New & Notable Books, April 2023


James P. Blaylock, Pennies from Heaven (Drugstore Indian Press 11/22; JABberwocky Literary Agency 2/23) The legendary author of strange fiction delivers a California mystery novel with a supernatural edge, about a couple in a small town who discover treasure hidden beneath their new house, and must contend with an eccentric librarian in the face of an oncoming storm.



adrienne maree brown, Maroons (AK Press 1/23) brown’s Grievers trilogy – set in a plague-ravaged Detroit – has drawn comparisons to Octavia E. Butler and Samuel R. Delany, and this second volume deepens the emotional impact as the characters attempt to carry on and build a community. It’s part of the AK Press Black Dawn series, ‘‘ which honors anarchist traditions and follows the great Octavia E. Butler’s legacy.’’




Roshani Chokshi, The Last Tale of the Flower Bride (Hodder & Stoughton UK 2/23; Morrow 2/23) The author of charming young adult and children’s fantasies has turned to adult work for the first time in this novel, influenced by fairy tales, and with a dark, Gothic sensibility. A scholar promises his heiress bride that he won’t pry into her past, but his resolve is tested when they return to her ancestral home, and old secrets emerge.


S.B. Divya, Meru (47North 2/23) One of our most impressive new authors – currently a Neb­ula Award finalist for short fiction – launches a new series, the Alloy Era, with this volume. In the far future, humans are restricted to life on Earth, while their posthuman offspring, called ‘‘alloys,’’ roam the galaxy… but when an Earth­like planet called Meru is discovered, a human raised by alloys sets out to prove that humanity is worthy of traveling in space again.


Stephen Graham Jones, Don’t Fear the Reaper (Saga 2/23; Titan Books UK 2/23) A titan of modern horror delivers the second volume in his supernatural suspense Indian Lake trilogy, following My Heart Is a Chainsaw. Slasher film fan Jade Daniels returns home after four years in prison… just in time for the arrival of escaped serial killer Dark Mill South, who’s out to exact bloody revenge for old outrages.


Ian McDonald, Hopeland (Tor 2/23; Gollancz 2/23) McDonald is one of our most inventive writers, and this SF tale following the Hopeland family mingles engaging oddball elements with serious speculation. It’s ‘‘a dizzying rush of quirky characters, New Age ideas, crackling Tesla coils, and eccentric families…. But what ultimately emerges is a heartrending love story brought into focus by the devastating effects of the Anthropocene and the geopolitical response to climate refugees.’’ [Ian Mond]


H.G. Parry, The Magician’s Daughter (Redhook 2/23; Orbit UK 2/23) It’s 1912 in the British Empire, and magic is fading from the world. The Magicians’ Council in England ruthlessly hoards and controls what power remains. On the hidden, magic-infused island of Hy-Brasil, a 17-year-old woman named Biddy may possess the secret to restoring magic… if the Council doesn’t get her first. ‘‘A gorgeously atmospheric coming-of-age novel…. A triumph of skill and technique.’’ [Liz Bourke]


Salman Rushdie, Victory City (Random House 2/23; Jonathan Cape UK 2/23) A new novel by the literary heavyweight is always an event, and his latest doesn’t disappoint. Victory is inspired by Indian history and mythology, about a girl who becomes the vessel for a goddess, creates a city, and lives through the first centuries of the empire she made. ‘‘An un-put-down-able narrative feast, rich with character, incident, aphorisms, and meditations on morality, life, and death…. rich and authentic, narrated with so much fluency and ceaseless invention.’’ [Paul Di Filippo]


Tom Rob Smith, Cold People (Scribner 2/23; Simon & Schuster UK 1/23) This near-future apocalyptic SF novel has a startlingly original premise: an omnipotent alien force takes over the Earth and delivers an ultimatum to humans, giving them 30 days to relocate to Antarctica, the only place they’ll be allowed to live. Those who survive the journey must build a new society in the most inhospitable place on the planet, and transform themselves to secure their future.



Jane Yolen, The Scarlet Circus (Tachyon 2/23) Yolen is a national treasure, a master of chil­dren’s and adult fiction, and her latest collection includes 11 standout stories, with notes on each, plus poems (nine of them new!) as companions to the tales within. Yolen shows off her romantic side here, as the loose theme of the book is love – ‘‘but hardly of the Hallmark-movie variety’’ [Gary K. Wolfe]


From the April 2023 issue of Locus.

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2 thoughts on “New & Notable Books, April 2023

  • April 25, 2023 at 8:25 pm

    (the link to Victory City’s page on Amazon appears to be broken)

    • April 26, 2023 at 9:35 am

      Thank you! Fixed!


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