Must-read sci-fi and fantasy novels for May

Contributed by
May 1, 2017, 7:46 PM EDT (Updated)

Welcome to another installment of the Fangrrls genre fiction preview! There are some great titles releasing in May. I’m a little behind on my reading (Star Wars Celebration saw to that), so I haven’t read as many of these as I’d like. If you check them out, please feel free to tell me what you think!

Triple Threat - Gwenda Bond (Switch Press, May 1)

If you haven’t been reading Gwenda Bond’s Lois Lane books, they’re an absolute delight and you should pick them up immediately. The first book, Fallout, features a teenage Lois moving to a new city and solving a mystery with her reporting skills, with the help of a mysterious guy with the online nickname “SmallvilleGuy.” Double Down followed, and now we’re at the third installment in the series Triple Threat. The teasers for this book have been cryptic (thankfully—I hate it when publishers give away the entire plot!), but it promises to be a case even Lois isn’t sure she can solve.

Star Wars: Rebel Rising - Beth Revis (Disney-Hyperion, May 2)

Beth Revis’ YA novel brings us Jyn Erso before the events of Rogue One, charting the course of her life after Saw Gerrera found her in that hole on Lah’mu to the Rebels breaking her out of the Imperial prison on Wobani. How exactly did Jyn become such a hard person, willing to do whatever it takes to survive? This novel shows us the heartbreaking road her life took. I’m very partial to Jyn Erso, so I absolutely loved this book.

The Boy on the Bridge - M.R. Carey (Orbit, May 2)

The Boy on the Bridge has been billed as a sequel to the surprise hit The Girl With All the Gifts, but it actually appears to be more of a companion novel. I’ll admit that I’ve had a review copy of this sitting on my desk for awhile now but haven’t actually read it, and I can’t say I know much about it based on the description/marketing copy. What I do know is that it’s not a direct sequel, but rather a companion novel set in the same world, and features a young boy sent out into the world by a group of humans.

All Systems Red - Martha Wells (, May 2)

This novella, clocking in at just 160 pages, is the first in a series called The Murderbot Diaries. The main character? A lethal security droid who has overcome its programming and is fighting its instinct to kill, calling itself Murderbot. All Murderbot wants to do is be left alone to contemplate its own existence, but instead, it is sent with a team of scientists to a distant planet. When things go awry, it’s up to Murderbot to figure out what’s happening and why.

Substrate Phantoms - Jessica Reisman (Arche Press, May 16)

Is Termagenti—a space station hub—haunted? That’s what people have been saying for years. Some even think that the haunting might be an actual alien presence, though humanity hasn’t yet encountered an alien civilization. Jhinsei and his crew are one of the many groups that keep the space station running, but after an accident kills his team, Jhinsei is haunted. Literally. His dead crew is haunting him, and he begins to wonder if the rumors are true and there is more going on in this space station than anyone ever knew.

The Empire’s Ghost - Isabelle Steiger (Thomas Dunne, May 16)

The start of a new epic fantasy series, The Empire’s Ghost features the empire of Elesthene, which was torn apart by the loss of magic. Now, one dictator seeks to reunite the fractured empire, and the disparate kingdoms have little hope of resistance. On a mission of secrecy, a group of seemingly insignificant alley dwellers, the lowest of the low, find themselves in the position to change the course of the future of their world. What have they lost to history, and what can they hope to achieve?

Flame in the Mist - Renée Ahdieh (G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, May 16)

Renée Ahdieh’s duology, The Wrath and the Dawn and The Rose and the Dagger, were a breathtaking fantasy retelling of the story of Scheherazade and One Thousand and One Nights. Now, Ahdieh sets her sights on feudal Japan for inspiration for her next novel, Flame in the Mist. Mariko has always known her value to her family is in marriage, though she’s always longed for something more. When she’s ambushed by a gang of bandits on the road and narrowly escapes, she discovers that it was no ordinary attack: Someone wants her dead. Mariko decides she needs to infiltrate the gang to figure out what’s really going on and why.

Hold Back the Stars - Katie Khan (Gallery, May 23)

Hold Back the Stars is set in a dystopian future where much of the Earth is uninhabitable due to war. Europe, however, is a pristine untouched land, and every three years, people rotate into the communities on the continent. That’s how Max and Carys meet, but long-term commitments are hard to sustain in this world of constant uncertainty. Now, years later, Max and Carys are trapped in space with only 90 minutes of air left, and all they have are their memories of their affair on Earth.

Radiate - C. A. Higgins (Del Rey, May 23)

Radiate is the last book in C.A. Higgins’ trilogy about a sentient spaceship, Ananke, the woman Ananke sees as her mother, Althea, and Ananke’s quest for companionship and to truly understand herself. The two have become mixed up in a terrorist plot; in fact, the man that Ananke considers her father, Matthew, is part of a terrorist sect that has unleashed a devastating attack. What will happen when Ananke finally finds her father, and Althea and Matthew are reunited by the intelligence they created?

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