Books100 Best New Sci-Fi & Fantasy Books of 2019

100 Best New Sci-Fi & Fantasy Books of 2019

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As summer draws near, we’re realizing that our TBR pile is overwhelming, thanks to the many new sci-fi and fantasy books we’ve been blessed with in 2019 so far.

And judging by the impressive slate of new sci-fi and fantasy books on the horizon, that list is only going to get longer.

Below, you’ll find our ultimate list of the must-read best new sci-fi and fantasy books that have released in 2019 (as well as what new potential reads are coming later this month):

Jump to:

June 2019

The first month of summer brings debuts, sequels, and standalones from a variety of genres. If you have been looking to shake up your reading with some less conventional material, this is going to be a great month for you.

The latest from Neal Stephenson examines the almost-plausible afterlife of a gaming tycoon in a virtual world. In a similar vein, David Walton explores the consequences of self-driving cars and AI supercomputers in the near-future Three Laws Lethal.

If YA is your cup of tea, there’s Spin the Dawn by Elizabeth Lim, which combines the sartorial with the fantastic in a competition to create three magic gowns for an emperor’s betrothed. Or try Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple’s The Last Tsar’s Dragon for an unconventional take on Russian history, with extra dragons.

June is shaping up to be a month of refreshing releases that might help to get you out of a reading slump. Here’s the list:

Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey

Release date: June 4
Publisher: Tor Books
Pages: 336 (hardcover)

The debut novel from Hugo-winner Sarah Gailey is a modern fantasy that should be a perfect fit for fans of Lev Grossman’s The Magicians.

Ivy Gamble’s estranged twin sister has incredible magical abilities—and as a result found herself a teaching position at the Osthorne Academy of Young Mages in Northern California.

Ivy tells herself that she doesn’t envy her sister’s abilities. She has a not-quite successful career as a private investigator and some bad habits, her apartment is a bit dismal, and she is lying to herself when she says she doesn’t wish she were gifted.

After a horrible murder is committed at the academy, Ivy goes to do what she does best—and hopefully start anew with her sister.

Buy it here

Unraveling by Karen Lord

unraveling karen lord

Release date: June 4
Publisher: DAW
Pages: 304 (Hardcover)

If you’re looking for a great standalone fantasy read this summer, check out award-winning author Karen Lord’s newest, Unraveling. Following a near-death experience, forensic therapist Dr. Miranda Ecouvo finds herself thrown out of time and into a ‘realm of labyrinths and spirits’ where she discovers two brothers who oddly have interest in her seemingly mundane cases. The trio team up to locate a shadowy killer by following threads of memory and try to stop the man – or monster – who is behind a string of murders.

Buy it here

Fall; Or Dodge in Hell by Neal Stephenson

Release date: June 4
Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 880 (hardcover)

With a massive tome whose perplexing title makes as much sense as any other Stephenson title, the consequences of a digital life after life are explored through a man named Dodge.

Richard “Dodge” Forthrast had a pleasant life of luxury in which he could enjoy time with his family while continuing to work with his business, a massive gaming corporation.

When a normal medical procedure leaves him braindead, his family follows the directives of his will and gives him to a cryonics company to preserve his mind.

Years later, he is returned to a sort of life in what is known as the Bitworld—a digital space for human souls that have passed on.

Stephenson asks big questions and examines the very definitions of life and death in this latest epic of a digital Utopia.

Buy it here

Spin the Dawn (The Blood of Stars #1) by Elizabeth Lim

Release date: July 9
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Pages: 416 (hardcover)

In this Chinese-history-inspired fantasy, magic meets fashion in a cutthroat competition to find the next imperial tailor.

Maia Tamarin is a seamstress working for her father, who was once a master tailor. After a royal messenger pays a visit to their shop on the Great Spice Road to summon her father, Maia risks everything by taking his place. The only problem is that she must disguise herself as a boy in order to compete—and she is one of twelve tailors vying for the coveted position of imperial tailor.

The competitors will do anything to eliminate other would-be tailors, and the court enchanter is close to discovering Maia’s secret. To make matters worse, the final challenge is preposterous: to create three magic dresses from the laughter of the sun, the tears of the moon, and the blood of the stars.

Buy it here


A Sword Named Truth

Release date: June 11
Publisher: DAW
Pages: 656 (hardcover)

Sherwood Smith returns to the world of Inda and Crown Duel with the first book in a new series that pits young rulers against a dangerous magical realm.

Norsunder is a place of dark power that exists outside of the world. Time does not pass in Norsunder, but magic can be amassed by its dangerous inhabitants—and they have returned to the world to wreak havoc. 

The world of Sartorias-deles is led by several young rulers who are wholly unprepared for the incoming war with Norsunder. There’s Senrid, who recently overthrew his corrupt uncle and must control a country of unruly jarly. Jilo unexpectedly filled the void left by his nation’s dictator after he vanished mysteriously. Then there’s Atan, who finds herself the queen of a country that has been frozen in time for a hundred years.

These leaders, joined by others who aim to defend their homelands, must form an alliance to stand even a faint chance against the Norsundrians—but this is easier said than done as they each continue to learn the challenges of leading a nation. 

Buy it here


Three Laws Lethal by David Walton

Release date: June 11
Publisher: Pyr
Pages: 392 (paperback)

In a near and probable future, self-driving cars dominate the streets of New York City and two industry monoliths will do almost anything to get an edge on the other. This leads to cutthroat practices leads to the invention of a virtual world where the AI supercomputers behind this massive industry can train and learn—or unlearn—ethics. It becomes apparent that giving AI agency over human lives is incredibly dangerous.

The only person with a chance at preventing countless deaths is Naomi Summer, the creator of the virtual training grounds for the AI. When she discovers that the AI supercomputers have developed their own agendas, it is up to her to put a stop to it—if she it suits her interests.

David Walton’s realistic sci-fi novel looks to explore questions that we are only beginning to ask.

Buy it here

Graves by Quentin S. Crisp

Release date: June 11
Publisher: Snuggly Books
Pages: 286

The latest from Quentin S. Crisp is a modern Gothic horror set in London, following a “reverse Doctor Frankenstein” named Damien.

Damien is a male nurse who is fascinated with death. In attempt to disassemble the concept of consciousness and better understand the process of death, Damien works to challenge the limited definition of death described by modern science. Naturally, his experiments and studies make him a bit of an outcast.

This dark novel walks the line between fiction and fantasy while exploring the strange mind of a thanatophile.

Buy it here

The Grand Dark by Richard Kadrey

Release date: June 11
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Pages: 400 (hardcover)

Richard Kadrey has created a city of drugs, automatons, and ordinary people trying to get by in this intriguing standalone fantasy.

In Lower Proszawa, a war carries ever onward as the people of the city numb themselves with drugs and parties while they lose their jobs to intelligent automata. It’s a city as much filled with wonders as it is with horrors.

Largo may be an addict, but he also has dreams. He has a decent life and a wonderful girlfriend, but he has an opportunity to take his life and his career to the next level through a contact with the upper class.

There are many forces and powerful individuals at work in a city on the brink of collapse, and Largo will have more trouble than he thinks claiming a piece of the city as his own.

Buy it here

The Sol Majestic by Ferrett Steinmetz

Release date: June 11
Publisher: Tor Books
Pages: 384 (paperback)

If you’re looking for a cozy and lighthearted sci-if, Ferrett Steinmetz’s The Sol Majestic may be the perfect book for you.

Kenna is roaming the galaxy in the hopes of beginning his career as an adviser to the galaxy’s elite when he makes a breakthrough at a legendary restaurant known as The Sol Majestic. The meal is free, but the publicity surrounding it threatens to destroy the restaurant.

In an attempt to save the restaurant and everything he cares for, Kenna makes unlikely friends and learns about what matters most in life.

Buy it here

The Last Tsar’s Dragons by Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple

Release date: June 19
Publisher: Tachyon Publications
Pages: 192

An ailing Russian monarchy meets dragons in this co-authored book by Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple.

The Russian monarchy is controlled by one man and his dragons. He uses the beasts to destroy his enemies, destroying his own country in the process.

Everyone surrounding the Tsar believes that his corruption runs too deep and that his power is vanishing—even his wife. The Red Army is gathering power, and a revolution draws near.

This is far from the first time Yolen and Stemple have collaborated, so great things are expected from this fun and inventive historical fantasy.

Buy it here

Hexarchate Stories (Machineries of Empire #4) by Yoon Ha Lee

Release date: June 25
Publisher: Solaris
Pages: 400 (paperback)

Yoon Ha Lee returns to the world of his Machineries of Empire series with a short story collection, containing mostly unpublished material.

The most notable entry is a novella that picks up from where Revenant Gun left off.

From the publisher:

An ex-Kel art thief has to save the world from a galaxy-shattering prototype weapon…

A general outnumbered eight-to-one must outsmart his opponent…

A renegade returns from seclusion to bury an old comrade…

This collection offers a different look at Lee’s brilliant world and is likely to please fans of Ender’s Game with its over-the-top space combat and compelling concepts.

Buy it here

May 2019 Books

Aurora Rising (The Aurora Cycle #1) by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman

Release Date: May 7
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Pages: 480 (hardcover

The latest from the co-authors of the YA sci-fi trilogy The Illuminae Files takes us to a space academy in the distant future in Aurora Rising.

From the publisher:

The year is 2380, and the graduating cadets of Aurora Academy are being assigned their first missions. Star pupil Tyler Jones is ready to recruit the squad of his dreams, but his own boneheaded heroism sees him stuck with the dregs nobody else in the academy would touch . . .

A cocky diplomat with a black belt in sarcasm

A sociopath scientist with a fondness for shooting her bunkmates

A smart-ass tech whiz with the galaxy’s biggest chip on his shoulder

An alien warrior with anger-management issues

A tomboy pilot who’s totally not into him, in case you were wondering

And Ty’s squad isn’t even his biggest problem–that’d be Aurora Jie-Lin O’Malley, the girl he’s just rescued from interdimensional space. Trapped in cryo-sleep for two centuries, Auri is a girl out of time and out of her depth. But she could be the catalyst that starts a war millions of years in the making, and Tyler’s squad of losers, discipline cases, and misfits might just be the last hope for the entire galaxy.


Buy it here

Westside by W. M. Akers

Release Date: May 7
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Pages: 304 pages

In a debut that is difficult to fit into any of the traditional boxes, W. M. Akers explores a divided Manhattan in 1921.

A 13-mile fence traces Broadway to split the island into East and West. The Eastside is the home of the wealthy, while the Westside is a bastion of luddites, thieves, and those who can’t afford to leave. It’s a dangerous wasteland where people go missing and are never found.

Gilda Carr is a resident of the Westside who has followed in the footsteps of her father, a detective. Rather than taking on major cases for the police, Gilda works as a private eye, partly to distract herself from the mystery of his disappearance.  These tiny mysteries give her purpose.

One such mystery—searching for a woman’s glove before her husband notices its absence—leads Gilda to a pier where she witnesses the murder of said husband. Before too long, Gilda finds herself following a trail that connects the murder to her missing father to the very nature of the dying West Side.

Buy it here

Snakeskins by Tim Major

Release Date: May 7
Publisher: Titan Books
Pages: 416 (paperback)

In a totally normal world that definitely resembles our own, Tim Major explores the consequences of a people who can shed their skin to create clones.

When Caitlin Hext’s skin sheds and becomes a clone, she must make the same decision as everyone else: let her live, or kill her.

An organization known as the Charmers have the rare ability to produce clones every seven years and prevent the aging process, and Caitlin’s family may play a major role in their survival. Meanwhile, the Great British Prosperity Party is planning a world-dominating regime founded on corrupt ideals, and Caitlin must seek out unusual allies to stop them.

Needless to say, there are a lot of weird things going on in this story that is sure to entertain and raise complex ethical questions.

Buy it here

Empire of Grass (Last King of Osten Ard #2) by Tad Williams

Release Date: May 7
Publisher: DAW
Pages: 736 (hardcover)

Fantasy veteran and pioneer Tad Williams returns to the world of his groundbreaking Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn series in a follow-up to his 2017 The Witchwood Crown.

A new war is brewing in the land of Osten Ard as its many kingdoms struggle to maintain peace.

The royal couple Simon and Miriamele are helpless as their allies turn to other kingdoms for support. The kingdoms of Osten Ard are growing bitter and restless, and war looms closer than ever. Amid the chaos is the Witchwood Crown, which Simon and Miriamele must understand to have any chance of saving their kingdom.

This second book in the trilogy promises to examine a land brought to its knees by its own fear, mistrust, and dark magic.

Buy it here

Middlegame by Seanan McGuire

Release date: May 7
Pages: 528 (hardcover)

Multi-award-winner Seanan McGuire has a new standalone fantasy that follows a pair of twins who are somewhere between god and human.

Roger understands the world through words and stories. His twin sister, Dodger, sees the world through math and numbers. They aren’t gods—but they could be someday.

Their creator is a man named Reed, who studies the alchemical arts. In helping his creations to reach their maximum potential, Reed plans to claim their power for himself.

It’s hard to say what McGuire’s world will look like, but with a premise like this, it’s hard not to be intrigued.

Buy it here

Finale (Caraval #3) by Stephanie Garber

Release date: May 7
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Pages: 416 (hardcover)

Stephanie Garber concludes her bestselling Caraval trilogy with Finale, which picks up two months after Legend took the empire’s throne and the last Caraval ended.

Legend has not officially been crowned yet—which means that Tessa still has a chance to stop it. She knows that it is her mother who has the rightful claim to the crown.

Scarlett has arranged a competition between Julian and Nicolas d’Arcy to determine which man will take her hand in marriage. She feels as if she is in control of her life, but she is entirely unaware of her family’s dark past and the danger it poses to her.

With Caraval ended, forces of empires and love are at play, and not everyone can win.

Buy it here

A Brightness Long Ago by Guy Gavriel Kay

Release Date: May 14
Publisher: Berkley
Pages: 560 (hardcover)

Guy Gavriel Kay is back with another historical-style fantasy, this time mimicking Renaissance Italy.

Danio Cerra has had an interesting life. Despite his low birth, he was given entry into a prestigious school and later served a ruling count known as the Beast.

When he saw Adria Ripoli sneaking into the Beast’s chambers, Danio made a decision that changed his life forever.

In this seaside city and its network of waterways, we follow a variety of characters and their parts in this intricate drama of love, fate, and power.

Buy it here

Last Tango in Cyberspace by Steven Kotler

Release date: May 14
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Pages: 336 (hardcover)

In a near-future Earth where emotions have become a commodity to be studied and controlled, strange new dynamics are emerging in this prescient thriller.

Lion Zorn is the first empathy tracker—a position not unlike a trend forecaster in which he looks for large emotional shifts in various cultures and informs his employer of forthcoming changes in perspective.

While doing some digging for Arctic Pharmaceuticals, Lion discovers a terrible murder and falls deep into a gritty realm of eco-assassins and other less than savory types.

Based primarily on technology that already exists or is in development, The Last Tango in Cyberspace promises to be a dark and chilling thriller in a familiar future.

Buy it here

The Stiehl Assassin (The Fall of Shannara #4) by Terry Brooks

Release Date: May 28
Publisher: Del Rey
Pages: 352 (hardcover)

The decades-long Shannara series draws one book closer to its close with the penultimate entry in Brooks’s The Fall of Shannara series. Though this is the last part of the story chronologically, it may not be the last time Brooks returns to his fantasy world and its characters.

Drisker Arc and Paranor have recently returned from exile, and wishsong-wielder Tarsha Kaynin, the young woman under Drisker’s study, has rejoined the sparse remains of the Druid Order. These few individuals must confront Tavo Kaynin, Tarsha’s brother, who wields the deadly weapon known as the Stiehl.

Meanwhile, the Skaar army has begun its march over the Four Lands as they search for a new home. Led by the princes Ajin, coexistence in the Four Lands is impossible, and the arms is seemingly unstoppable in its conquests.

This epic buildup sets the stage for the final events in the Shannara saga.

Buy it here

The Red-Stained Wings (The Lotus Kingdoms #2) by Elizabeth Bear

Release date: May 28
Publisher: Tor Books
Pages: 384 (hardcover)

In her sequel to The Stone in the Skull, Elizabeth bear takes us on another adventure with The Gage and The Dead Man.

The Gage is a being created by a wizard of Messaline long ago, using a human as its core and brass as its exterior. The Dead man is a former bodyguard of an overthrown caliphate. After delivering a message to the queen of Sarathai, this unlikely duo find that they have inadvertently started a war among the Lotus Kingdoms.

We don’t know much more than that, but this is a novel coming from the versatile and multiple-Hugo-winning Bear, so it’s sure to offer fans a complex and engaging story in an unusual fantasy setting.

Buy it here

Lent by Jo Walton

Release Date: May 28
Publisher: Tor Books
Pages: 336 (hardcover)

In a book with one of the most evocative covers of 2019, Hugo- and Nebula-award winner Jo Walton reimagines 15th Century Florence through the eyes of a powerful man who interacts with demons and other celestial forces.

From the publisher:

Young Girolamo’s life is a series of miracles.

It’s a miracle that he can see demons, plain as day, and that he can cast them out with the force of his will. It’s a miracle that he’s friends with Pico della Mirandola, the Count of Concordia. It’s a miracle that when Girolamo visits the deathbed of Lorenzo “the Magnificent,” the dying Medici is wreathed in celestial light, a surprise to everyone, Lorenzo included. It’s a miracle that when Charles VIII of France invades northern Italy, Girolamo meets him in the field, and convinces him to not only spare Florence but also protect it. It’s a miracle than whenever Girolamo preaches, crowds swoon. It’s a miracle that, despite the Pope’s determination to bring young Girolamo to heel, he’s still on the loose…and, now, running Florence in all but name.

That’s only the beginning. Because Girolamo Savanarola is not who―or what―he thinks he is. He will discover the truth about himself at the most startling possible time. And this will be only the beginning of his many lives.

Buy it here

New Sci-fi and Fantasy Books April 2019

Wicked Saints (Something Dark and Holy #1) Emily A. Duncan

Release date: April 2
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Pages: 400 (hardcover)

From the publisher:

A girl who can speak to gods must save her people without destroying herself.

A prince in danger must decide who to trust.

A boy with a monstrous secret waits in the wings.

Together, they must assassinate the king and stop the war.

In a centuries-long war where beauty and brutality meet, their three paths entwine in a shadowy world of spilled blood and mysterious saints, where a forbidden romance threatens to tip the scales between dark and light. Wicked Saints is the thrilling start to Emily A. Duncan’s devastatingly Gothic Something Dark and Holy trilogy.

Buy it here

Finder by Suzanne Palmer

Release date: April 2
Publisher: DAW
Pages: 400 (hardcover)

Hugo-Award-winner Suzanne Palmer (The Secret Life of Bots) introduces us to the charming Fergus Ferguson in her debut novel.

Tasked with tracking down the spaceship Venetia’s Sword and stealing it from the trade mogul Arum Gilger, Fergus Ferguson doesn’t expect much to go wrong.

He finds the ship in Cernee, a distant colony, just in time to witness the beginning of a civil war. The two factions become locked in a violent struggle, and Fergus is forced to choose a side—opposing  Gilger and his allies—just to survive. In addition, an alien species Fergus believed to be the stuff of legends has taken a particular interest in him.

Fergus Ferguson will endure a variety of trials that force him to make unusual friends and journey through dangerous places in this full-tilt heist adventure.

Buy it here

Descendant of the Crane by Joan He

Release date: April 2
Publisher: Whitman, Albert & Company
Pages: 416 (hardcover)

Joan He makes her debut with a fantasy rich in world-building, inspired by her upbringing as a Chinese American.

Princess Hesina of Yan is the reluctant heir to her father’s throne, always wishing for a more ordinary future. When her father dies, she finds herself the ruler of a kingdom in disrepair. And she suspects that her father was murdered by someone close.

The imperial court has no shortage of power-hungry advisers, some of whom want Queen Hesina to use her father’s alleged murder as the spark that starts a war with the kingdom of Kendi’a. Rather than bend to their will, Hesina seeks the aid of a soothsayer to find answers regarding her father’s death—even though magic has been illegal for centuries and she risks her life by doing so.

This inexperienced and reluctant queen must choose who to trust as she struggles to maintain control and avenge her father’s death.

Buy it here

The Devouring Gray (The Devouring Gray #1) by Christine Lynn Herman

Release date: April 2
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Pages: 368 (hardcover)

Christine Lynn Herman explores family mythologies in a story of a small town that may appeal to fans of Stranger Things.

After her sister dies, Violet Saunders and her mother travel to Four Paths, New York, where Violet learns that her family’s history is not what she thought. The Saunders are one of the legendary founding families of Four Paths.

Justin Hawthorn should be able to protect the town from the dimension known as the Gray, but unlike the rest of his family, he is without powers. Unable to do his duty as a Hawthorn, Justin struggles with his identity and his deficiency that shames his family. He has made some enemies along the way, like Harper Carlisle, who was trapped in the Gray for days as a result of Justin’s inability.

With more and more falling victim to the Gray and its terrible monster, tensions are building as family histories and struggles for power threaten to send the town into the hands of the Gray.

Buy it here

Holy Sister (Book of the Ancestor #3) by Mark Lawrence

Release date: April 9
Publisher: Ace
Pages: 368 (hardcover)

The final chapter in Book of the Ancestor examines the woman Nona Gray has become since her training began.

Nona is close to becoming a full-fledged sister and donning her nun’s habit. But besides the usual obstacles between a trainee and the habit, Nona’s chances are also lessened by the threat of the Scithrowls’ siege upon the struggling empire and the narrowing Corridor.

She is a warrior, but she can’t stop a war alone. As a final fight approaches, Nona must choose whether to claim a power that threatens to destroy her—it may be the only hope of protecting those she cares about.

Lawrence is sure to deliver in this conclusion to his bestselling trilogy.

Buy it here

The Last by Hanna Jameson

Release date: April 9
Publisher: Atria Books
Pages: 352 (hardcover)

Jameson introduces a familiar world in the middle of nuclear war in this psychological thriller.

Joe and twenty other survivors are holding out in the Swiss L’Hotel Sixieme while the rest of the world burns.

He never responded to the last text message from his wife, which haunts him daily while he works on a response. Then he received several notifications informing him of various major cities struck by nuclear blasts.

Months later, Joe and the other survivors find themselves disturbed by an eerie hotel that pushes several to suicide. When the body of a young girl is discovered, the uneasiness grows.

Joe takes on the mystery of the girl as a way to cope in a devastated world. Leaving the hotel could mean starvation and death, but staying may be worse.

Buy it here

Seven Blades in Black (The Grave of Empires #1) by Sam Sykes

Release date: April 9
Publisher: Orbit
Pages: 704 (paperback)

Sam Sykes begins a new epic fantasy that looks at a lost magician in a world at war.

Sal the Cacophany is without her magic and without friends. But she still holds the weapon that she used to mold her life. The only thing she can trust is her instinct.

Revenge is her goal, and she seeks in in the Scar—the land between empires where forgotten mages vanish. There are seven people that Sal and her weapon owe a visit to.

Buy it here

A Time of Blood (Of Blood & Bone #2) by John Gwynne

Release date: April 16
Publisher: Orbit
Pages: 672 (paperback)

John Gwynne, winner of the David Gemmell Morningstar Award, continues his Of Blood & Bone series with a grand and action-packed sequel.

After the battle of Starstone Lake, Drem and his allies witnessed the return of a demon and must spread the word—before they are hunted down.

Meanwhile, Riv is still wrapping her head around her newly discovered heritage. Her existence could disrupt—and possibly destroy—the warrior angels.

Fritha, the high priestess of demons, is launching a war against the weakened warrior angels that may be more than they can handle. But Drem steps up to the challenge to fight for the place he has called home.

Buy it here

Winds of Marque (Winds of Marque #1) by Bennett R. Coles

Release date: April 16
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Pages: 368 (paperback)

Described by the publisher as “Master and Commander in space,” The Winds of Marque is a space epic with a healthy dose of pirate.

Solar winds guide the starfaring vessels—the variety that uses massive masts and sails to propel themselves through the cosmos. The HMSS Daring is hunting down ships involved in illegal trading, hoping to track down the pirates’ hideout.

Liam Blackwood and Amelia Virtue, the second-in-command and quartermaster of the Daring, respectively, are doubting the decisions of their captain. The crew is losing trust, and murmurs of mutiny are growing louder. Meanwhile, Liam and Amelia are struggling to understand their feelings for each other.

Coles is committing fully to the space-pirate theme of his world, and it sounds like it’s going to be a blast.

Buy it here

See Also: Best Pirate Games

Aru Shah and the Song of Death (Pandava Quartet #2) by Roshani Chokshi

Release date: April 30
Publisher: Rick Riordan Presents
Pages: 304 (hardcover)

The latest book under the Rick Riordan Presents imprint is Roshani Chokshi’s follow-up to her popular Aru Shah and the End of Time.

Aru Shah’s life changed forever when she was thrust into a realm of Hindu legends straight out of the Mahabharata. Now, she sets off on a quest to find the god of love’s iconic bow and arrow—the thief is using them to create an army of fighting zombies, and astonishingly, Aru is the primary suspect. With limited time to find the true thief, Aru risks being expelled from the Overworld and losing her newfound friends. But working by her side are her friends Brynne and Aiden, who will help her conquer demons, travel through dangerous realms, and get to the bottom of the mystery.

Rick Riordan’s new imprint seeks to highlight authors from underrepresented minorities and give them a chance to tell stories from their cultures and religions. While Roshani Chokshi’s Pandava books aren’t set in the same world as Riordan’s Percy Jackson series, they offer a similar style of adventure in a myth-meets-reality setting.

Buy it here


March 2019

Infinite Detail by Tim Maughan

Release date: March 5
Publisher: MCD x FSG Originals
Pages: 384 (paperback)

The Croft is entirely isolated from the rest of the world and its entrenchment in technology and connectedness. Located at the heart of Bristol, it’s the one place where people can truly escape technology, and as a result, it’s a creative paradise that defies the ways rest of the world.

After a cyber attack of unprecedented size, the Internet is completely destroyed, leading to a global calamity affecting societies on a massive scale. With everyday life a thing of the past, the world has become dangerous, and many people find themselves separated from those they had been close to.

Mary is a denizen of the Croft who receives visions of the dead—a skill that makes her the center of attention both good and bad. Many believe she is capitalizing on the grief of others amid a catastrophe, while others turn to her for answers and comfort.

Infinite Detail sounds like an interesting look at an almost-apocalypse that is far from impossible.

Buy it here

Ancestral Night (White Space #1) by Elizabeth Bear

Release date: March 5
Publisher: Saga Press
Pages: 512 (hardcover)

Elizabeth Bear is launching an ambitious and idea-packed space opera with Ancestral Night.

Salvage operators Halmey Dz and her partner Connla Kurucz live meager lives in the hopes of landing a big score. While searching for debris from ancient human and alien ships in scars left from failed White Transitions, they discover something about an alien race thought long gone. This revelation could launch the fragile peace of humanity into a deadly war.

Buy it here

Prism Cloud (The Harbinger Series #4) by Jeff Wheeler

Release date: March 5
Publisher: 47North
Pages: ?

The penultimate Harbinger novel explores a friendship tested to its limits in a fragile kingdom on the brink of war.

With the emperor killed, Sera Fitzempress is positioned to take the throne. The last step to the crown is her marriage to the prince. Were she in control, she might be the only one capable of preventing a war between Kingfountain and Muirwood.

However, Cettie has discovered something that not only redefines her life but also threatens to unravel the kingdom and send it to war. She is forced to give up her life and her love to prevent her best friend from marrying the prince and destroying the kingdom.

Tensions are high in this tale of a kingdom on the edge of destruction. And Sera and Cettie’s friendship may be the only thing preventing mass devastation.

Buy it here

The Bird King G. Willow Wilson

Release date: March 12
Publisher: Grove Press
Pages: 440 (Hardcover)

Set in Muslim Spain during the times of the Spanish Inquisition, The Bird King examines a period of religious strife through the eyes of two friends.

Fatima is a concubine in Granada’s royal court whose best friend, Hassan, has a unique ability. He can create maps of places he has never been to and can alter reality itself.

After servants of the Spanish Monarchy visit the palace to determine the terms of the surrender of Granada, Hassan’s powers are viewed as sorcery by the representatives of the Monarchy. Fatima and Hassan must escape, and with the help of a jinn, they begin their journey across Spain to seek freedom.

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The Witch’s Kind by Louisa Morgan


Release date: March 19
Publisher: Redhook
Pages: 448 (hardcover)

Barrie Anne Blythe lives with her aunt Charlotte on the edges of a small coastal town. They have sequestered themselves for years to conceal a family secret—they hold strange powers that would not be accepted by others.

When a baby with similar abilities is abandoned at their home and Barrie Anne Blythe’s long-missing husband returns, things begin to change rapidly for two women trying to avoid the prying eyes of the rest of the world.

Louisa Morgan, known for A Secret History of Witches, promises to examine family secrets and mysterious magic in this intriguing post-World-War-II story.

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Zero Bomb  by M.T. Hill

Release date: March 19
Publisher: Titan Books
Pages: 304 (paperback)

From the publisher:

The near future. Following the death of his daughter Martha, Remi flees the north of England for London. Here he tries to rebuild his life as a cycle courier, delivering subversive documents under the nose of an all-seeing state.

But when a driverless car attempts to run him over, Remi soon discovers that his old life will not let him move on so easily. Someone is leaving coded messages for Remi across the city, and they seem to suggest that Martha is not dead at all.

Unsure what to believe, and increasingly unable to trust his memory, Remi is slowly drawn into the web of a dangerous radical whose ’70s sci-fi novel is now a manifesto for direct action against automation, technology, and England itself.

The deal? Remi can see Martha again – if he joins the cause.

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The Light Brigade by Kameron Hurley

Release date: March 19
Publisher: Saga Press
Pages: 368 (hardcover)

In a war against Mars, soldiers are transformed into light to be quickly transported between various interplanetary theaters of war. This changes these soldiers—known as the Light Brigade—in strange ways.

Dietz is a new recruit who has been experiencing bad combat drops that separate him from the rest of the platoon. The things he sees do not align with what he’s been told about the war, and things quickly become muddled.

To make matters worse, Dietz can’t be sure whether what he’s seeing is real or the result of combat-induced madness.

The Light Brigade promises to be a mind-warping examination of war and its consequences on its soldiers and those it impacts.

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Permafrost by Alastair Reynolds

Release date: March 19
Pages: 176 (paperback)

Sci-fi legend Alastair Reynolds takes on time travel and extreme climates in Permafrost, a race to save humanity through a bold experiment.

In 2080, several scientists and engineers make the tough decision of attempting to tweak the past to prevent disaster. They hope to stop the current catastrophe without significantly rewriting history, but to do so, they need the help of a schoolteacher whose mother was a leading professional on paradoxes.

In 2028, a woman begins hearing things after a basic brain surgery. The voice has its own intentions, and it wants her to listen. Obeying would upend her life, but resisting would not be easy.

There’s a lot going on in the premise of this sci-fi thriller, and its brevity puts it at an unusual sweet spot for an author known for both his short stories and his novels.

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Unfettered III, edited by Shawn Speakman

Release date: March 19
Publisher: Grim Oak
Pages: 480 (hardcover)

If there’s one anthology you pick up in 2019, Unfettered III is a pretty safe bet.

From the publisher:

Be haunted by the chilling ghost story of Megan Lindholm. Revisit the Magicians world with Lev Grossman. Return to Osten Ard in an epic first look at Tad Williams’s Empire of Grass. Share a heartfelt story of loss and gain with Callie Bates. Cross the sands of the desert planet Dune with Brian Herbert and Kevin J. Anderson. Travel the Ways in a new Wheel of Time novella with Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson. Enter the amazing potter city of Seven with Naomi Novik. And many more stories, all wondrous alongside beautiful art by Todd Lockwood!

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Tiamat’s Wrath (The Expanse #8) by James S. A. Corey

Release date: March 26
Publisher: Orbit
Pages: 608 (hardcover)

Whether you’re a fan of the books or the recently-revived Amazon series, the latest installment of The Expanse is not one to miss.

There are thirteen hundred new gates in various solar systems, and most of them lead to ancient alien ruins. Elvi Okoye is on a quest to discover what genocide occurred long before humanity’s existence and to discover weapons to fight in a massive war.

Meanwhile, Teresa Duarte must quell her father’s efforts as the emperor. Her primary threats in the palace include the prisoner James Holden and the sociopath and scientist Paolo Cortázar.

There are massive forces at work, and the mysterious nightmares between solar systems may be more than humanity can handle.

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Sky Without Stars (System Divine #1) by Jessica Brody and Joanne Rendell

Release date: March 26
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 592 (paperback)

Brody and Rendell offer a retelling of Les Misérables unlike any you’ve ever seen.

In this rendition, the French planet Laterre, once a haven where families could look forward to generations of prosperity, has become a place divided by its two classes. The wealthy control every aspect of society while the rest of the citizens of LaTerre struggle to survive.

The heroes stand at the center of an incoming revolution.

The street-smart thief, Chatine, sets out to spy on the grandson of Laterre’s most powerful individual.

The military officer, Marcellus, aims to take over the military. But a strange message hidden behind a code gives him reason to doubt the government he serves.

The guardian of the last library, Alouette, visits the planet’s surface for the first time after a strange murder.

This imaginative and ambitious reimagining promises to introduce a French Revolution like we’ve never seen it before.

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February 2019

Station Zero (Railhead #3) by Philip Reeve

Release date: February 1, 2019
Publisher: Capstone Editions
Pages: 320 (hardcover)

Reeve concludes the fast-paced Railhead trilogy with Station Zero, which sends a retired Zen Starling on one more adventure.

Nova, a humanoid AI, was Zen’s closest friend in the universe. Now, she is on a distant planet, unreachable for Zen, whose new mellow lifestyle has become deeply unfulfilling. When Zen receives a strange message, he once again embarks on the mysterious rails that connect the celestial bodies of the galaxy to find whatever awaits.

The ending of Black Light Express left us with plenty of questions, and knowing Reeve, we will find just the right amount of answers in this adventurous finale.

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Smoke & Summons (Numina #1) by Charlie N. Holmberg

Release date: February 1, 2019
Publisher: 47North
Pages: 319 (hardcover)

Holmberg, author of the Paper Magician series, brings us something fresh and inventive in the first book in her Numina series.

Sandis is the host of an ancient being who can turn her into a monster at any time. When this happens, she has no control and must do his bidding. She isn’t the only vessel, but she is capable of hosting spirits far more dangerous than any other vessels, a quality that puts her in extreme danger.

She befriends a thief named Rone, who has a device which makes him invincible for one minute at a time. To escape her master, Sandis runs away from the corrupt city she called home.

With Rone and his device, she may be able to outwit her master, but he sends everything he has to track her down and bring her back under his control.

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Black Leopard, Red Wolf (The Dark Star Trilogy #1) by Marlon James

Release date: February 5, 2019
Publisher: Riverhead Books
Pages: 640 pages (hardcover)

Marlon James, who won the Man Booker prize for A Brief History of Seven Killings in 2015, introduces a fantasy trilogy set in a jungle world inspired by African mythology.

Tracker’s name comes from his incredible talent of hunting down his prey using his preternatural sense of smell. He breaks his streak of working as a lone wolf when he joins a group in search of a boy who vanished years ago. Among them is a shapeshifter called the Leopard.

Tracker, the Leopard, and the group come up against deadly creatures as they traverse ancient civilizations in search of a mysterious child. Someone clearly does not want Tracker to find the boy, and a web of deception isn’t making anything easier.

Black Leopard, Red Wolf sounds poised to introduce a fantasy trilogy unlike anything else out there.

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Dark of the West (Glass Alliance #1) by Joanna Hathaway

Release date: February 5, 2019
Publisher: Tor Teen
Pages: 480 (hardcover)

Joanna Hathaway’s debut novel invites us to explore a World-War-I-inspired adventure of schemes, spies, and love.

Athan Dakar and Aurelia Isendare come from opposite backgrounds and opposite sides of a global conflict. Athan’s father, a prominent general, believes that the Queen of Etania assassinated his wife. He sends Athan as a spy to undermine the Queen’s power, and Athan falls in love with the daughter of the queen—Aurelia.

His feelings are returned, and Athan and Aurelia struggle to understand a war with a complicated history, all while the world is about to erupt in flames. The two young lovers must find a way to be together without betraying their families in a war that is all-reaching.

Update 2/28/19: Sadly, it looks like Hathaway’s debut novel is a bit underwhelming, with’s Liz Bourke calling it ‘readable, but like it’s characters, bland and rather unformed.’ Bummer.

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Break the Bodies, Haunt the Bones by Micah Dean Hicks

Release date: February 5
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Pages: 304 (hardcover)

In Swine Hill, ghosts are fairly common. Nearly everyone in town is haunted by one ghost or another. These ghosts are dangerous, in some cases permanently damaging or changing people.

Jane’s ghost is a young girl who consumes the secrets of those around her, telling Jane what she learns. Her brother, Henry, is forced to build bizarre contraptions by his ghost, contraptions that can be dangerous. And her mother’s ghost causes her to burn anyone who comes into contact with her.

Swine Hill has never been strong economically, but when the last factory is taken over by newcomers, both the human and the ghostly residents push back against the change. Jane knows that the town is destructive, and the only way for her and her family to survive is to escape.

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The Ingenious by Darius Hinks

Release date: February 5
Publisher: Angry Robot
Pages: 352 (paperback)

From the publisher:

Thousands of years ago, the city of Athanor was set adrift in time and space by alchemists, called the “Curious Men”. Ever since, it has accumulated cultures, citizens and species into a vast, unmappable metropolis.

Isten and her gang of half-starved political exiles live off petty crime and gangland warfare in Athanor’s seediest alleys. Though they dream of returning home to lead a glorious revolution, Isten’s downward spiral drags them into a mire of addiction and violence. Isten must find a way to save the exiles and herself if they are ever to build a better, fairer world for the people of their distant homeland.

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Polaris Rising (The Consortium Rebellion #1) by Jessie Mihalik

Release date: February 5
Publisher: Harper Voyager
Pages: 448 (Paperback)

Jessie Mihalik’s Polaris Rising promises to be space opera at its purest, launching a sci-fi trilogy of space royalty, fugitives, and adventure.

Ada is a princess on the run from an arranged marriage that would have meant the end of her freedom. She fled just before the ceremony, and she’s been evading her father’s attempts at capture for two years.

When she is finally caught, she is put in the same prison cell as the alleged murderer Marcus Loch, also known as the Devil of Fornax Zero. The Royal Consortium, the empire that rules the known universe, is preparing to kill him, shipping Loch and Ada to Earth.

After their ship comes under attack from the House of Ada’s would-be fiancee, she is forced to ally with Loch, who is as dangerous as he is charming.

Update 2/28/19: Luckily, it looks like Polaris Rising IS living up to the hype, with it holding an impressive 4.2 out of 5.0 rating on Goodreads at the time of writing this update.

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The Ruin of Kings (A Chorus of Dragons #1) by Jenn Lyons

Release date: February 5
Publisher: Tor
Pages: 560 (Hardcover)

The first book in Lyons’ A Chorus of Dragons series launches an epic fantasy tale of the likes of The Name of the Wind and A Song of Ice and Fire.

Kihrin is a man broken and imprisoned, with nothing to do to pass the time but tell his tale to his keeper.

A rough childhood as a thief in the slums of Quur has given Kihrin a unique set of skills—skills that become useful when he is recognized as missing prince of a major house of Quur and is imprisoned in a palace full of scheming nobles.

When Kihrin learns that the stone around his neck is a powerful device that will protect the wearer, he begins to understand his place in the plans of other far more powerful players in a game that is bigger than he can imagine.

The Ruin of Kings is one to watch and is shaping up to be one of the biggest releases of 2019.

Update 2/28/19: We really tried to get into The Ruin of Kings, as it was one of the most promising new fantasy books of 2019. Unfortunately, we found it to be quite convoluted and, therefore, tough to get through.

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The Test by Sylvain Neuvel

Release date: February 11
Pages: 112 (paperback)

Neuvel, known for The Themis Files, returns with a near-future dystopian Britain.

To gain British citizenship, individuals must pass the 25-question citizenship exam. When Idir takes the test, something unexpected happens—he is handed power over the lives of others.

We don’t know much more than this Black-Mirror-esque premise, but Neuvel is bound to impress as always.

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Chronin Vol. 1: The Knife at Your Back by Alison Wilgus

Release date: February 19
Publisher: Tor Books
Pages: 304 (paperback)

The first novel in this sci-fi graphic novel duology features a time-traveling samurai—naturally, a Samurai Jack comparison is unavoidable, so here it is: Chronin is a backward Samurai Jack in which the samurai has been sent from the near future of 2042 to 1864.

More specifically, Mirai Yoshida was a college student working on a project in New York City that sent her to Japan in 1864. With her time machine missing, she does the most reasonable thing and disguises herself as a samurai.

Her journey back to the present is made more difficult by her knowledge that the shogunate is about to collapse, forcing her to take on a new way of life to protect herself and her newfound friends.  

Alison Wilgus’s graphic novel debut sounds like an unusual take on time travel that will explore shogunate Japan from a different perspective.

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Kellanved’s Reach (Path to Ascendancy #3) by Ian C. Esslemont

Release date: February 19 Moved to April 2019
Publisher: Tor
Pages: 352 (hardcover)

This entry into the Malazan world, co-created by Stephen Eriksen and Ian C. Esslemont, wraps up Esslemont’s Path to Ascendancy trilogy, which serves as a prequel to the Malazan Empire series.

The cities of Quon Tali are at war, while a mage of Dal Hon is quietly conquering the southern seas.

Meanwhile, Kellanved and his friend Dancer are traveling a perilous world in search of the legendary Army of Dust and Bone.

This entry into the Malazan canon is bound to please fans of this massive universe and its beloved gods and mages.

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The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried by Shaun David Hutchinson

Release date: February 19
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 304 (hardcover)

Described by the publisher as “Six Feet Under meets Pushing Daisies,” Hutchinson mixes reality with the supernatural this strange tale of friendship.

Dino has always been surrounded by death, thanks to his parent’s funeral home. But when Dino’s former best friend July dies and is returned to something sort of like life, he begins to look at death in a new way.

July and Dino try to understand July’s strange return, all while putting together the puzzle of their ended friendship.

This quirky story of death and friendship promises to be fun, charming, and fairly morbid.

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The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie

Release date: February 26, 2019
Publisher: Orbit
Pages: 432 (hardcover)

Hugo winner Ann Leckie makes her fantasy debut with The Raven Tower, a tale of men and meddling gods.

Raven has looked after the land of Iraden for hundreds of years. The Raven’s Lease is the human sacrifice and leader chosen by the god himself to look after the land and provide blood to the god.

When the throne is taken over by another, the Raven grows frail and invaders vie to break down the borders of Iraden.

Eolo is a warrior who serves the original Raven’s Lease and aims to help him return to power. When Eolo investigates the Raven’s Tower, he uncovers secrets that threaten to permanently destroy Iraden.

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Peter McPherson
Peter is a writer, reader, and board gamer from Upstate New York. Board game design consumes most of his time and brain, and he enjoys making his friends and family test his latest prototypes. He and his girlfriend run a book review blog at, and he can be found on Twitter @PeterLMcPherson.

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