There’s so much to look forward to in our speculative fiction future. Here are some of the fantasy books we’re most excited about and/or are currently consuming…
Top New Fantasy Books in March 2020
The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin
Publisher: Hachette Book Group
Release Date: 3/24
Den of Geek Says: N.K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth trilogy slammed into the books world like an earthquake with its lush, brutal prose and finely-drawn characters. Her next book, based on one of her short stories, begins a trilogy that is sure to feature thoroughly researched and thoroughly imaginative world-building in an eldritch fantasy New York City.
Publisher’s Summary: Every great city has a soul. Some are as ancient as myths, and others are as new and destructive as children. New York City? She’s got six.
But every city also has a dark side. A roiling, ancient evil stirs in the halls of power, threatening to destroy the city and her six newborn avatars unless they can come together and stop it once and for all.
Beneath the Rising by Premee Mohamed
Release date: March 3
Den of Geek says: Premee Mohamed’s funny, goopy writing has been on our radar since her time travel camping trip-gone-wrong story “More Tomorrow.” Her short stories continue to dazzle with creative, sometimes frightening, science fiction and fantasy. One of the most recent, “The Redoubtables,” creates a palpable atmosphere of paranoia and threat. Her first traditionally published novel, “Beneath the Rising,” promises more monsters and heart.
Publisher’s Summary: All the Birds in the Sky meets Lovecraft Country in this whimsical coming-of-age story about two kids in the middle of a war of eldritch horrors from outside spacetime…
Nick Prasad and Joanna “Johnny” Chambers have been friends since childhood. She’s rich, white, and a genius; he’s poor, brown, and secretly in love with her.
But when Johnny invents a clean reactor that could eliminate fossil fuels and change the world, she awakens the primal, evil Ancient ones set on subjugating humanity.
From the oldest library in the world to the ruins of Nineveh, hunted at every turn, they need to trust each other completely to survive…
Buy Beneath the Rising
Sharks in the Time of Saviors by Kawai Strong Washburn
Release date: March 3
Den of Geek says: More magically-flavored literary fiction than outright fantasy, Sharks in the Time of Saviors nevertheless mixes the magical and the real in a story about family. I was drawn by praise from award-winning author Tommy Orange, and intrigued by the idea of a story soaked in legends intersecting with the real-life problems of a Hawaiian family who may or may not have encountered magic.
Publisher’s Summary: In 1995 Kailua-Kona, Hawaii, on a rare family vacation, seven-year-old Nainoa Flores falls overboard a cruise ship into the Pacific Ocean. When a shiver of sharks appears in the water, everyone fears for the worst. But instead, Noa is gingerly delivered to his mother in the jaws of a shark, marking his story as the stuff of legends.
Nainoa’s family, struggling amidst the collapse of the sugarcane industry, hails his rescue as a sign of favor from ancient Hawaiian gods–a belief that appears validated after he exhibits puzzling new abilities. But as time passes, this supposed divine favor begins to drive the family apart: Nainoa, working now as a paramedic on the streets of Portland, struggles to fathom the full measure of his expanding abilities; further north in Washington, his older brother Dean hurtles into the world of elite college athletics, obsessed with wealth and fame; while in California, risk-obsessed younger sister Kaui navigates an unforgiving academic workload in an attempt to forge her independence from the family’s legacy.
When supernatural events revisit the Flores family in Hawai’i–with tragic consequences–they are all forced to reckon with the bonds of family, the meaning of heritage, and the cost of survival.
Buy Sharks in the Time of Saviors
Top New Fantasy Books in February 2020
Upright Women Wanted by Sarah Gailey
Release date: 2/4/20
Den of Geek says: Slangy prose and a unique “weird West” conceit elevate this novel from River of Teeth author Sarah Gailey.
Publisher’s summary: In Upright Women Wanted, award-winning author Sarah Gailey reinvents the pulp Western with an explicitly antifascist, near-future story of queer identity.
“That girl’s got more wrong notions than a barn owl’s got mean looks.”
Esther is a stowaway. She’s hidden herself away in the Librarian’s book wagon in an attempt to escape the marriage her father has arranged for her—a marriage to the man who was previously engaged to her best friend. Her best friend who she was in love with. Her best friend who was just executed for possession of resistance propaganda.
The future American Southwest is full of bandits, fascists, and queer librarian spies on horseback trying to do the right thing.
Mazes of Power by Juliette Wade
Release date: 2/4/20
Den of Geek says: The claustrophobic setting looks like it will dovetail perfectly with the tension of this plot.
Publisher’s summary: This debut work of sociological science fiction follows a deadly battle for succession, where brother is pitted against brother in a singular chance to win power and influence for their family.
The cavern city of Pelismara has stood for a thousand years. The Great Families of the nobility cling to the myths of their golden age while the city’s technology wanes.
When a fever strikes, and the Eminence dies, seventeen-year-old Tagaret is pushed to represent his Family in the competition for Heir to the Throne. To win would give him the power to rescue his mother from his abusive father, and marry the girl he loves.
But the struggle for power distorts everything in this highly stratified society, and the fever is still loose among the inbred, susceptible nobles. Tagaret’s sociopathic younger brother, Nekantor, is obsessed with their family’s success. Nekantor is willing to exploit Tagaret, his mother, and her new servant Aloran to defeat their opponents.
Can he be stopped? Should he be stopped? And will they recognize themselves after the struggle has changed them?
Imaginary Numbers (InCryptid) by Seanan McGuire
Release date: 2/25/20
Den of Geek says: Seanan McGuire charms with dark, fairy tale-inspired fantasy, and the latest in her long-running InCryptid looks like it will continue to do just that.
Publisher’s Summary: The ninth book in the fast-paced InCryptid urban fantasy series returns to the mishaps of the Price family, eccentric cryptozoologists who safeguard the world of magical creatures living in secret among humans.
Sarah Zellaby has always been in an interesting position. Adopted into the Price family at a young age, she’s never been able to escape the biological reality of her origins: she’s a cuckoo, a telepathic ambush predator closer akin to a parasitic wasp than a human being. Friend, cousin, mathematician; it’s never been enough to dispel the fear that one day, nature will win out over nurture, and everything will change.
Maybe that time has finally come.
After spending the last several years recuperating in Ohio with her adoptive parents, Sarah is ready to return to the world–and most importantly, to her cousin Artie, with whom she has been head-over-heels in love since childhood. But there are cuckoos everywhere, and when the question of her own survival is weighed against the survival of her family, Sarah’s choices all add up to one inescapable conclusion.
What new speculative fiction books are on your radar? Let us know in the comments below or over at the Den of Geek Book Club!