Books! Everybody loves them! I don’t know about you all but 2017 was a weird reading year for me. I discovered some stunning novels and non-fiction, and finally expanded my comics knowledge, but I simply didn’t have enough time or motivation to read as much as I used to. Maybe real life got in the way too much, or perhaps I was just too distracted by shiny things on the YouTube, but outside of my festive period reading binge, I wasn’t devouring books at the rate I’m used to. Don’t get me wrong, I was still buying crap-tons of books, as my overloaded shelves can pay testament to. That means I’ve got plenty to keep me going for the next few weeks, but 2018 also offers some very intriguing reads to the discerning reader.
Unless they’re major titles or the next part in a much-anticipated series, we don’t tend to get hyped over upcoming novels as much as we do with films. The publicity machine isn’t exactly in place for such things unless you’re George RR Martin or J.K. Rowling. If you’re a casual reader and you know all about the upcoming release of a debut novel, for example, the chances are their marketing budget is higher than the cost of your own house. I’m a retired book blogger who keeps her ear pretty close to the ground on these matters, and even I’m surprised by what publishers are pushing in an increasingly tough market.
For your pleasure and reference, I have compiled a list of some of the most anticipated books of 2018. Granted, many of these were chosen because of my particular tastes, but I’ve tried to get a good cross-section of what’s got real buzz over the next twelve months, so hopefully you’ll find something that interests you. Don’t forget to share in the comments what books you’re most looking forward to reading this year.
Beneath The Sugar Sky by Seanan McGuire.
The multiple Hugo Award winning author of sci-fi and fantasy made a real impact on me with her Wayward Children series, in which the children who found themselves transported to magical worlds and horrific realms are returned to reality and must deal with the consequences. How do you cope with living when you spent your formative years adhering to nonsense rules and standards in fantastical lands where nothing is as it seems, then you’re forced to go home and return to whatever normal is? Every Heart a Doorway was a true surprise when I read it last year, offering a heartfelt and endlessly imaginative story steeped in empathy for the struggles of the marginalized, and its prequel, Down Among the Sticks and Bones was a melancholy gothic coming-of-age tale that showed the pain and consequences of being forced into a role that didn’t suit you. The third and possibly final part in this novella series, Beneath The Sugar Sky, follows the impossible daughter of one of the first story’s most eclectic characters. To say any more would be a spoiler, so please check out this series for yourself.
(To be released on 9th January).
Poor Relations by Jo Walton.
Jo Walton is a sci-fi writer who seems capable of anything. She’s written a Regency romance involving dragons, a murder mystery set in an alternate 20th century Britain where the nation’s elite negotiated a peaceful treaty with Hitler’s Germany, and an epic philosophical genre-bending tale of Greek Gods, Plato’s Republic and robots (my personal favourite). She’s also won basically every sci-fi award going, so it makes sense that her next novel would be as expansive and ambitious as what precedes it. Poor Relations, described as ‘Mansfield Park in space’, imagines 24th century Mars as Dickensian England, where two destitute brothers must marry rich to stay alive. The only catch is they must become female to do so. Oh, and then aliens invade. Gender issues like this could go very wrong, so I’m more cautious in my excitement for this one, but Walton hasn’t let me down yet.
(To be released on 4th September).
A Princess in Theory by Alyssa Cole.
I do love me a good romance novel, and Alyssa Cole has been writing some of the most vibrant and refreshing romances of the past few years. In a year where there’s so much excitement over a new British princess, Cole couldn’t have imagined such great synergy for her new release, in which a young American woman finds that the weird spam emails telling her she’s the fiancé of an African prince turn out to be true.
(To be released on 27th February).
Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi.
I don’t read anywhere near as much YA as I used to, but now and then a much hyped book crosses my streams that gets me very excited. Landing a seven figure book deal at the age of 23 would be daunting for anyone, but Tomi Adeyemi’s debut was also optioned by Fox 2000 for a movie deal, so no pressure! Already it’s one of the biggest debuts in the category for 2018, so expect this Afro-futurist inspired fantasy of rogue princesses and the fight against evil to do exceedingly well.
(To be released on 6th March).
The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner.
Kushner’s last novel, the stunning The Flamethrowers, was a literary darling upon release in 2013, Where does a two-time National Book Award nominee go from here? To prison, it turns out. The Mars Room is a 2003-set drama, described by its publisher as ‘stunning and unsentimental’, as it follows a woman serving two life sentences in a crumbling correctional facility packed to the brim with women struggling to survive.
(To be released on 1st May).
The Merry Spinster: Tales of Everyday Horror by Mallory Ortberg.
Finally, the glorious Mallory Ortberg, co-founder of the much-missed internet haven The Toast, is releasing a collection of short fiction. Inspired by her popular column from the site, ‘Children’s Stories Made Horrific’, Ortberg takes on the fairytales and folklore we seemingly know so well and puts her own feminist and queer spin on them. There really isn’t enough Ortberg goodies on the internet or in real life so this will help to salve those wounds left over from The Toast closing.
(To be released on 13th March).
My Year of Rest and Relaxation by Ottessa Moshfegh.
Moshfegh’s last novel, Eileen, was one you either loved or loathed: You either adored its abrasiveness and refusal to be easily categorised by any genre, or you wanted to get the hell away from its disgusting protagonist as soon as possible. Her upcoming book takes a more speculative approach, following a woman who seems to have it all before deciding to enter hibernation by taking as many pills as her incompetent psychiatrist will prescribe her.
(To be released on 10th July).
The House of Impossible Beauties by Joseph Cassara.
Another hotly-hyped debut here, this time inspired by the underground ballroom scene of the 70s and 80s New York that helped birth modern LGBTQ culture. Based on the real life House of Xtravaganza (as seen in the iconic documentary Paris is Burning), this promises a gritty and vibrant exploration of a brutal and glamorous time and the fight against AIDS.
(To be released on 6th Feburary).
I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara.
At the time of her tragic death in 2016, Michelle McNamara was investigating a series of murders from an unknown figure she named ‘The Golden State Killer’. It was thought her book on the case would remain unfinished, but her widower, comedian Patton Oswalt, worked with her publisher to complete the book, which will feature a foreword from Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn.
(To be released on 27th February).
Circe by Madeline Miller.
There was a brief period of time where it seemed like everyone I knew was reading The Song of Achilles, Miller’s mannered but gripping debut novel that retold the epic love story between Achilles and Patrocles. Hearing of her return to Greek mythology, this time centred on Circe and the Titans, is bound to inspire giddiness in many people I know.
(To be released on 10th April).