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8 sci-fi and fantasy novels to read this April

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Apr 2, 2018, 3:01 PM EDT

Spring has been very, very, very late this year, but now it might finally be here — or at least close. While my reading doesn't change much based on the season (though I know people who prefer dark, brooding mysteries in the winter and breezy, effortless novels in the summer), I still like to take note of how the weather affects what I choose to pick up.

This year has been hard for me in terms of reading. I'm finding it harder to find books that keep my attention. That being said, I'm enthralled by every single book on this list. They all look so delicious, so enticing, so fun and fascinating, that they're getting me excited to finish this article so I can go start reading them. March might be a traditional awesome month for new book releases, but April isn't too shabby, y'all.

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queens of fennbirn kendare blake

Queens of Fennbirn - Kendare Blake (April 3)

I do love Kendare Blake’s Three Dark Crowns series, so I was excited to see that the author has gathered all the prequel material into one book that’s releasing this month. I can never keep track of all the short stories authors come out with leading up to their novels, and now I don’t have to. I can follow along with the stories of three sisters who must murder one another, and the last one standing will become queen before we meet them in Three Dark Crowns. This will definitely keep me occupied while I wait for the next book in the series.

Dread Nation - Justina Ireland

Dread Nation - Justina Ireland (April 3)

In Justina Ireland’s already-acclaimed alternate history, the Civil War between the North and South is raging, but it’s been derailed. That’s because the undead (literal zombies) have begun roaming the bloody battlefields. Now, laws like the Native and Negro Reeducation Act have forced young women of color like Jane to train to fight these zombies. Jane isn’t super interested in becoming a warrior though, that is, until she discovers that local families have started to go missing. You can bet this is a powerful look at race, and a read that will haunt you with its power.

wonderblood julia whicker

Wonderblood - Julia Whicker (April 3)

As the child of the space shuttle era and a space reporter, the idea of a post-apocalyptic society in which the space shuttles are worshipped by a violent, ritualistic society is pretty fascinating stuff. Wonderblood is set in a disease-ravaged future, where much of the population has been wiped out. Cape Canaveral is now a pilgrimage destination, and young Aurora is kidnapped by a group who is traveling to the site. Their leader intends to make Aurora his queen. I don’t even know what is going on with this dark, twisty, murderous tale, but I definitely want to give it a try to find out.

sisters mederos patrice sarath

The Sisters Mederos - Patrice Sarath (April 3)

The first book in the Tales of Port Saint Frey historical fantasy series, The Sisters Mederos, focuses on two sisters as the book title implies: Yvienne and Tesera. Once, their family was among the richest in Port Saint Frey, but no longer. But the sisters aren’t taking their misfortune lying down. They’re determined to figure out who was behind their family’s downfall, but to do this means keeping some dark secrets of their own that could destroy them both.

space opera catherynne valente

Space Opera - Catherynne M. Valente (April 10)

Eurovision, but set in space. Is there anything more SYFY FANGRRLS than that premise? The excellent Catherynne Valente’s new novel, Space Opera, is about a yearly competition among formerly warring galactic civilizations. It’s a way of coming together in a peaceful manner and preventing strife once again. But now humans have traveled beyond our solar system, and the galaxy is not what we pictured. As the book description says, “And while they expected to discover a grand drama of diplomacy, gunships, wormholes, and stoic councils of aliens, they have instead found glitter, lipstick, and electric guitars.” I can’t describe how great this book sounds, and how every single person needs to read it.

one way sj morden

One Way - S.J. Morden (April 10)

We’ve finally made it off our planet, and a Mars colony is so close. The contractor that is building the base was supposed to use automated labor, but they made promises they can’t keep, and now they have to figure out whose lives they can risk in order to get their base built. They come up with the bright idea of using prison inmates, promising the chance of a better life in return for their labor. Frank is a father and an architect, but he is also a murderer. As he and his fellow inmates begin working on Mars, “accidents” start happening, to the point where Frank begins to wonder if there’s something else going on entirely.

last shot han and lando daniel jose older

Last Shot: A Han and Lando Novel - Daniel José Older (April 17)

Let’s face it—I’m looking more forward to Daniel José Older’s take on Han, Leia, and Lando than I am to the actual Solo movie. Older is such a talented author (check out his Shadowshaper series if you haven’t already) and I can’t wait for him to put his unique spin on the Star Wars universe. After all, I loved what he did with his story in the From a Certain Point of View anthology. This novel is set in two time frames, one of which is young Han and Lando (naturally, since it’s a tie-in to the movie), but the other is post-Return of the Jedi. I can’t wait to read it.

before mars emma newman

Before Mars - Emma Newman (April 17)

I’m a sucker for near-term science fiction, so you can bet I was intrigued when I first heard about Before Mars and its premise. Anna Kubrin is a geologist and artist who’s just arrived at her new job on Mars. She’s left her child and husband behind on Earth, and she feels very disconnected from them. But when she finds a note, written in her own handwriting, telling her not to trust the psychiatrist in the colony, she’s thrown for a loop. I love the mix of mystery and sci-fi here; it’s irresistible.