10 Best New Sci-Fi & Fantasy Books: June 2018


Looking for new sci-fi and fantasy books to read this summer? We’ve got you covered.

The summer reading season is finally upon us, and June brings a healthy balance of sci-fi, fantasy, and urban fantasy. Whether you plan to travel or just enjoy the weather in a park, you’ll still need a way to escape from your Earthly woes.

Jim Butcher offers a fun collection of short stories to quench fans’ thirst for more Dresden Files while we all wait for Peace Talks. Two fantasy legends return to beloved worlds with Mercedes Lackey’s The Hills Have Spies and Terry Brooks’s The Skaar Invasion. Sabaa Tahir’s much-anticipated A Reaper at the Gates promises to push characters further than ever. If space politics is more your thing, then you’ll want to check out Yoon Ha Lee’s dramatic The Revenant Gun.

The best season for escapism is near. Here’s the list of upcoming new sci-fi and fantasy books to look out for in June 2018:

The Hills Have Spies (Family Spies #1) by Mercedes Lackey

Release date: June 5
Publisher: DAW
Page count: 368 pages (hardcover)

A new Valdemar series is on the way from bestselling author Mercedes Lackey. The first book in the Family Spies series is called The Hills Have Spies, and it continues Mags’s and Amily’s stories as they raise their children in a dangerous world.

Mags has given his son Justyn the skills he needs to protect himself, and he has decided to send his son on a reconnaissance mission by enlisting him in a troupe of traveling musicians. While Justyn explores a world away from home, he learns dangerous and discomfiting things about a society known as the Hawkbrothers. Unrest is growing among the Hawkbrothers, and there is no easy solution. Justyn will have to act cautiously and tactfully to defuse a dangerous situation.

This unfortunately-titled book offers a chance to herald in a new generation of Valdemar, giving us a look at the beginnings of legendary characters.

Buy it here.

Brief Cases (The Dresden Files #15.1) by Jim Butcher  

Release date: June 5
Publisher: Ace
Page count: 448 (hardcover)

While The Dresden Files fans wait for the next novel in the series, Peace Talks, they can tide themselves over on an anthology of Dresden-based stories.

Many of these stories have been previously published, and not all of them feature Harry Dresden as a protagonist. However, the brand new novella Zoo Day makes this collection worth picking up for any fan of The Dresden Files. Zoo Day follows the perspectives of Maggie and Mouse.

Each story is introduced by Butcher with explanations of the story’s context in the scope of The Dresden files. With Peace Talks still out of view, this collection is a welcome addition to Butcher’s urban fantasy saga.

Buy it here.

The Memory of Fire (The Walking Land #2) by Callie Bates

Release date: June 5
Publisher: Del Rey
Page count: 448 (hardcover)

The follow up to her debut novel, The Walking Land, features a magical world under new rule. But the sense of peace is short lived as word of an impending invasion led by the Paladisan Emperor.

Jahan Korakides must return to Paladis to prevent the incoming war. But with magic banned, he must tread carefully. This ruse is more difficult than he expected, and his former royal allies have abandoned him, leaving him friendless and exposed in a hostile empire.

Meanwhile, Elanna Valtai is without magic after exerting herself to protect her homeland. When she is captured and brought to Paladis, Jahan will have to face his past in order to save the woman he loves.

Buy it here.

Bruja Born (Brooklyn Bruja #2) by Zoraida Córdova

Release date: June 5
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Page count: 352 (hardcover)

The follow up to Labyrinth Lost introduces a new cast of bruja—extremely powerful witches—in a deeply magical world that resembles ours in some ways but is deeply unusual in others, with its Alice’s-Adventures-in-Wonderland vibe mixed with Latin American cultures.

Bruja Born follows Lula, the older sister of Alex, in her struggle to cope with the fatal bus crash that killed all of her classmates, including her boyfriend, Maks.

The only way to make things right is to bring Maks and her classmates back from the dead. Fortunately, Lula’s bruja healing powers make this possible—but bending the laws of death has unintended consequences.

This sequel returns readers to the imaginative world of Córdova while giving them a plot distinct from the first book in the series. The third book is expected sometime in 2019.

Buy it here.

Revenant Gun (Machineries of Empire #3) by Yoon Ha Lee

Release date: June 12
Publisher: Solaris
Page count: 400 (paperback)

Concluding the space-empire-filled trilogy that began with Ninefox Gambit, Revenant Gun takes place ten years after the events of the second book in the series, and things have gotten complicated.

Shuos Jedao thinks he is a 17-year-old cadet, but he is in the body of an older man. Fans of the series might have an idea of why this is the case. Jedao is ordered by Hexarch Nirai Kujen to conquer and reunite the hexarchate by leading an army of Kel soldiers. Needless to say, Jedao does not feel prepared by this.

A past that he cannot remember defines his life and how others view him, Jedao is hated by his soldiers for reasons he cannot remember, and a dangerous enemy seems to know more about Jedao than anyone else.

This concluding book takes the Machineries of Empire trilogy in a new direction, but it promises to be filled with twists that will keep fans guessing until the end.

Buy it here.

A Reaper at the Gates (An Ember in the Ashes #3) by Sabaa Tahir

Release Date: June 12
Publisher: Razorbill
Page Count: 464 (hardcover)

The fantasy genre needs more ancient Rome, and Sabaa Tahir’s bestselling An Ember in the Ashes quartet delivers.

The third installment in the series brings us back to the Empire, threatened by an inevitable war.

While Helene Aquilla and Emperor Marcus desperately try to support a fragile Empire, Laia of Serra is in the East fighting the real threat — the Nightbringer. And Elias Veturius has surrendered his freedom to become Soul Catcher, but this decision may have consequences for all of humanity.

With this stakes higher than ever, A Reaper at the Gates will be an explosive installment in Tahir’s critically acclaimed series.

Buy it here.

Starless by Jacqueline Carey

Release Date: June 12
Publisher: Tor
Page Count: 592 (hardcover)

From legendary fantasy author Jacqueline Carey comes a standalone adventure set in a new world.

Starless introduces a world of royalty, astronomical events, prophecies, and evil gods. At the center of it is Khai, who is tasked with protecting the princess Zariya, who was born at the exact same moment as Khai. The court of the Sun-Blessed is a menagerie of intrigue and danger, and Khai must act carefully to protect his soul’s twin.

With destruction looming, Khai and Zariya must trust unlikely allies before a great evil spreads across the world.

The fantasy genre could use more epic standalones. If anyone can pull it off, it’s Jacqueline Carey.

Buy it here.

The Skaar Invasion (The Fall of Shannara #2) by Terry Brooks

Release date: June 15
Publisher: Del Rey
Page count: 384 (hardcover)

The classic epic fantasy series that began in 1977 is one book closer to its end with The Skar Invasion, the second part of the quartet that will conclude Brooks’s Shannara series.

War is coming to the Four Lands, and the Druid Order may be witnessing the beginning of the end. Dar Leah knows that their chances are slim without Druid Drisker Arc, who is trapped inside the vanished fortress Paranor.

While Drisker tries to free himself, Dar learns that what looked like the invading force of a mysterious magical foe may actually be a small part of a massive army. The trolls have already been conquered—and the druids are next.

Buy it here.

Storm Glass (Harbinger #1) by Jeff Wheeler

Release date: June 19
Publisher: 47North
Page count: 353 (paperback)

Jeff Wheeler’s new series begins with Storm Glass, introducing a world divided into two classes. The wealthy upper class live in sky manors powered by a magic known as “the Mysteries.” Those who live on the ground are trapped in a society that won’t let them climb into the clouds.

Cettie Pratt is lifted from the ground when an admiral adopts her and her life changes completely. But though she now lives in the clouds, things are far from perfect.

The admiral’s daughter, Sera Fitzempress, longs to meet the new servant, but her father doesn’t see the need. Both girls are curious about the strange world the other inhabits.

Wheeler’s world is hinged on the dichotomy between two drastically different places and classes. The second book, The Mirror Gate, is due on August, and the third may be out later this year, making this a highly bingeable fantasy series.

Buy it here.

The Privilege of Peace by Tanya Huff (Peacekeeper #3) by Tanya Huff

Release date: June 19
Publisher: DAW
Page count: 352 (hardcover)

Torin Kerr’s last adventure is captured in the latest from Tanya Huff, The Privilege of Peace.

The third book in the Peacekeeper trilogy opens with a retired Kerr who has finally escaped war to a peaceful life. Kerr answers the call to arms one last time, becoming Gunnery Sergeant Kerr once more.

The ship Big Yellow has reappeared, and the Silsviss are preparing to launch an attack on the Confederation.

Closing the story that began with Huff’s Confederation series and continued with the Peacekeeper trilogy, this last installment says goodbye to one of Huff’s toughest characters.

Buy it here.

May 2018 Books

The summer season of publishing is getting started with a fantasy-heavy May. Series debuts and companion novels stand out this month, as well as a lot of epic fantasy and ambitious storytelling.

Sylvain Neuvel’s The Themis Files trilogy gets its final installment, and Raymond E. Feist kicks off his new Firemane Saga. R. F. Kuang makes her debut with The Poppy War, the first book in a trilogy with its roots in Chinese history.

Hopefully your TBR shelf is clear so you can start stocking up for summer reading. Whether you’re looking for a new series, a standalone, or a satisfying conclusion to a series, you can find it among these May releases.

The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang

Release date: May 1
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Page count: 544 (hardcover)

R. F. Kuang’s literary debut is a military fantasy set in the Nikara Empire, resembling 20th-century China in its turmoil and shifting power.

Rin is an orphan of low standing from Rooster Province who somehow passed the Empire’s test to enter the Academies. She soon develops dangerous shamanic powers and learns that the ancient gods aren’t dead after all.

The first two Poppy Wars were devastating, but most denizens of the Nikara Empire enjoy peaceful lives—but everything is in place for a third Poppy War. Rin must use her newfound powers and her connection to the vengeful Phoenix god to protect her future from an incoming war.

The Poppy War is the first book in a planned trilogy.

Buy it here.

Only Human (The Themis Files #3) by Sylvain Neuvel

Release Date: May 1
Publisher: Del Rey
Page Count: 352

The Themis Files trilogy comes to a close with Only Human, picking up 10 years after the cliffhanger ending to Waking Gods, following in the series’ tradition of time skips.

The Themis Files began with Rose Franklin’s discovery of a massive metal hand buried in South Dakota. She and her team discovered the scattered parts that were assembled to create the mysterious robot Themis. Twenty years later, Dr. Rose Franklin, returns to an Earth in danger after spending ten years on another world.

Neuvel tells this ambitious sci-fi saga through several interviews, which allows him to capture events on a global scale and from a variety of perspectives. Despite this, he still manages to create memorable characters and a narrative full of powerful moments.

Buy it on Amazon.

A Court of Frost and Starlight (A Court of Thorns and Roses series) by Sarah J. Maas.

Release date: May 1
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
Page count: 272 pages (hardcover)

This accompanying story follows the events A Court of Wings and Ruin and prepares readers for the next books in the series.

Told by Feyre and Rhysand, A Court of Frost and Starlight chronicles the recovery of the Night Court’s after the battle that changed the world. Feyre must adjust to her new role as High Lady and the demands of a wounded court. Though the Winter Solstice provides a brief calm, she and Rhys must be prepared to navigate a changing world.

Buy it here.

Artificial Condition (The Murderbot Diaries #2) by Martha Wells

Release Date: May 8
Publisher: Tor
Page Count: 160 (hardcover)

Murderbot earned its name in a massacre that it can’t recall with much clarity. It knows that it can be lethal, and in order to discover the answers to its past, Murderbot returns to the mining facility where it lost control.

Martha Wells is sure to deliver another sci-fi adventure filled with moral dilemmas… and killing.

Buy it on Amazon here.

The Plastic Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg

Release date: May 15
Publisher: 47North
Page count: 236 (hardcover)

Holmberg’s next novel revisits the world of The Paper Magician, introducing Alvie Brenchenmacher, a young woman seeking to learn the art of Polymaking, the magic of commanding plastic.

Alvie is ambitious and determined to make as many breakthroughs as possible while studying under the famous Marion Praff. Together, the mentor and student create something incredible, but a rival magician aims to take credit before they can show their invention to the world.

Buy it here.

Wrath of Empire (Gods of Blood and Powder #2) by Brian McClellan

Release Date: May 15
Publisher: Orbit
Page Count: 656 (hardcover)

Set in the same world as his bestselling Powder Mage trilogy, this follow up to Sins of Empire presents a young country in a state of unrest and chaos. Our heroes, Lady Flint, Michel Bravis, and Ben Syke, are battling threats to their county on all sides.

McClellan’s Powder Mage books introduced an unusual “flintlock fantasy” setting that feels fresh and fast-paced compared to a more traditional medieval world. If you’re a fan of Brandon Sanderson’s worldbuilding and magic systems, don’t skip McClellan’s latest fantasy series.

Buy it here.

The King of Ashes (The Firemane Saga #1) by Raymond E. Feist

Release date: May 8
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Page count: 512 (hardcover)

Raymonde E. Feist, best known for his Riftwar Cycle, is beginning a new trilogy with The King of Ashes.

The five major kingdoms of Tembria lived in harmony until four kingdoms betrayed one: the Kingdom of Flames, Ithrace. When the ruler of Ithrace is killed, Tembria falls into what will forever be known as the War of Betrayal.

Much later, the secret heir of Ithrace is raised in the Kingdom of Night, known of its lethal assassins. The heir does not know his own greatest secret. When he befriends a weaponsmith named Declan, the two men begin to discover the dangerous truth of the War of Betrayal.

The first book of the The Firemane Saga promises to be a tale of fate and discovery in a world of bitter kingdoms.

Buy it here.

In the Region of the Summer Stars (Eirlandia #1)  by Stephen R. Lawhead

Release date: May 15
Publisher: Tor Books
Page count: 336 (hardcover)

A new series from Stephen R. Lawhead is a historical Celtic fantasy, introducing Eirlandia, a land of tribes at war who must unite to face the powerful Scálda or perish.

Conor is the son of the Celtic King, wrongly accused and exiled. Away from his tribe, he must prove his innocence in order to reveal secrets about the Scálda that are vital to the survival of Eirlandia.

Buy it here.

Season of Storms (Witcher #8) by Andrej Sapkowski

Release Date: May 22
Publisher: Orbit
Page count: 432 (hardcover)

Five years after its 2013 Polish release, Season of Storms is finally getting an English-language edition from Orbit.

This standalone work is set between two stories in The Last Witch, the story collection that introduced Geralt of Rivia. Though it can be read on its own, the story contains connections to other Witcher books and collections.

In this story, Geralt is without the tools that make him a Witcher, and the world is becoming a dark and dangerous place. Geralt needs his weapons back to prepare for the season of storms.

Buy it here.

See Also: Best Sci-fi Books of All-Time

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