42 New Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books to Consider for Your May Reading List

The Shadow of the Gods
The Shadow of the Gods
Image: Orbit

Somehow, it’s May—and that means not only are we one step closer to summer, we’ve also got several dozen new sci-fi and fantasy books to tempt you with. This month, we’ve got apocalyptic survivors, royals desperate to realize their destinies, supernatural private eyes, ambitious mutants, and so much more.

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The Sword Falls by A.J. Smith

The Form and Void series continues in this sequel to The Glass Breaks, which finds the heir to the Kingdom of the Four Claws scrambling to lead as new threats emerge on all sides, including the dangerously rising sea. (May 1)

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Image: Flatiron Books

Ariadne by Jennifer Saint

In this tale inspired by Greek mythology, the princess of Crete falls for Theseus, the prince of Athens, when he arrives to slay the Minotaur. But is happily ever after possible once you’ve betrayed your family and disobeyed the gods? (May 4)

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Image: Gallery / Saga Press

Firebreak by Nicole Kornher-Stace

In 2134, when feuding corporations have completely overtaken what used to be the U.S., a young woman prefers to spend her time playing virtual reality war games—until she discovers a dangerous truth about the game’s developer. (May 4)

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Image: Tor Books

Immunity Index by Sue Burke

This tale, described as a blend of Orphan Black and Contagion, is set in a not-so-unfamiliar dystopian version of the U.S. and follows a geneticist and the three women he created as they face a deadly viral outbreak. (May 4)

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Image: Roaring Brook Press

The Ones We’re Meant to Find by Joan He

Stranded on an island formed by climate change, a young woman plots her escape with one goal in mind: reuniting with her long-lost sister. Meanwhile, her sister—who’s confined to an “eco-city” that protects its residents from the nearly uninhabitable world outside—is also doing her best to track her down. (May 4)

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Image: Ballantine Books

Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir

The latest from the author of The Martian focuses on another solo character in peril: the only survivor remaining on a deep-space mission who’s desperately trying to solve a mystery that could save the human race. (May 4)

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Realm Breaker by Victoria Aveyard

A new fantasy series begins as a young woman learns her heritage has marked her as a struggling world’s last hope—but she won’t have to fight alone after an unusual array of companions (a sorceress, a bounty hunter, a forger, an immortal, and more) rally to help. (May 4)

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The Shadow of the Gods by John Gwynne

The Bloodsworn trilogy—named for mercenaries who are preparing for an imminent war—begins in a magic, monster-filled land where fortune hunters search for the powerful bones of ancient gods. (May 4)

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The Shadow in the Glass by JJA Harwood

Cinderella gets a Victorian gothic adjustment in this story about a maid who’s offered an escape from her grim life after she meets a fairy godmother. Trouble is, this fairy godmother’s wish-granting comes at a price. (May 4)

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Walk Among Us by Cassandra Khaw, Genevieve Gornichec, and Caitlin Starling

This collection gathers three feminist horror novellas all set within the “World of Darkness” that appears in role-playing game Vampire: The Masquerade. (May 4)

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Angel of the Overpass by Seanan McGuire

The Ghost Roads series continues as a hitchhiking ghost chases after the immortal man who killed her. (May 11)

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Black Water Sister by Zen Cho

When a young woman starts receiving psychic messages from the ghost of her grandmother—a former spirit medium—she’s drawn into the dead woman’s quest to avenge a deity who’s suffered a great insult in the land of the living. (May 11)

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Image: Tor Books

The House of Always by Jenn Lyons

The fourth Chorus of Dragons book picks up after the Ritual of the Night, as enemy forces plot to free the King of Demons. Reluctant hero Kihrin must determine how much he’ll sacrifice of himself in order to make sure that doesn’t happen. (May 11)

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Image: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Illusionary by Zoraida Córdova

The Hollow Crown series continues as Renata reluctantly teams up with the frustratingly alluring Prince Castian, knowing he’s a necessary ally if she has any hope of restoring peace to the nation. But will she be able to control her powerful magic enough to use it to her advantage? (May 11)

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Last One at the Party by Bethany Clift

In December 2023, a virus wipes out the entire human race—except for one woman, who sets out on a journey (with her dog, because every good post-apocalypse has a canine companion) to see if she really is the last person alive. (May 11)

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A Master of Djinn by P. Djeli Clark

In 1912 Cairo, the youngest woman working for the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments, and Supernatural Entities chases after a murderer whose magical abilities as dangerous as they are unusual. Read an excerpt here. (May 11)

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The Rock Eaters by Brenda Peynado

This short story collection taps into sci-fi, fantasy, magical realism, and speculative fiction to explore “issues ranging from class differences to immigration to first-generation experiences to xenophobia.” (May 11)

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Son of the Storm by Suyi Davies Okungbowa

In this epic fantasy inspired by pre-colonial West Africa, a scholar stumbles upon a dark secret from his city’s ancient past—a discovery that brings forth chaos as he sets out to investigate it further. Read an excerpt here. (May 11)

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We Are Satellites by Sarah Pinsker

A couple struggles with their opposing points of view in a world where brain implants are becoming not just commonplace, but required for advancement. (May 11)

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Within Without by Jeff Noon

Private eye John Nyquist is back, this time pursuing the stolen, sentient image of a has-been rock n’ roll star through the very strange city of Delirium. (May 11)

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Exiles of Tabat by Cat Rambo

The Tabat Quartet continues as exiled hero Bella Kanto heads to the frontier, while the city she’s just left erupts when magical creatures rebel in the name of freedom. (May 12)

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The Album of Dr. Moreau by Daryl Gregory

“It’s 2001, and the WyldBoyZ are the world’s hottest boy band, and definitely the world’s only genetically engineered human-animal hybrid vocal group.” If that doesn’t already have you hooked, add to that the fact that this book is also a race-against-time murder mystery set in Las Vegas. (May 18)

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The Betrayals by Bridget Collins

This speculative fiction tale imagines an elite school that trains players for “the great game,” which involves a combination of music, art, math, poetry, and philosophy. After his political career implodes, a former student returns to the academy to find it quite changed as the high-stakes competition draws near. (May 18)

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Day Zero by C. Robert Cargill

As a robot revolution looms, a “nannybot” must decide whether to join his rebellious kind or continue to protect the eight-year-old boy he’s been entrusted with caring for. (May 18)

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Image: Del Rey

Goblin: A Novel in Six Novellas by Josh Malerman

The latest from the author of Bird Box gathers six spooky stories set in the same sinister small town. (May 18)

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Image: Blackstone Publishing

Master Artificer by Justin T. Call

The second Silent Gods book finds Annev—who now has a cursed artifact melded to him—and his friends trying to negotiate power struggles, revenge quests, and unpredictable magic. (May 18)

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Image: Dutton Books for Young Readers

Aetherbound by E.K. Johnston

A girl carrying a genetic mutation that marks her as an outcast escapes her family’s interstellar freighter after befriending a young pair who feel similarly trapped in their lives: twin teens whose well-connected family runs a space station. Can the trio work together to turn their lives around? (May 25)

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The Blacktongue Thief by Christopher Buehlman

This fantasy adventure about a thief who tries to rob a knight but ends up going on an adventure with her instead is set in a world of “goblin wars, stag-sized battle ravens, and assassins who kill with deadly tattoos.” (May 25)

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Hard Reboot by Django Wexler

A researcher on a visit to “old Earth” becomes entangled in the planet’s gritty underworld—specifically the portion of the underworld obsessed with betting on giant robot arena battles. (May 25)

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Honeycomb by Joanne M. Harris

This collection of original fairy tales also features illustrations by Charles Vess. (May 25)

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Image: Bloomsbury Publishing

The Kingdoms by Natasha Pulley

This alt-history tale follows a man with amnesia who turns up in 19th century England—a French colony—and must figure out who he is with only a mysterious postcard for assistance. (May 25)

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The Lights of Prague by Nicole Jarvis

In a time when lamplighters (who are actually monster hunters) form Prague’s only line of defense against the creatures that stalk its streets at night, one among their numbers—armed with a sentient will o’ the wisp—uncovers a conspiracy poised to turn the tide against humankind. (May 25)

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Image: Kaya Press

On the Origin of Species and Other Stories by Kim Bo-Young

The acclaimed South Korean science fiction author releases her debut English-language collection, bringing together some of her best-loved stories as well as an essay on sci-fi. (May 25)

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The Promised Queen by Jeffe Kennedy

The Forgotten Empress epic fantasy trilogy concludes as Conrí takes on a corrupt emperor and his army of wizards, while Queen Euthalia draws on her magical link to her island nation to try and save her people. (May 25)

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Qwyrk by Tim Rayborn

The title character, a member of the Shadow folk, is trying to take some time off from her regular gig keeping an eye on humankind—but there’s an urgent and ancient supernatural mystery that will need solving before she can take her vacation. (May 25)

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Reset by Sarina Dahlan

Post-apocalypse America has been rebuilt into utopian cities where everything is carefully controlled—including the citizens, who must undergo a full memory wipe every four years. A scientist is fully in favor of this process until she starts to realize her recurring dreams signify a love she’s been forced to forget. (May 25)

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Richards & Klein by Guy Haley

“The Holmes and Watson of the 22nd century” (one’s an A.I., one’s a cyborg) enter a renegade digital realm to find a missing A.I. rights activist, but end up discovering a plan aimed at taking over their own reality. (May 25)

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Scorpion by Christian Cantrell

In this near-future thriller, a CIA agent takes on a new assignment to help her recover from a family tragedy—but soon finds the case, involving a series of bizarre murders around the globe that are tied to a secret message discovered in the Large Hardon Collider’s archives, is far more personal than she realized. (May 25)

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Spells Trouble by P.C. and Kristin Cast

Twin witches Hunter and Mercy set out to avenge their mother’s death, but find their combined powers might not be enough to combat the ancient monsters who’ve found a way to portal into their small town. (May 25)

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Image: G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Version Zero by David Yoon

Fired from his job in big tech after asking too many pointed questions about his company, a blackballed data whiz reaches out to a reclusive tech guru for help with his revenge scheme—and soon realizes the consequences of his actions. (May 25)

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Anna by Sammy H.K. Smith

In a dystopian world where men are allowed to treat women as possessions, a women named Anna begins to understand what’s very wrong about her forced place in the world. (May 27)

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The Cretaceous Past by Cixin Liu

The latest from the acclaimed Chinese author behind The Three Body Problem is a short novel built around a metaphor that begins with a T-rex, a toothache, and a colony of ants who’re eager to take full advantage of the situation. (May 31)

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io9 News Editor, here since 2016. Previously SF Bay Guardian newspaper (RIP), SF State University (MA, Cinema Studies), big fan of horror, metal, and verrry small dogs.

DISCUSSION

I swear that Seanan McGuire must be a pen name for a collective of authors. She makes Stephen King look like he suffers severe writer’s block.

Also, really glad that P. Djeli Clark has moved up to novels. I really liked his novellas but wanted more.