an American colleague gifted it to me some years ago, although I’ve never quite read it. This much-praised if weird debut promises dark academia, a library of unspeakable secrets and the temptation of taking control of all creation and is finally getting a UK release from Titan Books on April 5th, so I better pull my finger out.

I’ll close out with a rerelease of Laura J Mixon’s (aka MJ Locke) classic Up Against It as part of the new Tor Essentials line-up from Tor Books on April 26th (paperback). The resource manager on an asteroid colony must find a way to balance the intertwined threats of a political conspiracy, damaged life support, a rogue AI and a transhumanist cult. Expect slowburn hard SF, which I’m hoping will at least briefly satisfy the Expanse-shaped gap in my space opera reading.

What books coming out this month are you excited for?

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