Must-read sci-fi fantasy novels for April

With so many releases each week, it can be really difficult to keep up with new books coming out. That's why I'm bringing you this preview highlighting interesting genre releases each month!

There aren't a lot of rules here; I'll talk about what strikes my interest (you'll find a lot of lady authors and lady main characters here — after all, this is Fangrrls). This isn't meant to be a comprehensive list but rather highlights that I think you should check out. I can't promise I'll have read all — or even most — of the books I talk about: I read a lot, and I read fast, but even I have trouble keeping up with all the great new releases each month. I can tell you for sure, though, that I'll never talk about a book I'm not intrigued by or interested in.

And with that introduction, to the books! Below you'll find some sci-fi and fantasy novels being released in April.

Waking Gods - Sylvain Neuvel (April 4)

If you haven’t read Sleeping Giants, the first book of the Themis Files, you need to stop what you're doing and go read it. This wholly unexpected book turned out to be one of my favorite of 2016 and the sequel is coming out this month. The premise? A young girl falls through a hole in the Earth and lands on a giant artificial hand of alien construction. Two decades later, she's the lead researcher on a project studying these objects that have been found scattered around the globe. The sequel picks up soon after the events of the first book and moves along at a similarly brisk pace. I've read it, and I can tell you, it does not disappoint.

 

Occupy Me - Tricia Sullivan (April 4)

This new novel from celebrated sci-fi author Tricia Sullivan promises to be a mix of thriller, crime novel and science fiction. Pearl is a woman with a past that's a mystery — even to herself. She's an angel trapped on Earth who doesn't remember how or why she got here, but when she sees the face of Dr. Kisi Sorle, she knows she needs to track him down ... because he's the person who put her in her predicament. This literary novel promises to be full of big questions and philosophical contemplations wrapped in a sci-fi gift pack.

 

Kokoro - Keith Yatsuhashi (April 4)

Kokoro, the sequel to the novel Kojiki, centers on Keiko Yamada, an 18-year-old who travels to Japan to fulfill her father's dying wish. He left behind a death poem that told of fantastical beasts called Guardians ... and when Keiko arrives in Japan, she's shocked to find that the creatures of her father's poems are all around her and the world is in chaos. The book also tells a parallel story of a boy on a distant planet who is somehow connected to Keiko. Kokoro promises a gorgeous, rich new world and an exciting story.

 

The Moon and the Other - John Kessel (April 4)

This novel takes place in a matriarchal society that's crumbling at the seams. In the mid-22nd century, colonies on the Moon exist below the lunar surface. One such city-state has styled itself as an oppressive matriarchy: Men can choose any career path they'd like, but they do not have the right to vote. Two different characters see the opportunity for social change in the fractures of their city-state. It's always interesting to read about societies very different than our own, and while I'm sometimes hesitant to read flipped narratives like this (too often they are written by an author with privilege with an axe to grind against a marginalized group — but I don't think that's the case here), this book sounds like a compelling story with rich characters.

 

Cold Welcome - Elizabeth Moon (April 11)

This sci-fi novel is billed as perfect for Lost fans, and while I've been burned enough to be wary of that as a read-alike, I'm definitely curious about this novel. Kylara Vatta is returning home after a long time away, but it ended up being shorter than she anticipated: Ky never planned on going back home, but she can't ignore a summons from her family. But when her shuttle crashes, stranding her and a handful of strangers in a failed terraforming project, she realizes that all may not be as it seems. Why did this project fail, and what secrets is it hiding? I'm all for a sci-fi mystery, especially when there's some sort of conspiracy theory involved, so I can't wait to dive into this.

 

All the Birds in the Sky - Charlie Jane Anders (April 11)

Charlie Jane Anders' debut novel arrives in paperback this month, and if you haven't read it yet, it's a great time to give it a try. It's won a ton of acclaim, and for good reason. Patricia and Laurence have randomly bumped into each other all their lives, almost like they were destined to be together. As adults, they're both trying to repair — or at least patch together — a world that's falling apart around them. This is a beautiful novel that brings together so many sci-fi and fantasy elements into a gorgeous novel. All the Birds in the Sky was hailed as an instant classic, and there's a good reason for it.

 

Thrawn - Timothy Zahn (Del Rey, April 11)

If you're a Star Wars fan, the name Thrawn is enough to send shivers down your spine. He's one of the franchise's most complex and most charismatic villains, and many were sad to see his legacy swept away when Disney announced that the old Expanded Universe was no longer canon. So you can imagine the excitement when it was revealed that Timothy Zahn, author of the original classic Thrawn trilogy, would be writing another Thrawn novel for the new canon universe. I don't know much of anything about the plot, but I know I'm going to read it as soon as I get it.

 

The Queen of Blood - Sarah Beth Durst (April 25)

This first book in a trilogy, releasing in paperback, is about a young woman who stands between spirits who want to destroy humans and the people she protects. That's the job of the Queen. She wields magical powers but, as a human, she's terrifyingly vulnerable. That's why young women, like Daleina, regularly train as her heir. Daleina only wants to do what's best for her people, but she learns that choices aren't always black and white. This first novel sounds like a rich, new world, and the sequel is only a few months away.

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