A look at some of the most promising books being published next year
2017 has been an amazing year for literature. Whether it is autobiographies or Literary Fiction, authors and publishers have raised the creative bar. And next year looks as though it will be just as good, if not better. Here are my top 5 2018 releases.
5. The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle – Stuart Turton
While playing a game of Cluedo or watching Murder She Wrote re-runs bring many people great joy. Being tangled up in a real-life murder mystery is no-one’s idea of a good time.
In Turton’s debut novel however, the main character Aiden unfortunately has to bear witness to a mysterious murder over and over again.
After being invited to Blackheath for a gala party thrown by Evelyn Hardcastle’s parents, Aiden finds himself reliving her murder. And each time he’s in the body of a different guest.
Unable to save Evelyn, the torturous cycle will only end if Aiden identifies the killer.
Author Turton has worked as a travel journalist in beautiful places like Dubai and Shanghai. And his creative writing has won him the Brighton and Hove Short Story Prize, and a spot on the shortlist for the BBC Radio Opening Lines competition.
The exciting and original concept in his debut novel is sure to make a big splash when it is released in early February 2018. As it has all the ingredients for an deliciously suspenseful mystery novel, an intricate plot, suspicious characters and a chilling murder.
The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle has already received praise from authors like Natasha Pulley who referred to it is as “Absolute envy-making bloody murderous brilliance.”
4. Obsidio (The Illuminiae Files) – Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Obsidio is the third and final book in the The Illuminae Files trilogy.
The first book in the bestselling futuristic space opera is about young couple Kady and Ezra, who get caught in the middle of a war between two megacorporations.
On the day the couple break up, their tiny planet Karenza is invaded, forcing them to work together in order to escape. But that’s only the beginning.
The pair are eventually separated and end up on different refugee spaceships, one of which is critically damaged.
With a deadly virus outbreak and an enemy ship on their tails. The ex-lovers can’t help but lean on each other as they try to find clarity in a world of chaos.
The second instalment Gemina picks up minutes after the ending of the first, introducing two new characters whose destinies are tied to Kady and Ezra’s.
Obsidio follows suit with another pair of teens joining the beloved gang of characters. Who all return to Karenza after the horrific invasion that kickstarted the trilogy, unsure of what they will find.
Told through classified documents such as emails, IMs and interview transcripts, The Illuminea Files make for a unique reading experience. The action-packed series is unlike anything I have read before, it’s captivating, unpredictable and thrilling. And in March 2018 the intense sci-fi adventure will be coming to a bittersweet end.
3. Children of Blood & Bone – Tomi Adeyemi
Children of Blood & Bone has already been crowned the most highly anticipated fantasy novel of 2018 and has earned 23-year-old author Tomi Adeyemi a seven-figure book and movie deal.
The book is the first instalment of a series about a West-African girl called Zélie Adebola.
After a ruthless King orders the removal of all magic ‘leaving Zélie without a mother and her people without hope.’ Zélie must do all she can to fight the monarchy and return magic to the people of Orïsha.
This is a tale that clearly promises wonderment and adventure, but Harvard graduate Adeyemi says that it’s about much more than that. “For me, this is how I try to help the world. This is how I can protest and how I can say something.”
The book explores race, police brutality, oppression and more. Adeyemi wanted to mirror the fear and injustice that victims of police brutality experience. With Zelié losing her mother at the hands of an oppressive system, clear parallels can be drawn.
Adeyemi also wanted to share her Nigerian culture which the fictional world in her novel has been crafted from “they’re travelling through deserts, they’re wearing dashikis, they’re eating jollof rice.”
If the beautifully entrancing cover wasn’t enough of an invitation to read Children of Blood and Bone, early reviews have been nothing but positive. And the novel has been given a 4.62 star rating on Goodreads by the lucky few who have been able to read it.
The fact that Adeyemi has received a record-breaking publishing deal at such a young age is an inspiration within itself. But her choice to provide readers with a truly refreshing narrative within the realm of Young Adult Fiction is why her debut novel gets the number three spot on this list.
2. The Good Journal – Nikesh Shukla and Julia Kingsford
After the success of The Good Immigrant, a collection of enlightening and validating essays about race and immigration in the UK, Author Nikesh Shukla and Literary Agent Julia Kingsford will be bringing us The Good Journal in April 2018.
The Good Journal will be a quarterly literary journal that showcases creative content from People of Colour.
It is no secret that there is a shameful lack of diversity within the publishing industry. In a recent study, The Bookseller found that during 2016 less than 100 out of thousands of books published in the UK were written by non-white writers.
Shukla and Kingsford have decided to tackle this issue head-on by creating a literary journal dedicated to elevating underrepresented voices.
The pair initiated a Kickstarter campaign on the anniversary of The Good Immigrant’s publication. They had a target of £40,000 in order to fund distribution and events as well as pay writers.
The Kickstarter garnered widespread support and the target was not only met but surpassed, with extra funds being allocated towards forming The Good Literary Agency, ‘a social enterprise literary agency focused exclusively on representing the under-represented from all backgrounds.’
Writers for the first four issues have already been confirmed including comedian, actor and broadcaster Sanjeev Bhaskar OBE. Submissions are currently being accepted by writers with all levels of experience.
This journal is a much-needed platform for diverse UK talent, and I am eager to get my hands on the first issue.
1. Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture – Roxane Gay
American novelist and essayist Roxane Gay continues to produce work that educates, shocks and empowers readers.
In Bad Feminist, for example, Gay embarked on a deep exploration of sexual politics, popular culture and her own shortcomings as a feminist.
This year her novel Hunger received critical acclaim and was labelled ‘required reading’ by People.
In the brave memoir, Gay shares how the traumatic experience of being raped as a child shaped her body image and relationship with food.
Now Gay has taken on a new role as editor of a timely anthology of essays about sexual harassment and rape culture, which will be released during May 2018.
Contributors include actors Gabrielle Union and Ally Sheedy as well as writers Lyz Lens, Bob Shacochis and Claire Schwartz.
According to publisher Harper Collins the anthology ‘both reflects the world we live in and offers a call to arms insisting that “not that bad” must no longer be good enough.’
I look forward to reading this important piece of literature, which will allow for victims of sexual assault and harassment to uplift their voices. And, hopefully, contribute to the eradication of rape culture which is so deeply embedded in society.