Book preview: Spring 2022 novels offer fantastic worlds, intimate narratives
(Photo illustration by Ashley Kenney/Photo editor)
Springtime is a moment to turn new leaves and new pages. As days get warmer and the frost recedes, the season invites new novels telling tales of dragon slayers and deep family secrets.
Read on for Daily Bruin’s picks of new books blooming this spring.
“An Arrow to the Moon” by Emily X.R. Pan
Romeo and Juliet might have looked quite different with a mythological twist.
Emily X.R. Pan’s newest novel, “An Arrow to the Moon,” provides a modern retelling of the Shakespearean classic with a twist from Chinese mythology. The book, releasing April 12, follows Hunter and Luna\ as they navigate through their respective family struggles – from haunted pasts to lofty expectations. As Luna finally begins breaking the rules, she meets Hunter in her class, who unexpectedly turns her life around as they explore the secrets their families hold.
Pan’s previous book, “The Astonishing Color of After,” received multiple awards for its compelling story and its themes surrounding family and identity. Pan’s novels are largely inspired by her experiences growing up as an Asian American, and her portrayal of familial struggles among Asian youth intertwined with Chinese mythological elements is sure to bring an intriguing story to the table.
And with the mesh of a tragic classic and Chinese mythology, it might even bring some heartache as well.
– Sarah Karim
“Left on Tenth: A Second Chance at Life” by Delia Ephron
With an intimately titled memoir, Delia Ephron is inviting readers home.
A chronicle of heartbreak and resilience, the upcoming novel from the “You’ve Got Mail” author swaps comedy for candor and is set to release April 12. Detailing the loss of both her sister and husband to cancer, Ephron tells a tale of how writing a New York Times op-ed sparked her second chance at love. By weaving her sorrow into stories, she attracts Peter, a psychiatrist and forgotten former flame, with whom she can envision sharing a new life. That is, until Ephron is diagnosed with leukemia.
The memoir then follows her in and out of hospitals in a tug-of-war between highs and hopelessness. Though no stranger to change – Ephron was raised in California before ending up in New York at the titular Tenth Street – her memoir faces serious topics like death and experimental cancer treatments head-on. And unlike previous novels such as thriller-romance “Siracusa,” Ephron weaves a narrative from reality, and details that in real life, happy endings are worked for and not written.
Signals on or not, “Left on Tenth” will turn pages.
– Zinnia Finn
“Book of Night” by Holly Black
Charlie’s world deals in the business of shadows.
Holly Black’s newest urban fantasy release, ”Book of Night,” follows Charlie, a former con artist turned bartender, as she slowly tries to distance herself from the world of underground shadow trading. The book, which debuts May 3, is set in a world where shadows can manipulate one’s appearance, influence, and feelings – all with the cost of time taken away from one’s lifespan. When an unexpected figure reappears in Charlie’s life, she is tossed into the chaos of the shadow world, where she must learn to control the magic of the shadows.
While Black’s previous novels such as “The Folk of the Air” trilogy, were marketed toward younger audiences, “Book of Night” will be her adult debut. The author said she wanted to write a story about an established individual, and explore their complicated, imperfect relationships. Through the adult genre, Black has the room to explore and approach darker magic systems – something she could not do previously when writing for teens, she said.
As they’re entering the night, readers will discover the true meaning of darkness.
– Sarah Karim
“Together We Burn” by Isabel Ibañez
Zarela Zalvidar dances with dragons.
In a city ridden with beasts, Hispalia, the fictional setting for the May 31 novel “Together We Burn,” is home to the slaying of dragons for sport. As the daughter of the most famous Dragonador, Zarela is a flamenco dancer with the birthright of inheriting the family’s ancestral Dragon Guild. Destiny takes a turn at the five hundredth anniversary show when her father is critically injured, giving Zarela no choice but to step into her father’s shoes and defend her inheritance from bloodthirsty hands. The only obstacle in her path is the refusal of disgraced dragon hunter, Arturo Díaz de Montserrat, to teach her how to tango with dragons.
As the author of “Woven in Moonlight” and “Written in Starlight,” Isabel Ibañez crafts her newest adventure in a medieval Spain-inspired standalone. Drawing from her own experiences as the daughter of Bolivian immigrants, Ibañez fuels her female protagonists with the burning responsibilities and headstrong mindsets to obtain their goals.
Rising from the carnage, Zarela persists to carry this legacy one step at a time.
– Sandra Ocampo