This looks like another amazing year of speculative fiction! As usual, this is by no means a comprehensive list of books coming out this year, but it is a comprehensive list of 2020 releases I know about that sound most compelling to me personally—in some cases, these are new installments in series I love or books by authors whose work I’ve enjoyed, but there are also some books by new-to-me authors that sounded intriguing too. My personal taste tends to run toward fantasy with historical settings, speculative fiction influenced by various mythologies, fairy tales and retellings, and books with animals (dragons count as animals, right?).

You may notice there are a few books from last year’s list. This is because those ended up being moved from 2019 to 2020, which may very well happen again with some of the books currently scheduled for this year. I did not include books I’m hoping for that I’m not certain are coming out this year, like The Winds of Winter, The Thorn of Emberlain, and Alix E. Harrow’s upcoming book about suffragette witches in the 1890s. I’m sure that more books will be announced later that I want to read or that, despite the vast amount of time I spent scouring the Internet, I missed some.

This list is ordered by release date, if known, and these dates are US release dates unless otherwise stated. There are a few books at the end that do not have one yet other than sometime in 2020 (some of which I couldn’t even find much information about), but I included anything I’m excited about currently scheduled for release this year. The first couple of books on this list did just come out this week, but the rest are upcoming.

Due to the length of this blog post, I’m only showing the first 10 books on the main page. You can click the title of the post or the ‘more…’ link after the tenth book to read the entire article.

Cover images link to Amazon. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

Woven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibañez
Woven in Moonlight by Isabel Ibañez
Read an Excerpt
Scheduled Release Date: January 7

Woven in Moonlight caught my eye because of its gorgeous cover—designed by the author, as she discussed in this interview—but held my gaze with its description. It’s a Bolivian-inspired young adult fantasy novel that promises romance and magic, and I’ve mentioned before how much I love the body double trope…


A lush tapestry of magic, romance, and revolución, drawing inspiration from Bolivian politics and history.

Ximena is the decoy Condesa, a stand-in for the last remaining Illustrian royal. Her people lost everything when the usurper, Atoc, used an ancient relic to summon ghosts and drive the Illustrians from La Ciudad. Now Ximena’s motivated by her insatiable thirst for revenge, and her rare ability to spin thread from moonlight.

When Atoc demands the real Condesa’s hand in marriage, it’s Ximena’s duty to go in her stead. She relishes the chance, as Illustrian spies have reported that Atoc’s no longer carrying his deadly relic. If Ximena can find it, she can return the true aristócrata to their rightful place.

She hunts for the relic, using her weaving ability to hide messages in tapestries for the resistance. But when a masked vigilante, a warm-hearted princess, and a thoughtful healer challenge Ximena, her mission becomes more complicated. There could be a way to overthrow the usurper without starting another war, but only if Ximena turns her back on revenge―and her Condesa.

Lady Hotspur by Tessa Gratton - Book Cover
Lady Hotspur by Tessa Gratton
Read an Excerpt
Scheduled Release Date: January 7

A couple of years after the release of The Queens of Innis Lear, Tessa Gratton has a second fantasy novel based on one of Shakespeare’s works: this time, with inspiration from Henry IV, Part 1.

You can read more about it in the author’s article on queering Shakespeare and adapting her favorite of his plays on the Tor/Forge Blog, and she also discussed it here a few months ago as part of her beautiful essay on grief and the loss of her mother titled “Death and the Fantasist.”


Tessa Gratton’s Lady Hotspur is a sweeping, heart-stopping Shakespearean novel of betrayal and battlefields and destiny.


This is the motto of the Lady Knights—sworn to fealty under a struggling kingdom, promised to defend the prospective heir, Banna Mora.

But when a fearsome rebellion overthrows the throne, Mora is faced with an agonizing choice: give up everything she’s been raised to love, and allow a king-killer to be rewarded—or retake the throne, and take up arms against the newest heir, Hal Bolingbrooke, Mora’s own childhood best friend and sworn head of the Lady Knights.

Hal loathes being a Prince; she’s much more comfortable instated on the Throne of Misrule, a raucous underground nether-court where passion rules all. She yearns to live up to the wishes of everyone she loves best—but that means sacrificing her own heart, and so she will disappoint everyone until the moment she can rise to prove those expectations wrong.

And between these two fierce Princes is the woman who will decide all their fates—Lady Hotspur Persy, the fiery and bold knight whose support will turn the tides of the coming war.

Dark and Deepest Red by Anna-Marie McLemore - Book Cover
Dark and Deepest Red by Anna-Marie McLemore
Read an Excerpt
Scheduled Release Date: January 14

I’ve heard that Anna-Marie McLemore’s novels The Weight of Feathers and When the Moon Was Ours are wonderful, so I was excited to discover they have a fairytale retelling of “The Red Shoes” coming soon!


With Anna-Marie McLemore’s signature lush prose, Dark and Deepest Red pairs the forbidding magic of a fairy tale with a modern story of passion and betrayal.

Summer, 1518. A strange sickness sweeps through Strasbourg: women dance in the streets, some until they fall down dead. As rumors of witchcraft spread, suspicion turns toward Lavinia and her family, and Lavinia may have to do the unimaginable to save herself and everyone she loves.

Five centuries later, a pair of red shoes seal to Rosella Oliva’s feet, making her dance uncontrollably. They draw her toward a boy who knows the dancing fever’s history better than anyone: Emil, whose family was blamed for the fever five hundred years ago. But there’s more to what happened in 1518 than even Emil knows, and discovering the truth may decide whether Rosella survives the red shoes.

The Vanished Birds by Simon Jimenez - Book Cover
The Vanished Birds by Simon Jimenez
Read an Excerpt
Scheduled Release Date: January 14

The Vanished Birds sounds like a thoughtful science fiction epic about found family and connection (which I love!), and the little bit that I read seemed well written.


A mysterious child lands in the care of a solitary woman, changing both of their lives forever, in this captivating debut of connection across space and time.

“The best of what science fiction can be: a thought-provoking, heartrending story about the choices that define our lives.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

A solitary ship captain, drifting through time.

Nia Imani is a woman out of place. Traveling through the stars condenses decades into mere months for her, though the years continue to march steadily onward for everyone she has ever known. Her friends and lovers have aged past her. She lives only for the next paycheck, until the day she meets a mysterious boy, fallen from the sky.

A mute child, burdened with unimaginable power.

The scarred boy does not speak, his only form of communication the haunting music he plays on an old wooden flute. Captured by his songs and otherworldly nature, Nia decides to take the boy in to live amongst her crew. Soon, these two outsiders discover in each other the things they lack. For him, a home, a place of love and safety. For her, an anchor to the world outside of herself. For both of them, a family. But Nia is not the only one who wants the boy.

A millennia-old woman, poised to burn down the future.

Fumiko Nakajima designed the ships that allowed humanity to flee a dying Earth. One thousand years later, she now regrets what she has done in the name of progress. When chance brings Fumiko, Nia, and the child together, she recognizes the potential of his gifts, and what will happen if the ruling powers discover him. So she sends the pair to the distant corners of space to hide them as she crafts a plan to redeem her old mistakes.

But time is running out. The past hungers for the boy, and when it catches up, it threatens to tear this makeshift family apart.

Ashlords by Scott Reintgen - Book Cover
Ashlords by Scott Reintgen
Read an Excerpt
Scheduled Release Date: January 21

Any book with a horse (or a cat…or a bird) on the cover is sure to get my attention, and I love the idea of phoenix horses.


Red Rising meets The Scorpio Races in this epic fantasy following three phoenix horse riders–skilled at alchemy–who must compete at The Races–the modern spectacle that has replaced warfare within their empire.

Every year since the Ashlords were gifted phoenix horses by their gods, they’ve raced them. First into battle, then on great hunts, and finally for the pure sport of seeing who rode the fastest. Centuries of blood and fire carved their competition into a more modern spectacle: The Races.

Over the course of a multi-day event, elite riders from clashing cultures vie to be crowned champion. But the modern version of the sport requires more than good riding. Competitors must be skilled at creating and controlling phoenix horses made of ash and alchemy, which are summoned back to life each sunrise with uniquely crafted powers to cover impossible distances and challenges before bursting into flames at sunset. But good alchemy only matters if a rider knows how to defend their phoenix horse at night. Murder is outlawed, but breaking bones and poisoning ashes? That’s all legal and encouraged.

In this year’s Races, eleven riders will compete, but three of them have more to lose than the rest–a champion’s daughter, a scholarship entrant, and a revolutionary’s son. Who will attain their own dream of glory? Or will they all flame out in defeat?

Rogue Princess by B.R. Myers - Book Cover
Rogue Princess by B.R. Myers
Read an Excerpt
Scheduled Release Date: January 21

After I thought I had finally decided exactly which books would appear on this list, I saw Rogue Princess on Renay’s list of anticipated books for the first quarter of 2020 and was intrigued by the cover and her reasons for wanting to read it. And then I saw it is “a gender-swapped sci-fi YA retelling of Cinderella” and it found its way onto this list…


A princess fleeing an arranged marriage teams up with a snarky commoner to foil a rebel plot in B. R. Myers’ Rogue Princess, a gender-swapped sci-fi YA retelling of Cinderella.

Princess Delia knows her duty: She must choose a prince to marry in order to secure an alliance and save her failing planet. Yet she secretly dreams of true love, and feels there must be a better way. Determined to chart her own course, she steals a spaceship to avoid the marriage, only to discover a handsome stowaway.

All Aidan wanted was to “borrow” a few palace trinkets to help him get off the planet. Okay, so maybe escaping on a royal ship wasn’t the smartest plan, but he never expected to be kidnapped by a runaway princess!

Sparks fly as this headstrong princess and clever thief battle wits, but everything changes when they inadvertently uncover a rebel conspiracy that could destroy their planet forever.

The Wolf of Oren-Yaro by K. S. Villoso - Book Cover
The Wolf of Oren-Yaro (Chronicles of the Bitch Queen #1) by K. S. Villoso
Read an Excerpt
Scheduled Release Date: February 18 (Trade Paperback); Ebook Now Available

Even if I hadn’t heard this was an excellent novel from people who read the original self-published version, I’d still be intrigued by it just because of the first line:

They called me the Bitch Queen, the she-wolf, because I murdered a man and exiled my king the night before they crowned me.

Now that’s an opening that makes me want to find out more!


A queen of a divided land must unite her people, even if they hate her, even if it means stopping a ruin that she helped create. A debut epic fantasy from an exciting new voice.

“They called me the Bitch Queen, the she-wolf, because I murdered a man and exiled my king the night before they crowned me.”

Born under the crumbling towers of Oren-yaro, Queen Talyien was the shining jewel and legacy of the bloody War of the Wolves, which nearly tore her nation apart. But her arranged marriage with the son of a rival clan should herald peaceful days to come.

However, her husband’s sudden departure before their reign begins puts a quick end to those dreams, and the kingdom is fractured beyond repair.

Years later, Talyien receives a message, one that will send her across the sea. What’s meant to be an effort at reconciling the past becomes an assassination attempt. Stranded in a land she doesn’t know, with no idea whom she can trust, Talyien will have to embrace her namesake.

A wolf of Oren-yaro is not tamed.

Carved from Stone and Dream by T. Frohock - Book Cover
Carved from Stone and Dream (Los Nefilim #2) by T. Frohock
Read a Brief Excerpt
Scheduled Release Date: February 25

This is the second Los Nefilim novel, which features the same world and characters first introduced in T. Frohock’s Los Nefilim novellas (In Midnight’s SilenceWithout Light or Guide, and The Second Death, collected in one volume titled Los Nefilim). T. Frohock tends to write the type of dark, unique stories with compelling, complex characters that appeal to me, and you can read more about this particular world in T. Frohock’s essay  “Angels and Daimons and the Supernatural World of Los Nefilim” here on Fantasy Cafe.


In this sequel to Where Oblivion Lives, the first entry in the Los Nefilim series set during the Spanish Civil War, a coded notebook containing the identities of Los Nefilim’s spies falls into enemy hands, and Diago is faced with an impossible choice: betray Los Nefilim or save his family.

February 1939

Catalonia has fallen. Los Nefilim is in retreat.

With the Nationalist forces hard on their heels, the members of Los Nefilim—Spanish Nephilim that possess the power to harness music and light in the supernatural war between the angels and daimons—make a desperate run for the French border.

Diago Alvarez, a singular being of angelic and daimonic descent, follows Guillermo and a small group of nefilim through the Pyrenees, where the ice is as treacherous as postwar loyalties—both can kill with a single slip. When a notebook of Los Nefilim’s undercover operatives falls into a traitor’s hands, Diago and Guillermo risk their lives to track it down. As they uncover a pocket realm deep within the Pyrenees, Diago discovers his family is held hostage.

Faced with an impossible choice: betray Los Nefilim, or watch his family die, Diago must nurture the daimonic song he has so long denied in order to save those he loves.

A Phoenix First Must Burn Anthology - Book Cover
A Phoenix First Must Burn: Sixteen Stories of Black Girl Magic, Resistance, and Hope edited by Patrice Caldwell
Read the Introduction by Patrice Caldwell
Scheduled Release Date: March 10

This anthology (whose beautiful title is from Octavia E. Butler’s Parable of the Talents) looks and sounds wonderful, especially from the introduction linked above. It includes stories by the following sixteen authors:

  • Elizabeth Acevedo
  • Amerie
  • Patrice Caldwell
  • Dhonielle Clayton
  • Jalissa Corrie
  • Somaiya Daud
  • Charlotte Nicole Davis
  • Alaya Dawn Johnson
  • Justina Ireland
  • Danny Lore
  • L.L. McKinney
  • Danielle Paige
  • Rebecca Roanhorse
  • Karen Strong
  • Ashley Woodfolk
  • Ibi Zoboi

Sixteen tales by bestselling and award-winning authors that explore the Black experience through fantasy, science fiction, and magic.

Evoking Beyoncé’s Lemonade for a teen audience, these authors who are truly Octavia Butler’s heirs, have woven worlds to create a stunning narrative that centers Black women and gender nonconforming individuals. A Phoenix First Must Burn will take you on a journey from folktales retold to futuristic societies and everything in between. Filled with stories of love and betrayal, strength and resistance, this collection contains an array of complex and true-to-life characters in which you cannot help but see yourself reflected. Witches and scientists, sisters and lovers, priestesses and rebels: the heroines of A Phoenix First Must Burn shine brightly. You will never forget them.

The City We Became by N. K. Jemisin - Book Cover
The City We Became by N. K. Jemisin
Read Entertainment Weekly Preview
Scheduled Release Date: March 24

Basically, if N. K. Jemisin wrote it, I want to read it. I think she’s one of the absolute best speculative fiction writers there is with her consistently wonderful stories, thoughtful worlds, and complex characters, and her writing sings.


Five New Yorkers must come together in order to defend their city from an ancient evil in the first book of a stunning new novel by Hugo Award-winning and NYT bestselling author N. K. Jemisin.

Every great city has a soul. Some are as ancient as myths, and others are as new and destructive as children. New York City? She’s got six.

But every city also has a dark side. A roiling, ancient evil stirs in the halls of power, threatening to destroy the city and her six newborn avatars unless they can come together and stop it once and for all.

For more from N. K. Jemisin, check out:

The Inheritance Trilogy
The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
The Broken Kingdoms
The Kingdom of Gods

The Inheritance Trilogy (omnibus edition)
Shades in Shadow: An Inheritance Triptych (e-only short fiction)
The Awakened Kingdom (e-only novella)

Dreamblood Duology
The Killing Moon
The Shadowed Sun

The Dreamblood Duology (omnibus)

The Broken Earth
The Fifth Season
The Obelisk Gate
The Stone Sky

How Long ’til Black Future Month? (short story collection)

The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo - Book Cover
The Empress of Salt and Fortune by Nghi Vo
Scheduled Release Date: March 24

Last year’s reading really made me appreciate books about angry women, and I love the sound of this upcoming fantasy novella: particularly, its description of an empress who “will bend history to her will and bring down her enemies, piece by piece.”


With the heart of an Atwood tale and the visuals of a classic Asian period drama, Nghi Vo’s The Empress of Salt and Fortune is a tightly and lushly written narrative about empire, storytelling, and the anger of women.

A young royal from the far north, is sent south for a political marriage in an empire reminiscent of imperial China. Her brothers are dead, her armies and their war mammoths long defeated and caged behind their borders. Alone and sometimes reviled, she must choose her allies carefully.

Rabbit, a handmaiden, sold by her parents to the palace for the lack of five baskets of dye, befriends the emperor’s lonely new wife and gets more than she bargained for.

At once feminist high fantasy and an indictment of monarchy, this evocative debut follows the rise of the empress In-yo, who has few resources and fewer friends. She’s a northern daughter in a mage-made summer exile, but she will bend history to her will and bring down her enemies, piece by piece.

The Poet King by Ilana C. Myer - Book Cover
The Poet King (The Harp and Ring Sequence #3) by Ilana C. Myer
Read an Excerpt
Scheduled Release Date: March 24

Last Song Before Night, Ilana C. Myer’s debut novel, was one of those absorbing books that kept me turning the pages long after I probably should have set it down to do necessary annoying things like household chores and such. I still need to catch up on Fire Dance, the previous book, but both that and The Poet King sound fantastic (especially since they have more about Lin, my favorite character from the first book!).


Prophecies unfold, legends turn real, and a war of mythical proportions endangers the realm in Ilana C. Myer’s epic fantasy The Poet King, the follow-up to her critically-acclaimed Fire Dance, continuing The Harp and Ring Sequence.

After a surprising upheaval, the nation of Tamryllin has a new ruler: Elissan Diar, who proclaims himself the first Poet King. Not all in court is happy with this regime change, as Rianna secretly schemes against him while she investigates a mysterious weapon he hides in the bowels of the palace.

Meanwhile, a civil war rages in a distant land, and former Court Poet Lin Amaristoth gathers allies old and new to return to Tamryllin in time to stop the coronation. For the Poet King’s ascension is connected with a darker, more sinister prophecy which threatens to unleash a battle out of legend unless Lin and her friends can stop it.

The Sisters Grimm by Menna van Praag - Book Cover
The Sisters Grimm by Menna van Praag
Scheduled Release Date: March 31 (US); February 6 (UK)

This just sounds amazing: four sisters with elemental powers have to discover the truth about themselves if they don’t want their father to kill them. The title and cover made me curious about The Sisters Grimm, but its description is what made me feel I have to read this book!


The critically acclaimed author of The House at the End of Hope Street combines love, mystery, and magic with her first foray into bewitching fantasy with a dark edge evocative of V.E. Schwab and Neil Gaiman.

Once upon a time, a demon who desired earthly domination fathered an army of dark daughters to help him corrupt humanity . . .

As children, Goldie, Liyana, Scarlet, and Bea dreamed of a strange otherworld: a nightscape of mists and fog, perpetually falling leaves and hungry ivy, lit by an unwavering moon. Here, in this shadowland of Everwhere, the four girls, half-sisters connected by blood and magic, began to nurture their elemental powers together. But at thirteen, the sisters were ripped from Everwhere and separated. Now, five years later, they search for one another and yearn to rediscover their unique and supernatural strengths. Goldie (earth) manipulates plants and gives life. Liyana (water) controls rivers and rain. Scarlet (fire) has electricity at her fingertips. Bea (air) can fly.

To realize their full potential, the blood sisters must return to the land of their childhood dreams. But Everwhere can only be accessed through certain gates at 3:33 A.M. on the night of a new moon. As Goldie, Liyana, Scarlet, and Bea are beset with the challenges of their earthly lives, they must prepare for a battle that lies ahead. On their eighteenth birthday, they will be subjected to a gladiatorial fight with their father’s soldiers. If they survive, they will face their father who will let them live only if they turn dark. Which would be fair, if only the sisters knew what was coming.

So, they have thirty-three days to discover who they truly are and what they can truly do, before they must fight to save themselves and those they love.

The Ranger of Marzanna by Jon Skovron - Book Cover
The Ranger of Marzanna (The Goddess War #1) by Jon Skovron
Scheduled Release Date: April 21

Once again, the beautiful horse on the cover was the reason this upcoming novel caught my attention, but I also rather like books about siblings opposing each other.


When their father is murdered by imperial soldiers, two siblings set out on opposite paths–one will destroy the Empire forever and the other will save it–in this thrilling new epic fantasy.

Sonya is training to be a Ranger of Marzanna, an ancient sect of warriors who have protected the land for generations. But the old ways are dying, and the rangers have all been forced into hiding or killed off by the invading Empire.

When her father is murdered by imperial soldiers, she decides to finally take action. Using her skills as a ranger she will travel across the bitter cold tundra and gain the allegiance of the only other force strong enough to take down the invaders.

But nothing about her quest will be easy. Because not everyone is on her side. Her brother, Sebastian, is the most powerful sorcerer the world has ever seen. And he’s fighting for the empire.

Sea Change by Nancy Kress
Sea Change by Nancy Kress
Scheduled Release Date: April 24

Nancy Kress is one of my favorite science fiction authors because of her tendency to write thoughtful page turners that make science a part of the story, and I’m looking forward to her upcoming ecological technothriller!


New from the Nebula Award winning author of Beggars in Spain: A riveting climate-change technothriller of espionage, conspiracy, and stakes so high they could lead to the destruction of humanity itself. In this environmental page-turner, activist lawyer Renata Black—covert member of the Org—must go deep underground to unravel the truth behind the ecological disaster that has paralyzed the food industry and destroyed her family.

Operative Renata Black has a serious problem—a self-driving house causing a traffic snarl. When Renata spots the Org’s Tiffany Teal paint marking a windowsill, she discovers a dangerous mystery within the house itself.

In 2022, GMOs were banned after a bio-pharmed drug caused the Catastrophe: worldwide economic collapse, agricultural standstill, and personal tragedy for a lawyer and her son. Ten years later, Renata,  a.k.a. Caroline Denton, is a member of the Org, an underground group of scientists, functioning in splinter cells that are hunted by the feds. But the Org’s illegal food-research might hold the key to rebuilding the worlds’ food supply.

Now there’s a mole in the Org, and Black is the only one who can find out who it is. At risk: the possibility of a second, even more devastating climate collapse. For answers, Black will need to go all the way to her Quinault Nation legal clients, to reveal environmental dangers—and solutions—that the world has not been willing to face.

Nancy Kress, one of our finest speculative writers, once again delivers a smart, mesmerizing, and surprisingly nuanced look at the ecological, technological, and political shifts we cannot afford to avoid.

Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust - Book Cover
Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust
Read an Excerpt
Scheduled Release Date: May 12

Original fairy tales and cursed princesses are right up my alley, and I’ve been hearing a lot of advance praise for Girl, Serpent, Thorn.


A captivating and utterly original fairy tale about a girl cursed to be poisonous to the touch, and who discovers what power might lie in such a curse…

There was and there was not, as all stories begin, a princess cursed to be poisonous to the touch. But for Soraya, who has lived her life hidden away, apart from her family, safe only in her gardens, it’s not just a story.

As the day of her twin brother’s wedding approaches, Soraya must decide if she’s willing to step outside of the shadows for the first time. Below in the dungeon is a demon who holds knowledge that she craves, the answer to her freedom. And above is a young man who isn’t afraid of her, whose eyes linger not with fear, but with an understanding of who she is beneath the poison.

Soraya thought she knew her place in the world, but when her choices lead to consequences she never imagined, she begins to question who she is and who she is becoming…human or demon. Princess or monster.

The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna - Book Cover
The Gilded Ones (Deathless #1) by Namina Forna
Scheduled Release Date: May 26

This is the first book in a new fantasy series about a girl who believes she’s doomed because of the color of her blood—but is then given the chance to become a warrior. For more information on The Gilded Ones, you can read this fantastic interview with Namina Forna at Refinery29 in which she talks about it being “a book of my anger about being a woman.” She expands on that by later adding:

“It’s just this idea that women, we are seen as objects. It doesn’t matter where in the world we are. That’s why women in my book literally bleed gold. If someone bleeds gold, then you can use that as a basic value, so that’s that metaphor right there.”


The start of a bold and immersive West African-inspired, feminist fantasy series for fans of Children of Blood and Bone and Black Panther. In this world, girls are outcasts by blood and warriors by choice.

Sixteen-year-old Deka lives in fear and anticipation of the blood ceremony that will determine whether she will become a member of her village. Already different from everyone else because of her unnatural intuition, Deka prays for red blood so she can finally feel like she belongs.

But on the day of the ceremony, her blood runs gold, the color of impurity–and Deka knows she will face a consequence worse than death.

Then a mysterious woman comes to her with a choice: stay in the village and submit to her fate, or leave to fight for the emperor in an army of girls just like her. They are called alaki–near-immortals with rare gifts. And they are the only ones who can stop the empire’s greatest threat.

Knowing the dangers that lie ahead yet yearning for acceptance, Deka decides to leave the only life she’s ever known. But as she journeys to the capital to train for the biggest battle of her life, she will discover that the great walled city holds many surprises. Nothing and no one are quite what they seem to be–not even Deka herself.

The Obsidian Tower by Melissa Caruso - Book Cover
The Obsidian Tower (Rooks and Ruin #1) by Melissa Caruso
Scheduled Release Date: June 2

Melissa Caruso’s Swords and Fire trilogy (The Tethered Mage, The Defiant Heir, and The Unbound Empire) is one of my recent favorite fantasy series: it seems familiar to me as a fantasy reader in many ways but also takes recognizable elements and tropes in some different directions, plus the characters and dialogue are excellent. I can hardly wait to read the first book in her next series, which is set in the same world 150 years after the first trilogy.


The Obsidian Tower begins a bold new epic fantasy trilogy in which the broken magic of one woman will either save an entire continent-or completely destroy it.

As the granddaughter of a Witch Lord of Vaskandar, Ryx was destined for power and prestige. But a childhood illness left her with broken magic that drains the life from anything she touches, and Vaskandar has no place for a mage with unusable powers. So Ryx has resigned herself to an isolated life as the warden of Gloamingard, her grandmother’s castle.

At Gloamingard’s heart lies a black tower. Sealed by magic, it guards a dangerous secret that has been contained for thousands of years. Until one impetuous decision Ryx makes leaves her with blood on her hands-and unleashes a threat that could doom everything she loves to fall to darkness.

Rooks and Ruin
The Obsidian Tower

For more from Melissa Caruso, check out:

Swords and Fire
The Tethered Mage
The Defiant Heir
The Unbound Empire

Trouble the Saints by Alaya Dawn Johnson
Scheduled Release Date: June 2

As you may have noticed, I’m rather fond of history intertwined with fantasy so I’m quite intrigued by this novel set in New York City around World War II.


The dangerous magic of The Night Circus meets the powerful historical exploration of The Underground Railroad in this timely and unsettling novel, set against the darkly glamorous backdrop of New York City, where an assassin falls in love and tries to fight her fate at the dawn of World War II.

Amid the whir of city life, a young woman from Harlem is drawn into the glittering underworld of Manhattan, where she’s hired to use her knives to strike fear among its most dangerous denizens.

Ten years later, Phyllis LeBlanc has given up everything—not just her own past, and Dev, the man she loved, but even her own dreams.

But the ghosts from her past are always by her side—and history has appeared on her doorstep to threaten the people she still keeps in her heart. And so Phyllis will have to make a harrowing choice, before it’s too late—but is there enough blood in the world to wash clean generations of injustice?

Trouble the Saints is a dazzling, daring novel—a magical love story, a compelling exposure of racial fault lines—and an altogether brilliant and deeply American saga.

By Force Alone by Lavie Tidhar - Book Cover
By Force Alone by Lavie Tidhar
Scheduled Release Date: June 16

This sounds compelling: an epic fantasy Arthurian retelling that satirizes modern-day politics.


A retelling of Arthurian myth for the age of Brexit and Trump, from World Fantasy Award-winner Lavie Tidhar, By Force Alone.

Everyone thinks they know the story of King Arthur and his knights of the Round Table.

The fact is they don’t know sh*t.

Arthur? An over-promoted gangster.
Merlin? An eldritch parasite.
Excalibur? A shady deal with a watery arms dealer.
Britain? A clogged sewer that Rome abandoned just as soon as it could.

A savage and cutting epic fantasy, equally poetic and profane, By Force Alone is at once a timely political satire, a magical adventure, and a subversive masterwork.

The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water by Zen Cho - Book Cover
The Order of the Pure Moon Reflected in Water by Zen Cho
Scheduled Release Date: June 23

So, this is described as a “found family wuxia fantasy” and features thieves, plus it has a lovely title and an absolutely gorgeous cover…


Zen Cho returns with a found family wuxia fantasy that combines the vibrancy of old school martial arts movies with characters drawn from the margins of history.

A bandit walks into a coffeehouse, and it all goes downhill from there. Guet Imm, a young votary of the Order of the Pure Moon, joins up with an eclectic group of thieves (whether they like it or not) in order to protect a sacred object, and finds herself in a far more complicated situation than she could have ever imagined.

The Empire of Gold by S. A. Chakraborty - Book Cover
The Empire of Gold (Daevabad Trilogy #3) by S. A. Chakraborty
Read an Excerpt
Scheduled Release Date: June 30

I read the first two books in the Daevabad Trilogy last year, and this became one of my most anticipated books after reading the middle book. The Kingdom of Copper was one of my favorite books read last year with political factions and characters that kept me riveted.


The final chapter in the bestselling, critically acclaimed Daevabad Trilogy, in which a con-woman and an idealistic djinn prince join forces to save a magical kingdom from a devastating civil war.

Daevabad has fallen.

After a brutal conquest stripped the city of its magic, Nahid leader Banu Manizheh and her resurrected commander, Dara, must try to repair their fraying alliance and stabilize a fractious, warring people.

But the bloodletting and loss of his beloved Nahri have unleashed the worst demons of Dara’s dark past. To vanquish them, he must face some ugly truths about his history and put himself at the mercy of those he once considered enemies.

Having narrowly escaped their murderous families and Daevabad’s deadly politics, Nahri and Ali, now safe in Cairo, face difficult choices of their own. While Nahri finds peace in the old rhythms and familiar comforts of her human home, she is haunted by the knowledge that the loved ones she left behind and the people who considered her a savior are at the mercy of a new tyrant. Ali, too, cannot help but look back, and is determined to return to rescue his city and the family that remains. Seeking support in his mother’s homeland, he discovers that his connection to the marid goes far deeper than expected and threatens not only his relationship with Nahri, but his very faith.

As peace grows more elusive and old players return, Nahri, Ali, and Dara come to understand that in order to remake the world, they may need to fight those they once loved . . . and take a stand for those they once hurt.

The Book of Dragons Anthology - Book Cover
The Book of Dragons edited by Jonathan Strahan and illustrated by Rovina Cai
Scheduled Release Date: July 7

There are three reasons I had to include this book:

  1. Dragons, obviously.
  2. It has stories by authors like Patricia A. McKillip, R. F. Kuang, Scott Lynch, Peter S. Beagle, and many more. (Seriously, look at the end of the book description and marvel!)
  3. Each story is accompanied by artwork by World Fantasy Award–winning artist Rovina Cai.

Scott Lynch, R.F. Kuang, Kate Elliott, Ken Liu, Todd McCaffrey, Garth Nix, Peter S. Beagle, and other modern masters of fantasy and science fiction put their unique spin on the greatest of mythical beasts—the dragon—in never-before-seen works written exclusively for this fantasy anthology compiled by award-winning editor Jonathan Strahan and with art by Rovina Cai!

Here there be dragons . . .

From China to Europe, Africa to North America, dragons have long captured our imagination in myth and legend. Whether they are rampaging beasts awaiting a brave hero to slay or benevolent sages who have much to teach humanity, dragons are intrinsically connected to stories of creation, adventure, and struggle beloved for generations.

Bringing together nearly thirty stories and poems from some of the greatest science fiction and fantasy writers working today— Garth Nix, Scott Lynch, R.F. Kuang, Ann Leckie & Rachel Swirsky, Daniel Abraham, Peter S. Beagle, Beth Cato, Zen Cho, C. S. E Cooney, Aliette de Bodard, Kate Elliott, Theodora Goss, Ellen Klages, Ken Liu, Patricia A McKillip, K. J. Parker, Kelly Robson, Michael Swanwick, Jo Walton, Elle Katharine White, Jane Yolen, Kelly Barnhill, Brooke Bolander, Sarah Gailey, and J. Y. Yang—and illustrated by award-nominated artist Rovina Cai with black-and-white line drawings specific to each entry throughout, this extraordinary collection vividly breathes fire and life into one of our most captivating and feared magical creatures as never before and is sure to become a treasured keepsake for fans of fantasy, science fiction, and fairy tales.

Unconquerable Sun by Kate Elliott - Book Cover
Unconquerable Sun (The Sun Chronicles #1) by Kate Elliott
Scheduled Release Date: July 7

Kate Elliott is a wonderful writer, and I’ve been excited about her space opera with a gender-swapped Alexander the Great for a while. has an article on her inspiration for this series.



Princess Sun has finally come of age.

Growing up in the shadow of her mother, Eirene, has been no easy task. The legendary queen-marshal did what everyone thought impossible: expel the invaders and build Chaonia into a magnificent republic, one to be respected—and feared.

But the cutthroat ambassador corps and conniving noble houses have never ceased to scheme—and they have plans that need Sun to be removed as heir, or better yet, dead.

To survive, the princess must rely on her wits and companions: her biggest rival, her secret lover, and a dangerous prisoner of war.

Take the brilliance and cunning courage of Princess Leia—add in a dazzling futuristic setting where pop culture and propaganda are one and the same—and hold on tight:

This is the space opera you’ve been waiting for.

Driftwood by Marie Brennan - Book Cover
Driftwood by Marie Brennan
Scheduled Release Date: July 17

This is the first novel set in the same universe as the Driftwood short stories, which are built into this book with some new additions (Marie Brennan’s website has more on this). This setting sounds like a fascinating approach to post-apocalyptic fiction, which is described as a place “where fragments of worlds cohere into shifting myths.”


In this first novel set in award-winning author Marie Brennan’s incomparable Driftwood fantasy universe, enter a post-apocalyptic realm where the apocalypse has not ended, where fragments of worlds cohere into shifting myths. Yet even as everything fades, Drifters gather to tell conflicting legends of Last, the guide—the one man who seemed immortal, but may have been a fraud.

Who is Last?

Fame is rare in Driftwood—it’s hard to get famous if you don’t stick around long enough for people to know you. But many know the guide, Last, a one-blooded survivor who has seen his world end many lifetimes ago. For Driftwood is a strange place of slow apocalypses, where continents eventually crumble into mere neighborhoods, pulled inexorably towards the center in the Crush. Cultures clash, countries fall, and everything eventually disintegrates.

Within the Shreds, a rumor goes around that Last has died. Drifters come together to commemorate him. But who really was Last? Lying liar, or heroic savior? A mercenary, a charlatan, a legend? A man, an immortal—perhaps even a god?

About Driftwood
Driftwood is the invention of bestselling author Marie Brennan. Mirroring the world that many people are currently living in, the Driftwood stories chronicle the struggles of survivors and outcasts to keep their worlds alive until everything changes, diminishes, and is destroyed. Driftwood is the first full-length novel in this setting.

Court of Lions (Mirage #2) by Somaiya Daud
Scheduled Release Date: August 4

Mirage is a beautifully written novel that builds a wonderfully complex sort-of friendship between the main character, a body double for a despised princess, and said princess. I loved this book and Somaiya Daud’s writing, and I can hardly wait to read Court of Lions.

Somaiya Daud also wrote an essay here last year on the setting: namely, how often she sees questions about why her characters, who follow old customs and have tribal systems, are in space.


Amani must make a devastating choice between revolution and family in the stunning second installment of the “immersive and captivating” (ALA Booklist, starred review) Mirage series!

Two identical girls, one a princess, the other a rebel. Who will rule the empire?

After being swept up into the brutal Vathek court, Amani, the ordinary girl forced to serve as the half-Vathek princess’s body double, has been forced into isolation. The cruel but complex princess, Maram, with whom Amani had cultivated a tenuous friendship, discovered Amani’s connection to the rebellion and has cornered her into silence, and if Amani crosses Maram once more, she will be revealed to everyone in the court.

Amani is desperate to continue helping the rebellion, to fight for her people’s freedom. But she must make a devastating decision: will she continue to aid them, and put her family—and herself—in mortal danger? And can she remain separated, forever, from Maram’s fiancé, with whom she shares a dangerous attraction?

Court of Lions is the stunning sequel to Somaiya Daud’s debut Mirage, which School Library Journal wrote in a starred review “will appeal to many, particularly fans of Cinder by Marissa Meyer and An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir…this debut novel has what it takes to be the next big thing in sci-fi fantasy.”

Star Daughter by Shveta Thakrar - Book Cover
Star Daughter by Shveta Thakrar
Scheduled Release Date: August 11

I couldn’t find much about Star Daughter besides its lovely cover and Goodreads description, but that’s all it took: it’s inspired by Hindu mythology and sounds like the sort of fairy-tale-like story that I need in my life.


The daughter of a star and a mortal, Sheetal is used to keeping secrets. But when a flare of starfire injures her human father, Sheetal needs a full star’s help to heal him. A star like her mother, who returned to the sky long ago.

Sheetal’s quest will take her to a celestial court of shining wonders and dark shadows, where she must act as her family’s champion in a competition to decide the next ruling house of the heavens—or risk never returning to Earth at all.

Neil Gaiman’s Stardust meets a rich landscape of Hindu mythology and celestial intrigue in this sparkling YA fantasy debut.

Return of the Thief by Megan Whalen Turner - Book Cover
Return of the Thief (Queen’s Thief #6) by Megan Whalen Turner
Scheduled Release Date: August 25

The Queen’s Thief series is excellently crafted with master storytelling and a clever thief at its heart. The Queen of Attolia and The King of Attolia are two of the best books I’ve ever read—in fact, they are two of the somewhat few books I’ve read more than once. I still need to read the fourth and fifth book before this one is out, but I have some time!


The thrilling, twenty-years-in-the-making conclusion to the New York Times–bestselling Queen’s Thief series by Megan Whalen Turner.

This beloved and award-winning series began with the acclaimed novel The Thief. It and four more stand-alone volumes bring to life a world of epics, myths, and legends, and feature one of the most charismatic and incorrigible characters of fiction, Eugenides the thief. Now more powerful and cunning than ever before, Eugenides must navigate a perilous future in this sweeping conclusion. Perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo, Marie Lu, Patrick Rothfuss, and Sarah J. Maas.

Neither accepted nor beloved, Eugenides is the uneasy linchpin of a truce on the Lesser Peninsula, where he has risen to be high king of Attolia, Eddis, and Sounis. As the treacherous Baron Erondites schemes anew and a prophecy appears to foretell the death of the king, the ruthless Mede empire prepares to strike.

The New York Times–bestselling Queen’s Thief novels are rich with political machinations, divine intervention, dangerous journeys, battles lost and won, power, passion, and deception. Features a cast list of the characters in the Queen’s Thief novels, as well as two maps—a map of the world of the Queen’s Thief, and a map exclusive to this edition.

The Midnight Bargain by C. L. Polk
Scheduled Release Date: Fall 2020

A secret sorceress who faces a difficult choice sounds fun in devastating sort of way (given the prospect of having to make such a decision). You can read more about The Midnight Bargain in the interview with C. L. Polk that made me want to read it.


In a world in which married women’s magic is taken from them to protect the lives of their unborn children, a young woman must balance her desire to become the first great female magician against her duty to secure a rich husband who can discharge her family’s debts.

Beatrice Clayborn is a sorceress practicing her magic in secret, terrified of the day she will marry and be locked into a warding collar that will cut off her magic to protect her unborn children from spirit possession. She dreams of becoming a full-fledged Magus, permitted to join the Chapterhouse and pursue magic as her calling just as men do. But her family has traveled to the city for Bargaining Season, when young men and women of means socialize and negotiate to secure the best marriages. The Clayborn family is in severe debt, and she is expected to save them all by making an advantageous match.

In a stroke of luck, Beatrice finds a grimoire that would allow her to summon a Greater Spirit, a dangerous feat which—if successful—would make her a Magus. But before she can purchase it, a rival sorceress swindles the book right out of her hands. Beatrice summons a minor spirit to help her get it back, but the spirit’s price is Beatrice’s first kiss—with the rival sorceress’s brother, the handsome and understanding Ianthe Lavan. As Beatrice becomes more entangled with the Lavans, the choices that once seemed clear become harder: if she attempts the spell to become a Magus, she will devastate her family and destroy her chance to be with the man she loves; but if she marries, even for love, she will lose her magic, her dreams, and everything that makes her who she is. Beatrice must choose one—and regret the other forever.

Hollow Empire by Sam Hawke - Book Cover
Hollow Empire (The Poison Wars #2) by Sam Hawke
Scheduled Release Date: December 1

City of Lies, Sam Hawke’s debut novel, is an excellent story about two siblings working to solve the mystery of some sudden upheavals in their city—and one that manages to be optimistic despite the poisoning and murder and all that. It also has wonderful characters, and I’m looking forward to spending more time with them in Hollow Empire.


Moving from poison and treachery to war and witchcraft, Sam Hawke’s Poison Wars continue with Hollow Empire, a fabulous epic fantasy adventure perfect for fans of Robin Hobb, Naomi Novik, and Scott Lynch.

Poison was only the beginning…. The deadly siege of Silasta woke the ancient spirits, and now the city-state must find its place in this new world of magic. But people and politics are always treacherous, and it will take all of Jovan and Kalina’s skills as proofer and spy to save their country when witches and assassins turn their sights to domination.

There are also a few books that sound rather intriguing that do not yet have descriptions yet:

  • Between Earth and Sky by Rebecca Roanhorse — The first book in an Ancestral Puebloan—inspired epic fantasy series, which Rebecca Roanhorse describes as a “series in which the great matriarchal clans of a prosperous cliff-city vie for power against a backdrop of political intrigue, celestial prophecies, rising rebellion, and dark magic.”
  • Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart Scheduled for publication in Fall 2020, this is described as being “set in an empire of many islands, where bone shard magic fuels monstrous constructs that enforce law and order.” Orbit’s acquisition announcement (linked) has some more information on this book, the first in a debut fantasy series.
  • The Burning God (The Poppy War #3) by R. F. Kuang — All I know about this is the title and that it is scheduled for release in 2020, but that’s all I need to know after having read The Poppy War and The Dragon Republic!
  • A War of Swallowed Stars (Celestial Trilogy #3) by Sangu Mandanna — Scheduled for release in September 2020, I don’t know anything about this other than the title, but I’m looking forward to reading the conclusion to the Celestial Trilogy after being devastated by A Spark of White Fire and A House of Rage and Sorrow!