10 must-read SFF book releases to help you escape from reality this May

Forged in Fire and Stars by Andrea Robertson. Image Courtesy Penguin Random House
Forged in Fire and Stars by Andrea Robertson. Image Courtesy Penguin Random House /
7 of 11

House of Dragons – Jessica Cluess

House of Dragons is the first book in a new series from Jessica Cluess, author of the magical period-set Kingdom on Fire trilogy. And it seems to be ready to fill the Game of Thrones-shaped hole in your life. (In a more substantial way than simply sharing a name with the forthcoming Targaryen-focused prequel series.)

In the Etrusian Empire, when an Emperor dies, the Great Dragon usually names the oldest child from each of the five noble houses to compete in a series of trials with their dragons. (Yes, dragons. It’s in the title after all.) The winner of this trial claims the Dragon Throne; the other four are executed.

However, following the death of Emperor Erasmus, slightly less traditional choices choices are made. These include youngest children, illegitimate heirs, and even a competitor that committed murder. This ragtag group must face a series of challenges that will test their greatest weaknesses, and ultimately come together to the end to save their kingdom.

The official synopsis breaks down each character for us.

"When the Emperor dies, the five royal houses of Etrusia attend the Call, where one of their own will be selected to compete for the throne. It is always the oldest child, the one who has been preparing for years to compete in the Trial. But this year is different. This year, these five outcasts will answer the call…. THE LIAR: Emilia must hide her dark magic or be put to death. THE SOLDIER: Lucian is a warrior who has sworn to never lift a sword again. THE SERVANT: Vespir is a dragon trainer whose skills alone will keep her in the game. THE THIEF: Ajax knows that nothing is free–he must take what he wants. THE MURDERER: Hyperia was born to rule and will stop at nothing to take her throne."

House of Dragons is available on May 12.