Five Upcoming YA Under-the-Radar Releases
Or, Five Books That Sound Really Cool That You Probably Haven’t Heard Of
I was going to make this a mish-mash of YA and fantasy reads, but then realised that I had enough that I was excited about to make it worth my while to have two separate lists, so if fantasy and sci-fi is more your thing, check out that list here!
Even The Darkest Stars
Set in a fictional Himalayan kingdom, this is the story of a girl enlisted by a legendary explorer to help him climb the kingdom’s deadliest mountain – only to discover that his true mission may threaten her whole world.
Kamzin is hired as a guide by a legendary explorer for his next mission, climbing one of the tallest and deadliest mountains in the region. I love the idea of a book based around a mountain trek, particularly after just finishing Within the Sanctuary of Wings, and there’s supposed to be dragons! This book sounds wonderful and right up my alley.
The Library of Fates
No one is entirely certain what brings the Emperor Sikander to Shalingar. Until now, the idyllic kingdom has been immune to his many violent conquests. To keep the visit friendly, Princess Amrita has offered herself as his bride, sacrificing everything—family, her childhood love, and her freedom—to save her people. But her offer isn’t enough.
First of all, that’s a wonderful cover that’s giving me a bit of a Hinduism vibe. Then the title has “library” in it, so I’m already 75% the way sold. The plot itself sounds fairly standard: a princess is made a fugitive, on the run with a slave she barely knows to find a fable location: The Library of All Things. Well, you say, Atlas what makes this one worth getting excited for? First of all, the slave Thala is a woman so, whilst I can’t find any reviews that might confirm this, I get the suspicion that this might be a lesbian romance! Hurrah! Secondly, this book is prominently inspired by Indian folklore and has been compared to The Wrath & the Dawn.
An Enchantment of Ravens
Isobel is a prodigy portrait artist with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread, weave cloth, or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and Isobel’s paintings are highly prized among them. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes – a weakness that could cost him his life.
Again, what a stunning cover! It’s painted by Charlie Bowater, an artist I greatly admire which is the reason An Enchantment of Ravens first caught my eye. It sounds a little bit like A Court of Thorns and Roses – a mortal girl that paints, fairy courts, whisked away by royalty – but also has reviewer comparisons to Uprooted, which I adored. I’ve got high hopes for this one!
Beasts Made of Night
Taj is the most talented of the aki, young sin-eaters indentured by the mages to slay the sin-beasts. But Taj’s livelihood comes at a terrible cost. When he kills a sin-beast, a tattoo of the beast appears on his skin while the guilt of committing the sin appears on his mind. Most aki are driven mad by the process, but 17-year-old Taj is cocky and desperate to provide for his family.
Magical realism is one of my true loves as a genre and Beasts Made of Night looks like it might be able to deliver something wonderful. This is marketed as a “gritty Nigerian inspired fantasy” and the debut work on a Nigerian-American author. It’s got corrupt mages, royalty, sin-beasts, monster hunting and conspiracies; I’m not sure I could ask for much more.
All Rights Reserved
Gregory Scott Katsoulis
Speth Jime is anxious to deliver her Last Day speech and celebrate her transition into adulthood. The moment she turns fifteen, Speth must pay for every word she speaks (“Sorry” is a flat ten dollars and a legal admission of guilt), for every nod ($0.99/sec), for every scream ($0.99/sec) and even every gesture of affection. She’s been raised to know the consequences of falling into debt, and can’t begin to imagine the pain of having her eyes shocked for speaking words that she’s unable to afford.
A solid YA sci-fi idea that promises to reflect upon society. The idea reminds me a little of the Doctor Who episode I watched the other night, taking place on a shape ship where one had to pay for “authorised oxygen”. Speech is a commodity and every word or gesture is trademarked, so one girl decides to live in silence. I’ve had my eye on this one for months after seeing it on Netgalley and I’m definitely intrigued to see how Katsoulis writes a book with a main character that neither speaks nor expresses any sort of emotion.
Do you have any relatively unknown YA releases you’re excited about?