May, why do you do this to me? There are so many dynamite new fantasy books hitting the stands, I scarcely know where to look. And I have absolutely no idea where I’ll find the have time to read any of them.
Well, I’ll worry about that later. The task at hand is to introduce you to the 30 most intriguing fantasy titles released this month. And trust me, I had a heck of a time whittling it down to 30. Time’s a wasting, so let’s get started.
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It seems like just last month that we were telling you all about the revised version of Peter Orullian’s first novel, The Unremembered (because it was.) The second novel in his Vault of Heaven series, Trial of Intentions, will be released in hardcover by Tor on May 26. This is one of the more interesting new fantasy series on the market — have a look.
Speaking of intriguing new series, Michael J Martinez has just wrapped up his Daedalus trilogy, a science fantasy in which Lt. Thomas Weatherby of his Majesty’s Royal Navy sails the immense void between worlds, protecting the colonies of the Solar System, rife with plunder and alien slave trade. The Venusian Gambit, published in trade paperback by Night Shade Books on May 5, brings the series to a rousing conclusion.
A few months ago I told you how impressed I was by the excerpt of heard from Nicole Kornher-Stace’s Archivist Wasp at the World Fantasy convention. A fast-paced and beautifully written story of ghosts, a mysterious post-apocalyptic world, and a young woman of extraordinary bravery, I predict it will make a major splash. It was published by Small Beer Press on May 5, 2015. It is 256 pages, priced at $14 in trade paperback and $9.95 for the digital edition.
If I had to choose just one book from this list to take home with me, I think it would have to be Jonathan Strahan’s latest anthology, The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year: Volume Nine. Want to know what’s going on — what’s really going on — in the field today? Who the top up-and-coming writers are, and who you should be paying attention to? Strahan has selected 28 stories from the best writers in the field, and from the top publications in the industry, to answer that question. As always, this book is indispensable. It will be published by Solaris Books on May 12, 2015. It is 624 pages, priced at $19.99 in trade paperback. No word yet on a digital edition, but I expect there will be.
If you enjoy Best of the Year collections (and who doesn’t?) then may I also recommend Best British Horror 2015 edited by Johnny Mains. It will be published in paperback by Salt Publishing on May 25, 2015.
We told you about Paula Guran’s newest anthology Blood Sisters: Vampire Stories by Women, a few weeks ago. Guran collects 25 vampire stories by Carrie Vaughn, Catherynne M. Valente, Nancy A. Collins, Suzy McKee Charnas, Pat Cadigan, Nalo Hopkinson, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro, Melanie Tem, Charlaine Harris, and over a dozen other women. It’s a stellar line-up, and one of the most intriguing collections I’ve seen this year. It was published on May 5, 2015 by Night Shade Books. It is 480 pages, priced at $15.99 in trade paperback and $9.99 for the digital edition.
I don’t know a lot about A Dance of Chaos by David Dalglish, but I know it’s the sixth and final volume of his long-running series, Shadowdance. People are always asking me for a heroic fantasy series they can really sink their teeth into, and this one looks like a great prospect. It will be published in paperback on May 12 by Orbit.
I told you all about A Court of Thorns and Roses, the opening volume on a new fantasy series by Sarah J. Maas, a few weeks ago, but I figured you could use a reminder. It was published in hardcover on May 5 by Bloomsbury.
Rosamund Hodge’s short story “Apotheosis” (Black Gate 15) was a marvelously original tale of three brothers who undertake a voyage across a vast sea only six inches deep, to find a new god for their small village. Her first novel, Cruel Beauty, mixed Greek mythology with Beauty and the Beast to create a tale of adventure and romance. Her second, Crimson Bound, just arrived on May 5 from Balzer + Bray. This one is a dark fantasy inspired by Little Red Riding Hood, the fairy tale The Girl With No Hands, and Norse mythology. It is 448 pages, priced at $17.99 in hardcover, and $9.99 for the digital version.
Charlaine Harris became a bestselling writer with her Sookie Stackhouse vampire novels, which were adapted into the HBO series True Blood. She published the first novel of the Midnight, Texas trilogy, Midnight Crossroad, in May 2014. The second, Day Shift, arrived in hardcover on May 5, 2015 from Ace Books.
The Deathlands series of post-apocalyptic adventure novels is one of the more incredible publishing projects of the last thirty years. It began as a collaborative project between Christopher Lowder (under the name “Jack Adrian”) and Laurence James (writing as “James Axler”). The first novel, Pilgrimage To Hell, was published in 1986; there have been an amazing 122 books in the series so far. James passed away in 2000; since then the books have been written by Victor Milan, Nick Pollotta, John Helfers, Rik Hoskin, Alan Philipson, and many others (all published under the name James Axler.) This year the series is reportedly due to end with the final book, #123, Iron Rage, to be published in July. Now’s your chance to sample one of the longest-running adventure series on the market, before it vanishes. The penultimate volume, Forbidden Trespass, was released in paperback on May 5, 2015.
I’ve been watching the career of Hannu Rajaniemi (The Quantum Thief, The Fractal Prince) with great interest. His first short story collection, Hannu Rajaniemi: Collected Fiction, will be released in hardcover by Tachyon Publications on May 19, 2015.
Heather Dixon’s fantasy novels include Entwined and Enchanted. Her latest, Illusionarium, seems considerably more ambitious. It arrives in hardcover from Greenwillow on May 19.
We’ve already told you about the long-awaited final novel in Mary Robinette Kowal’s popular Glamourist Histories, Of Noble Family. The first novel, Shades of Milk and Honey, was nominated for a Nebula Award, and Mary won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer in 2008, and two Hugo awards for her short fiction. Of Noble Family was published in hardcover by Tor Books on April 28, 2015.
I bought Wolfhound Century, the first volume in Peter Higgins’ alternate-history trilogy of the same name, shortly after it was released in 2013. The sequel, Truth and Fear, was released in March of 2014. Now the final volume, Radiant State is scheduled to arrive in hardcover from Orbit on May 19, 2015. These books are an unusual melding of fantasy, myth, and political thriller, and well worth checking out.
Rat Queens: The Far Reaching Tentacles of N’rygoth by Kurtis J. Wiebe and Roc Upchurch, is the second volume in the new “Sass & Sorcery” series from Image Comics. The first volume was nominated for a Hugo Award; this one will be published on May 19, 2015. It is 136 pages in full color, priced at $14.99.
Tina Connolly’s Seriously Wicked is the fourth novel from the author of the Nebula-nominated Ironskin, and its sequel, Copperhead. It was published by Tor on May 5, 2015. It is 208 pages, priced at $17.99 in hardcover and $9.99 for the digital edition.
Luke Scull’s Sword of the North is the sequel to 2013′s The Grim Company, which Tor.com called “Brilliant” and The Daily Mail called “A grisly, compelling read… hugely enjoyable.” It was published in hardcover by Roc on May 5th.
There’s been a great deal of fuss about Nnedi Okorafor’s since her first novel for adults, Who Fears Death, won the 2011 World Fantasy Award. The Book of Phoenix, an intriguing work of magical futurism, arrived in hardcover from DAW on May 5.
I don’t know a lot about The Boy with the Porcelain Blade by Den Patrick, from British publisher Gollancz. I know it’s a paperback reprint, and the sequel, The Boy Who Wept Blood, was released on April 1, 2015. The Boy with the Porcelain Blade was published on May 1, and looks worth investigating.
We covered volume one of Violette Malan’s omnibus Dhulyn and Parno novels here — and Gabe Dybing gave the first one in the series, The Sleeping God, a very enthusiastic review here. Now the second omnibus volume, The Dulyn and Parno Novels: Volume Two, has been published in paperback by DAW on May 5.
If you’re looking for something substantial to sink your teeth into over the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, The Doors You Mark Are Your Own (the first volume in the Joshua City Trilogy) by Okla Elliott and Raul Clement looks like a good bet. It’s 724 pages, and was published in paperback by Dark House Press on April 28.
Loki is a popular character these days, but it takes a writer of superior skill to really capture the nuances of the God of Mischief. Joanne M. Harris certainly fits the bill. Goth Chick took at look at her latest novel, The Gospel of Loki last week. If Harris’ name sounds familiar, it might be because her novel Chocolat was turned into a feature film starring Johnny Depp. Genre fans may perhaps know her best for her 2007 fantasy novel Runemarks, or for its sequel, Runelight (2011). The Gospel of Loki was published in hardcover by Saga Press on May 5, 2015.
I don’t know much about The Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan, but I like the cover enough to be intrigued. It will be published by Crown on May 19, 2015.
Pip Ballantine and Tee Morris seem to have a hit on their hands with their latest series, Ministry of Peculiar Occurrences Series. Book 2, The Janus Affair, will be published as a 432-page mass market paperback by Harper Voyager on May 29.
If you’re a fan of computer games the way I am, you know all about the bawdy and surprising role playing game The Witcher. CD Projekt Red will be released a behind-the-scenes look at the game’s setting in The World of the Witcher, a 184-page deluxe hardcover to be published by Dark Horse Books on May 19.
If you’re looking for a gift for the teen in your life, next week G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers releases a sumptuous and epically told love story inspired by A Thousand and One Nights, The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh. It arrives in hardcover on May 12.
Robert McCammon has a flair for epic, large-scale horror, as demonstrated by the alien invasion novel Stinger and the massive 864-page Swan Song. He returns to the genre with his upcoming novel The Border, the tale of an Earth torn apart by a vicious conflict between two marauding alien civilizations. It will be published as a 456-page deluxe hardcover by Subterranean Press on May 31. It is priced at $26.95. No news on a digital edition yet.
If deluxe hardcovers aren’t your thing, at the other end of the spectrum we have the e-book only Veiled Empire by Nathan Garrison. It’s to be published by Harper Voyager Impulse on May 26, 2015.
Finally, one of the most promising books of the month is Marc Turner’s When the Heavens Fall, Book One of The Chronicles of the Exile, to be published by Tor Books on May 19, 2015. It is 544 pages, priced at $27.99 in hardcover, and $14.99 for the digital edition.
That wraps it up for the upcoming fantasy releases that have grabbed our attention for May. Be sure to check back here a few times a week as we report on the most intriguing New Treasures.