Updated: Feb 24
Well, illumicrate posted some emoji spoilers today, 6 Feb 2023 on their Instagram account:
Here are the guesses!
Release date: 4 April 2023
All her life, Kyr has trained for the day she can avenge the destruction of planet Earth. Raised on Gaea Station alongside the last scraps of humanity, she is one of the best warriors of her generation, the sword of a dead planet.
Then Command assigns her brother to certain death and relegates her to the nursery to bear sons, and she knows she must take humanity's revenge into her own hands. Alongside her brother's brilliant but seditious friend and a lonely, captive alien, Kyr must escape from everything she's ever known. If she succeeds, she will find a universe far more complicated than she was taught and far more wondrous than she could ever have imagined
Some Desperate Glory the highly anticipated debut novel from Astounding Award and World Fantasy Award-Winner, Emily Tesh; a thrillingly told space opera about the wreckage of war, the family you find, and the path you must forge when every choice is stripped from you.
Release date: 4 May 2023 (2 May in the US)
Magic, romance, and slumbering gods clash in the start of a riveting fantasy series spanning gangsters' dens, forgotten temples, and the high seas from the New York Times bestselling author of the Illuminae Files and the Aurora Cycle. Selly has salt water in her veins. So when her father leaves her high and dry in the port of Kirkpool, she has no intention of riding out the winter at home while he sails to adventure in the north seas. But any plans to follow him are dashed when a handsome stranger with tell-tale magician's marks on his arms commandeers her ship under cover of darkness: He is Prince Leander of Alinor, and he needs to cross the Crescent Sea without detection so he can complete a ritual on the sacred Isles of the Gods. Selly has no desire to escort a spoiled prince anywhere, and no time for his entitled demands or his good looks. But what starts as a leisure cruise will lead to acts of treason and sheer terror on the high seas, bringing two countries to the brink of war, two strangers closer than they ever thought possible and two dangerous gods stirring from centuries of slumber...
Alternate May Titles (Could Also Be's):
Some bookish sleuths believe the Pinnochio references match the emojis. It's a distinct possibility.
Release date: 25 April 2023
Synopsis: From New York Times bestselling author TJ Klune, In the Lives of Puppets is a queer retelling of the Pinocchio tale, inviting you deep into the heart of a peculiar forest and on the extraordinary journey of a family assembled from spare parts. In a strange little home built into the branches of a grove of trees live three robots – fatherly inventor android Giovanni Lawson, a pleasantly sadistic nurse machine, and a small vacuum desperate for love and attention. Victor Lawson, a human, lives there too. They’re a family, hidden and safe. The day Vic salvages and repairs an unfamiliar android labelled ‘HAP’, he learns of a shared dark past between Hap and Gio – a past spent hunting humans. When Hap unwittingly alerts robots from Gio’s former life to their whereabouts, the family is no longer hidden and safe. Gio is captured and taken back to his old laboratory in the City of Electric Dreams. So together, the rest of Vic’s assembled family must journey across an unforgiving and otherworldly country to rescue Gio from decommission, or worse, reprogramming. Along the way to save Gio, amid conflicted feelings of betrayal and affection for Hap, Vic must decide for himself: can he accept love with strings attached? Inspired by Carlo Collodi’s The Adventures of Pinocchio, In the Lives of Puppets is a masterful standalone fantasy adventure from the author who brought you The House in the Cerulean Sea and Under the Whispering Door.
Some bookish folk have pointed out that there are whales and whale riding, disguises, and wind magic in the book (but not in the synopsis, so those who haven't read the ARC wouldn't know). I stared long and hard at this one for a pick. It still could be.
Release date: 30 May 2023
Synopis: From the breakout SFF superstar author of Murderbot comes a remarkable story of power and friendship, of trust and betrayal, and of the families we choose.
"I didn't know you were a... demon."
"You idiot. I'm the demon."
Kai's having a long day in Martha Wells' WITCH KING....
After being murdered, his consciousness dormant and unaware of the passing of time while confined in an elaborate water trap, Kai wakes to find a lesser mage attempting to harness Kai’s magic to his own advantage. That was never going to go well.
But why was Kai imprisoned in the first place? What has changed in the world since his assassination? And why does the Rising World Coalition appear to be growing in influence?
Kai will need to pull his allies close and draw on all his pain magic if he is to answer even the least of these questions.
He’s not going to like the answers.
WITCH KING is Martha Wells’s first new fantasy in over a decade, drawing together her signature ability to create characters we adore and identify with, alongside breathtaking action and adventure, and the wit and charm we’ve come to expect from one of the leading writers of her generation.
Bookish consensus via the Discord server seems to think this one is the June book--many bookish folk guesses my initial pick and Illumicrate said the June book still hadn't been guessed correctly. Though Illumicrate does not follow this author, Daphne Press does. It releases rather late in July, so if it is the pick, subscribers will hopefully get this one early!
EDIT 24 Feb 2023:
It's definitely this one. Daphne Press revealed the *beautiful* cover for this one and hinted that it would be in a book box, which I take to mean (and many other bookish folk as well) that it will be the June 2023 pick for Illumicrate.
Release date: 25 July 2023
Synopsis: In a lush world inspired by the history and folklore of South America, a sweeping epic fantasy of colonialism, ancient magic, and two young women's quest for belonging unfolds.
Reina is desperate.
Stuck living on the edges of society, her only salvation lies in an invitation from a grandmother she’s never known. But the journey is dangerous, and prayer can’t always avert disaster.
Attacked by creatures that stalk the region, Reina is on the verge of death until her grandmother, a dark sorceress, intervenes. Now dependent on the Doña’s magic for her life, Reina will do anything to earn—and keep—her favor. Even the bidding of an ancient god who whispers to her at night.
Eva Kesare is unwanted.
Illegitimate and of mixed heritage, Eva is her family’s shame. She tries her best to be perfect and to hide her oddities. But Eva is hiding a secret: magic calls to her.
Eva knows she should fight the temptation. Magic is the sign of the dark god, and using it is punishable by death. Yet, it’s hard to deny power when it has always been denied to you. Eva is walking a dangerous path, one that gets stranger every day. And, in the end, she’ll become something she never imagined.
Alternate June Title (What I Thought It Was But It's Not):
Release date: 13 June 2023
Synopsis: Enter a lush world of cataclysmic storms, planet-wide jungles, floating cities and devastating magic in this explosive new science fantasy, perfect for fans of N.K. Jemisin, Tasha Suri and Martha Wells. High above a jungle-planet float the last refuges of humanity―plant-made civilizations held together by tradition, technology, and arcane science. In these living cities, architects are revered above anyone else. If not for their ability to psychically manipulate the architecture, the cities would plunge into the devastating earthrage storms below. Charismatic, powerful, mystical, Iravan is one such architect. In his city, his word is nearly law. His abilities are his identity, but to Ahilya, his wife, they are a way for survival to be reliant on the privileged few. Like most others, she cannot manipulate the plants. And she desperately seeks change.
Their marriage is already thorny―then Iravan is accused of pushing his abilities to forbidden limits. He needs Ahilya to help clear his name; she needs him to tip the balance of rule in their society. As their paths become increasingly intertwined, deadly truths emerge, challenging everything each of them believes. And as the earthrages become longer, and their floating city begins to plummet, Iravan and Ahilya's discoveries might destroy their marriage, their culture, and their entire civilization.
Obiligatory disclaimer: I am not sponsored or affiliated with any of these boxes. Additionally, a mention on my page does not mean I endorse the box(es), the book(s), or the author(s). I am simply providing information.