The days may be getting brighter, but this month’s fantasy titles are full of magical darkness. A young priest can see demons, plain as day, in Jo Walton’s Lent; the Lotus Kingdoms are at war in Elizabeth Bear’s The Red-Stained Wings; and shapeshifter Mercy Thompson faces down death herself in Patricia Briggs’ Storm Cursed.
Head below for the full list of fantasy titles heading your way in May!
Keep track of all the new releases here. Note: All title summaries are taken and/or summarized from copy provided by the publisher.
Storm Cursed (Mercy Thompson #11)—Patricia Briggs (May 7, Ace)
My name is Mercedes Athena Thompson Hauptman, and I am a car mechanic. And a coyote shapeshifter. And the mate of the Alpha of the Columbia Basin werewolf pack.
Even so, none of that would have gotten me into trouble if, a few months ago, I hadn’t stood upon a bridge and taken responsibility for the safety of the citizens who lived in our territory. It seemed like the thing to do at the time. It should have only involved hunting down killer goblins, zombie goats, and an occasional troll. Instead, our home was viewed as neutral ground, a place where humans would feel safe to come and treat with the fae.
The reality is that nothing and no one is safe. As generals and politicians face off with the Gray Lords of the fae, a storm is coming and her name is Death. But we are pack, and we have given our word. We will die to keep it.
By Demons Possessed (Kencyrath Series #6)—P. C. Hodgell (May 7, Baen)
A crucial moment draws nigh leading to the ultimate showdown between Jame Knorth and Perimal Darkling, the supernatural entity that has pursued Jame’s people, the Kencyr, across multiple universes, destroying all in its wake. Can the Kencyr finally make an effective stand, or will another world fall into shadow?
But now news arrives from Tai-tastigon, the vast city that formed Jame into the master thief, wily fighter, and godling-in-the-making that she has become.
It seems something is preying on the gods of Tai-tastigon. The new Pantheon is falling, and the ancient city is in turmoil. The self-serving, beguiling demi-god leader of the Thieves Guild has coerced Jame into finding the soul of his missing brother by holding hostage people she loves. She reluctantly returns to find a Tai-tastigon in turmoil, with citizen pitted against citizen, and day and night-time folk at one another’s throats. It seems many in the vast Lower Town have lost their shadows—not so funny when you realize that a shadow is cast by a soul…
Empire of Grass (Last King of Osten Ard #2)—Tad Wiliams (May 7, DAW)
The kingdoms of Osten Ard have been at peace for decades, but now, the threat of a new war grows to nightmarish proportions.
Simon and Miriamele, royal husband and wife, face danger from every side. Their allies in Hernystir have made a pact with the dreadful Queen of the Norns to allow her armies to cross into mortal lands. The ancient, powerful nation of Nabban is on the verge of bloody civil war, and the fierce nomads of the Thrithings grasslands have begun to mobilize, united by superstitious fervor and their age-old hatred of the city-dwellers. But as the countries and peoples of the High Ward bicker among themselves, battle, bloodshed, and dark magics threaten to pull civilizations to pieces. And over it all looms the mystery of the Witchwood Crown, the deadly puzzle that Simon, Miriamele, and their allies must solve if they wish to survive.
Shadowblade—Anna Kashina (May 7, Angry Robot)
Naia dreams of becoming a Jaihar Blademaster, but after assaulting a teacher, her future seems ruined. The timely intervention of a powerful stranger suddenly elevates her into elite Upper Grounds training. She has no idea that the stranger is Dal Gassan, head of the Daljeer Circle. Seventeen years ago he witnessed the massacre of Challimar’s court and rescued its sole survivor, a baby girl. Gassan plans to thrust a blade into the machinations of imperial succession: Naia. Disguised as the legendary Princess Xarimet of Challimar, Naia must challenge the imperial family, and win. Naia is no princess, but with her desert-kissed eyes and sword skills she might be close enough…
Mulgara: The Necromancer’s Will—David Rose (May 12, Rare Bird Books)
When the notorious necromancer, Maecidion, dies, the reading of his will goes awry. Powerful heirlooms are given to rivals of the deceased’s kin, Irion, who are no strangers to black magic. Soon, Irion embarks on a bitter quest to retrieve what should rightfully be his.
Tinged with traces of horror and humor, erotica and satire, the world of Mulgara plays host to an ensemble of dark characters. Not only necromancers, but grave robbers, thieves, and a bubbly witch, all caught in a web of friend or foe, and through their tales, Maecidion’s plan is ultimately revealed.
The Prophet of the Termite God (Antasy #2)—Clark Thomas Carlton (May 14, Harper Voyager Impulse)
Once an outcast, Pleckoo has risen to Prophet-Commander of the Hulkrish army. But a million warriors and their ghost ants were not enough to defeat his cousin, Anand the Roach Boy, the tamer of night wasps and founder of Bee-Jor. Now Pleckoo is hunted by the army that once revered him. Yet in all his despair, Pleckoo receives prophecies from his termite god, assuring him he will kill Anand to rule the Sand, and establish the One True Religion.And war is not yet over.
Now, Anand and Bee-Jor face an eastern threat from the Mad Emperor of the Barley People, intent on retaking stolen lands from a vulnerable and chaotic nation. And on the southern Weedlands, thousands of refugees clamor for food and safety and their own place in Bee-Jor. But the greatest threats to the new country come from within, where an embittered nobility and a disgraced priesthood plot to destroy Anand… then reunite the Lost Country with the Once Great and Holy Slope.
Can the boy who worked in the dung heap rise above the turmoil, survive his assassins, and prevent the massacre of millions?
Strange Highways—Samwise Didier, Micky Neilson (May 14, Insight Comics)
Welcome to Texas! Well, the new Texas, that is.
After seceding from the oppressive USA, the Lone Star Nation has been reduced to a desolate wasteland full of biker gangs, strip clubs, and run-down towns where justice usually comes in the form of a bullet—and lots of ’em to boot. In this new Texas, the bizarre is commonplace, and every soul on the road has something to hide.
Growing up as a freak in a traveling carnival, one might expect to have it rough. But being beaten, shot, hung, and left for dead by the very people who raised you? That’s downright extreme. Unfortunately for his attackers, Jo Jo, the former “Feral Kid,” is very hard to kill. And now he’s out for that most basic of human desires: payback.
The Buying of Lot 37 (Welcome to Night Vale Episodes #3)—Joseph Fink, Jeffrey Cranor (May 14, Harper Perennial)
In June of 2012, the creators of Welcome to Night Vale began airing twice-monthly podcasts, hoping to be heard by anyone outside their close circles. They never had any idea just how much the podcast would take off, and by the anniversary show a year later, the fanbase had wildly exploded, vaulting the podcast into the #1 spot on iTunes. Since then, its popularity has grown by epic proportions, hitting more than 100 million downloads, and Night Vale has expanded to a successful live multi-cast international touring stage show and two New York Times bestselling novels (Welcome to Night Vale and It Devours!), and a new podcast network Night Vale Presents. Now the second two seasons are available as books, offering a valuable reference guide to past episodes.
The Buying of Lot 37 brings Season Three of the podcast to book form. With foreword by recording artist and author Dessa, introductions by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor, insightful behind-the-scenes commentary by cast members and supporters, and beautiful illustrations by series artist Jessica Hayworth accompanying each episode, this book is both an entertaining reading experience and an absolute must-have for any fan of the podcast.
Who’s a Good Boy? (Welcome to Night Vale Episodes #4)—Joseph Fink, Jeffrey Cranor (May 14, Harper Perennial)
In June of 2012, the creators of Welcome to Night Vale began airing twice-monthly podcasts. Their hopes were that they could reach people outside their close circles. What they didn’t know was that a year after the first show aired, the fanbase had far exceeded their expectations, launching the podcast into the #1 spot on iTunes. Over the years, its popularity has surged by mega proportions, hitting more than 100 million downloads, and Night Vale has expanded to a successful live multi-cast international touring stage show and two New York Times bestselling novels (Welcome to Night Vale and It Devours!), and a new podcast network Night Vale Presents.
Now with Who’s a Good Boy? Season Four of the podcast is available in book form, offering a valuable reference guide to past episodes. Featuring a foreword by twitter personality and highly regarded author Jonny Sun, original introductions by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor, fascinating behind-the-scenes commentary by cast members and supporters, and gorgeous illustrations by series artist Jessica Hayworth accompanying each episode, this book will thrill fans of the podcast and those new to the amazing universe of Night Vale.
Dragons Suck—Benjamin Gamble (May 14, Permuted Press)
Harkness, a medieval peasant with a millennial’s mindset, is quite happy to sit back and make quips while everyone else does the hard work. His calculated laziness is interrupted when the gods send an ancient and terrible scourge-by-dragonfire upon his village, and he is forced (peer-pressured, really) into trying to save his fiancée from the dragon who has kidnapped her.
When Harkness is sent by the village elder to find the one weapon that is capable of killing the beast, his real plan is to go off on his own and use his village’s money to live the high life. This, of course, would require ditching his two companions: Karla, an aspiring troubadour whose passion makes up for her lack of adventuring skills, and Aldric, whose kindheartedness does not make up for his lack of intelligence. Harkness sees this journey as a paid vacation under the pretense of world-saving, but it quickly turns serious when he realizes what’s at stake when he is forced to actually care about something—or at the very least, pretend to.
A Brightness Long Ago—Guy Gavriel Kay (May 14, Berkley)
In a chamber overlooking the nighttime waterways of a maritime city, a man looks back on his youth and the people who shaped his life. Danio Cerra’s intelligence won him entry to a renowned school even though he was only the son of a tailor. He took service at the court of a ruling count—and soon learned why that man was known as the Beast.
Danio’s fate changed the moment he saw and recognized Adria Ripoli as she entered the count’s chambers one autumn night—intending to kill. Born to power, Adria had chosen, instead of a life of comfort, one of danger—and freedom. Which is how she encounters Danio in a perilous time and place.
Vivid figures share the unfolding story. Among them: a healer determined to defy her expected lot; a charming, frivolous son of immense wealth; a powerful religious leader more decadent than devout; and, affecting all these lives and many more, two larger-than-life mercenary commanders, lifelong adversaries, whose rivalry puts a world in the balance.
Alchemy’s Air (Equal Night Trilogy #3)—Stacey L. Tucker (May 14, SparkPress)
Skylar Southmartin is not the naïve girl she was a short year ago. She’s made some mistakes and learned a few secrets to life, all the while clinging to the faith her mother instilled in her as a child… in herself. And now that she has discovered her life’s purpose within the pages of the ancient Book of Sophia, she knows what she must do: restore a vital memory to the Akashic Library, located deep within the Underworld of Earth. This library is sought after by many who are aware of its existence, for they know the future of human potential rests at its core.
Meanwhile, Devlin Grayer has been elected as the 46th President of the United States and his wife, Milicent, is miserable in her new role as First Lady—especially because the Great Mothers have asked Milicent to use her new status to help their cause, and she has no interest in tackling that task.
With the help of friends in the unlikeliest of places, Skylar’s journey reveals the significance of the darkness within all of us, and its potential to save or destroy the most precious part of us all: our soul.
Gather the Fortunes (Crescent City #2)—Bryan Camp (May 21, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Renaissance Raines has found her place among the psychopomps—the guides who lead the souls of the recently departed through the Seven Gates of the Underworld—and done her best to avoid the notice of gods and mortals alike. But when a young boy named Ramses St. Cyr manages to escape his foretold death, Renai finds herself at the center of a deity-thick plot unfolding in New Orleans. Someone helped Ramses slip free of his destined end—someone willing to risk everything to steal a little slice of power for themselves.
Is it one of the storm gods that’s descended on the city? The death god who’s locked the Gates of the Underworld? Or the manipulative sorcerer who also cheated Death? When she finds the schemer, there’s gonna be all kinds of hell to pay, because there are scarier things than death in the Crescent City. Renaissance Raines is one of them.
Queenslayer (Spellslinger #5)—Sebastien de Castell (May 21, Orbit)
Kellen Argos is an outlaw spellslinger with a bad reputation, a long list of enemies, and zero luck. When he accidentally smears blood on the Daroman flag, he’s dragged before the queen to be executed for his act of treason.
Face-to-face with the young monarch, Kellen is offered a chance to save himself. If he can defeat the queen at a game of cards, he’ll walk free… if not, his life is forfeit. But what begins as a game reveals a conspiracy against the queen’s life. And now, Kellen is not only playing for his own freedom, but also for the future of an empire.
An Illusion of Thieves (Chimera #1)—Cate Glass (May 21, Tor Books)
Romy escapes her hardscrabble upbringing when she becomes courtesan to the Shadow Lord, a revolutionary noble who brings laws and comforts once reserved for the wealthy to all. When her brother, Neri, is caught thieving with the aid of magic, Romy’s aristocratic influence is the only thing that can spare his life—and the price is her banishment.
Now back in Beggar’s Ring, she has just her wits and her own long-hidden sorcery to help her and Neri survive. But when a plot to overthrow the Shadow Lord and incite civil war is uncovered, only Romy knows how to stop it. To do so, she’ll have to rely on newfound allies—a swordmaster, a silversmith, and her own thieving brother. And they’ll need the very thing that could condemn them all: magic.
Mischief and Mayhem (Faerlands Chronicles #1)—S.D. Nicholson (May 24, Koehler Books)
After lying dormant for centuries, a dark presence awakes and invades the realm of the Faers. While malicious forces quietly stir in the southern nation of the Meadows, Ophelia Maplewood, along with her companions from the Woodland Scouts, finds an unexpected human, new strength, and allies in the north. Will their journey bring balance to the homeland and prevent chaos from spreading to the other realms? Only time will tell.
The Red-Stained Wings (Lotus Kingdoms #2)—Elizabeth Bear (May 28, Tor Books)
The Gage and the Dead Man brought a message from the greatest wizard of Messaline to the ruling queen of Sarathai, one of the Lotus Kingdoms. But the message was a riddle, and the Lotus Kingdoms are at war.
The Stiehl Assassin (Fall of Shannara #3)—Terry Brooks (May 28, Del Rey)
The Skaar have arrived in the Four Lands, determined to stop at nothing less than all-out conquest. They badly need a new home, but peaceful coexistence is not a concept they have ever understood. An advance force under the command of the mercurial princess Ajin has already established a foothold, but now the full Skaar army is on the march—and woe betide any who stand in its way.
But perhaps the Skaar victory is not quite the foregone conclusion everyone assumes. The Druid Drisker Arc has freed both himself and Paranor from their involuntary exile. Drisker’s student, Tarsha Kaynin, has been reunited with Dar, chief defender of what is left of the Druid order, and is learning to control her powerful wishsong magic. If they can only survive Tarsha’s brother, Tavo, and the Druid who betrayed Drisker Arc, they might stand a chance of defeating the Skaar. But that is a very big if… as Tavo now carries the Stiehl—one of the most powerful weapons in all the Four Lands—and is hellbent on taking his revenge on everyone he feels has wronged him.
Time’s Demon (Islevale #2)—D. B. Jackson (May 28, Angry Robot)
Fifteen year-old Tobias Doljan Walked back in time to prevent a war, but instead found himself trapped in an adult body, his king murdered and with an infant princess, Sofya, to protect. Now he has been joined by fellow Walker and Spanner, Mara, and together they must find a way to undo the timeline which orphaned the princess and destroyed their future. Arrayed against them are assassins who share their time-traveling powers, but have dark ambitions of their own, and the Tirribin demon, Droë, whose desperate quest for human love and Tobias leads her into alliances which threaten all of Islevale.
Lent—Jo Walton (May 28, Tor Books)
Young Girolamo’s life is a series of miracles.
It’s a miracle that he can see demons, plain as day, and that he can cast them out with the force of his will. It’s a miracle that he’s friends with Pico della Mirandola, the Count of Concordia. It’s a miracle that when Girolamo visits the deathbed of Lorenzo “the Magnificent,” the dying Medici is wreathed in celestial light, a surprise to everyone, Lorenzo included. It’s a miracle that when Charles VIII of France invades northern Italy, Girolamo meets him in the field, and convinces him to not only spare Florence but also protect it. It’s a miracle that whenever Girolamo preaches, crowds swoon. It’s a miracle that, despite the Pope’s determination to bring young Girolamo to heel, he’s still on the loose… and, now, running Florence in all but name.
That’s only the beginning. Because Girolamo Savanarola is not who—or what—he thinks he is. He will discover the truth about himself at the most startling possible time. And this will be only the beginning of his many lives.