13 new YA releases that belong on your May reading list

Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean. Image courtesy Flatiron Books
Tokyo Ever After by Emiko Jean. Image courtesy Flatiron Books /
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Blade of Secrets book cover
Blade of Secrets by Tricia Levenseller. Image courtesy Macmillan Publishers /

May 2021 release: Blade of Secrets – Tricia Levenseller

The latest novel from Tricia Levenseller, Blade of Secrets continues the author’s trend of centering stories around distinctly unconventional heroines.  In The Shadows Between UsLevenseller gave us a dark, morally compromised central character who was everything that a fantasy leading lady is not supposed to be. And that’s exactly what she does with Blade of Secrets as well – just in a completely different and unexpected way.

This novel centers around Ziva, a talented bladesmith who is able to forge weapons that are embued with powerful magical abilities. (A mace, for example, that can suck the air out of its opponents’ lungs when spun, that kind of thing.) But Ziva also suffers from crippling social anxiety, of a sort that generally sees her confined to her forge, avoiding the outside world as much as possible.

When a powerful warlord requests a magical weapon, Ziva knows this could mean a future of safety and prosperity for her and her sister, Temra. But the result is a sword of legend, one that could not only give its wielder the strength to conquer nations but destroy lives. And when Ziva learns the warlord’s true intentions run more to world domination than keeping the peace, she’ll have to take her sister and her powerful creation on the run –  in a world that was frightening enough for Ziva to navigate before people started trying to kill them.

The official synopsis describes the story in more detail.

"Eighteen-year-old Ziva prefers metal to people. She spends her days tucked away in her forge, safe from society and the anxiety it causes her, using her magical gift to craft unique weapons imbued with power. Then Ziva receives a commission from a powerful warlord, and the result is a sword capable of stealing its victims’ secrets. A sword that can cut far deeper than the length of its blade. A sword with the strength to topple kingdoms. When Ziva learns of the warlord’s intentions to use the weapon to enslave all the world under her rule, she takes her sister and flees. Joined by a distractingly handsome mercenary and a young scholar with extensive knowledge of the world’s known magics, Ziva and her sister set out on a quest to keep the sword safe until they can find a worthy wielder or a way to destroy it entirely."

Blade of Secrets is available on May 4.