Though this is later than usual, I once again scoured the internet looking for information on speculative fiction books that are scheduled for release this year and put together a list of works that I wanted to highlight. Just like the last few years, it was hard to keep the number of books featured in this annual post to a somewhat reasonable number given that there is so much coming out that sounds interesting. Yet after finding as much as I could on various titles when looking through descriptions, articles on the book or author, excerpts, and early reviews, I managed to narrow down this year’s list to 17 fantasy and science fiction books coming out in 2024 that look especially compelling to me.

As always, this is not even close to a comprehensive list of all the speculative fiction books being published this year: these are just the books I came across that sound most intriguing to me personally. (There are always books I hear about later in the year that I wish I had known about when putting one of these posts together!) Given my particular interests, this list includes fantasy inspired by legend and folklore, books that promise morally gray and/or villainous characters, novels with dark magic, stories containing dragons and/or other mythical creatures, a science fantasy, and more. I hope that those of you with similar tastes find some books here that sound appealing to you too.

These books are ordered by scheduled publication date, and these are US release dates unless otherwise stated.

Due to the length of this blog post, I’m only showing the first 6 books on the main page. You can click the title of the post or the ‘more…’ link after the sixth book to read the entire article.

Cover images link to Bookshop. As a Bookshop affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Cover of Medea by Eilish Quin
Medea by Eilish Quin
Read/Listen to an Excerpt
Out Now

This debut novel reimagining the story of Medea sounds excellent, and I was even more interested in it after reading this interview with Eilish Quin on The Nerd Daily. She discussed how she’s been fascinated by Greek myths and this particular character from a young age, what to expect from her first novel, her inspirations, and more. I especially loved what she had to say about retellings:

In my mind, the whole purpose of the retelling as a distinct genre is that it serves as a kind of radical reorientation. Retellings allow historically censored protagonists the space to break free from the contexts and biases which might have previously ensnared them, and permit readers the ability to exalt in novel forms of complexity. Retellings are meant to make us question the reliability of the narrators we are given, and consider the other elements of form which we might normally consume passively. I hope that my Medea makes people think critically about how storytelling, when proliferated in the interest of existing powers of oppression, can compound harm– that by doing something as simple as recentering a traditionally marginalized experience, exhilarating and vivacious narratives can spring up.

My fondness for retellings stems from how they can make us question the reliability of narrators and think more deeply about storytelling, so this sounds fantastic.


Discover the full story of the sorceress Medea, one of the most reviled and maligned women of Greek antiquity, in this propulsive and evocative debut in the tradition of CirceElektra, and Stone Blind.

Among the women of Greek mythology, the witch Medea may be the most despised. Known for the brutal act of killing her own children to exact vengeance on her deceitful husband, the Argonauts leader Jason, Medea has carved out a singularly infamous niche in our histories.

But what if that isn’t the full story?

The daughter of a sea nymph and the granddaughter of a Titan, Medea is a paradox. She is at once rendered compelling by virtue of the divinity that flows through her bloodline and made powerless by the fact of her being a woman. As a child, she intuitively submerges herself in witchcraft and sorcery, but soon finds it may not be a match for the prophecies that hang over her entire family like a shroud.

As Medea comes into her own as a woman and a witch, she also faces the arrival of the hero Jason, preordained by the gods to be not only her husband, but also her lifeline to escape her isolated existence. Medea travels the treacherous seas with the Argonauts, battles demons she had never conceived of, and falls in love with the man who may ultimately be her downfall.

In this propulsive, beautifully written debut, readers will finally hear Medea’s side of the story through a fresh and feminist lens.

Cover of To Gaze Upon Wicked Gods by Molly X. Chang
To Gaze Upon Wicked Gods (To Gaze Upon Wicked Gods #1) by Molly X. Chang
Scheduled Release Date: April 16

Molly X. Chang’s debut novel is supposed to feature tough choices, magic that comes at a cost, and a heroine who makes awful decisions because she cares so deeply—all elements I love to see explored in stories. The author discusses her book further in her note to booksellers on Instagram, including writing a flawed protagonist, drawing inspiration from the stories of the her Siberian-Manchurian ancestors, and refusing to make her heroine into more of a heroic “girlboss” than the desperate survivor she is, despite being told it would make it easier to get her novel published.


She has power over death. He has power over her. When two enemies strike a dangerous bargain, will they end a war . . . or ignite one?

“A thrilling tale of magic and murder, intrigue and betrayal.”—Cassandra Clare, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Sword Catcher

The gorgeous first edition hardcover of To Gaze Upon Wicked Gods will feature a poster, color endpapers, a custom-stamped case, and a foil jacket!

Heroes die, cowards live. Daughter of a conquered world, Ruying hates the invaders who descended from the heavens long before she was born and defeated the magic of her people with technologies unlike anything her world had ever seen.

Blessed by Death, born with the ability to pull the life right out of mortal bodies, Ruying shouldn’t have to fear these foreign invaders, but she does. Especially because she wants to keep herself and her family safe.

When Ruying’s Gift is discovered by an enemy prince, he offers her an impossible deal: If she becomes his private assassin and eliminates his political rivals—whose deaths he swears would be for the good of both their worlds and would protect her people from further brutalization—her family will never starve or suffer harm again. But to accept this bargain, she must use the powers she has always feared, powers that will shave years off her own existence.

Can Ruying trust this prince, whose promises of a better world make her heart ache and whose smiles make her pulse beat faster? Are the evils of this agreement really in the service of a much greater good? Or will she betray her entire nation by protecting those she loves the most?

Cover of The Practice, The Horizon, and the Chain by Sofia Samatar
The Practice, the Horizon, and the Chain by Sofia Samatar
Scheduled Release Date: April 16

This science fiction novella set in a university on a generation ship sounds fantastic, and I’ve heard such wonderful things about World Fantasy Award winner Sofia Samatar. Editor Emily Goldman discussed power as a theme and described The Practice, the Horizon, and the Chain as “‘The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas’ taken to whole new level” in the book announcement. Sofia Samatar also shared a bit about it there, starting with:

This book is for people who sit in meetings wondering why words like diversity, equity, access, inclusion, and even justice do not seem to be adding up to anything real. It’s for people whose time and energy are devoured by proposals and projects they hope will transform the places where they live and work, and who wind up drained and bewildered, gazing at the same old walls. It’s for everybody who experiences these things, in any kind of workplace, and especially for people who study and work in universities, because this story is set at a university on a spaceship.

It sounds as though it really delves into ideas related to power and academia, and I’m excited for this story’s release in April.


“I am in love with Sofia Samatar’s lyricism and the haunting beauty of her imagination. Her stories linger, like the memory of a sumptuous feast.”—N. K. Jemisin

Celebrated author Sofia Samatar presents a mystical, revolutionary space adventure for the exhausted dreamer in this brilliant science fiction novella tackling the carceral state and violence embedded in the ivory tower while embodying the legacy of Ursula K. Le Guin.

The boy was raised as one of the Chained, condemned to toil in the bowels of a mining ship out among the stars. His whole world changes—literally—when he is yanked “upstairs” and informed he has been given an opportunity to be educated at the ship’s university alongside the elite.

Overwhelmed and alone, the boy forms a bond with the woman he comes to know as “the professor,” a weary idealist and descendent of the Chained who has spent her career striving for validation from her more senior colleagues, only to fall short at every turn.

Together, the boy and the woman will embark on a transformative journey to grasp the design of the chains that fetter them both—and are the key to breaking free.

Cover of The Wings Upon Her Back by Samantha Mills
The Wings Upon Her Back by Samantha Mills
Read an Excerpt
Scheduled Release Date: April 23

This debut novel by the author of the Nebula and Locus Award–winning short story “Rabbit Test” sounds excellent, plus I enjoyed the prose in the sample (linked above). Science fantasy tends to appeal to me, along with stories about characters coming to realize the truth about their world and the systems with which they were raised.


A loyal warrior in a crisis of faith must fight to regain her place and begin her life again while questioning the events of her past. This gripping science-fantasy novel from a Nebula, Sturgeon, and Locus Award-winning debut author is a complex, action-packed exploration of the costs of zealous faith, ceaseless conflicts, and unquestioning obedience.

[STARRED REVIEW] “A triumphant debut novel.” —Booklist

[STARRED REVIEW] “This cathartic adventure will stay with readers long after the final page.” —Publishers Weekly

[STARRED REVIEW] “VERDICT Mills’s debut novel is complex and haunting, filled with beautiful prose and timely themes of political and religious upheaval and personal journeys.”—Library Journal

Zenya was a teenager when she ran away from home to join the mechanically-modified warrior sect. She was determined to earn mechanized wings and protect the people and city she loved. Under the strict tutelage of a mercurial, charismatic leader, Zenya became Winged Zemolai.

But after twenty-six years of service, Zemolai is disillusioned with her role as an enforcer in an increasingly fascist state. After one tragic act of mercy, she is cast out and loses everything she worked for. As Zemolai fights for her life, she begins to understand the true nature of her sect, her leader, and the gods themselves.

Cover of Five Broken Blades by Mai Corland
Five Broken Blades (Five Broken Blades Trilogy #1) by Mai Corland
Scheduled Release Date: May 7

This is Mai Corland’s first adult novel after having published YA and children’s books as Meredith Ireland. Her upcoming fantasy novel draws some inspiration from Korean myths and legends, and she discussed Five Broken Blades a bit on Goodreads, including the following:

My killers are all morally grey. They are guided by love and/or revenge and please do note the trigger and content warnings, as there are many. However, the story pulls from my experiences as an adoptee, as someone queer, as someone with the same hearing loss described in the book. The diversity and global elements in the story reflect the diversity in our world and in myself.

She also clarifies that this book does not technically fit into the fantasy romance genre: although it includes multiple romances, it would work without those storylines.

The deception and betrayal mentioned in the book description and aforementioned morally gray characters driven by love and/or vengeance sounds right up my alley, so I’m rather excited about this one!


It’s the season
for treason…

The king of Yusan must die.

The five most dangerous liars in the land have been mysteriously summoned to work together for a single objective: to kill the God King Joon.

He has it coming. Under his merciless immortal hand, the nobles flourish, while the poor and innocent are imprisoned, ruined…or sold.

And now each of the five blades will come for him. Each has tasted bitterness―from the hired hitman seeking atonement, a lovely assassin who seeks freedom, or even the prince banished for his cruel crimes. None can resist the sweet, icy lure of vengeance.

They can agree on murder.

They can agree on treachery.

But for these five killers―each versed in deception, lies, and betrayal―it’s not enough to forge an alliance. To survive, they’ll have to find a way to trust each other…but only one can take the crown.

Let the best liar win.

Cover of I'm Afraid You've Got Dragons by Peter S. Beagle
I’m Afraid You’ve Got Dragons by Peter S. Beagle
Scheduled Release Date: May 14

This upcoming fantasy novel just sounds delightful. It’s described as whimsical, and I love the idea of a dragon exterminator who hates the job he inherited—especially the idea of this concept as written by New York Times bestselling author Peter S. Beagle.


From the New York Times bestselling author of The Last Unicorn comes a new novel with equal amounts of power and whimsy in which a loveable cast of characters trapped within their roles of dragon hunter, princess, and more must come together to take their fates into their own hands.

Dragons are common in the backwater kingdom of Bellemontagne, coming in sizes from mouse-like vermin all the way up to castle-smashing monsters. Gaius Aurelius Constantine Heliogabalus Thrax (who would much rather people call him Robert) has recently inherited his deceased dad’s job as a dragon catcher/exterminator, a career he detests with all his heart in part because he likes dragons, feeling a kinship with them, but mainly because his dream has always been the impossible one of transcending his humble origin to someday become a prince’s valet. Needless to say, fate has something rather different in mind…

Cover of Goddess of the River by Vaishnavi Patel
Goddess of the River by Vaishnavi Patel
Scheduled Release Date: May 21

Kaikeyi, Vaishnavi Patel’s New York Times bestselling debut novel that reimagined the story of the titular queen from the Ramayana, was one of my favorite books of 2022. From the very first line, I was invested in Kaikeyi and her story, and I loved that she was a compassionate, flawed woman determined to carve a place for herself in a world that discouraged her from being true to herself.

Vaishnavi Patel discussed her sophomore novel on Goodreads, opening with the following:

I am so excited to share with you my second book, Goddess of the River! It is a retelling of the ancient Hindu epic and religious text the Mahabharata from the perspective of Ganga, a river goddess, and her son. You will find many changes from the Mahabharata, so I caution readers unfamiliar with the epic from taking every detail and plot point of this novel as gospel; however the overall shape of the events remains the same. Goddess of the River, like the Mahabharata, asks questions about dharma, justice, the responsibilities of the powerful, and the greater good. This story is very dear to my heart, and I hope it will find a place in yours.

I’ve been looking forward to reading more of her work after Kaikeyi, and Goddess of the River sounds like a mythic, epic novel that explores some intriguing questions.


A powerful reimagining of the story of Ganga, goddess of the river, and her doomed mortal son, from Vaishnavi Patel, author of the instant New York Times bestseller Kaikeyi.

A mother and a son. A goddess and a prince. A curse and an oath. A river whose course will change the fate of the world.

Ganga, joyful goddess of the river, serves as caretaker to the mischievous godlings who roam her banks. But when their antics incur the wrath of a powerful sage, Ganga is cursed to become mortal, bound to her human form until she fulfills the obligations of the curse.

Though she knows nothing of mortal life, Ganga weds King Shantanu and becomes a queen, determined to regain her freedom no matter the cost. But in a cruel turn of fate, just as she is freed of her binding, she is forced to leave her infant son behind.

Her son, prince Devavrata, unwittingly carries the legacy of Ganga’s curse. And when he makes an oath that he will never claim his father’s throne, he sets in motion a chain of events that will end in a terrible and tragic war.

As the years unfold, Ganga and Devavrata are drawn together again and again, each confluence another step on a path that has been written in the stars, in this deeply moving and masterful tale of duty, destiny, and the unwavering bond between mother and son.

Cover of Foul Days by Genoveva Dimova
Foul Days (The Witch’s Compendium of Monsters Duology #1) by Genoveva Dimova
Scheduled Release Date: June 25

Both novels in this series are coming out this year with Monstrous Nights scheduled for release in October. Genoveva Dimova discussed how she came to base the setting on Bulgarian folklore in a post on Goodreads, writing:

Foul Days is crammed full of all my favourite myths, stories, and creatures from Bulgarian folklore, and it means so much to me that I get to share them with readers. When I was growing up, most of the fantasy I read was set in that ubiquitous pseudo-Western-European, pseudo-Medieval setting we all know. I made my own attempts to write that sort of story—except it never rang true. Something was missing.

Until one day, as fantasy as a whole was moving more and more towards diverse and underrepresented cultures, it clicked. I didn’t need to write about dragons and vampires when I could write about zmeys and upirs. Instead of stories about knights and lords, I could have clever witches tricking cruel men.

She expands on this by sharing about some of the myths she loves and what specifically inspired her villain and setting.

Although I love reading books based on different mythologies, I don’t think I’ve read a book rooted in Bulgarian folklore before and this sounds great.


The Witcher meets Naomi Novik in this fast-paced fantasy rooted in Slavic folklore, from an assured new voice in genre fiction.

As a witch in the walled city of Chernograd, Kosara has plenty of practice treating lycanthrope bites, bargaining with kikimoras, and slaying bloodsucking upirs. There’s only one monster she can’t defeat: her ex, the Zmey, known as the Tsar of Monsters. She’s defied him one too many times and now he’s hunting her. Betrayed by someone close to her, Kosara’s only choice is to trade her shadow—the source of her powers—for a quick escape.

Unfortunately, Kosara soon develops the deadly sickness that plagues shadowless witches—and only reclaiming her magic can cure her. To find it, she’s forced to team up with a suspiciously honorable detective. Even worse, all the clues point in a single direction: To get her shadow back, Kosara will have to face the Foul Days’ biggest threats without it. And she’s only got twelve days.

But in a city where everyone is out for themselves, who can Kosara trust to assist her in outwitting the biggest monster from her past?

Cover of Saints of Storm and Sorrow by Gabriella Buba
Saints of Storm and Sorrow (The Stormbringer Saga #1) by Gabriella Buba
Scheduled Release Date: June 25

I couldn’t find much about this Filipino-inspired fantasy debut novel other than its description and a few early reviews on Goodreads, but it sounds excellent with a goddess’ chosen in hiding. Of course, the text below also mentions “morally ambiguous characters,” and if you’ve made it this far, you’ve probably noticed that’s something I like…


In this fiercely imaginative Filipino-inspired fantasy debut, a bisexual nun hiding a goddess-given gift is unwillingly transformed into a lightning rod for her people’s struggle against colonization.

Perfect for fans of lush fantasy full of morally ambiguous characters, including The Poppy War and The Jasmine Throne.

Maria Lunurin has been living a double life for as long as she can remember. To the world, she is Sister Maria, dutiful nun and devoted servant of Aynila’s Codicían colonizers. But behind closed doors, she is a stormcaller, chosen daughter of the Aynilan goddess Anitun Tabu. In hiding not only from the Codicíans and their witch hunts, but also from the vengeful eye of her slighted goddess, Lunurin does what she can to protect her fellow Aynilans and the small family she has created in the convent: her lover Catalina, and her younger sister Inez.

Lunurin is determined to keep her head down – until one day she makes a devastating discovery, which threatens to tear her family apart. In desperation, she turns for help to Alon Dakila, heir to Aynila’s most powerful family, who has been ardently in love with Lunurin for years. But this choice sets in motion a chain of events beyond her control, awakening Anitun Tabu’s rage and putting everyone Lunurin loves in terrible danger. Torn between the call of Alon’s magic and Catalina’s jealousy, her duty to her family and to her people, Lunurin can no longer keep Anitun Tabu’s fury at bay.

For the goddess of storms demands vengeance. And she will sweep aside anyone who stands in her way.

Cover of The Night Ends with Fire by K. X. Song
The Night Ends with Fire by K. X. Song
Read an Excerpt
Scheduled Release Date: July 2

This reimagining of the story of Mulan is An Echo in the City author K. X. Song’s first fantasy novel. The author sums up her novel as follows in an article with an excerpt on Today:

‘The Night Ends with Fire’ takes my love for the Chinese wuxia drama – with its epic scale, star-crossed romance, and emotionally charged plot full of hairpin turns – and melds it with my interest in questions of female ambition and power, and what it costs.

K. X. Song’s discussion of The Night Ends with Fire made me even more curious to see what she does with this fantasy romance novel, particularly the questions about freedom and gender she also mentions in the linked Today article.


Infused with magic and romance, this sweeping fantasy adventure inspired by the legend of Mulan follows a young woman determined to choose her own destiny—even if that means going against everyone she loves.

The Three Kingdoms are at war, but Meilin’s father refuses to answer the imperial draft. Trapped by his opium addiction, he plans to sell Meilin for her dowry. But when Meilin discovers her husband-to-be is another violent, ill-tempered man, she realizes that nothing will change for her unless she takes matters into her own hands.

The very next day, she disguises herself as a boy and enlists in her father’s place.

In the army, Meilin’s relentless hard work brings her recognition, friendship—and a growing closeness with Sky, a prince turned training partner. But has she simply exchanged one prison for another? As her kingdom barrels toward destruction, Meilin begins to have visions of a sea dragon spirit that offers her true power and freedom, but with a deadly price.

With the future of the Three Kingdoms hanging in the balance, Meilin will need to decide whom to trust—Sky, who inspires her loyalty and love; the sea dragon spirit, who has his own murky agenda; or an infuriating enemy prince who makes her question everything she once knew—about her kingdom and about her own heart.

Cover of Mistress of Lies by K. M. Enright
Mistress of Lies (The Age of Blood #1) by K. M. Enright
Read an Excerpt
Scheduled Release Date: August 13 (US); August 15 (UK)

According to K. M. Enright’s website, his debut fantasy is “the first in a dark romantic fantasy trilogy with a villainous, bloodthirsty heroine.” He also mentioned a plethora of other intriguing elements on Twitter, including a couple I’m particularly fond of myself (in addition to villainous and/or morally gray protagonists): court intrigue and secret lineage.


A villainous, bloodthirsty heroine finds herself plunged into the dangerous world of power, politics and murder in the court of the vampire king in this dark romantic fantasy debut.

Fate is a cruel mistress.

The daughter of a powerful but disgraced Blood Worker, Shan LeClaire has spent her entire life perfecting her blood magic, building her network of spies, and gathering every scrap of power she could. Now, to protect her brother, she assassinates their father and takes her place at the head of the family. And that is only the start of her revenge.

Samuel Hutchinson is a bastard with a terrible gift. When he stumbles upon the first victim of a magical serial killer, he’s drawn into the world of magic and intrigue he’s worked so hard to avoid – and is pulled deeply into the ravenous and bloodthirsty court of the vampire king.

Tasked by the Eternal King to discover the identity of the killer cutting a bloody swath through the city, Samuel, Shan and mysterious Royal Bloodworker Isaac find themselves growing ever closer to each other. But Shan’s plans are treacherous, and as she lures Samuel into her complicated web of desire, treason and vengeance, he must decide if the good of their nation is worth the cost of his soul.

Cover of The Phoenix Keeper by S. A. MacLean
The Phoenix Keeper by S. A. MacLean
Scheduled Release Date: August 13

Orbit’s acquisition announcement for debut fantasy The Phoenix Keeper describes it as follows:

This effervescent standalone is set in a magical zoo of mythical creatures and follows the academic rivals-to-lovers slow burn romance between socially anxious phoenix keeper Aila and hotshot fan-favorite griffin keeper Luciana.

Perfect for fans of cozy fantasy reads like Legends & Lattes and The Undertaking of Hart & MercyThe Phoenix Keeper is set in a world teeming with all your favorite mythical beasties, from dragons and unicorns to kelpies and krakens. MacLean has drawn on her formidable decade of experience in researching and teaching ecology and environmental science to weave a story of hope, courage, and conservation that is, at its heart, an ode to queer joy.

Since I love animals and animal companions in fantasy, I’m intrigued by the idea of a zoo of mythical creatures, especially considering this novel is written by someone who has experience in ecology and environmental science. (Also, I love kelpies.)


Set in a magical zoo teeming with mythical beasts from dragons and unicorns to kelpies and krakens, The Phoenix Keeper is a fierce joy of a cozy fantasy novel with a soul-restoring queer romance at its heart, for fans of The House in the Cerulean Sea and Legends and Lattes.

As head phoenix keeper at a world-renowned zoo for magical creatures, Aila’s childhood dream of conserving critically endangered firebirds seems closer than ever. There’s just one glaring caveat: her zoo’s breeding program hasn’t functioned for a decade. When a tragic phoenix heist sabotages the flagship initiative at a neighboring zoo, Aila must prove her derelict facilities are fit to take the reins.

But saving an entire species from extinction requires more than stellar animal handling skills. Carnivorous water horses, tempestuous thunderhawks, mischievous dragons… Aila has no problem wrangling beasts. But mustering the courage to ask for help from the hotshot griffin keeper at the zoo’s most popular exhibit? Virtually impossible.

Especially when that hotshot griffin keeper happens to be her arch-rival from college: Luciana, an annoyingly brooding and insufferable know-it-all with the face of a goddess who’s convinced that Aila’s beloved phoenix would serve their cause better as an active performer rather than as a passive conservation exhibit. With the world watching and the threat of poachers looming, Aila’s success is no longer merely a matter of keeping her job…

She is the keeper of the phoenix, and the future of a species– and her love life– now rests on her shoulders.

Cover of The Ending Fire by Saara El-Arifi
The Ending Fire (The Ending Fire Trilogy #3) by Saara El-Arifi
Read/Listen to an Excerpt from The Final Strife (The Ending Fire #1)
Scheduled Release Date: September 10

The Final Strife, the first book in this epic fantasy trilogy inspired by Ghanaian folklore and Arabian myths, was my 2022 Book of the Year, and the next book in the series (The Battle Drum) was one of my 2023 honorable mentions. Here’s part of what I wrote about The Final Strife when discussing my favorite book of the year:

Simultaneously thoughtful and fun, The Final Strife explores injustice amidst storylines about uncovering mysteries about the world, a newfound friendship with potential for romance, and a tournament that’s about a variety of types of strength, not just who can fight the best. This fantasy setting feels real and lived in due to having a rich history that’s fleshed out through the characters’ perspectives, oral stories, and epigraphs. With a prologue that drew me in immediately and wonderful worldbuilding, storytelling, protagonists, and pacing that kept me hooked, The Final Strife is easily my favorite book of 2022.

Although I preferred the first book to the second, I very much enjoyed further exploring the vivid fantasy world Saara El-Arifi has created and the way she builds up its mysteries and reveals. I’m excited to find out how everything wraps up in The Ending Fire.


Rebellions are like fires—something needs to burn to make a flame. Return to the Wardens’ Empire in this riveting conclusion to the visionary fantasy trilogy inspired by the mythology of Africa and Arabia. 

The Wardens’ Empire is falling. A vigilante known only as the Truthsayer is raising an army against the wardens. Sylah and Hassa must navigate the politics of this new world, all the while searching for Anoor.

Across the sea, the Blood Forged prepare for war, requesting aid from other governments. Jond’s role as major general sees him training soldiers for combat, but matters of the heart will prove to be the hardest battlefield.

The Zalaam celebrate the arrival of the Child of Fire, heralding the start of the final battle. Anoor’s doubts are eclipsed by the powers of her new god. Soon the Zalaam will set off on their last voyage—and few expect to return.

Do you feel it? Cresting the horizon? The darkness drawing in, the shadows elongating . . .

The Ending Fire comes.

The Scarlet Throne (The False Goddess Trilogy #1) by Amy Leow
Scheduled Release Date: September 10

Orbit’s acquisition announcement for The False Goddess trilogy makes this epic fantasy sound irresistible to me:

Perfect for fans of The Bone Shard Daughter and The Jasmine Throne, this dark, heart-thumping tale follows a young “living goddess” sitting on the throne who hides a deadly secret—she doesn’t channel a goddess, but a demon—and she’ll do anything to hold onto her power. Full of scheming demons, cut-throat priests, and morally gray heroines, this delicious tale of power and corruption will captivate from beginning to end.

Secrets, power struggles, scheming, and morally gray characters are solid ingredients for the kind of fictional drama I want in my life, plus the book description below mentions talking cats.


A dark, heart-thumping political epic fantasy by debut author Amy Leow—full of scheming demons, morally grey heroines, talking cats, and cut-throat priests, this delicious tale of power and corruption will captivate from beginning to end.

Binsa is a “living goddess,” chosen by the gods to dispense both mercy and punishment from her place on the Scarlet Throne. But her reign hides a deadly secret. Rather than channeling the wisdom of an immortal deity, she harbors a demon.

Though, one cannot remain a living goddess forever. When her temple’s priests decide that Binsa’s time in power has come to an end, a new girl, Medha, is selected to take over her position as goddess. But Binsa refuses to be discarded into a life of uncertainty as a young woman, and she strikes a deal with her demon: She will sacrifice her people’s lives in order to magnify his power, and in return, he will help her seize control from the priests once and for all.

But how much of her humanity is she willing to trade for the sake of ambition? Deals with demons are rarely so simple.

Cover of A Song to Drown Rivers by Ann Liang
A Song to Drown Rivers by Ann Liang
Scheduled Release Date: October 1 (US); October 3 (UK)

A Song to Drown Rivers, New York Times and Indie bestselling YA author Ann Liang’s first novel for adults, is inspired by the Chinese legend of Xishi and overall sounds amazing. The author wrote of it in her Instagram announcement post, saying:

This is a historical epic with a love story at its core, and a reimagining of Xishi, legendary beauty and spy, who’s sent to weaken the enemy kingdom from within. A SONG TO DROWN RIVERS is an incredibly exciting new format for me, but it also feels like a return to the legends I grew up hearing, the costume dramas I love, and my years as a history student.

This is perhaps the 2024 book release that sounds most promising to me from the description alone: epic historical fantasy with a protagonist who infiltrates a palace for the good of her kingdom. I am beyond excited for this one!


Inspired by the legend of Xishi, one of the famous Four Beauties of Ancient China, A Song to Drown Rivers is an epic historical fantasy about womanhood, war, sacrifice, and love against all odds as the fate of two kingdoms hangs in a delicate balance.

Her beauty hides a deadly purpose.

Xishi’s beauty is seen as a blessing to the villagers of Yue—convinced that the best fate for a girl is to marry well and support her family. When Xishi draws the attention of the famous young military advisor, Fanli, he presents her with a rare opportunity: to use her beauty as a weapon. One that could topple the rival neighboring kingdom of Wu, improve the lives of her people, and avenge her sister’s murder. All she has to do is infiltrate the enemy palace as a spy, seduce their immoral king, and weaken them from within.

Trained by Fanli in everything from classical instruments to concealing emotion, Xishi hones her beauty into the perfect blade. But she knows Fanli can see through every deception she masters, the attraction between them burning away any falsehoods.

Once inside the enemy palace, Xishi finds herself under the hungry gaze of the king’s advisors while the king himself shows her great affection. Despite his gentleness, a brutality lurks and Xishi knows she can never let her guard down. But the higher Xishi climbs in the Wu court, the farther she and Fanli have to fall—and if she is unmasked as a traitor, she will bring both kingdoms down.

Cover of The Mountain Crown by Karin Lowachee
The Mountain Crown (The Crowns of Ishia Trilogy #1) by Karin Lowachee
Scheduled Release Date: October 8

Karin Lowachee’s science fiction books set in the Warchild universe contain some of the best character writing I’ve read, so I was thrilled to learn she has a new book coming out later this year. The Mountain Crown is the first book in a trilogy of novellas with dragons, and acquiring editor Amy Borsuk shared a bit about it in The Crowns of Ishia trilogy announcement:

I am absolutely thrilled to be working with Karin Lowachee on this incredible series. At long last, I get to work on an epic dragon fantasy! I loved this series from the first page and I’m so excited to bring it to fantasy readers across the globe. Karin is able to pack a full world rich with dragons, personal traumas, intense cultural histories and politics of colonialism and empire into the novella form with such ease. Come for the dragons, stay for the beautiful storytelling, compelling characters and gunslinging flavour.

This sounds absolutely wonderful, and I’m excited to see what Karin Lowachee does with this series. (Also, if you enjoy character-driven stories and don’t mind if they go to some rather dark places when exploring themes related to war and trauma, I cannot recommend Warchild enough. It’s one of my favorites.)


An epic dragon-rider quest where Empress of Salt and Fortune meets Temeraire

Méka must capture a king dragon, or die trying.

War between the island states of Kattaka and Mazemoor has left no one unscathed. Méka’s nomadic people, the Ba’Suon, were driven from their homeland by the Kattakans. Those who remained were forced to live under the Kattakan yoke, to serve their greed for gold alongside the dragons with whom the Ba’Suon share an empathic connection.

A decade later and under a fragile truce, Méka returns home from her exile for an ancient, necessary rite: gathering a king dragon of the Crown Mountains to maintain balance in the wild country. But Méka’s act of compassion toward an imprisoned dragon and Lilley, a Kattakan veteran of the war, soon draws the ire of the imperialistic authorities. They order the unwelcome addition of an enigmatic Ba’Suon traitor named Raka to accompany Méka and Lilley to the mountains.

The journey is filled with dangers both within and without. As conflict threatens to reignite, the survival of the Ba’Suon people, their dragons, and the land itself will depend on the decisions – defiant or compliant – that Méka and her companions choose to make. But not even Méka, kin to the great dragons of the North, can anticipate the depth of the consequences to her world.

Cover of The Lotus Empire by Tasha Suri
The Lotus Empire (Burning Kingdoms Trilogy #3) by Tasha Suri
Read an Excerpt from The Jasmine Throne (Burning Kingdoms #1)
Scheduled Release Date: November 12

As much as I loved Tasha Suri’s first two novels (Empire of Sand and Realm of Ash), I somehow adored the first book in her Burning Kingdoms trilogy even more. This series is inspired in part by Indian epics like the Mahabharata and the conflict for the throne during the Mughal period, and the beautiful prose, fantastic worldbuilding, and memorable characters in the first book in this trilogy made it one of my 2021 Books of the Year. Here’s a bit of what I wrote about The Jasmine Throne in my review:

The Jasmine Throne is largely about different characters surviving and influencing their world despite the perils of the Empire, with a heavy emphasis on the additional obstacles of patriarchy for the women who are the heart of this story. It’s about the dangers of underestimating these women, even—or maybe especially—when they appear to have been stripped of their power. It’s about the different, subtler ways they navigate their world and how they can use being underestimated to their advantage: whether they are a maidservant, an imprisoned princess, or a wife and mother-to-be with a reputation for being gentle.

This World Fantasy Award–winning novel is one of those rare books that just worked for me in every way, and although I wasn’t nearly as enamored of the middle volume (The Oleander Sword), I’m hopeful about the conclusion and curious to see how the series ends.


The Lotus Empire brings Tasha Suri’s acclaimed Burning Kingdoms trilogy to a heart–stopping close. As an ancient magic returns to Ahiranya and threatens its very foundations, Empress Malini and priestess Priya will stop at nothing to save their kingdoms—even if it means they must destroy each other.

Malini has claimed her rightful throne as the empress of Parijatdvipa, just as the nameless gods prophesied. Now, in order to gain the support of the priesthood who remain loyal to the fallen emperor, she must consider a terrible bargain: Claim her throne and burn in order to seal her legacy—or find another willing to take her place on the pyre.

Priya has survived the deathless waters and now their magic runs in her veins. But a mysterious yaksa with flowering eyes and a mouth of thorns lies beneath the waters. The yaksa promises protection for Ahiranya. But in exchange, she needs a sacrifice. And she’s chosen Priya as the one to offer it.

Two women once entwined by fate now stand against each other. But when an ancient enemy rises to threaten their world, Priya and Malini will find themselves fighting together once more – to prevent their kingdoms, and their futures, from burning to ash.