Spring 2018’s Hottest Sci-Fi & Fantasy Books: Warring Queens, One-Hit-Wonders, and Twisted Fairytales

Spring 2018’s Hottest Sci-Fi & Fantasy Books: Warring Queens, One-Hit-Wonders, and Twisted Fairytales

Spring forward into new worlds filled with warring queens, twisted fairy tales, and a rock and roll battle. This spring is delivering an amazing variety of must-read sci-fi and fantasy books, including titles from favorites Catherynne M. Valente and John Scalzi. Not to mention that fans of Sylvain Neuvel will be delighted to get their hands on Only Human, the last book in the Themis Files series. Meanwhile, readers looking for a brand new adventure will have to decide whether they want to hang out with some ghouls in New Orleans or risk frostbite in an imagined northern kingdom.

The Merry Spinster

Mallory Ortberg, author of Texts from Jane Eyre and former writer for The Hairpin and The Toast, is back on familiar ground with her latest book The Merry Spinster, a chilling and darkly humorous reworking of children’s fairy tales and fables. Ortberg is unafraid of shattering stereotypes and comfortable exploring gender fluidity. In doing so, she reveals the truths within these familiar tales and modernizes them in a way that is both approachable and entertaining. In this collection, she transforms stories such as The Velveteen Rabbit and “Cinderella” in a way that is nearly opposite to the Disneyfication these tales typically endure.

On shelves: March 13

Impostor Syndrome

Millie Roper is back in Impostor Syndrome, the third book in Mishell Baker’s Arcadia Project series. The Arcadia Project was a group that monitored the interactions between the human world and its parallel magical world. But three months ago, tension between the London and Los Angeles teams splintered the group. When the London team retaliates and attempts to frame Millie’s partner for murder, she comes up with a plan to save him. Millie is nothing if not clever, and if her dangerous scheme works, it might just knock the London headquarters out of power for good. In a starred review Publishers Weekly wrote this about the finale: “The tear-jerking conclusion is a fitting wrap-up to the series, but readers will still hope for more Millie stories to come.”

On shelves: March 13

The Queens of Innis Lear

While The Queens of Innis Lear, Tessa Gratton’s debut adult fantasy novel, nods to William Shakespeare’s King Lear, the king’s three daughters—Gaela, Regan, and Elia—are firmly at the center of this narrative. One of them will need to rule the kingdom once their ailing father dies. The king asks each of them to tell him why they should be the one he chooses. Elia is the king’s favorite, but she refuses to argue for her right to the throne, and the king strips her of her title. This leaves the island in the hands of Elia’s ambitious sisters, Gaela and Regan. The sisters will need to protect the kingdom from outsiders who would take it over, and it will be up to Elia to step in and create harmony in a land divided.

On shelves: March 27

Space Opera

New York Times bestselling author Catherynne M. Valente returns to the page with Space Opera, a tale as full of sparkling delight as the disco ball on its cover. A century has passed since the wars which nearly destroyed the galaxy. Decibel “Dess” Jones is the former leader of one-hit-wonder band Decibel Jones and the Absolute Zeros. Dess is visited by a creature who tells him that he and the band need to rock once more but this time in battle. The band will find either redemption or ruin on the stage at Metagalactic Grand Prix, an enormous galaxy-encompassing gathering that includes a beauty pageant, a gladiator contest, and a concert. This time it’s not about having another hit song for Dess and his band. Instead, the fate of humankind is at stake in a battle Dess and his band can’t afford to lose. If they do, aliens will wipe out human beings forever.

On shelves: April 3

The Wolf

Leo Carew’s debut novel The Wolf is the first in a thrilling new historical fantasy series. After his father is killed in battle, 19-year-old Roper, who is green in the ways of politics and war, is forced to take over his leadership of the harsh northern landscape of the Black Kingdom. When a human army led by commoner Bellamus approaches from the south with the intent of invading the kingdom, Roper must defend his homeland. But who will protect Roper from those who wish to unseat him?

On shelves: April 3

The City of Lost Fortunes

Debut novelist Bryan Camp delivers the first book in his Crescent City series. The book is set in post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans, a city Camp has filled with vampires, gods, and other magical and monsterly types. There, Jude Dubuisson lives with a gift passed on to him by his father: the ability to find lost things. Even though he used this power in the past to make money on the streets as a magician, Jude now opts to push the power away and stay out of the fray. Unfortunately, when the Fortune god is murdered during a high-stakes card game, and then other players fall prey as well, Jude is unwillingly sucked into the world of magic. He must use his power to find out the truth before he becomes one of the victims himself. At the center of this murder mystery fantasy is the city of New Orleans with all of its own special magic.

On shelves: April 17

Head On

John Scalzi fans will rejoice at his latest near-future novel Head On, a companion to Lock In. In this world, some inhabitants suffer from Haden’s Syndrome, a disease that paralyzes the body but leaves the mind intact. Many people with Haden’s Syndrome use robots called threeps to play Hilketa, a violent sport where winning requires ripping off an opponent’s head and carrying it across the goal line. When one of the Haden’s Syndrome players dies during a match after his threep is injured, things look suspicious. FBI agents Chris Shane and Leslie Vann are called to investigate and they uncover shocking information about the players and the nature of the game itself.

On shelves: April 17

Blackfish City

War has transformed the known world in Sam J. Miller’s new sci-fi novel, Blackfish City. With the cities on Earth destroyed and uninhabitable, a new floating city named Qaanaaq is built in the Arctic Circle. Qaanaaq is seen as a fresh new start, but it’s plagued with inequality, disease, crime, and corruption. The arrival of a mysterious woman, dubbed the orcamancer for the whale she rides to the city’s shore, spurs four citizens to come together and uncover the city’s darkest secrets. The orcamancer and this newly formed band of fighters need to find a way save Qaanaaq before human civilization is lost for good.

On shelves: April 17

Only Human

Brace yourselves for Sylvain Neuvel’s latest, Only Human, the third and final installment in the Themis Files series. Nearly ten years have passed since the events in Sleeping Giants, when scientist Rose Franklin saved the Earth from robots bent on destroying humanity. She’s since lived on the planet Esat Ekt with linguist Vincent Couture and his daughter Eva, but these three humans are finally ready to head home. Another conflict is waiting they arrive: America and Russia are vying for power, and they’re both willing to sacrifice anything to possess it. Rose will need to pull the fractured Earth Defense Corps back together and save the planet from itself.

On shelves: May 1

Song of Blood & Stone

Song of Blood & Stone, the first book in L. Penelope’s Earthsinger Chronicles, follows the story of orphan Jasminda ul-Sarifor. Jasminda is an Earthsinger, someone who can heal others through the power of song. It’s a gift that is feared and reviled in her home of Elsira, and it’s one of the two reasons she’s seen as an outsider. The other is her Lagrimari heritage. When Jasminda encounters Jack, an attractive Elsiran spy on the lam, she learns that the magic border that separates Lagrimar and Elsira is in danger of failing. If it does, Lagrimar will invade. Jasminda and Jack must work quickly if they hope to stop war from waging between these two countries.

On shelves: May 1

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