State of the ARC is a meme hosted by Avalinah’s Books in which we round up our ARCs and attempt to wrangle them into something approaching order. Sometimes it’s like herding cats.
I have a flock of ARCs coming in in April and May. There are so many intriguing books coming out this spring! So many! I usually try to limit my requests to one or two in a given month, but I just couldn’t resist requesting a bunch of books. And then I was approved for most of them. So I have a lot of reading to do. Which sounds perfectly fine to me
- The Councillor by E.J. Beaton
Expected publication date: March 2, 2020, from DAW
In this Machiavellian fantasy, scholarly Lysande Prior investigates the murder of her friend, Queen Sarelin Bray, ruler of Elira, even as she is the one who must choose the next ruler from the ruthless city rulers. Though she is of a scholarly bent, Lysande cannot let go of a hidden addiction or her growing taste for power as she engages in ruthless strategy with the city rulers. But far away, the magic-wielding White Queen is raising an army and becoming an ever-growing threat to Elira.
- The Bookseller of Florence: The Story of the Manuscript that Illuminated the Renaissance by Ross King
Expected publication date: April 13, 2021, by Atlantic Monthly Press
Until the introduction of the printing press in Europe in the late 1400s, books were some of the most precious and most beautiful artworks of the late medieval era. In addition to holding the knowledge of the ages, they contained intricate illuminated pages and beautiful illustrations. In 1400s Florence, Vespasiano da Bisticci became one of the most prolific booksellers in Europe, whose clients included kings and popes. Called the ‘king of the world’s booksellers’, his literary empire would face its greatest challenge with the introduction of the printing press in 1480. The Bookseller of Florence is an ode to the world of books and bookmaking, as well as a memorial to a literary titan of the early Renaissance.
- Dance with Death (Barker and Llewellyn #12) by Will Thomas
Expected publication date: April 13, 2021, by St. Martin’s Press
In the summer of 1893, the young Tsarevich Nicolas has traveled to London to attend a royal wedding. He has brought with him his ballerina mistress and his security forces, for his life has been threatened by an assassin known as La Syphide. Though Nicolas is protected by forces from both Russia and England, an attack on Prince George proves that they need more help. Enter Barker and Llewellyn, who are hired to track down the assassin. Their investigation brings them face to face with old enemies, high society, and motives both political and personal. While facing attempts on their own lives, Barker and Llewellyn must solve this case before the greatest royal families in Europe fall victim to the crime of the century.
- The Glitter in the Green: In Search of Hummingbirds by Jon Dunn
Expected publication date: April 20, 2021, by Basic Books
Long beloved for their shimmering feathers, hummingbirds have long held a special place in the imaginations of people all over the world. But these tiny birds life on a knife’s edge, fighting for survival in myriad places– some of them being among the harshest ecosystems on the planet. Acclaimed nature writer Jon Dunn travels around the world, from the southern Arctic reaches to Antarctic islands in search of hummingbirds in all their varieties.
- The Galaxy, and the Ground Within (Wayfarers #4) by Becky Chambers
Expected Publication Date: April 20, 2021, by Harper Voyager
Lacking in essentials like air and water, the little planet of Gora is an unremarkable place, though its convenient location makes it a popular stop on the way to somewhere else. When a freak occurance halts all traffic in and out of Gora, three travelers of different species– an exiled artist with an appointment to keep, a cargo runner at a crossroads, and a mysterious traveler doing her best to help those on the fringes– must face where they’ve been, where they’re going, and what they could come to mean to one another.
- Thief of Souls: An Inspector Lu Fei Mystery by Brian Klingborg
Expected publication date: May 4th, 2021 by Minotaur Books
Inspector Lu Fei is a graduate of one of China’s elite police academies, but he has been sent to a remote backwater village where nothing ever seems to happen. Until a young woman is found brutally murdered. A rising star in China’s CID is sent to investigate, but as the country grows more authoritarian, stability and prosperity are valued more than solving the murder of one poor woman. It seems that no one cares about justice except Lu Fei. The more he investigates the crime, though, the more enemies he makes and soon he realizes that he could be putting himself and everyone he loves in danger.
- The Kingdoms by Natasha Pulley
Expected publication date: May 25, 2021 by Bloomsbury Publishing
In an alternate history where England is a French colony, a man named Joe Tournier is suffering from amnesia. The only thing he knows about his identity comes from a century-old Scottish postcard, written in the forbidden language of English, signed only as “M”. Joe goes in search of M in order to discover more than one identity, and in so doing, will change the course of history forever.
- The Tangleroot Palace: Stories by Marjorie Liu
Expected publication date: June 15, 2021 by Tachyon Publications
A young woman finds love with another woman whose true self emerges just once a week. A young witch seeks freedom through betrayal, innocent bones, and a meticulous spell. A princess flees an arranged marriage and finds a family with a troupe of actors deep in the forest. These stories and more make up The Tangleroot Palace, Liu’s first collection of short, fantastical stories.
- Books Promiscuously Read: Reading as a Way of Life by Heather Cass White
Expected publication date: July 6, 2021
Heather Cass White, herself a lifelong reader, advocates for a life spent in books. Not for educational purposes or the ‘value’ ascribed to certain kinds of books, but for the sheer enjoyment, fascination, and the expression of the self that reading brings to a person’s life. It is also a tribute to the reading life, and aims to help people rediscover their love of books.
- The Viking Heart: How Scandanavians Conquered the World by Arthur Herman
Expected publication date: August 3, 2021 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
For millennia, the Scandinavian people of northern Europe lived relatively quietly among the forests and fjords of their sub-arctic climbes. But in the mid-Medieval period, they emerged from their remote homeland and spread out across Europe, from the icy volcanoes of Iceland to the cathedrals of Byzantium– and beyond the known world to North America, hundred of years before Christopher Columbus made his famous voyage. In The Viking Heart, Herman blends historical narratives with the latest archaeological and DNA research to build a fascinating story of a people who have captured our imaginations for centuries.
- The Real Valkyrie: The Real History of Viking Warrior Women by Nancy Marie Brown
Expected publication date: August 31, 2021 by St. Martin’s Press
In 2017, DNA evidence showed that a skeleton from a high status Viking grave in Birka, Sweden, was actually a woman. Archaeologists had long believed the skeleton to have been that of a male, thanks to the weapons buried with the person. The idea that this grave was that of a woman upended the notions we had about Viking society. Was this woman a Viking warrior? In The Real Valkyrie, Brown explores the idea that there were female Vikings alongside the men, which is contrary to our modern notions– which are based upon Victorian histories that often sought to reinforce their own gender roles and assumed superiority, rather than tell a true story of history. Using sagas, stories, and archaeological evidence of the Viking era, Brown seeks to expand upon our views of a woman’s place in Viking society.
As of today, March 23, 2021, I have ten ARCs to read and review over the next five months. That is totally do-able, though several of them are due in the next couple of months, which means there will be several weeks straight that I’ll be writing reviews for them. But they all look so interesting!
I’ve sent reviews for 52 books out of 62 approvals for a feedback ratio of 84%. I have two books still waiting for approval, though I’m fairly sure that I’ll be denied one of them, because I have never had an approval from Tor, in spite of the fact that I read primarily science fiction and fantasy– and always have– and that’s primarily what Tor publishes. I can’t decide if I want to just roll my eyes at this fact or be salty about it. It’s kind of a half-and-half situation.
But oh well. There are plenty of publishers coming out with some fantastic-looking books, and they’re more than willing to share with the likes of me. So I’ll keep reading their books. It’s going to be great.