Make Some Room: May

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

Have you reinforced your shelves recently? You may want to consider it – May is stacked with intriguing releases to tempt even the strictest book buyer into adding to their TBR. Me, I’m a pushover so my shelves are bracing for impact! Time to run down the titles you might want to make some room…

I’m always excited about small and independent presses, and May is no exception:

Under Fortunate Stars is the space opera debut of Ren Hutchings, out from Solaris on May 10th. Set the dial for timey-wimey adventure as the crew of a research ship from the future try to figure out how the unpromising smuggler they find stranded in space can possibly have stopped a generations-long war… and how to ensure they do, for everybody’s sake. I do love a bit of paradox and fate-teasing; this will be one of my first reads after Wyrd and Wonder!

Uncommon Charm by Emily Bergslien and Kat Weaver is the first of the 2022 crop of Neon Hemlock novellas, out on May 17th. This new season looks as exciting as the last, with this first title pitched as a 1920s Gothic comedy as a socialite and a Jewish magician decide to navigate their sometimes surreal world on their own terms.

Cast Long Shadows by Cat Hellisen isn’t your usual Snow White – this reimagining focuses on the young woman newly-married to a widower, trying to navigate a Duke’s court and find her feet as a stepmother. It’s not easy being a replacement wife, and Marjeta has secrets that could condemn her if found out. Is she really the villain tradition expects? We can find out on May 31st thanks to Luna Press.

There was no way I was ever not going to get excited about a book called When Women Were Dragons, so Kelly Barnhill’s new standalone from Hot Key Books has me eagerly looking forward to May 3rd. 50s America is keen to keep its women in their place, so nobody likes to talk about those occasions when one turns into a dragon for a while. The Mass Dragoning may be rather harder not to mention…

I was lucky enough to get an advance copy of Rebecca Zahabi’s debut, The Collarbound. A young woman with suppressed memories and an enslaved mage on the run seek sanctuary at the Nest, seat of magical government. Expect conflicted loyalties as past and present collide, and a rebel force grows ever closer. This assured start to a new epic series is out from Gollancz on May 12th.

…and then there’s Juno Dawson’s Her Majesty’s Royal Coven which is another kickass title / concept, with supernatural secret history stealing one of the UK’s most feared acronyms. Four witches whose lives have diverged must find a way to make common cause when England is threatened; this tale of magic and friendship is hitting US shelves on May 31st. Note: seems we Brits will have to wait until July to get our hands on a (very spiffy) UK release.

My final group this month are the fruit of me realising I’m hankering after a change of pace in my reading diet: pass the popcorn, I’m after action and thrills. Thankfully, May has my back.

Holly Black has been a big name in YA forever, and her adult debut means I might finally get acquainted with her work. Book Of Night embraces the classic trope of a thief being blackmailed into one last job before they can get out of the game, set in a fantasy underworld of shadow magic. Out from Del Rey on May 3rd.

Paul Kearney is another author I’ve been meaning to try for some time, and The Windscale Incident is the alt history / apocalyptic mash-up to make that time now. In this timeline, the Windscale disaster results in an Exclusion Zone rumoured to be full of mutant nightmares. Months after the last expedition was lost, a new team is setting out to investigate. I’m going to need more popcorn… Out from Abaddon on May 19th.

Alastair Reynolds new standalone Eversion is pitched as Gothic SF and features schooners, steamships and zeppelins – with a hint of parallel worlds in its intriguing synopsis. A period setting featuring doomed expeditions? Exactly the reading tonic I’m after. Out from Gollancz on May 26th.

It seems appropriate to close out with Tell Me An Ending by Jo Harkin, out from Penguin Books on May 12th. This promises to be a bittersweet tale of guilt and identity, as thousands of people are offered the chance to recover a traumatic memory they once opted to give up. If we are the sum of our memories, who do we becomes if we choose to have some wiped away?

What books coming out this month are you excited for?

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