YAY! YA SPRING IS HERE! Today I’m recommending An Ember in the Ashes, The Girl at Midnight, A Court of Thorns and Roses, and The Walls Around Us (pictured below) as my top picks so far for spring.
Sabaa Tahir’s An Ember in the Ashes (on the shelves 4/28) is great epic fantasy that explores familiar themes of tyranny, slavery, rebellion, magic, family loyalty, and forbidden love in a complex and unique way. Set in a brutal Rome-like world, the novel alternates between the perspectives of Elias, an elite soldier, and his mother’s slave, Laia. Elias unwillingly attends Blackcliff, where the Commander (his mother) trains him to be a Mask–an enforcer of the Martial empire’s laws. As he plans to desert the military, he’s chosen to compete for the Emperor’s throne, an opportunity that hasn’t come along in centuries. Laia is one of the conquered Scholar people. After her brother was arrested for helping the Scholar Resistance, she agreed to spy for the rebels as the Commander’s slave as long as they help save her brother. As Elias and Laia struggle to hide their true feelings toward the empire in order to survive, their lives intersect, further testing their beliefs and loyalties. I really hope there’s a sequel so that I can find out what happens next to Elias and Laia!
Melissa Grey’s The Girl at Midnight (on the shelves 4/28) is a perfect choice for readers of Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy and Cassandra Clare’s Mortal Instruments series. I immediately loved this book’s protagonist, seventeen-year-old Echo, a runaway pickpocket whose home is a hidden room in the New York Public Library. Like me, she’s a hoarder of books who’s guilty of Tsundoku–letting books pile up without reading them; she also steals treasures and uses magic to travel through the in-between from place to place. Echo has been adopted by the Avicen–an ancient race of feathered people with magical abilities who live beneath the city–and she is the only human who can see them. Her relationship with the Avicen puts her in danger of being caught by the dragon-like Drakharin. For centuries, the Avicen and the Drakharin have been enemies. According to legend, the only way to truly end their conflict is to find the very powerful Firebird. The Girl at Midnight switches between the perspectives of Echo and Dragon Prince Caius as they both seek the Firebird.
Throne of Glass fans will love Sarah J. Maas’ first book in a brand new series: A Court of Thorns and Roses (on the shelves 5/5). Inspired by Beauty and the Beast mixed with faery lore, this series features another strong heroine: nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre. After she kills a wolf in the woods, a beastly creature demands retribution by taking her to a faraway magical land inhabited by the Fae. When her captor transforms into the immortally beautiful Faery Tamlin, Feyre can’t help falling for him.
Nova Ren Suma’s The Walls Around Us (on the shelves 3/24) is a creepy supernatural tale, combining prison drama and dance rivalry — “Orange is the New Black meets Black Swan,” as some reviewers have called it. (Read my full recommendation here).
Over the next couple of months, I’ll recommend some more of the upcoming releases pictured below. Happy spring reading!
Alyssa Raymond recommends new and upcoming releases in young adult fiction (and occasionally middle grade and adult) for Coven Book Club and its newly-launched sister site Spellbinding Books. She thanks Edelweiss, Netgalley, and the publishers for sending her ARCs and DRCs for review purposes. Please follow her on Tumblr and Twitter.