May is truly bringing some of the most anticipated books across the genres, but especially on the shelves of fantasy, science fiction, and speculative fiction. From a fresh take on Disney’s Brave by the New York Times bestselling author of The Raven Cycle series to an adult debut inspired by Middle Eastern stories and a middle grade debut unfolding in a magical school, there is something for every reader! So here are ten new SFF books of May 2022 to read.
Twin Crowns by Catherine Doyle & Katherine Webber
(Balzer + Bray, May 17)
The first in a thrilling fantasy rom-com duology about twin princesses separated at birth — one raised as the crown princess and the other taken as an infant and raised to kidnap her sister, steal the crown, and avenge their parents’ murders. Sarah J Mass says she was “thoroughly bewitched by this marvellous book”.
The Merciless Ones by Namina Forna
(Delacorte Press, May 31)
An epic sequel to The Gilded Ones: New York Times bestseller about a girl with the power to remake her world or destroy it. It’s been six months since Deka discovered who she really is but war is waging across the kingdom. A dark force is growing and it’s a merciless power that Deka and her army must stop.
The Stardust Thief by Chelsea Abdullah
(Orbit, May 17)
Inspired by middle eastern stories, this debut adult fantasy weaves together the gripping tale of a legendary smuggler, a cowardly prince, and a dangerous quest across the desert to find a legendary, magical lamp. Aamna Qureshi, author of The Lady or the Lion, says this “reads like it is meant to be told around the fire beneath a starlit sky”.
City of Orange by David Yoon
(G.P. Putnam’s Sons, May 24)
A harrowing and haunting but also a humorous novel about resembling the things that make us who we are and finding the way home again. A man wakes up in an unknown landscape, injured and alone. He encounters an old man, a crow, and a boy — and realises that nothing is what he thought it was, neither the present nor the past.
Ballad & Dagger by Daniel José Older
(Rick Riordan Presents, May 03)
Mateo island homeland disappeared into the sea and its survivors escaped to New York. Now a high school junior, he wants to get the attention of a musical legend. But when during a night of celebration, he witnesses a brutal murder, he is thrust into an ancient battle that spans years and oceans while deadly secrets are unraveled.
Bravely by Maggie Stiefvater
(Disney Press, May 03)
A fresh take on the celebrated princess from Disney’s Brave and steeped in Scottish legends and lore. Princess Merida of DunBroch faces off against the ancient gods of Scotland in this magic-infused epic adventure where each step will bring her closer to saving the family she loves — or losing them forever.
The Marvellers by Dhonielle Clayton
(Henry Holt and Co., May 03)
Ella is the first Conjuror to attend a magical school in the clouds that celebrates cultures, but being first isn’t easy. Eventually, she finds friendly faces in potions teacher and fellow misfits. But then the teacher never returns from a research trip and a dangerous criminal has escaped prison — and Ella becomes the target of suspicion.
Elektra by Jennifer Saint
(Flatiron Books, May 03)
A spellbinding reimagining of the story of Elektra, one of Greek mythology’s most infamous heroines. Elektra only wants her beloved father to return home from war. But can she escape her family’s bloody history, or is her destiny bound by violence too? Yangsze Choo, author of The Night Tiger, says this is “a shimmering tapestry”.
The Ghosts of Rose Hill by R.M. Romero
(Peachtree Teen, May 10)
A modern folktale. A biracial Jewish girl finds herself torn between her dreams and her immigrant parents’ expectations. When she restores a kindhearted ghost’s grave, he introduces her to the enchanted side of Prague — while another man with no shadow becomes fascinated with her music and offers to share his magic.
An Unreliable Magic by Rin Chupeco
(Sourcebooks Fire, May 03)
The second book in a trilogy about modern-day magic, found family, and standing up for what’s right. Mysterious portals have popped up in the lost city of Avalon and now, when the city’s sworn enemy attempts to open one into another country for its life-giving waters, Alex, Tala, and their friends will have to work together even after a betrayal.