It’s Tuesday, which means it’s time for a new batch of book releases! Here are a few of the books out today you should add to your TBR. This is a very small percentage of the new releases this week, as well as a few others you may have missed from recent weeks. Make sure to stick around until the end for some more Book Riot resources for keeping up with new books. The book descriptions listed are the publisher’s, unless otherwise noted.
Fevered Star by Rebecca Roanhorse
Return to The Meridian with New York Times bestselling author Rebecca Roanhorse’s sequel to the most critically hailed epic fantasy of 2020 Black Sun—finalist for the Hugo, Nebula, Lambda, and Locus awards.
There are no tides more treacherous than those of the heart. —Teek saying
The great city of Tova is shattered. The sun is held within the smothering grip of the Crow God’s eclipse, but a comet that marks the death of a ruler and heralds the rise of a new order is imminent.
The Meridian: a land where magic has been codified and the worship of gods suppressed. How do you live when legends come to life, and the faith you had is rewarded?
As sea captain Xiala is swept up in the chaos and currents of change, she finds an unexpected ally in the former Priest of Knives. For the Clan Matriarchs of Tova, tense alliances form as far-flung enemies gather and the war in the heavens is reflected upon the earth.
And for Serapio and Naranpa, both now living avatars, the struggle for free will and personhood in the face of destiny rages. How will Serapio stay human when he is steeped in prophecy and surrounded by those who desire only his power? Is there a future for Naranpa in a transformed Tova without her total destruction?
Welcome back to the fantasy series of the decade in Fevered Star—book two of Between Earth and Sky.
Reasons to read it: For a story that picks up soon after the events of Black Sun, and a return to an epically fantastic tale set in pre-Columbian Americas. The world Roanhorse has created in this trilogy is casually queer and complex enough to feel lived in, without becoming confusing. This second book in the dark fantasy series is just as good as the first.
Go Hex Yourself by Jessica Clare
When Reggie Johnson answers a job ad in the paper, she’s astonished to find that she’s not applying for work at her favorite card game, Spellcraft: The Magicking. Instead, she’s applying to be an actual familiar for an actual witch. As in, real magic.
The new job has a few perks – great room and board, excellent pay, and she’s apprenticing to a powerful witch. Sure, the witch is a bit eccentric. And sure, there was that issue with the black cat Reggie would prefer to forget about. The biggest problem, however, is warlock Ben Magnus, her employer’s nephew and the most arrogant, insufferable, maddening man to ever cast a spell.
Reggie absolutely hates him. He’s handsome, but he’s also bossy and irritating and orders her around. Ben’s butt might look great in a crystal ball vision, but that’s as far as it goes. But when someone with a vendetta targets the household, she finds herself working with Ben to break a deadly curse. Apparently, when they’re not fighting like cats and dogs, things get downright…bewitching.
Reasons to read it: This is a super fun paranormal romance with an interesting magical system. It’s written with fans of the enemies-to-lovers and grumpy/sunshine tropes in mind, and has entertaining side characters. Definitely pick this up when you’re in the mood for a light-hearted romance with a few laughs and some steam.
The Memory Librarian by Janelle Monáe
Whoever controls the memories controls the future.
Janelle Monáe and an incredible array of talented collaborating creators have written a collection of interwoven tales comprising the bold vision and powerful themes that have made Monáe such a compelling and celebrated storyteller. Dirty Computer introduced a world in which thoughts—as a means of self-conception—could be controlled or erased by a select few. And whether human, A.I., or other, your life and sentience was dictated by those who’d convinced themselves they had the right to decide your fate.
That was until Jane 57821 decided to remember and break free.
Expanding from that mythos, these stories fully explore what it’s like to live in such a totalitarian world…and what it takes to get out of it. Building off the traditions of speculative writers such as Octavia Butler, Ted Chiang, Becky Chambers, and Nnedi Okorafor—and filled with the artistic genius and powerful themes that have made Monáe a worldwide icon in the first place—The Memory Librarian serves readers tales of race, gender identity, and love, but also of space, time, and, of course, the power of memory.
Reasons to read it: For Janelle Monáe. That’s it. That’s the tweet. If you need more, The Memory Librarian takes place in the same world as her concept album Dirty Computer, although you don’t need to be familiar with it to appreciate the stories here. These six dystopian stories coauthored by Monáe and others grapple with a totalitarian regime and the importance of the things that fight against it, like community and love.
Violets by Kyung-Sook Shin, Translated by Anton Hur
We join San in 1970s rural South Korea, a young girl ostracised from her community. She meets a girl called Namae, and they become friends until one afternoon changes everything. Following a moment of physical intimacy in a minari field, Namae violently rejects San, setting her on a troubling path of quashed desire and isolation.
We next meet San, aged twenty-two, as she starts a job in a flower shop. There, we are introduced to a colourful cast of characters, including the shop’s mute owner, the other florist Su-ae, and the customers that include a sexually aggressive businessman and a photographer, who San develops an obsession for. Throughout, San’s moment with Namae lingers in the back of her mind.
A story of desire and violence about a young woman who everyone forgot, Violets is a captivating and sensual read, full of tragedy and beauty.
Reasons to read it: For a look into the queer life of an isolated girl in South Korea in the ’70s. This is a quiet novel of love, rejection, and despair from a Man Asian Literary Prize winner. Through San’s story, we see how women in the margins can be oppressed and cast aside.
Spear by Nicola Griffith
The girl knows she has a destiny before she even knows her name. She grows up in the wild, in a cave with her mother, but visions of a faraway lake come to her on the spring breeze, and when she hears a traveler speak of Artos, king of Caer Leon, she knows that her future lies at his court.
And so, brimming with magic and eager to test her strength, she breaks her covenant with her mother and, with a broken hunting spear and mended armour, rides on a bony gelding to Caer Leon. On her adventures she will meet great knights and steal the hearts of beautiful women. She will fight warriors and sorcerers. And she will find her love, and the lake, and her fate.
Reasons to read it: For a refreshing and queer spin on Arthurian legend. While Griffith presents a magical adventure in a familiar wrapping, tropes are turned on their heads and the period comes alive through excellent detailing. This is a diverse retelling that reclaims a space for people of color, queer people, and disabled people that shows that they were in our beloved stories all along.
Queen of the Tiles by Hanna Alkaf
They Wish They Were Us meets The Queen’s Gambit in the world of competitive Scrabble when a teen girl is forced to investigate the mysterious death of her best friend a year after the fact when her Instagram comes back to life with cryptic posts and messages.
noun: a person or thing that precipitates an event or change
When Najwa Bakri walks into her first Scrabble competition since her best friend’s death, it’s with the intention to heal and move on with her life. Perhaps it wasn’t the best idea to choose the very same competition where said best friend, Trina Low, died. It might be even though Najwa’s trying to change, she’s not ready to give up Trina just yet.
But the same can’t be said for all the other competitors. With Trina, the Scrabble Queen herself, gone, the throne is empty, and her friends are eager to be the next reigning champion. All’s fair in love and Scrabble, but all bets are off when Trina’s formerly inactive Instagram starts posting again, with cryptic messages suggesting that maybe Trina’s death wasn’t as straightforward as everyone thought. And maybe someone at the competition had something to do with it.
As secrets are revealed and the true colors of her friends are shown, it’s up to Najwa to find out who’s behind these mysterious posts—not just to save Trina’s memory, but to save herself.
Reasons to read it: Malaysian-set competitive Scrabble murder mystery! Read for an amateur sleuth in the form of a brown-skinned, Hijab-wearing girl who is struggling with the trauma of having lost her friend. Mental health and friendship are explored as an intriguing mystery full of clever wordplay plays out. Bonus points for the words at the beginning of each chapter being featured with their Scrabble values.
Other Book Riot New Releases Resources
- All the Books, our weekly new releases podcast, where Liberty and a cast of co-hosts talk about eight books out that week that we’ve read and loved.
- The New Books Newsletter, where we send you an email of the books out this week that are getting buzz.
- Finally, if you want the real inside scoop on new releases, you have to check out Book Riot Insiders’ New Releases Index! That’s where I find 90% of new releases, and you can filter by trending books, Rioters’ picks, and even LGBTQ new releases!