Looking for something to read? Here’s our guide to the best and biggest science-fiction and fantasy books of the month.
Night Shade Books is proud to introduce the latest volume of The Best Science Fiction of the Year, a new yearly anthology compiled by Hugo and World Fantasy award–winning editor Neil Clarke, collecting the finest that the genre has to offer, from the biggest names in the field to the most exciting new writers. Available April 3.
A nascent demon-hunting crew on the lam, Danielle and her friends arrive in a small town that contains a secret occult library run by anarchists and residents who claim to have come back from the dead. When Danielle and her crew investigate, they are put directly in the crosshairs of a necromancer’s wrath — whose actions threaten to trigger the apocalypse itself. Available April 3.
In a city where words come to life and reality is infected by stories, private eye John Nyquist wakes up in a room with a dead body… The dead man’s impossible whispers plunge him into a murder investigation like no other. Clues point him deeper into an unfolding story infesting its participants as reality blurs between place and genre. Only one man can hope to put it all together, enough that lives can be saved… That man is Nyquist, and he is lost. Available April 3.
Behind its walls, the Convent of Sweet Mercy has trained young girls to hone their skills for centuries. In Mystic Class, Novice Nona Grey has begun to learn the secrets of the universe. But so often even the deepest truths just make our choices harder. Before she leaves the convent, Nona must choose which order to dedicate herself to–and whether her path will lead to a life of prayer and service or one of the blade and the fist. All that stands between her and these choices are the pride of a thwarted assassin, the designs of a would-be empress wielding the Inquisition like a knife, and the vengeance of the empire’s richest lord. Available April 3.
Roy Olfetrie planned to be an officer in the Republic of Cinnabar Navy, but when his father was unmasked as a white-collar criminal he had to take whatever he was offered. What is offered turns out to be a chance to accompany Captain Daniel Leary and Lady Adele Mundy as they go off to start a war that will put Roy at the sharp end. Available April 3
The Chosen have been warned. Powerful psychics across the globe have gotten the same eerie and insistent message: Go to Prosperity. Because in this small North Carolina mountain town, madness has taken hold… Trapped in a nightmare they can’t escape, the residents of Prosperity are killing one another, waking up with no memory of the monstrous acts they’ve committed–or the reasons why. Chief Deputy Katie Cole knows that whatever evil is afoot is beyond her expertise, and beyond the understanding of Sheriff Jackson Archer. They need help. Available April 3.
Unchained from fate, the Norse gods Loki and Hel are ready to unleash Ragnarok, a.k.a. the Apocalypse, upon the earth. They’ve made allies on the darker side of many pantheons, and there’s a globe-spanning battle brewing that ancient Druid Atticus O’Sullivan will be hard-pressed to survive, much less win. Available April 3.
Set 500 years in the future, a mad cow-like disease called “Bent Head” has killed off most of the U.S. population. Those remaining turn to magic and sacrifice to cleanse the Earth. Wonderblood is Julia Whicker’s fascinating literary debut, set in a barren United States, an apocalyptic wasteland where warring factions compete for control of the land in strange and dangerous carnivals. A mad cow-like disease called “Bent Head” has killed off millions. Those who remain worship the ruins of NASA’s space shuttles, and Cape Canaveral is their Mecca. Medicine and science have been rejected in favor of magic, prophecy, and blood sacrifice. Available April 3.
Quinn Bradley has learned to use the magic of another world. And that world is in danger. Having decided to betray CASE Global, he can finally reveal his origins to the Enclave and warn them about the company’s imminent invasion. Even if it means alienating Jillaine . . . and allying with someone he’s always considered his adversary. But war makes for strange bedfellows, and uniting Alissians against such a powerful enemy will require ancient enmities—as well as more recent antagonisms—to be set aside. The future of their pristine world depends on it. Available April 3.
“This is real.” Three small words on a film canister found by graduate students Justin and Veronica, who discover a long-lost silent movie from more than a century ago. The startlingly realistic footage shows a young girl transforming into a winged being. Looking for proof behind this claim, they travel to the rural foothills of Tennessee to find Sadieville, where it had been filmed. Available April 10.
Ilana C. Myer
Lin, newly initiated in the art of otherwordly enchantments, is sent to aid her homeland’s allies against savage attacks from the Fire Dancers: mysterious practitioners of strange and deadly magic. Forced to step into a dangerous waltz of tradition, treachery, and palace secrets, Lin must also race the ticking clock of her own rapidly dwindling life to learn the truth of the Fire Dancers’ war, and how she might prevent death on a scale too terrifying to contemplate. Available April 10.
With the realm on the brink of war, the once-celebrated blades have become an easy target for the rage of its devastated citizens. The nightblade warrior Asa’s lifelong quest for vengeance is over, but now she finds herself on the run from the people she sought to protect. As Asa forges a new course of action in an uncertain world, her path crosses with that of a young noblewoman. Mari knows that great opportunity lies in the heart of chaos. If the Kingdom is to rise again, Mari will need support, and she can think of no group better than the nightblades. But the nightblades have been betrayed before, and gaining their trust will not be easy. Available April 10.
S. J. Morden
Frank – father, architect, murderer – is recruited for the mission to Mars with the promise of a better life, along with seven of his most notorious fellow inmates. But as his crew sets to work on the red wasteland of Mars, the accidents mount up, and Frank begins to suspect they might not be accidents at all. As the list of suspect grows shorter, it’s up to Frank to uncover the terrible truth before it’s too late. Available April 10.
Damian Ward thought he was done fighting. But the retired veteran and war hero is now leading the revolution against the oppressive Federal America—a bloody battle for the future of his adopted planet that will cost brave rebel lives. But failure means living under the yoke of tyranny—a price Ward and the people of Haven refuse to pay. Federal America cannot allow Haven to break away. If rebellion is successful on one colony, it will spread, and threaten the flow of wealth and raw materials the government needs. With its superior troops and weaponry, it will crush the traitorous rebellion, and retain the empire’s standing and power. The colonists have won the first battle, and driven the government forces from the planet. But the Federals are by no means defeated. Available April 10.
Now officially working for the Secret Intelligence Service, Kim Tavistock is back to solve another mystery—this time a serial killer with deep Nazi ties—in the sequel to At the Table of Wolves. Summer, 1936. In England, an assassin is loose. Someone is killing young people who possess Talents. As terror overtakes Britain, Kim Tavistock, now officially employed by England’s Secret Intelligence Service, is sent on her first mission: to the remote Sulcliffe Castle in Wales, to use her cover as a journalist to infiltrate a spiritualist cult that may have ties to the murders. Meanwhile, Kim’s father, trained spy Julian Tavistock runs his own parallel investigation—and discovers the terrifying Nazi plot behind the serial killings. Available April 10.
Catherynne M. Valente
Once every cycle, civilizations gather for the Metagalactic Grand Prix—part gladiatorial contest, part beauty pageant, part concert extravaganza, and part continuation of the wars of the past. Instead of competing in orbital combat, the powerful species that survived face off in a competition of song, dance, or whatever can be physically performed in an intergalactic talent show. The stakes are high for this new game, and everyone is forced to compete. Available April 10.
A Novel of the Black Dagger Brotherhood
Sola Morte, former cat burglar and safecracker, has given up her old life on the wrong side of the law. On the run from a drug lord’s family, she is lying low far from Caldwell, keeping her nose clean and her beloved grandmother safe. Her heart, though, is back up north, with the only man who has ever gotten through her defenses: Assail, son of Assail, who never meant to fall in love—and certainly not with a human woman. But they have no future, and not just because she doesn’t know he is a vampire, but because he is not about to stop dealing arms to the Black Dagger Brotherhood. Fate, however, has other plans for them. When Assail falls into a coma and lingers on the verge of death, his cousins seek out Sola and beg her to give him a reason to live. The last thing she wants is a return to her past, but how can she leave him to die? Available April 10.
M. C. Planck
The mechanical engineer turned priest of war Christopher is sent north to avenge the destruction of County Nordland, but murderous dragons and genocidal goblins are the least of his worries when his allies keep promising to kill him first. His advancement has not gone unnoticed, and even powers outside the realm show an interest in his career. As always, the price is high, and Christopher is not the only one who must pay. Available April 10.
Jeremy C. Schipp
When Isabella died, her parents were determined to ensure her education wouldn’t suffer. But Isabella’s parents had not informed her new governess of Isabella’s… condition, and when Ms Valdez arrives at the estate, having forced herself through a surreal nightmare maze of twisted human-like statues, she discovers that there is no girl to tutor. Or is there…? Available April 17
After months of travel, Anna Kubrin finally arrives on Mars for her new job as a geologist and de facto artist in residence–and already she feels she is losing the connection with her husband and baby at home on Earth. In her room on the base, Anna finds a mysterious note, painted in her own hand, warning her not to trust the colony psychiatrist. A note she can’t remember painting. When she finds a footprint in a place that the colony AI claims has never been visited by humans, Anna begins to suspect that she is caught up in an elaborate corporate conspiracy. Or is she losing her grip on reality? Anna must find the truth, regardless of what horrors she might discover or what they might do to her mind. Available April 17.
Sam J. Miller
After the climate wars, a floating city is constructed in the Arctic Circle, a remarkable feat of mechanical and social engineering, complete with geothermal heating and sustainable energy. The city’s denizens have become accustomed to a roughshod new way of living, however, the city is starting to fray along the edges—crime and corruption have set in, the contradictions of incredible wealth alongside direst poverty are spawning unrest, and a new disease called “the breaks” is ravaging the population. When a strange new visitor arrives—a woman riding an orca, with a polar bear at her side—the city is entranced. The “orcamancer,” as she’s known, very subtly brings together four people—each living on the periphery—to stage unprecedented acts of resistance. By banding together to save their city before it crumbles under the weight of its own decay, they will learn shocking truths about themselves. Available April 17.
K. M. McKinley
War is coming to Ruthnia. As ancient, inhuman powers move against one another, Rel Kressind finds himself in the company of the fabled modalmen – giants who regard themselves as the true keepers of humanity’s legacy. Far out in the blasted, magical wastelands of the Black Sands where no man of the Hundred has ever set foot before, Rel comes face to face with the modalman’s deity, the Brass God. What Rel learns in the Brass God’s broken halls will shake his understanding of reality forever. Available April 17.
Jonathan Strahan and Charlie Jane Anders
Science fiction is a portal that opens doors onto futures too rich and strange to imagine. Fantasy takes us through doorways of magic and wonder. For more than a decade award-winning editor Jonathan Strahan has sifted through tens of thousands of stories to select the best, the most interesting, the most engaging science fiction and fantasy to thrill and delight readers. Available April 17.
The post–Katrina New Orleans of The City of Lost Fortunes is a place haunted by its history and by the hurricane’s destruction, a place that is hoping to survive the rebuilding of its present long enough to ensure that it has a future. Street magician Jude Dubuisson is likewise burdened by his past and by the consequences of the storm, because he has a secret: the magical ability to find lost things, a gift passed down to him by the father he has never known—a father who just happens to be more than human. Available April 17.
Hilketa is a frenetic and violent pastime where players attack each other with swords and hammers. The main goal of the game: obtain your opponent’s head and carry it through the goalposts. With flesh and bone bodies, a sport like this would be impossible. But all the players are “threeps,” robot-like bodies controlled by people with Haden’s Syndrome, so anything goes. No one gets hurt, but the brutality is real and the crowds love it. Until a star athlete drops dead on the playing field. Is it an accident or murder? Available April 17.
Hutch has been the Academy’s best pilot for decades. She’s had numerous first contact encounters and even became a minor celebrity. But world politics have shifted from exploration to a growing fear that the program will run into an extraterrestrial race more advanced than humanity and war. Available April 17.
The absurdly outrageous, sarcastically satiric, and always entertaining New York Times bestselling author Christopher Moore returns in finest madcap form with this zany noir set on the mean streets of post-World War II San Francisco, and featuring a diverse cast of characters, including a hapless bartender; his Chinese sidekick; a doll with sharp angles and dangerous curves; a tight-lipped Air Force general; a wisecracking waif; Petey, a black mamba; and many more. Available April 17.
A Han and Lando Novel
Daniel José Older
It’s been ten years since the rebel hero Han Solo last encountered the criminal Fyzen Gor. After mounting a successful rebellion against the Empire and starting a family with an Alderaanian princess, Han hasn’t given much thought to the mad inventor. But when Lando turns up at Han’s doorstep in the middle of the night, it’s Fyzen’s assassins that he’s running from. And without Han’s help, Lando—and all life on Cloud City—will be annihilated. Available April 17.
Lady Amalia Cornaro knows that this Conclave might be her only chance to smother the growing flames of war, and she is ready to make any sacrifice if it means saving Raverra from destruction. Amalia and Zaira must go behind enemy lines, using every ounce of wit and cunning they have, to sway Vaskandar from war. Or else it will all come down to swords and fire. Available April 24.
Yoko Tawada, Margaret Mitsutani (translator)
Japan, after suffering from a massive irreparable disaster, cuts itself off from the world. Children are so weak they can barely stand or walk: the only people with any get-go are the elderly. Mumei lives with his grandfather Yoshiro, who worries about him constantly. They carry on a day-to-day routine in what could be viewed as a post-Fukushima time, with all the children born ancient—frail and gray-haired, yet incredibly compassionate and wise. Mumei may be enfeebled and feverish, but he is a beacon of hope, full of wit and free of self- pity and pessimism. Yoshiro concentrates on nourishing Mumei, a strangely wonderful boy who offers “the beauty of the time that is yet to come.” Available April 24.
You can’t outrun a hunter like Angus Murray… The last thing black wolf Shifter Angus Murray wants is to go chasing down some fugitive Shifter woman for Shifter Bureau. But when a Bureau agent threatens Angus’s son, Angus will do anything it takes to track down the elusive Shifter and protect his cub. Available April 24.
When Monster Hunter International’s top hunter, Owen Zastava Pitt, was given a tip about some hunters who had gone missing in action, he didn’t realize their rescue mission would snowball into the single biggest operation in MHI’s history. Their men are being held prisoner in a horrific nightmare dimension, and the only way to reach them is through the radioactive ruins of a monster-infested war zone.
Linnet Ellery, a young attorney at a prestigious New York vampire law firm has proved she has extraordinary luck—and not just in the courtroom. She has walked unscathed through events that would kill a normal person. Linnet’s elven ex-boyfriend is trapped in Fairyland, and Linnet will have to lead a raid into Fey to free him—alongside her boss, whom she is falling in love with. But a love affair between a vampire and a human is strictly forbidden, and any violation is punishable by death for both parties. Available April 24.
Deep in the Afghan mountains, Sergeant Michael Pitcher discovers an object with powers that defy explanation. After interacting with it, he suffers a traumatic seizure and is flown home for evaluation. Cleared by the doctors, Michael goes home to his relieved wife, Josie. But he’s a changed man. The once-loving husband is now coldly withdrawn. After emptying the couple’s bank account, he disappears into the night. When a team of scientists connected to Sergeant Pitcher vanishes without a trace, CIA agent. Dean Ninemeyer comes to him for insight—only to find that the recovering soldier has also disappeared. Dean and Josie must now join forces in a desperate race against time, searching for answers in an ever-twisting mystery. What they uncover is a chilling conspiracy that already has the fate of the world in its grip. Available April 24.
A love story stitched across time and war, shaped by the power of books, and ultimately destroyed by it. In the heart of World War II, Tom and Ben became lovers. Brought together by a secret project designed to hide British targets from German radar, the two founded a love that could not be revealed. When the project went wrong, Tom and Ben vanished into nothingness, presumed dead. Their bodies were never found. Now the two are lost in time, hunting each other across decades, leaving clues in books of poetry and trying to make their desperate timelines overlap. Available April 24.