15 Best Sci-Fi & Fantasy Books: April 2018

April has a bit of everything: sci-fi epics from masters like Jack McDevitt, bold debuts, time travel romance — 2018 is continuing to be a big year for SF/F readers. If your TBR shelf is creaking, don’t read any further.

The one thing dominating this month seems to be standalones and novellas, which is great news for readers slogging through epic fantasy series who need a respite.

Mark Lawrence’s Grey Sister is finally here, and Cass Morris’s debut From Unseen Fire could be the start of a great new series. Ian McDonald might capture our hearts and carry them through multiple timelines in Time Was. Let’s hope for a few more weeks of rain so we still have an excuse to stay inside reading.

Here’s our list of the best new sci-fi and fantasy books for April 2018:


The Barrow Will Send What it May (Danielle Cain #2) by Margaret Killjoy

Release date: April 3
Publisher: Tor.com
Page count: 160 (paperback)

Following the dark punk fantasy The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion, Margaret Killjoy’s The Barrow Will Send What it May continues Danielle Cain, who is now a part of a team of demon-hunters. When they find themselves in a town whose denizens claim to have been brought back by the dead, they begin to brush up against forces far darker and larger than themselves.

Buy it here.


The Body Library (John Nyquist #2) by Jeff Noon

Release date: April 3
Publisher: Angry Robot
Page count: 384 (paperback)

The second book in the John Nyquist series brings John to a city where stories come to life as reality. He’s working on a murder case, but the nature of the city makes this a bit complicated.

The murder victim’s whispers lead John down a dangerous and constantly shifting in this place that exists between reality and imagination.

This is an ambitious bit of worldbuilding. We’ll see if Noon can awe the reader while keeping them grounded in his confusing world.

Buy it here.


Grey Sister (Book of the Ancestor #2) by Mark Lawrence

new mark lawrence book 2018

Release Date: April 3
Publisher: Ace
Page Count: 432 (hardcover)

The bestselling author of Prince of Thorns Mark Lawrence brings us the sequel to Red Sister, once again following the life of Nona Grey.

In the Convent of Sweet Mercy, Nona must decide which order to dedicate her life to. Will her life be one of devotion and study, or one of killing?

The girl with a bloody past must find her own way in a complicated world that threatens to pull her apart.

Lawrence is sure to deliver with this follow-up to fan-favorite Red Sister.

Buy it here.


The School for Psychics (The School for Psychics #1) by K. C. Archer

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Release Date: April 3
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Page Count: 368 (paperback)

This debut novel introduces a world much like our own, but with an underworld of people with special abilities.

Twenty-eight-year-old Teddy Cannon is one of those people, but it takes her some time to figure this out. She has always had a keen sense of the thoughts and emotions of other people. Only when a tip from a mysterious stranger sends her to the School for Psychics does she begin to understand herself.

The story features a cast of characters with a variety of supernatural abilities in a world steeped in mystery and darkness. If Archer can pull of the “Harry-Potter-for-adults” trick, this new series might end up right next to Lev Grossman’s Magicians trilogy on the shelf.

Buy it here.


Fire Dance by Ilana C. Myer

Release date: April 10
Publisher: Tor Books
Page count: 368 pages (hardcover)

This standalone sequel to Last Song Before Night is set in the same grand world imagined by Israeli-American author Ilana C. Myer.

Lin bears the responsibility of protecting her people once more. This time, the threat comes from Fire Dancers — wielders of a dangerous magic. Lin must navigate a deadly political maze to prevent a war that would lead to death on a massive scale.

Fueled by Myer’s powerful prose, this is sure to be a rich high fantasy adventure.

Buy it here.


The Fates Divide (Carve the Mark #2) Veronica Roth

Release date: April 10
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Page count: 464 (hardcover)

 

Veronica Roth’s Carve the Mark duology concludes in The Fates Divide, which promises to put  the limits love to the test when a bloody war erupts, pitting family against family. Cyra Noavek and Akos Kereseth knoew that their fates were decided at birth, but it is their decisions that will ultimately decide whether the live or die — and who they live or die for.

Buy it here.


One Way by S. J. Morden

Release date: April 10
Publisher: Orbit
Page count: 368 (hardcover)

The inevitable colonization of Mars is here, and a crew of ex-con astronauts is being killed off one by one. And the deaths are to suspicious to be accidents.

Frank went to Mars for a fresh start and to get away from past mistakes, but the red planet has some dangerous secrets. S. J. Morden uses his education as a rocket scientist to create a sci-fi thriller that’s as plausible as it is terrifying.

At this point, I should just start buying everything with Orbit’s name on it. 2018 has been an outstanding year of releases for Orbit so far.

Buy it here.


Head On (Lock In #2) by John Scalzi

Release Date: April 17
Publisher: Tor Books
Page Count: 336 (Hardcover)

Sci-fi legend John Scalzi returns to the world of Lock In with a standalone story of the dangerous world of technology-driven sports. Hilketa is a high-stakes game in which players attempt to decapitate one another and carry their opponent’s severed head through the goalposts. It’s brutal and violent — but the players remain safe while their “threeps”, highly agile robot bodies, do the fighting for them. It’s hugely popular, and large fortunes are exchanged over the sport.

The sport takes a dark turn when a star athlete is killed. Two investigators are called in to examine the crime, and they find themselves pulled into the dark world of the massively popular sport of Hilketa.

With a premise like that, it will be hard to stay away from this near-future crime thriller.

Buy it here.


Age of War (Legends of the First Empire #3) by Michael J. Sullivan

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Release Date: April 17
Publisher: Del Rey
Page Count: 432 (hardcover)

Michael J. Sullivan (author of Riyria Revelations) is known for writing a series in its entirety before publishing the first novel, and he’s done it again with his Legends of the First Empire series. This allows him to flesh his ideas out before publishing, and you don’t have to worry about the series going unfinished.

His latest series takes place thousands of years before the events of Riyria Revelations. This third installment is due in May, and the next one won’t be far off.

Buy it here.


From Unseen Fire (Aven Cycle #1) by Cass Morris

Release date: April 17
Publisher: DAW
Page count: 400 (hardcover)

Cass Morris’s debut novel is set in an ancient Rome where magic lends power to its wielders and a new republic is rising. As the young government grows and society is restructured by mages and senators alike, Latona finds herself no longer afraid to reveal her powers of Spirit and Fire. It is up to her to protect her family in a quickly changing republic.

With an evocative cover and unusual premise, this could be the start of a great series.

Buy it here.


The Atrocities by Jeremy C. Shipp

Release date: April 17
Publisher: Tor.com
Page count: 112 (hardcover)

Jeremy C. Shipp’s The Atrocities is yet another intriguing novella from Tor.com. Isabella is dead, but her parents are worried about her education, so they hire a governess. The unfortunate governess in question, Ms. Valdez, finds herself without a subject and in a very unusual estate.

Buy it here.


Before Mars (Planetfall #3) by Emma Newman

Release date: April 17
Publisher: Ace
Page count: 352 (paperback)

Emma Newman returns to Planetfall in a standalone novel that follows Anna Kubrin, who arrives at a Mars colony to work as a geologist. Things get strange quickly — there’s a warning in her own handwriting that she doesn’t remember writing, and a colony that was supposed to be abandoned but definitely isn’t.

There are two possibilities: Anna is in a twisted and dangerous place, or she’s losing her mind.

Buy it here.


The Long Sunset (The Academy #8) by Jack McDevitt

Release date: April 17
Publisher: Saga Press
Page count: 464 (hardcover)

Jack McDevitt’s latest Academy novel takes on questions about what contact from an advanced alien civilization might look like.

Veteran pilot Priscilla “Hutch” Hutchins is working with a program that’s reaching its end when she receives a strange transmission from an unexplored region of the galaxy — and the transmission is a piece of music. What lies in this part of the galaxy is astounding and unexpected.

It’s familiar territory for McDevitt, but he’s excellent at what he does.

Buy it here.


Blackfish City by Sam J. Miller

new sci-fi books 2018

Release Date: April 17
Publisher: Ecco
Page Count: 336 (hardcover)

In Blackfish City, A self-sustaining floating city in the Arctic Circle is home to thousands of people. Though it is filled with engineering marvels and a tenacious population, Blackfish City is beginning to crumble. When a strange woman riding an orca arrives in the city, she sets in motion a desperate resistance to save the city from itself.

Though Miller takes on some of the bigger issues faced by the world, he also examines his characters and their personal struggles intimately. Blackfish City is sure to be a captivating examination of struggles small and large in a frighteningly plausible future.

Buy it here.


Time Was by Ian McDonald

Release date: April 24
Publisher: Tor.com
Page count: 144 (hardcover)

Ben and Tom fell in love in the middle of World War II while working on a secret radar project to conceal British planes. In a mysterious accident, they vanished, and found themselves in different timelines. Their only hope to find each other is to leave trails of clues for one another across time.

Buy it here.


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

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