As always, there are so many new releases I’m excited about. And as always, I’ve tried to be circumspect and discerning and have failed miserably, as I have 40 books on this list. Alas.
I’m doing this a bit differently this time. Normally, I have two most anticipated posts, and I separate them by release date (i.e. post number one includes January to June releases, while post number two includes July to December releases). However, because so many books are yet to have release dates or covers, what I’m going to do is just include all of my most anticipated books that do have release dates and covers, and in the second part of this post, which will probably come sometime in April or May 2022, I’ll post all the rest once details have been released.
I’m also breaking it up by genre this time, just to shake things up. Oh, and everything not indicated as YA is adult, as my enjoyment of YA has greatly declined, and therefore there are very few YA releases on this list (only 3, and all from authors I’ve already read and liked). I am also making the executive decision not to include sequels, but offhand, I am looking forward to Rebecca Roanhorse’s Fevered Star, Hannah Whitten’s For the Throne, and Tasha Suri’s The Oleander Sword.
Anyway, onto the books!
Secondary World Fantasy
Servant Mage (Jan 18, Tordotcom): This is a little fantasy novella about rebellion, conspiracy, and people called Lamplighters who can illuminate through magic. And I’m guessing dragons also feature, given the cover?
The Beholden (Jan 18, Erewhon): Focused on two very different women who summon some sort of deity to extract a favor, only to find themselves owing her later on.
Age of Ash (Feb 15, Orbit): I don’t know much about this except it seems to be focused on a young girl, a thief, investigating her brother’s murder in a peculiar city. I’ve not had much luck with Abraham’s other fantasy series, but here’s hoping this one will appeal to me more!
The Justice of Kings (Feb 22, Orbit): A fantasy murder mystery, I think? I believe I read somewhere it involves a great dynamic between a witch and the king’s justice. Looks promising.
A Far Wilder Magic (Mar 8, Wednesday Books): YA fantasy. I absolutely loved Allison Saft’s debut novel; there is something so captivating and charming and atmospheric about her writing. It takes place in a kind of alternate 1920s, I think, and features the grump/sunshine trope, only the girl is the grump.
The Stardust Thief (Mar 17, Orbit): An Arab-inspired fantasy written by an Arab woman! Honestly, that was all I needed to know, but this also sounds excellent, featuring a female thief, a cowardly prince, a bodyguard, and a jinn queen.
The Bone Orchard (Mar 22, Tor): Charm is a witch, a necromancer, a whore, and a madam, who needs to figure out who killed the emperor. I think? Honestly, go read the summary, it sounds wild.
The City of Dusk (Mar 22, Orbit): Four gods, four magic systems, four heirs, all of whom must work together to save their city. I’ve not read anything by this author before because none of it had really sparked my interest, but this seems very cool!
In a Garden Burning Gold (Apr 5, Del Rey): I’ve enjoyed Power’s previous two novels, both YA horror, so I’m very curious to see how she handles an adult fantasy! I really like her writing style and think it would be very suited to fantasy. This one is about twins who are maybe immortal? Ageless? They have spent centuries helping their father rule a city that now clamors for independence.
Juniper and Thorn (June 7, Harper Voyager): I really enjoyed Ava’s debut novel and I think I’m even more excited for this one, which features a girl with a tyrannical father who falls in love with a himbo dancer, in a setting inspired by Victorian-era Odessa. It’s also a retelling of the Grimm fairytale The Juniper Tree, which is pretty gruesome. Ava also describes it as a cross between Deathless and We Have Always Lived in the Castle, with Karen Russell and Kelly Link vibes.
A Strange and Stubborn Endurance (July 26, Tor): I’ve been meaning to read Meadows’ debut for a while but haven’t gotten round to it, so perhaps I’ll start with her sophomore novel, featuring a political marriage between two men and deadly court politics.
Kalyna the Soothsayer (July 26, Erewhon): Haven’t heard too many people talk about this one! It’s about a young woman who comes from a long line of seers, only she doesn’t have the gift herself, and has been faking it — and then she’s kidnapped by the kingdom’s spymaster, who expects her to use her skills to help him. I’ve read an excerpt of this and it’s written in a very interesting way, almost in little vignettes? I’ve never seen that in secondary world fantasy before!
SFF in Our World
Last Exit (Feb 22, Tor): Normally dystopian sci-fi isn’t my type of thing, but I’m very intrigued by this one, and of course Max Gladstone is a well-known and highly praised author in this genre! It seems to be about a group of people with strange powers traversing a dystopic US in the hopes of finding their friend.
WILD AND WICKED THINGS (Mar 29, Redhook): Set in the aftermath of World War I, this is set on secluded Crow Island, where a young woman with no interest in magic maybe falls in love with a woman rumored to be a witch? Sounds decadent and creepy, and the blurb claims it’s a “glittering world filled with illicit magic, blood debts, and murder.”
KAIKEYI (Apr 26, Redhook): A retelling in the vein of Madeline Miller’s Circe, this is about Kaikeyi, a queen in the Indian epic the Ramayana. The first line reads: “I was born on the full moon under an auspicious constellation, the holiest of positions—much good it did me.” I think this will be full of gorgeous prose, and this is not a story I’m at all familiar with, so I’m very much looking forward to it!
HER MAJESTY’S ROYAL COVEN (June 14, Penguin): This is pitched as A Discovery of Witches meets The Craft; I didn’t like the former and have never seen the latter but it sounds excellent: it’s about a group of women who work in a government organization for witches, but they are reeling from a civil war and internal bureaucracy and trying to live normal lives, when a powerful warlock, who threatens the existence of the whole organization, is captured.
THE BOOK OF GOTHEL (July 26, Redhook): A retelling of Mother Gothel of Rapunzel fame, set in what seems to be medieval Germany? Rapunzel is one of my favorite fairytales and I’ve always been fascinated by Mother Gothel; should be super interesting to see how this retelling goes!
RELUCTANT IMMORTALS (Aug 23, Saga): Yo, the premise for this sounds wild. It’s about Lucy and Bertha, from the novels Dracula and Jane Eyre, who are now vampires living in 1967 LA, and have to deal with the return of Dracula and Mr Rochester, who I guess are also vampires? It sounds completely bonkers and I’m so here for it.
Parallel Hells (Feb 17, Sceptre): I always aspire to read short story collections, but somehow never do. Still, this one is full of weird horror stories that sound really really fascinating, so here’s hoping!
Sundial (Mar 1, Tor Nightfire): A horror story about a mom who is frightened of her kid, but the kid is also frightened of her mom, and it seems like it’ll be a guessing game of who is the one we as the reader should be frightened of. Also features the mother’s very creepy hometown which she drags her daughter to. Also, I would be lying if I said I wasn’t influenced by this gorgeous cover.
The Book of Cold Cases (Mar 15, Berkley): It’s so interesting to me that this author is now recognized for her modern thrillers, when most of her backlist is romantic historical fiction with supernatural twists. Anyway, I’ve now read three books by her and have enjoyed all of them. This one features podcasts and cold cases and two women with a potentially dangerous relationship.
The Hacienda (May 10, Berkley): Y’all, I am SO excited for this; it’s been pitched as Mexican Gothic meets Rebecca and it has a Hot Priest, a creepy Gothic House, and a Sinister Husband. And that cover!
Hide (May 24, Del Rey): A short horror novel set in an amusement park where people are vanishing. I’ve loved Kiersten White’s trilogy about gender-swapped Vlad the Impaler and am excited to try her first adult horror thriller!
THE PATH OF THORNS (June 14, Titan): I’ve never read anything by Angela Slatter, but obviously she’s a highly acclaimed author. This book feels like it’s written in the spirit of The Turn of the Screw: a woman becomes governess to two children as well as a lab assistant to their mysterious father, but things on the remote estate are creepy and Gothic and not as they seem.
WHAT MOVES THE DEAD (July 12, Tor Nightfire): A retelling of the House of Usher featuring weird fungus, possessed wildlife, and bizarre events all around. I generally enjoy T. Kingfisher’s horror novels very much, and I remember loving The Fall of the House of Usher when I read it back in like, seventh grade, even though I remember nothing about it now — gotta reread it before I read this!
THESE FLEETING SHADOWS (August 9, Viking): YA (I think?). Pitched as The Haunting of Hill House meets Knives Out, this book is about a girl whose grandfather leaves her all his wealth, on the condition that she live on a Creepy Estate for a year. I’ve only read one other book by this author but it was properly creepy, so I’m looking forward to more horror from her.
ONE DARK WINDOW (October 18, Orbit): I wasn’t sure whether to place this here or in secondary world fantasy, since I believe it does take place in a whole other world (and the publisher!), but I feel like the Gothic vibes win out over the fantasy vibes! I have no idea how to describe this book. Basically the main character is trying to cure a kingdom of dark magic but also she may be possessed by something nighmarish? I think? Whatever, it sounds spectacular, and I love the cover (which also feels way more Gothic than fantasy).
THE RED PALACE (Jan 25, Feiwel and Friends): YA murder mystery set in 1758 Korea. A palace nurse, to prove her mentor’s innocence after he is accused of murdering four women, teams up with a young police inspector to solve the mystery, and they maybe fall in love too, as their investigation begins to point to the prince. I adored June Hur’s debut novel and think she’s really skilled at plotting mysteries and writing historical fiction.
THE LEVIATHAN (Feb 17, Raven Books): This is comped to The Mermaid and Mrs. Hancock, which I enjoyed, and The Essex Serpent, which I…hope to enjoy, lol. It features a rational soldier, a servant accused of witchcraft, and some sort of creature linked to a shipwreck? Could definitely be a hit or miss for me, but I’m intrigued.
A LADY’S GUIDE TO FORTUNE HUNTING (July 12, Viking): The only romance on this list, set in Regency England, about a rather mercenary young woman who single-mindedly sets out to find a husband who can support her and her sisters. Unfortunately, the brother of the man she has set her sights on sees her for the fortune hunter she is and is determined to stop her and of course they fall in love.
MADEMOISELLE REVOLUTION (Aug 2, Berkley): The biracial daughter of a rich planter in 1791 Saint-Domingue flees after the Haitian Revolution and makes it to Paris, where she becomes involved with Robespierre and his mistress, and I think there’s a sapphic romance with said mistress?
THE LATINIST (Jan 4, Norton): A dark-ish academia about academic politics and an abusive relationship featuring a student and her professor. I’m a bit hesitant to read a book like this authored by a white man graduate of a fancy MFA program (Iowa) because there is a high chance it just won’t be my vibe, but I read an excerpt and liked the writing style, plus this plot is right up my street.
VLADIMIR (Feb 1, Simon Schuster): The book begins with the line, “When I was a child, I loved old men, and I could tell that they also loved me.” Doesn’t that just immediately grab you? This narrator’s professor husband is being investigated for inappropriate relationships with students, while simultaneously the narrator becomes infatuated with a married novelist. I just have to say, I really, really dislike this cover; it’s so bizarrely off-tone for what this book is? This makes it look like a romance novel, which it really, really isn’t. Weird marketing decision.
YERBA BUENA (Feb 8, Flatiron): I’ve only read one of this author’s novels before, a YA one, but I read it in a day and loved it; I thought her writing was beautiful and atmospheric, so I’m super duper excited to read her first adult novel, a sapphic love story featuring two somewhat messy women.
DISORIENTATION (Mar 22, Penguin): How do I even begin to describe this? The summary is wild and SO lengthy. Basically, a Chinese-American Ph.D student makes a startling discovery in the archives and it changes the trajectory of her life — and that’s just the beginning. This sounds like an absolutely wild ride from start to finish, with SO much happening in so many different directions.
IF AN EGYPTIAN CANNOT SPEAK ENGLISH (Apr 5, Graywolf Press): Set in the aftermath of the Egyptian revolution, it’s a kind of love story between a photographer now addicted to cocaine and an Egyptian-American woman. I am really, really excited to see a book set in Egypt about Egyptians authored by an Egyptian female author!
BITTER ORANGE TREE (May 10, Catapult): I think this is the only translated book on this list, translated from Arabic, about an Omani woman living in England and attempting to adjust. I really like diasporic stories about Arab women, so depending on the writing style, I could really love this and I’m hopeful!
These Bodies of Water (Mar 3, Tinder Press): I can’t describe this better than the summary, which says this book”investigates this history through the Middle Eastern coastlines and waterways that were so vital to the Empire’s hold” and that the author combines her own personal experience with “history, politics, myth and poetry in a devastating examination of this unacknowledged part of Britain’s colonial past.” Love to see memoirs from Arab women, and as someone obsessed with Britain who is also Egyptian, I’m especially interested in Britain’s historical dominance of the Middle East.
ROMANTIC MEDICINE AND THE GOTHIC IMAGINATION (June 5, University of Wales Press): The summary says this book “shows that the Gothic’s prioritization of fear and gore gives it access to non-normative bodies, shifting medical and narrative agency to bodies considered powerless” and each chapter pairs a gothic trope with a critical medical debate. I love the Gothic, and I’m actually really interested in medical history, so I’m excited for this!
ROGUES TRUE STORIES OF GRIFTERS KILLERS REBELS AND CROOKS (June 28, Doubleday): I’ve yet to read either of Keefe’s very popular full-length nonfiction, mostly because I tend to be the sort of nonfiction reader who actually does not like getting into the weeds of things, so I think this book would be a great place to get started with his work, since it talks about multiple things and likely won’t go into the excruciating detail I dislike. According to the summary, the chapters discuss “the intricacies of forging $150,000 vintage wines, examines whether a whistleblower who dared to expose money laundering at a Swiss bank is a hero or a fabulist, spends time in Vietnam with Anthony Bourdain, chronicles the quest to bring down a cheerful international black market arms merchant, and profiles a passionate death penalty attorney who represents the worst of the worst.”