Time flies. Three months have passed again and now it’s the end of June. I’ve knocked out all five of the titles on my list of Spring 2018’s most anticipated reads, and it’s time to look forward to the summer and the four months’ holiday before university that comes with it. One upside of such a long break, of course, is that I’ll have plenty of time to soak up the books of July, August and September.
As before, I’ve combined a few extremely buzzy titles with a couple sleepers from first-time authors that might just make waves when they hit shelves. But that doesn’t make me any less hyped about them: For one reason or another, whether it be previews, an ARC, or previous work by the author, the five books below have all impressed me long before their release dates:
5. Catwoman: Soulstealer (DC Icons #3) by Sarah J. Maas
When the Bat’s away, the Cat will play. It’s time to see how many lives this cat really has. . . .
Two years after escaping Gotham City’s slums, Selina Kyle returns as the mysterious and wealthy Holly Vanderhees. She quickly discovers that with Batman off on a vital mission, Batwing is left to hold back the tide of notorious criminals. Gotham City is ripe for the taking.
Meanwhile, Luke Fox wants to prove he has what it takes to help people in his role as Batwing. He targets a new thief on the prowl who seems cleverer than most. She has teamed up with Poison Ivy and Harley Quinn, and together they are wreaking havoc. This Catwoman may be Batwing’s undoing.
Release date: 7 August 2018
Why I’m Hyped: I know, I know, it’s Sarah J. Maas and I haven’t had the best experiences with her most recent books. But, at the same time…it’s Sarah J. Maas. And no matter how badly the quality has degraded in her never-ending series instalments, YA literature still has a long way to go before SJM novels stop automatically being events. There’s also the fact that I know she can write well; she’s shown as much in her early work. Will this Catwoman standalone mark a return to form? It’s hard to say from the excerpt released with Batman: Nightwalker, but I do know that I have higher hopes that Maas will redeem herself with this novel than in October’s Kingdom of Ash.
4. A Spark of White Fire (The Celestial Trilogy #1) by Sangu Mandanna
In a universe of capricious gods, dark moons, and kingdoms built on the backs of spaceships, a cursed queen sends her infant daughter away, a jealous uncle steals the throne of Kali from his nephew, and an exiled prince vows to take his crown back.
Raised alone and far away from her home on Kali, Esmae longs to return to her family. When the King of Wychstar offers to gift the unbeatable, sentient warship Titania to a warrior that can win his competition, she sees her way home: she’ll enter the competition, reveal her true identity to the world, and help her famous brother win back the crown of Kali.
It’s a great plan. Until it falls apart.
Inspired by the Mahabharata and other ancient Indian stories, A Spark of White Fire is a lush, sweeping space opera about family, curses, and the endless battle between jealousy and love.
Release date: 4 September 2018
Why I’m Hyped: A Spark of White Fire‘s excerpt was one of the stand-outs in Publishers Lunch’s Buzz Books 2018: Young Adult Fall/Winter catalogue, and it’s a pity that like many other wonderful titles, this ARC is only available to American NetGalley users. Otherwise, I’d have been on it in a heartbeat. Following in the footsteps of YA retellings released earlier in the year, such as Brightly Burning and The Bird and the Blade, Sangu Mandanna’s debut hooks you from the first intriguing scene.
3. Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart
In a world where women have no rights, sisters Serina and Nomi Tessaro face two very different fates: one in the palace, the other in prison.
Serina has been groomed her whole life to become a Grace–someone to stand by the heir to the throne as a shining, subjugated example of the perfect woman. But when her headstrong and rebellious younger sister, Nomi, catches the heir’s eye, it’s Serina who takes the fall for the dangerous secret that Nomi has been hiding.
Now trapped in a life she never wanted, Nomi has only one way to save Serina: surrender to her role as a Grace until she can use her position to release her sister. This is easier said than done. A traitor walks the halls of the palace, and deception lurks in every corner. But Serina is running out of time, imprisoned on an island where she must fight to the death to survive and one wrong move could cost her everything.
Release date: 24 July 2018
Why I’m Hyped: The dazzling first book in a trilogy, Grace and Fury is a powerful story that would be aptly billed as Red Queen meets The Handmaid’s Tale. I can say that with full confidence because I finished my ARC in two days. Tracy Banghart’s debut is as memorable for its gorgeous cover as its tale of two sisters desperately trying to make their way through a world designed for them to fail. As bleak as the premise may be, Grace and Fury ends up so empowering that you can’t help but cheer it on, and I can’t wait for this book to make its mark in July.
2. Wildcard (Warcross #2) by Marie Lu
Emika Chen barely made it out of the Warcross Championships alive. Now that she knows the truth behind Hideo’s new NeuroLink algorithm, she can no longer trust the one person she’s always looked up to, who she once thought was on her side.
Determined to put a stop to Hideo’s grim plans, Emika and the Phoenix Riders band together, only to find a new threat lurking on the neon-lit streets of Tokyo. Someone’s put a bounty on Emika’s head, and her sole chance for survival lies with Zero and the Blackcoats, his ruthless crew. But Emika soon learns that Zero isn’t all that he seems–and his protection comes at a price.
Caught in a web of betrayal, with the future of free will at risk, just how far will Emika go to take down the man she loves?
Release date: 18 September 2018
Why I’m Hyped: Oh, guys. Warcross hit me hard. I don’t know how it’s possible, but I get a little more freaked out by that twist ending and a little more excited for its sequel every time I think about it. In my opinion, Warcross is Marie Lu at her best. After all, she’s right at home writing this blend of high-stakes dilemma and inner conflict. Brilliant protagonists, star-crossed romance, tragedy just waiting to strike? Check, check and check. Emika and Hideo are amongst the YA leads whose wellbeing I’m most worried about going into these next three months. The chances of a happy ending look frighteningly slim. But still not as slim as for the characters of…
1. Bright We Burn (The Conqueror’s Saga #3) by Kiersten White
Haunted by the sacrifices he made in Constantinople, Radu is called back to the new capital. Mehmed is building an empire, becoming the sultan his people need. But Mehmed has a secret: as emperor, he is more powerful than ever . . . and desperately lonely. Does this mean Radu can finally have more with Mehmed . . . and would he even want it?
Lada’s rule of absolute justice has created a Wallachia free of crime. But Lada won’t rest until everyone knows that her country’s borders are inviolable. Determined to send a message of defiance, she has the bodies of Mehmed’s peace envoy delivered to him, leaving Radu and Mehmed with no choice. If Lada is allowed to continue, only death will prosper. They must go to war against the girl prince.
But Mehmed knows that he loves her. He understands her. She must lose to him so he can keep her safe. Radu alone fears that they are underestimating his sister’s indomitable will. Only by destroying everything that came before–including her relationships–can Lada truly build the country she wants.
Claim the throne. Demand the crown. Rule the world.
Release date: 10 July 2018
Why I’m Hyped: Five months ago, when the cover of Bright We Burn was revealed, I was really, really hyped. That hasn’t changed, except now the number of “really”s has multiplied by about fifty, and we are 16 mere days from when this book comes out and breaks all our hearts. I hold to my earlier desire for a finale that’s epic and sappy and explosive, because come on, that’s what the alternative history genre is for. Never have I rooted so hard for Vlad the Impaler, but Lada and Radu living happily ever after far away from Mehmed is exactly what I want. Will it? Not a chance. Lada’s not here to find peace, she’s here to rule the world.