I am waiting, not very patiently, for a whole lot of books to be released this year.
Children’s and YA fiction.
The Whispering Skull by Johnathon Stroud (The second in a series about an England that has been overrun by ghosts. Only children can see and hear them, so only children are able to combat them. There are some genuinely creepy moments in the first book and I liked the interplay between the main characters. The world-building is great and I’m keen to see what Stroud does with all the hints and clues he dropped in the first book.)
We Were Liars by E Lockhart (I don’t even know what this one is about, but I really like Lockhart’s work and she hasn’t published anything for a few years, so I’m looking forward to finding out what she’s done next. She writes funny, smart, and thoughtful novels about what it’s like to be a girl in the world.)
Unmade by Sarah Rees Brennan. (The final novel in her trilogy about a girl who finds out that her imaginary friend is a real boy, and that her town has been controlled by amoral magician-types for generations. Rees Brennan writes smart, funny dialogue, and her characters are very appealing. She likes to pour on the relationship angst as well. Who knows what horrors she’ll inflict on everyone in the final book.)
The as-yet-untitled third book in The Raven Boys sequence by Maggie Stiefvator. (I’m really hanging out for this one. Stiefvator writes beautifully – lyrical, elegant, thoughtful prose that gets in amongst you and sticks. She mentions in a blog post that she wants her words to come inside your head and rearrange the furniture, and she succeeded in my case at least. The second book, Dream Thieves, took hold of me and didn’t let go for ages after I’d finished it. That said, I’m not sure how I’d even characterise the books. Modern fantasy. A grail quest. Girl meets boys. Girl begins to grow up. Boys chafe at and enjoy each others’ company. Social classes clash. There are cars and drugs and a hitman and the girl’s wonderful family of witches and psychics. And it all adds up to something unique and wonderful.)
Foxglove Summer by Ben Aaronovitch. (The last book finished with a real punch to the gut of a surprise. I’m nervously awaiting the fallout. I’m also wondering what Aaronovitch is planning to do with the main narrative arc. Will he wind it up in this book? Or will there be more?)
Steles of the Sky by Elizabeth Bear. (I’m looking forward to being immersed in Bear’s world again. She’s good, so good that all you have to do is sit back and let her take you along. You don’t have to worry about infelicitous world-building or plot u-turns or character weirdness or the kind of earnest didacticism that mars some writer’s attempts to do something more than traditional sword and sorcery epics. Bear just does her thing and trusts the reader to keep up.)
Full Fathom Five by Max Gladstone. (I didn’t know I wanted this one until a couple of days ago. But now I want it very much indeed.)
Good, Bad, and the Emus by Donna Andrews. (The latest in a series of comic mysteries featuring Meg, her huge, eccentric family, animals, animals, and more animals, and her husband and children. These novels are totally fluffy. But I like the way Andrews foregrounds Meg’s activity. Although her husband and children are important, they’re not the focus of the stories. Meg blacksmiths, sleuths, organises, and socialises, as well as wifes and mothers.)
Designated Daughters by Margaret Maron. (I’ve been reading the Deborah Knott series for years. It’s past its best, but I’m still reading. These are southern cosies. Another big family. Another working woman. Lots of food and gatherings and family dynamics with the mysteries increasingly relegated to the background.)