In the past week and a half I’ve brought you my Anticipated Books for Winter/Spring 2015 and today I bring you the fifteen books I anticipate reading the most in the coming six months. As usual it’s a list of fifteen, as there are just too many good books to choose from and I always have a hard time getting the list down to the more usual ten books. Also as per usual, I’ve excluded many books I’m really looking forward to reading right out of the gate, for example all the new instalments in series I’ve been reading. If I loved the previous book in the series, it’s a good bet I’ll want to read the next one. Some examples of these are Sarah Lotz’s Day Four, Sarah Hilary’s follow up to Someone Else’s Skin, Brian Staveley’s The Providence of Fire, and Claire McGowan’s third Paula McGuire book The Silent Dead. So below in alphabetical order by author is my list, with a little explanation of why I really can’t wait to read these books. Do you agree or would you have chosen differently from the lists I posted recently?
Elizabeth Bear – Karen Memory
I’ve been meaning to read more long form Bear for ages, ever since I read her collaboration with Sarah Monette called A Companion to Wolves. I missed out on her previous trilogy the Eternal Sky series, because you can only read so much, but I’ve already seen some rave reviews for Karen Memory, from people whose tastes I respect, so I guess this will have to be the year for me and Bear.
Tanya Byrne – For Holly
Byrne’s debut Heart-Shaped Bruise blew my mind, so much so I caught my first case of book fear from it. I had a hard time starting her second novel Follow Me Down for fear it wouldn’t live up to the previous one. Thankfully it lived up to expectations and perhaps even surpassed them. Thus I’d read Byrne’s newest, For Holly, sight unseen. However, the synopsis for For Holly sounds great and I can’t wait to discover the roller coaster Byrne will take her readers on this time.
David Churchill – The Leopards of Normandy: Devil
Me, historical fiction, and royal houses. If there is ever a topic that I have a weak spot for in historical fiction, it is royal houses. And the house of Normandy is one of the most defining houses in English history as it brought forth William the Conqueror, the man who won the Battle of Hastings in 1066 and changed the English language and history forever. I’ve not read anything about this warrior-king, except what I learned in secondary school history classes and read in more general history books. This book sounds awesome and I look forward to diving into it in the coming months.
Joanna Courtney – The Chosen Queen
As a nice counterpoint to the book above, The Chosen Queen looks at the events of 1066 from the other side of the conflict. And this time from the point of view of a queen twice over. Edyth Alfgarsdottir, or Aeldgyth of Mercia, becomes Queen of Wales and later England. Her story promises to be fascinating and it’ll be interesting to see how interpretations of events differ between The Leopards of Normandy: Devil and The Chosen Queen.
Cecilia Ekbäck – Wolf Winter
I’ve not read much historical fiction set in Scandinavia, other than that dealing with Vikings. Yet its history is rich and varied. So Cecilia Ekbäck’s Wolf Winter set in Lapland in 1717 immediately caught my attention. This murder mystery sounds like a tense read, with lots of small community angst and secrets. In other words, compelling reading.
I.W. Gregorio – None of the Above
Already highly-lauded, Gregorio’s debut looks set to make a splash on publication. The book first came to my attention when the cover was revealed on The Book Smugglers and when I read the accompanying blurb I really wanted to read the book as well. None of the Above tells the story of Kristin, a girl at the top of the social heap at school who discovers that she is intersex. None of the Above promises an interesting look at intersex and the realities of getting to grips with your body, when your body suddenly isn’t the one you thought it was.
Renée Knight – Disclaimer
The mystery at the heart of Disclaimer, that of the book that seems to be telling the main character’s biggest secret is frightening and fascinating at the same time. It also sounds like a set up that will either work brilliantly or will implode in the execution. I’m obviously banking on the former and I’m really looking forward to seeing how the book turns out.
Ken Liu – The Grace of Kings
Liu is very well known for his short fiction, having won the Hugo, Nebula and World Fantasy Award for The Paper Menagerie. I love Liu’s stories; his writing is amazing and always has an emotional impact. Unsurprisingly, I’m very exciting to see how his writing translates into long form. In addition, The Grace of Kings sounds amazing, an epic fantasy set in a very different environment than the usual medieval Western European, feudal society. I’m really looking forward to getting my hands on this story.
Rebecca Mascull – Song of the Sea Maid
I loved Mascull’s 2014 debut The Visitors, which was a fascinating and spell-binding story of a blind and deaf girl, who learns to communicate through the guidance of her governess. It’s still one of my favourite books for 2014, so obviously I’m looking forward to Mascull’s sophomore effort, which promises to be as fascinating. Song of the Sea Maid is set in the eighteenth century and featuring a woman who overcomes societal expectations and limitations to follow her love of science. Count me in!
Paul McCauley – Something Coming Through
When I met up with the Gollancz crew in October, editor Marcus Gipps gushed about this new McCauley novel. His descriptions of it sounded fantastic and coupled with the synopsis, it sounds like something that I’d really enjoy. And in my quest to become more of an SF reader, Something Coming Through seems like a great means of accomplishing it. Especially since McCauley is a very well-respected British SF writer whose work hasn’t been published overseas much.
Silvia Moreno-Garcia – Signal to Noise
Mixtapes and magic, do I need to say more? Silvia Moreno-Garcia’s debut novel sound amazing. Set in Mexico with music truly being magic, how can you not want to read it? Add the mystery alluded to in the synopsis and I’m really looking forward to getting stuck into the eARC I have for this one.
Peter Newman – The Vagrant
Having just seen the cover revealed for this book has only heightened my anticipation for this novel. Apart from being the voice of Latimer on the Tea and Jeopardy podcast and being perennial A Fantastical Librarian favourite Emma Newman’s other half, Peter Newman is also a fine writer in his own right, so I was excited when his novel sold to HarperVoyager. The Vagrant sounds like a fantastic story and I can’t wait to discover more about this mysterious man with a baby – yes a baby – and a sword.
Manda Scott – The Girl Who Walked Into Fire
Also known as M.C. Scott, Manda is perhaps best known for her Rome and Boudica series. Her newest, The Girl Who Walked Into Fire, combines two of the other genres she writes in, thrillers and crime, with her historical fiction writing. Set both in the present and in the time of Joan of Arc this book looks to be an exciting tale of conspiracy and betrayal. Add to that the fact that its historical focus is Joan of Arc and I’m totally sold on the concept.
James P Smythe – Way Down Dark
As I said in my Smugglivus contribution on The Book Smugglers, thus far I’ve only read Smythe’s short fiction, but everyone I know who’s read his novels has raved about them. So it seems like a no-brainer that I should read his first YA SF offering. Combine that with a scary locked-room thriller set aboard a spaceship and you can count on me reading this book as soon as I can.
Rebecca Wait – The Followers
Set on the lonely moors of Northern England, the premise of this novel intrigued me from the start. To me the idea of believing in a prophet so much that you lose your free will and common sense is just so wrong that stories dealing with this phenomenon have always fascinated me. What interested me about this narrative was the unwilling member in the person of Judith, who is dragged along with her mum quite against her will. It’s an interesting perspective and with the added element of the fall-out and what happens after a cult falls apart, The Followers sounds fantastic.