11 Best New Sci-Fi & Fantasy Books to Read: September 2015

new sci-fi & fantasy books to read

*Update 1/28/16: Check out the best new books to read in February 2016.

September promises to be a fantastic month for fantasy book lovers. There are several new installments coming in already renowned series, as well as several debuts from fantasy authors that are undeniably worthwhile.

August brought a ton of great new books to read, too, including Dragonbane, The End of All Things, and The Dark Forest. The upcoming books of September look to be just as exciting. As usual, we’ve tried to include something on this list that will appeal to everyone. While we usually limit ourselves to ten choices, we just had to add that extra one this month. Happy reading.

So without further ado, here are the 11 best new sci-fi & fantasy books to read in September:


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1. Sorcerer to the Crown (A Sorcerer Royal Novel) by Zen Cho

new sci-fi books to read

Release Date: September 1, 2015

“The Royal Society of Unnatural Philosophers…has long been tasked with maintaining magic within His Majesty’s lands. But lately, the once proper institute has fallen into disgrace, naming an altogether unsuitable gentleman—a freed slave who doesn’t even have a familiar—as their Sorcerer Royal, and allowing England’s once profuse stores of magic to slowly bleed dry. At least they haven’t stooped so low as to allow women to practice what is obviously a man’s profession…At his wit’s end, Zacharias Wythe, Sorcerer Royal of the Unnatural Philosophers and eminently proficient magician, ventures to the border of Fairyland to discover why England’s magical stocks are drying up. But when his adventure brings him in contact with a most unusual comrade, a woman with immense power and an unfathomable gift, he sets on a path which will alter the nature of sorcery in all of Britain…”

This stunning debut novel from London-based Malaysian fantasy writer Zen Cho is the first in a planned trilogy set in Regency England. Her collection of short stories, Spirits Abroad, was a winner of the 2015 Crawford Award. Her stories have typically featured Malaysian as well as queer characters, and although that’s not the case in this novel ❨as she has pointed out, Malaysia didn’t exist during this time period), it does deal with issues of social justice. Zacharias is black, and the female protagonist, Prunella, is mixed-race, living in colonial England. Zen Cho is helping meet the growing demand for diversity in the fantasy genre and shifting the norm away from the white, heternormative, male-dominated worlds we are used to. And, social justice issues aside, her writing is just beautiful.

Buy it here.

2. The Shepherd’s Crown (Tiffany Aching) by Terry Pratchett

sci-fi and fantasy books

Release Date: September 1st, 2015

“Deep in the Chalk, something is stirring. ¬The owls and the foxes can sense it, and Tiffany Aching feels it in her boots. An old enemy is gathering strength.
This is a time of endings and beginnings, old friends and new, a blurring of edges and a shifting of power. Now Tiffany stands between the light and the dark, the good and the bad.
As the fairy horde prepares for invasion, Tiffany must summon all the witches to stand with her. To protect the land. Her land.
There will be a reckoning. . . .”

This novel is bittersweet, as it was the last book written by Terry Pratchett prior to his death in March of 2015. It is the forty-first and final novel in his comic fantasy series Discworld and the fifth featuring Tiffany Aching. It almost makes us want to put off reading it for as long as possible. Almost. If you are not familiar with this humorous series, it often parodies popular fantasy series, literature, and mythology and uses them to satirize current issues. Although Terry Pratchett has expressed permission for his daughter to continue the series, she has announced that she has no plans to. Sadface. Buy this in honor of Sir Terry Pratchett ❨may he Rest in Peace).

Buy it here.

3. Devoted in Death by J.D. Robb

new sci-fi books to read

Release Date: September 15th, 2015

“When Lieutenant Eve Dallas examines a body in a downtown Manhattan alleyway…Carved into the skin is the shape of a heart—and initials inside reading E and D…Ella-Loo and her boyfriend, Darryl, had been separated while Darryl was a guest of the state of Oklahoma, and now that his sentence has been served they don’t ever intend to part again….So they hit the road, and when their car breaks down in Arkansas, they make plans to take someone else’s. Then things get messy and they wind up killing someone—an experience that stokes a fierce, wild desire in Ella-Loo. A desire for Darryl. And a desire to kill again. As they cross state lines on their way to New York to find the life they think they deserve, they will leave a trail of evil behind them. But now they’ve landed in the jurisdiction of Lieutenant Dallas and her team at the New York Police and Security Department. And with her husband, Roarke, at her side, she has every intention of hunting them down and giving them what they truly deserve . . .”

#1 New York Times bestselling Nora Roberts, author of more than 170 books, is back with the 41st installment of her In Death series under her pseudonym J.D. Robb. If you haven’t read the other 40 books, fear not — each can be read as a standalone story. There may be minor references to other events in the series, but nothing that should hinder your enjoyment. In fact, after reading this, you may find yourself wanting to peruse the other forty ❨although if you have a to-read list like mine, that is a daunting task). So whether you’re already a fan of this prolific author or not, this book is certainly worth a look-over. They are not her typical contemporary romance fare; she adopted the pseudonym due to her long-standing desire to write romantic suspense novels ❨á la Mary Stewart).

Buy it here.

4. One Year After: A Novel by William R. Forstchen

one year after book

Release Date: September 15th, 2015

“The story picks up a year after One Second After ends, two years since the detonation of nuclear weapons above the United States brought America to its knees. After suffering starvation, war, and countless deaths, the survivors of Black Mountain, North Carolina, are beginning to piece back together the technologies they had once taken for granted…They cling to the hope that a new national government is finally emerging. Then comes word that most of the young men and women of the community are to be drafted into an “Army of National Recovery” and sent to trouble spots hundreds of miles away.When town administrator John Matherson protests the draft, he’s offered a deal: leave Black Mountain and enter national service, and the draft will be reduced. But the brutal suppression of a neighboring community under its new federal administrator and the troops accompanying him suggests that all is not as it should be with this burgeoning government.”

This post-apocalyptic thriller is a sequel to the #1 New York Times bestseller One Second After, and takes place ❨as the title suggests) a year after its conclusion. This cautionary tale is a terrifying look into our potential future; while definitely not a lighthearted read, it is eye-opening and provides the reader with plenty of food for thought. If you haven’t read One Second After, we recommend you pick that one up first – both so you have the background information for the second book and because it’s a powerful story.

Buy it here

5. The Aeronaut’s Windlass (The Cinder Spires) by Jim Butcher

new jim butcher book

Release Date: September 29th, 2015

“Since time immemorial, the Spires have sheltered humanity, towering for miles over the mist-shrouded surface of the world. Within their halls, aristocratic houses have ruled for generations, developing scientific marvels, fostering trade alliances, and building fleets of airships to keep the peace. Captain Grimm commands the merchant ship, Predator. Fiercely loyal to Spire Albion, he has taken their side in the cold war with Spire Aurora.. But when the Predator is severely damaged in combat, leaving captain and crew grounded, Grimm is offered a proposition from the Spirearch of Albion—to join a team of agents on a vital mission in exchange for fully restoring Predator to its fighting glory. And even as Grimm undertakes this dangerous task, he will learn that the conflict between the Spires is merely a premonition of things to come. Humanity’s ancient enemy, silent for more than ten thousand years, has begun to stir once more. And death will follow in its wake…”

Fans of the New York Times bestselling author of The Dresden Files and Codex Alera hardly need any urging to read this first installment in his newest series. If you’re not already a fan, though, what better opportunity to start? If his other two series are any indication, this one promises to be epic — and is, in fact, already getting rave reviews. There are few things better than diving into a new fantasy series by an already-beloved author, so be sure to preorder this one. Go on, right now. We’ll wait.

Buy it here.

6. Archmage (Homecoming) by R.A. Salvatore

archmage book

Release Date: September 1st, 2015

“The pall that had descended over the North is gone, and a new day has dawned on a victorious Mithral Hall, but no matter how bright things seem on the surface, Drizzt and his companions know that what lurks just under their feet remains steeped in evil and charged with unimaginable power. The dark elves of Menzoberranzan, including the powerful Archmage Gromph, aren’t done with Drizzt yet. And consumed by their own power struggles, feeling backed into a corner, the drow may just be desperate enough to call on demonic forces from the deepest reaches of the Abyss, and unleash a disaster even the Underdark could never have prepared for.”

Regularly appearing on the New York Times #1 bestsellers list, and having sold more than 10 million copies of his books, R.A. Salvatore is easily one of the most successful fantasy authors. If you’re not familiar with his work, he is best known for his Forgotten Realms series, which is set in a Dungeons and Dragons world and introduce the beloved drow (dark elf) Drizzt Do’Urden. He has been featured in Salvatore’s novel for over 20 years, and this book is no exception. It is the first of a new series featuring Drizzt, so if you’re not already a fan, this is a good place to start.

Buy it here.

7. Updraft by Fran Wilde

Updraft

Release Date: September 1st, 2015

“Kirit Densira cannot wait to pass her wingtest and begin flying as a trader by her mother’s side, being in service to her beloved home tower and exploring the skies beyond. When Kirit inadvertently breaks Tower Law, the city’s secretive governing body, the Singers, demand that she become one of them instead. In an attempt to save her family from greater censure, Kirit must give up her dreams to throw herself into the dangerous training at the Spire, the tallest, most forbidding tower, deep at the heart of the City.”

A wonderfully imaginative debut, this young adult fantasy/science fiction novel is the first in what will be the Bone Universe series. Fran Wilde has already received acclaim for her short stories in Asimov’s, Nature, and Beneath Ceaseless Skies, so we are beyond excited to get our hands on this one. She has been praised for her originality and extraordinary worldbuilding (she reportedly stepped into a 250mph wind tunnel for book research), and readers will find themselves completely immersed in this fantastic coming-of-age story. We will definitely be keeping our eye on this new series (and of course look forward to the eventual movie adaptation).

Buy it here.

8. Down The Rabbit Hole by J.D. Robb, Mary Blayney, Elaine Fox, Mary Kay McComas, R.C. Ryan

new fantasy books to read

Release Date: September 29th, 2015

“You’re late for a very important date…Enter a wonderland of mesmerizing tales. It’s a place that’s neither here nor there, where things are never quite as they seem. Inspired by Lewis Carroll’s whimsical masterpiece, ranging from the impossible to the mad to the curiouser, these stories will have you absolutely off your head. Don’t be afraid to follow them…”

We’re always interested when some of our favorite authors collaborate on a collection of short stories. Inspired by Lewis Caroll’s beloved classic, this collection can certainly be described as curiouser and curiouser (but also amazing). Includes a new Eve Dallas story from J.D. Robb (in addition to the full-length novel also released this month). It’s worth reading for that alone, but the four other contributions from bestselling authors don’t hurt either. Although a couple of them have received mixed reviews, they are definitely worth a try, especially if you’re an Alice In Wonderland fan.

Buy it here.

9. Two Years Eight Months and Twenty-Eight Nights: A Novel by Salman Rushdie

sci-fi books

Release Date: September 8th, 2015

“In the near future, after a storm strikes New York City, the strangenesses begin. A down-to-earth gardener finds that his feet no longer touch the ground. A graphic novelist awakens in his bedroom to a mysterious entity that resembles his own sub–Stan Lee creation. Abandoned at the mayor’s office, a baby identifies corruption with her mere presence, marking the guilty with blemishes and boils. A seductive gold digger is soon tapped to combat forces beyond imagining. Unbeknownst to them, they are all descended from the whimsical, capricious, wanton creatures known as the jinn, who live in a world separated from ours by a veil. Centuries ago, Dunia, a princess of the jinn, fell in love with a mortal man of reason. Together they produced an astonishing number of children, unaware of their fantastical powers, who spread across generations in the human world. Once the line between worlds is breached on a grand scale, Dunia’s children and others will play a role in an epic war between light and dark spanning a thousand and one nights—or two years, eight months, and twenty-eight nights.”

This novel of magical realism from highly acclaimed Indian author Salman Rushdie is an inventive take on traditional Eastern mythology set in the modern world. He has a unique style which some readers seem to love and others dislike; his previous eleven novels have garnered him a highly devoted, if not large, following. The concept of this novel has definitely piqued our interest, though; and, as it is a standalone, we recommend you give it a try and see if you fall into the category of readers that love this author.

Buy it here.

10. The Desert and the Blade: A Novel of the Change (Change Series)

new books to read

Release Date: September 1st, 2015

“Reiko, Empress of Japan, has allied herself with Princess Órlaith, heir to the High Kingdom of Montival, to find the Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi, the Grass-Cutting Sword, a legendary treasure of an ancient dynasty that confers valor and victory to its bearer. Órlaith understands all too well the power it signifies. Her own inherited blade, the Sword of the Lady, was both a burden and a danger to her father, Rudi Mackenzie, as it failed to save the king from being assassinated. But the fabled sword lies deep with the Valley of Death, and the search will be far from easy. And war is building, in Montival and far beyond. As Órlaith and Reiko encounter danger and wonder, Órlaith’s mother, Queen Matildha, believes her daughter’s alliance and quest has endangered the entire realm. There are factions both within and without Montival whose loyalty died with the king, and whispers of treachery and war grow ever louder. And the Malevolence that underlies the enemy will bend all its forces to destroy them.”

This is the twelfth installment of The Emberverse series by New York Times bestselling author S.M. Stirling – which seems to be another love-it-or-hate-it kind of series. The series, beginning with Dies the Fire, chronicles the events that take place after what is known as The Change – an event in which all technology stopped working – and should appeal to fans of post-apocalyptic works. This particular novel seems to receive the highest praise so far of any in the series, however, that could be because only devoted fans have made it this far. If you’re not one of those, you should definitely pick up the first book and see how you feel about it. You might love it.

Buy it here.

11. Last Song Before Night by Ilana C. Myer

new fantasy books september

Release Date: September 29th, 2015

“Her name was Kimbralin Amaristoth: sister to a cruel brother, daughter of a hateful family. But…now she is simply Lin, a musician and lyricist of uncommon ability in a land where women are forbidden to answer such callings…On the eve of a great festival, Lin learns that an ancient scourge has returned to the land of Eivar, a pandemic both deadly and unnatural….Long ago, magic was everywhere, rising from artistic expression-from song, from verse, from stories. But in Eivar, where poets once wove enchantments from their words and harps, the power was lost. Forbidden experiments in blood divination unleashed the plague that is remembered as the Red Death, killing thousands before it was stopped, and Eivar’s connection to the Otherworld from which all enchantment flowed, broken. The Red Death’s return can mean only one thing: someone is spilling innocent blood in order to master dark magic. Now poets who thought only to gain fame for their songs face a challenge much greater: galvanized by Valanir Ocune, greatest Seer of the age, Lin and several others set out to reclaim their legacy and reopen the way to the Otherworld.”

Yet another stunning debut novel from a female author featuring a strong female lead defying societal norms and taking up traditionally male pursuits. We couldn’t be more excited to get our hands on this one. The notion of magic arising from art forms such as poetry and music is intriguing, and Myer’s writing style has itself been praised as lyrical, with strong character development and world-building. Barnes & Noble has classified this as one of their 5 Fantastic Fantasy Debuts (along with Sorcerer to the Crown and Updraft), and we couldn’t agree more. Although the plot starts off rather slow, the elegant prose should keep you interested and it’s definitely worth persisting.

Buy it here.

See Also:

Top 23 Best Fantasy Books of 2015

10 Best Coffee Table Books Nerds Will Love

Top 50 Best Sci-Fi Books to Read


 
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