As the year draws to a mid-way point, publishers have been releasing their catalogues for the second half of 2022, showing off the exciting new stories we have to look forward to for the upcoming months. To be fair, my expectations for Q3 and Q4 weren’t too high, as almost all of my most anticipated releases for this calendar-year have either already been released, or have been pushed back to 2023. However, delving into some catalogues and hearing some other reviewers talk about their anticipated releases, put some new things on my radar that got me excited for the next few months again. Let me introduce you to the 11 books that I’m most anticipating for the second half of 2022:
1. What Moves the Dead by T. Kingfisher
Genre: horror Publication: July 12th 2022, Tor Nightfire Why I’m excited: I love The Fall of the House of Usher. I loved T Kingfishers previous horror works. A combination of those two can be nothing else but a recipe for success in my book. Bonuspoints for the excellent cover, which was designed and created by the author herself. Talking about someone who truly can do it all…
When Alex Easton, a retired soldier, receives word that their childhood friend Madeline Usher is dying, they race to the ancestral home of the Ushers in the remote countryside of Ruritania.
What they find there is a nightmare of fungal growths and possessed wildlife, surrounding a dark, pulsing lake. Madeline sleepwalks and speaks in strange voices at night, and her brother Roderick is consumed with a mysterious malady of the nerves.
Aided by a redoubtable British mycologist and a baffled American doctor, Alex must unravel the secret of the House of Usher before it consumes them all.
2. Venomous Lumpsucker by Ned Beauman
Genre: speculative fiction/sci-fi Publication: July 12th 2022, Soho Press Why I’m excited: bizarre-speculative-eco-fiction is one of those incredibly niche genres that I have an inexplicable fascination with. Drawn in by the strange title, captured by the synopsis that gave me major Jeff Vandermeer-vibes, and hooked by the positive reviews I’ve heard from people I trust, I’m still silently praying that my ARC gets approved by the publisher.
The near future. With tens of thousands of species dying out every year, our last hope is the biobanks, impregnable vaults where their remnants can be preserved forever. Until one day an audacious cyberattack obliterates every single one.
In the aftermath, a troubled conservationist and a crooked mining exec must team up in search of the venomous lumpsucker, a lost fish that they both desperately need to save. Together, they pursue it through the weird landscapes of the 2030s - a nature reserve full of toxic waste; a floating city on the Baltic Sea; the dangerous hinterlands of a totalitarian state. And the further they go, the deeper they're drawn into the mystery of the attack on the biobanks. Who was behind it? And why would anyone do such a thing?
3. The First Binding by R.R. Virdi
Genre: fantasy Publication: August 16th 2022, Tor Why I’m excited: Because the synopsis reminded me of The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss, and then I saw that the man himself wrote a rave-review based of an ARC he read. I tend to agree with Patrick Rothfuss’ opinions on fantasy a lot, so thought it was good, than I’ll be sure to give it a shot.
Synopsis: All legends are born of truths. And just as much lies. These are mine. Judge me for what you will. But you will hear my story first. I buried the village of Ampur under a mountain of ice and snow. Then I killed their god. I've stolen old magics and been cursed for it. I started a war with those that walked before mankind and lost the princess I loved, and wanted to save. I've called lightning and bound fire. I am legend. And I am a monster. My name is Ari. And this is the story of how I let loose the first evil.
4. Amari and the Great Game by B.B. Alston
Genre: middle-grade fantasy
Publication: August 30th 2022, Balzer and Bray
Why I’m excited: I adored book one in this series, and described it as “Harry Potter meets Man in Black, but more inclusive and modern”, and I stand by that description. I couldn’t wait to see how Amari’s story would progress further, and after an extended delay, we’re finally getting to find out.
Synopsis: After finding her brother and saving the entire supernatural world, Amari Peters is convinced her first full summer as a Junior Agent will be a breeze. But between the fearsome new Head Minister’s strict anti-magician agenda, fierce Junior Agent rivalries, and her brother Quinton’s curse steadily worsening, Amari’s plate is full. So when the secretive League of Magicians offers her a chance to stand up for magiciankind as its new leader, she declines. She’s got enough to worry about! But her refusal allows someone else to step forward, a magician with dangerous plans for the League. This challenge sparks the start of the Great Game, a competition to decide who will become the Night Brothers’ successor and determine the future of magiciankind. The Great Game is both mysterious and deadly, but among the winner’s magical rewards is Quinton’s last hope—so how can Amari refuse?
5. Babel, or the Necessity of Violence by R.F. Kuang
Genre: fantasy Publication: August 23rd 2022, Harper Voyager Why I’m excited: I’m not going to lie: I didn’t get along with R.F. Kuang’s debut series like everybody else did. Although I liked her writing and worldbuilding, hard military-fantasy isn’t something I tend to enjoy. When I heard that Kuang was creating a completely new fantasy world, this time with an academic setting based around languages and translations, I knew I had to give her a second chance!
Synopsis: 1828. Robin Swift, orphaned by cholera in Canton, is brought to London by the mysterious Professor Lovell. There, he trains for years in Latin, Ancient Greek, and Chinese, all in preparation for the day he'll enroll in Oxford University's prestigious Royal Institute of Translation — also known as Babel. Babel is the world's center of translation and, more importantly, of silver-working: the art of manifesting the meaning lost in translation through enchanted silver bars, to magical effect. Silver-working has made the British Empire unparalleled in power, and Babel's research in foreign languages serves the Empire's quest to colonize everything it encounters. Oxford, the city of dreaming spires, is a fairytale for Robin; a utopia dedicated to the pursuit of knowledge. But knowledge serves power, and for Robin, a Chinese boy raised in Britain, serving Babel inevitably means betraying his motherland. As his studies progress Robin finds himself caught between Babel and the shadowy Hermes Society, an organization dedicated to sabotaging the silver-working that supports imperial expansion. When Britain pursues an unjust war with China over silver and opium, Robin must decide: Can powerful institutions be changed from within, or does revolution always require violence? What is he willing to sacrifice to bring Babel down?
6. The Unbalancing by R.B. Lemberg
Publication: September 20th 2022, Tachyon Publications Why I’m excited: Described as a fantasy rooted in the mystical cosmology, neurodiversity, and queerness, told in lyrical prose and set in an already well-developed world with lore and background. Need I say anything more? Oh, and the world is allegedly based off the mythology surrounding Atlantis. I’m sold. Synopsis: Beneath the waters by the islands of Gelle-Geu, a star sleeps restlessly. The celebrated new starkeeper Ranra Kekeri, who is preoccupied by the increasing tremors, confronts the problems left behind by her predecessor. Meanwhile, the poet Erígra Lilún, who merely wants to be left alone, is repeatedly asked by their ancestor Semberi to take over the starkeeping helm. Semberi insists upon telling Lilun mysterious tales of the deliverance of the stars by the goddess Bird. When Ranra and Lilun meet, sparks begin to fly. An unforeseen configuration of their magical deepnames illuminates the trouble under the tides. For Ranra and Lilun, their story is just beginning; for the people of Gelle-Geu, it may well be too late to save their home.
7. Our Missing Hearts by Celeste Ng
Genre: contemporary fiction Publication: October 4th 2022, Penguin Press Why I’m excited: Nobody writes contemporary Asian-American family drama with themes of immigration like Celeste Ng does, and I’ve loved everything she’s written to date. It’s been a few years since her last release, and I’ve been secretly eyeing her socials for a hint of her next work. It will finally arrive this October.
Twelve-year-old Bird Gardner lives a quiet existence with his loving but broken father, a former linguist who now shelves books in Harvard University’s library. Bird knows to not ask too many questions, stand out too much, or stray too far. For a decade, their lives have been governed by laws written to preserve “American culture” in the wake of years of economic instability and violence. To keep the peace and restore prosperity, the authorities are now allowed to relocate children of dissidents, especially those of Asian origin, and libraries have been forced to remove books seen as unpatriotic—including the work of Bird’s mother, Margaret, a Chinese American poet who left the family when he was nine years old.
Bird has grown up disavowing his mother and her poems; he doesn’t know her work or what happened to her, and he knows he shouldn’t wonder. But when he receives a mysterious letter containing only a cryptic drawing, he is drawn into a quest to find her. His journey will take him back to the many folktales she poured into his head as a child, through the ranks of an underground network of librarians, into the lives of the children who have been taken, and finally to New York City, where a new act of defiance may be the beginning of much-needed change.
8. Fairy tale by Stephen King
Publication: September 6th, Scribner
Why I’m excited: apparently Stephen King was inspired to write this novel during a Pandemic-slump when he asked himself “What could you write that would make you happy?”. Whatever his answer was: I want to find out. Although Kings writing is hit or miss for me, his work is almost never dull, so I’m excited to see what he does with this premise.
Charlie Reade looks like a regular high school kid, great at baseball and football, a decent student. But he carries a heavy load. His mom was killed in a hit-and-run accident when he was ten, and grief drove his dad to drink. Charlie learned how to take care of himself—and his dad. When Charlie is seventeen, he meets a dog named Radar and her aging master, Howard Bowditch, a recluse in a big house at the top of a big hill, with a locked shed in the backyard. Sometimes strange sounds emerge from it.
Charlie starts doing jobs for Mr. Bowditch and loses his heart to Radar. Then, when Bowditch dies, he leaves Charlie a cassette tape telling a story no one would believe. What Bowditch knows, and has kept secret all his long life, is that inside the shed is a portal to another world.
King’s storytelling in Fairy Tale soars. This is a magnificent and terrifying tale in which good is pitted against overwhelming evil, and a heroic boy—and his dog—must lead the battle.
9. Leila and the Blue Fox by Kiran Millwood Hargrave & Tom de Feston
Genre: middle-grade, illustrated fiction Publication: October 13th, Orion Children’s Books Why I’m excited: After reading its spiritual predecessor Julia and the Shark, I’ve been excited to see what natural world this duo will bring to life next. Kirans words and Toms artwork create a complementary joining that is more than the sum of its parts.
She was very tired.
She lay down, her soft head on her soft paws.
The sunset licked her face.
The snow covered her like a blanket.
Fox wakes, and begins to walk. She crosses ice and snow, over mountains and across frozen oceans, encountering bears and birds beneath the endless daylight of an Arctic summer, navigating a world that is vast, wild and wondrous.
Meanwhile, Leila embarks on a journey of her own - finding her way to the mother who left her. On a breathtaking journey across the sea, Leila rediscovers herself and the mother she thought she'd lost, with help from a determined little fox.
Based on the true story of an Arctic fox who walked from Norway to Canada in seventy-six days, a distance of two thousand miles, this compelling, emotional and beautifully illustrated story is the perfect gift for 9+ readers.
10. The Cloisters by Katy Hays
Publication: November 1st 2022, Atria Books
Why I’m excited: this book purely sold me on its synopsis and keywords. Academic mystery researching the history of fortune telling, check. Blurring the lines between the arcane and the modern, the magical and the rational, check. A deadly “treasure hunt” for a mysterious tarot deck, double check.
I know nothing more about this novel than you do at this point, but the mysterious alure of that short description was enough to peak my attention.
When Ann Stilwell arrives in New York City, she expects to spend her summer working as a curatorial associate at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Instead, she finds herself assigned to The Cloisters, a gothic museum and garden renowned for its medieval art collection and its group of enigmatic researchers studying the history of divination.
Desperate to escape her painful past, Ann is happy to indulge the researchers’ more outlandish theories about the history of fortune telling. But what begins as academic curiosity quickly turns into obsession when Ann discovers a hidden 15th-century deck of tarot cards that might hold the key to predicting the future. When the dangerous game of power, seduction, and ambition at The Cloisters turns deadly, Ann becomes locked in a race for answers as the line between the arcane and the modern blurs.
11. The House of Yesterday by Deepa Zargarpur
Genre: contemporary fiction Publication: November 29th, Farrar, Straus and Giroux Why I’m excited: This book ticks so many of my boxes: melancholic haunted house-trope exploring grief and trauma. Themes of diversity, coming of age, family and belonging… I’m ready to have my heart broken.
Synopsis: Taking inspiration from the author's own Afghan-Uzbek heritage, this contemporary YA debut is a breathtaking journey into the grief that lingers through generations of immigrant families, and what it means to confront the ghosts of your past. Struggling to deal with the pain of her parents' impending divorce, fifteen-year-old Sara is facing a world of unknowns and uncertainties. Unfortunately, the one person she could always lean on when things got hard, her beloved Bibi Jan, has become a mere echo of the grandmother she once was. And so Sara retreats into the family business, hoping a summer working on her mom's latest home renovation project will provide a distraction from her fracturing world. But the house holds more than plaster and stone. It holds secrets that have her clinging desperately to the memories of her old life. Secrets that only her Bibi Jan could have untangled. Secrets Sara is powerless to ignore as the dark truths of her family's history rise in ghostly apparitions--and with it, the realization that as much as she wants to hold onto her old life, nothing will ever be the same.
Let me know what your most anticipated releases for the second half of 2022 are, and if there are any books you think I've missed for my list. Until then, happy reading, and I'll see you in the next one.