(Some Of) My Most Anticipated Reads of 2020!

Posted 2nd January 2020 by Siavahda in Lists / 2 Comments

SO MANY INCREDIBLE BOOKS COMING OUT THIS YEAR! This isn’t even half the ones I know about, and I’m sure there’ll be plenty of incredible reads I haven’t seen coming yet.

So this list doesn’t get completely out of control, I’ve restricted myself to books that have been given covers and release dates.

January 14th – Dark and Deepest Red by Anna-Marie McLemore

I mean, it’s McLemore. I really don’t need to know anything more than that; at this point, I would read their grocery list. But I’m extra excited because McLemore’s been saying how they’re especially proud of this one and like??? Every new book they write ends up being my favourite of their works and you just know the pattern is going to hold true. AND IT’S COMING SO SOON AHHHH!

Summer, 1518. A strange sickness sweeps through Strasbourg: women dance in the streets, some until they fall down dead. As rumors of witchcraft spread, suspicion turns toward Lavinia and her family, and Lavinia may have to do the unimaginable to save herself and everyone she loves.

Five centuries later, a pair of red shoes seal to Rosella Oliva’s feet, making her dance uncontrollably. They draw her toward a boy who knows the dancing fever’s history better than anyone: Emil, whose family was blamed for the fever five hundred years ago. But there’s more to what happened in 1518 than even Emil knows, and discovering the truth may decide whether Rosella survives the red shoes.

With McLemore’s signature lush prose, Dark and Deepest Red pairs the forbidding magic of a fairy tale with a modern story of passion and betrayal.

February 4th – Euphoria Kids by Alison Evans

I stumbled across a mention of this one on twitter and I am so glad I did!!! All the Francesca Lia Block vibes except extra queer and extra magic, which is basically the recipe for a VERY HAPPY SIA INDEED! The only thing I’m anxious about is that it’s being published in Australia and there’s no ebook preorder links yet (that I can find). I’ll read it in paperback if I have to, though!

Ever since the witch cursed Babs, she turns invisible sometimes. She has her mum and her dog, but teachers and classmates barely notice her. Then, one day, Iris can see her. And Iris likes what they see. Babs is made of fire.

Iris grew from a seed in the ground. They have friends, but not human ones. Not until they meet Babs. The two of them have a lot in common: they speak to dryads and faeries, and they’re connected to the magic that’s all around them.

There’s a new boy at school, a boy who’s like them and who hasn’t found his real name. Soon the three of them are hanging out and trying spellwork together. Magic can be dangerous, though. Witches and fae can be cruel. Something is happening in the other realm, and despite being warned to stay away, the three friends have to figure out how to deal with it on their own terms.

Anyone who loves the work of Francesca Lia Block and delights in Studio Ghibli films will be entranced by this gorgeous and gentle young adult novel about three queer friends who come into their power.

February 11th – The Unspoken Name by A. K. Larkwood

Orcs! Queerness! Runaway sacrifices! Epic Fantasy giving the finger to the classics, ALL THE YES! You can actually read the first few chapters for free, both on Tor.com, or you can download the sampler as an ebook on Amazon (and probably other retailers too).

What if you knew how and when you will die?

Csorwe does — she will climb the mountain, enter the Shrine of the Unspoken, and gain the most honored title: sacrifice.

But on the day of her foretold death, a powerful mage offers her a new fate. Leave with him, and live. Turn away from her destiny and her god to become a thief, a spy, an assassin—the wizard’s loyal sword. Topple an empire, and help him reclaim his seat of power.

But Csorwe will soon learn – gods remember, and if you live long enough, all debts come due.

February 24th – Behind the Sun, Above the Moon ed by Brooklyn Ray

Brooklyn Ray is the author of the incredible Port Lewis Witches series – hedonistically queer, erotic fantasy I could wax poetic about for hours. So when I heard Ray was editing an anthology of trans and non-binary SFF?! I pretty much LOST MY DAMN MIND! (And is that cover not just RIDICULOUSLY stunning???)

A Queer anthology featuring stories inspired by magic and the cosmos, a vast and beautiful place where planets, stars, comets, entire galaxies even, live without borders, specifications or binaries. Stories will span science fiction, science fantasy, contemporary, fabulism and magical realism.

● twice-spent comet—On an isolated asteroid, Fer serves out their sentence with a found family of ramshackle criminals. Life takes an exciting turn when they befriend Ophelia, a beautiful humanoid creature with a tail like a comet.

● From Dusk to Dying Sun—Jay Morrison almost believes the rumors of magic and mischief haunting the US-50. But their partner, Luis Inoa, has made a career guarding the dusty Nevada trails. According to him, the only scary things on the highway are the silences, until a group of tourists break open the sun and disappear into a fiery blaze.

● Lost/Found—When Hollis Griffin, a lonely sex worker living in Venice Beach, forms an unlikely friendship with a fallen star, she begins to face the truth about her life, her past, and what the future holds.

● Awry with Dandelions—For thirty seconds every night, a disembodied specter named Mette visits with Orin who has long since written the ghost woman off as a recurring dream. But when Mette suggests meeting in real life, Orin’s inner world turns out to be more substantial than imaginary, and xie embarks on a journey to discover the truth of Mette and their strange connection.

● The Far Touch—A long-standing coven of witches trek to their sacred space and accidentally discover life on another planet when their Solstice celebration interferes with a lone practitioner.

● Ink and Stars—Locked in a contract to steal their ex-lovers ship, Chaz Neoma comes face to face with consequences, lost partnership, and the chance at a future, after discovering they aren’t the last Weaver in the universe.

● Horologium—In the far reaches of the Horologium Supercluster, an astronaux is stranded alone on a long-distance astral ship where they’re visited by three apparitions, telling stories of ancestors who traveled space before them. Coeie must decide whether to follow the ghosts of the past, or forge their own path through the cosmos.

● Death Marked—As chief security officer in the Lunar Guard, Enzi is in charge of the security for their sister’s coming of age ceremony. A fragile relationship with their family doesn’t make keeping Ulsa safe any easier, and neither does a group of pesky drones or a hidden plot to overthrow their sister’s place in the family.

● Weave the Dark, Weave the Light—On a crisp night, Ari, a supposed elemental witch, meets Jonathan Aster, a powerful being they desperately want to understand. As they explore an intense, intimate and passionate relationship, Ari unearths long-hidden mysteries about themself and their magic.

March 3rd – Docile by K. M. Sparza

I had the absolute DELIGHT of seeing Szpara at the 2019 Worldcon in Dublin, and he was an absolute joy. Docile was already on my preorder list, but between listening to Szpara at a panel on non-human erotica and his incredible short story Small Changes Over Long Periods of Time (which is about a trans man getting turned into a vampire) it jumped right up my list of must-haves.

There is no consent under capitalism

Docile is a science fiction parable about love and sex, wealth and debt, abuse and power, a challenging tour de force that at turns seduces and startles.

To be a Docile is to be kept, body and soul, for the uses of the owner of your contract. To be a Docile is to forget, to disappear, to hide inside your body from the horrors of your service. To be a Docile is to sell yourself to pay your parents’ debts and buy your children’s future.

Elisha Wilder’s family has been ruined by debt, handed down to them from previous generations. His mother never recovered from the Dociline she took during her term as a Docile, so when Elisha decides to try and erase the family’s debt himself, he swears he will never take the drug that took his mother from him. Too bad his contract has been purchased by Alexander Bishop III, whose ultra-rich family is the brains (and money) behind Dociline and the entire Office of Debt Resolution. When Elisha refuses Dociline, Alex refuses to believe that his family’s crowning achievement could have any negative side effects—and is determined to turn Elisha into the perfect Docile without it.

March 10th – A Phoenix First Must Burn ed by Patrice Caldwell

Sixteen stories of Black girl magic is literally all that I need to hear, okay?

Sixteen tales by bestselling and award-winning authors that explore the Black experience through fantasy, science fiction, and magic.

Evoking Beyoncé’s Lemonade for a teen audience, these authors who are truly Octavia Butler’s heirs, have woven worlds to create a stunning narrative that centers Black women and gender nonconforming individuals. A Phoenix First Must Burn will take you on a journey from folktales retold to futuristic societies and everything in between. Filled with stories of love and betrayal, strength and resistance, this collection contains an array of complex and true-to-life characters in which you cannot help but see yourself reflected. Witches and scientists, sisters and lovers, priestesses and rebels: the heroines of A Phoenix First Must Burn shine brightly. You will never forget them.

March 10th – The Queen’s Bargain by Anne Bishop

Anne Bishop’s Black Jewels trilogy was one of my formative reads, and even though I found it had lost some of its lustre for me when I reread the series a little while ago, it’ll always have a special place in my heart. So I’m still ridiculously excited to be returning to this world after so many years!

POWER HAS A PRICE. SO DOES LOVE.

Return to the dark, sensual, and powerful world of the Black Jewels in this long-awaited new story in the New York Times bestselling fantasy saga

After a youthful mistake, Lord Dillon’s reputation is in tatters,
leaving him vulnerable to aristo girls looking for a bit of fun. To
restore his reputation and honor, he needs a handfast—a one-year contract of marriage. He sets his sights on Jillian, a young Eyrien witch from Ebon Rih, who he believes has only a flimsy connection to the noble society that spurned him. Unfortunately for Dillon, he is unaware of Jillian’s true connections until he finds himself facing Lucivar Yaslana, the volatile Warlord Prince of Ebon Rih.

Meanwhile, Surreal SaDiablo’s marriage is crumbling. Daemon Sadi, the Warlord Prince of Dhemlan, recognizes there is something wrong between him and Surreal, but he doesn’t realize that his attempt to suppress his own nature in order to spare his wife is causing his mind to splinter. To save Daemon, and the Realm of Kaeleer if he breaks, help must be sought from someone who no longer exists in any of the Realms—the only
Queen powerful enough to control Daemon Sadi. The Queen known as Witch.

As Jillian rides the winds of first love with Dillon, Daemon and Surreal struggle to survive the wounds of a marriage turned stormy—and Lucivar has to find a way to keep everyone in his family safe…even from each other.

March 17th – The Seared Lands by Deborah A. Wolf

I’m still anxious about whether this is the last book in this series or not – I’ve found conflicting info online – but I love this series so much, and I can barely breathe thinking about what’s coming in this next installment. I JUST WISH SOMEONE WOULD TELL ME IF I SHOULD BE BRACING MYSELF FOR THIS BEING THE FINAL BOOK.

Sulema—daughter of the Dragon King—escapes imprisonment by the power-hungry Pythos. She agrees to cross into the Seared Lands of Quarabala, where the slightest touch of the sun yields death. There she must rescue a young queen who holds the key to Pythos’s defeat. But Sulema is captured and put into the arena, forced to fight to the death against her childhood friend Hannei, now a brutal killer.

Across the world, forces enter into war. An inhuman horde swarms the settlements in the Seared Lands, forcing the human inhabitants to flee. The half-breed Jian leads a twilight army against the Sindanese emperor, while the lich king Kal ne Mur raises an army of the undead. Yet amid these massive conflicts, one threat will render them inconsequential.

Sajani stirs. Unless Sulema can bring down Pythos, the Earth Dragon will wake and the world will be shattered. To do so, however, Sulema must face her greatest foe—the Nightmare Man.

April 14th – Elysium Girls by Kate Pentecost

I know everyone’s raving about Ashlords and you can be DAMN CERTAIN that I’ll be reading that as well, but I need more people to be talking about THIS book of magical horses, too! I’ve been looking forward to this one for years.

In this sweeping Dust Bowl-inspired fantasy, a ten-year game between Life and Death pits the walled Oklahoma city of Elysium-including a girl gang of witches and a demon who longs for humanity-against the supernatural in order to judge mankind.

When Sal is named Successor to Mother Morevna, a powerful witch and leader of Elysium, she jumps at the chance to prove herself to the town. Ever since she was a kid, Sal has been plagued by false visions of rain, and though people think she’s a liar, she knows she’s a leader. Even the arrival of enigmatic outsider Asa-a human-obsessed demon in disguise-doesn’t shake her confidence in her ability. Until a terrible mistake results in both Sal and Asa’s exile into the Desert of Dust and Steel.

Face-to-face with a brutal, unforgiving landscape, Sal and Asa join a gang of girls headed by another Elysium exile-and young witch herself-Olivia Rosales. In order to atone for their mistake, they create a cavalry of magic powered, scrap metal horses to save Elysium from the coming apocalypse. But Sal, Asa, and Olivia must do more than simply tip the scales in Elysium’s favor-only by reinventing the rules can they beat the Life and Death at their own game.

May 5th – Lobizona by Romina Garber

Hi yes, immigration and race and werewolves? Latin American mythology??? GIMME.

Some people ARE illegal.

Lobizonas do NOT exist.

Both of these statements are false.

Manuela Azul has been crammed into an existence that feels too small for her. As an undocumented immigrant who’s on the run from her father’s Argentine crime-family, Manu is confined to a small apartment and a small life in Miami, Florida.

Until Manu’s protective bubble is shattered.

Her surrogate grandmother is attacked, lifelong lies are exposed, and her mother is arrested by ICE. Without a home, without answers, and finally without shackles, Manu investigates the only clue she has about her past–a mysterious “Z” emblem—which leads her to a secret world buried within our own. A world connected to her dead father and his criminal past. A world straight out of Argentine folklore, where the seventh consecutive daughter is born a bruja and the seventh consecutive son is a lobizón, a werewolf. A world where her unusual eyes allow her to belong.

As Manu uncovers her own story and traces her real heritage all the way back to a cursed city in Argentina, she learns it’s not just her U.S. residency that’s illegal. . . .it’s her entire existence.

May 19th – The Worst of All Possible Worlds by Alex White

The final book in the AMAZING science fantasy Salvagers trilogy, where magic exists alongside spaceships and a celebrity racing car driver gets roped into trying to save the universe, this book’s release date has been pushed back a couple of times, but I know it’s going to be so worth the wait! Besides, this gives me time to reread the first two books before the finale!

The greatest dangers hide the brightest treasures in this bold, planet-hopping science fiction adventure series.

The crew of the legendary Capricious may have gone legitimate, but they’re still on the run.

With devastatingly powerful enemies in pursuit and family and friends under attack planetside, Nilah and Boots struggle to piece together rumors of an ancient technology that could lead to victory.

Ensnared by the legend of Origin, humanity’s birthplace, and a long-dead form of magic, the Capricious takes off on a journey to find the first colony ship…and magic that could bring down gods.

June 1st – The Dark Tide by Alicia Jasinska

Look. Look. I’ve been shrieking about this one since it was just a placeholder entry on Goodreads, and now it’s actually going to be released in a few months!!! I’ve literally been checking every day for an ebook preorder link.

A fast-paced, well-plotted fantasy retelling of an ancient Scottish fairy tale ballad, this exciting debut will appeal to fans of Stephanie Garber’s CARAVAL, Shea Ernshaw’s THE WICKED DEEP, and Kendare Blake’s THREE DARK CROWNS.

Every year on Walpurgis Night, Caldella’s Witch Queen lures a young boy back to her palace. An innocent life to be sacrificed on the full moon to keep the island city from sinking.

Convinced her handsome brother is going to be taken, sixteen-year-old Lina Kirk enlists the help of the mysterious Tomas Lin, her secret crush, and the only boy to ever escape from the palace. Working together they protect her brother, but draw the Queen’s attention. When the Queen spirits Tomas away instead, Lina blames herself and determines to go after him.

Caught breaking into the palace, the Queen offers Lina a deal: she will let Tomas go, if, of course, Lina agrees to take his place. Lina accepts, with a month before the full moon, surely she can find some way to escape. But the Queen is nothing like she envisioned, and Lina is not at all what the Queen expected. Against their will, they find themselves falling for each other. As water floods Caldella’s streets and the dark tide demands its sacrifice, they must choose who to save: themselves, each other, or the island city relying on them both.

June 9th – Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

Hi yes I’d like eighteen copies yesterday??? Please and thank you.

Yadriel has summoned a ghost, and now he can’t get rid of him.

When his traditional Latinx family has problems accepting his gender, Yadriel becomes determined to prove himself a real brujo. With the help of his cousin and best friend Maritza, he performs the ritual himself, and then sets out to find the ghost of his murdered cousin and set it free.

However, the ghost he summons is actually Julian Diaz, the school’s resident bad boy, and Julian is not about to go quietly into death. He’s determined to find out what happened and tie up some loose ends before he leaves. Left with no choice, Yadriel agrees to help Julian, so that they can both get what they want. But the longer Yadriel spends with Julian, the less he wants to let him leave.

July 28th – The Faithless Hawk by Margaret Owen

Book one in this series, The Merciful Crow, was one of my favourite releases of 2019 and one of my favourite releases for the last decade. So it goes without saying that I cannot freaking wait to get my hands on the sequel!

Kings become outcasts and lovers become foes in the thrilling sequel to Margaret Owen’s The Merciful Crow.

As the new chieftain of the Crows, Fie knows better than to expect a royal to keep his word. Still she’s hopeful that Prince Jasimir will fulfill his oath to protect her fellow Crows. But then black smoke fills the sky, signaling the death of King Surimir and the beginning of Queen Rhusana’s merciless bid for the throne.

With the witch queen using the deadly plague to unite the nation of Sabor against Crows—and add numbers to her monstrous army—Fie and her band are forced to go into hiding, leaving the country to be ravaged by the plague. However, they’re all running out of time before the Crows starve in exile and Sabor is lost forever.

A desperate Fie calls on old allies to help take Rhusana down from within her own walls. But inside the royal palace, the only difference between a conqueror and a thief is an army. To survive, Fie must unravel not only Rhusana’s plot, but ancient secrets of the Crows—secrets that could save her people, or set the world ablaze.

August 11th – Star Daughter by Shveta Thakrar

I definitely have a Thing for stars – they are intrinsically magical to me, and a fundamental part of humanity’s concept of wonder and awe – so I was all over this one even before they released that jaw-droppingly beautiful cover. I mean – look at it! Just look!

The daughter of a star and a mortal, Sheetal is used to keeping secrets. But when a flare of starfire injures her human father, Sheetal needs a full star’s help to heal him. A star like her mother, who returned to the sky long ago.

Sheetal’s quest will take her to a celestial court of shining wonders and dark shadows, where she must act as her family’s champion in a competition to decide the next ruling house of the heavens—or risk never returning to Earth at all.

Neil Gaiman’s Stardust meets a rich landscape of Hindu mythology and celestial intrigue in this sparkling YA fantasy debut.

September 1st – The Four Profound Weaves by R. B. Lemberg

I don’t recall how exactly I discovered this one, but I’m so thankful that I did because it sounds incredible. This is set in the author’s already-existing Birdverse – comprised of various short stories that can be found around the internet and on Lemberg’s Patreon – but it can be read alone too.

Wind: To match one’s body with one’s heart
Sand: To take the bearer where they wish
Song: In praise of the goddess Bird
Bone: To move unheard in the night

The Surun’ do not speak of the master weaver, Benesret, who creates the cloth of bone for assassins in the Great Burri Desert. But Uiziya now seeks her aunt Benesret in order to learn the final weave, although the price for knowledge may be far too dear to pay.

Among the Khana, women travel in caravans to trade, while men remain in the inner quarter as scholars. A nameless man struggles to embody Khana masculinity, after many years of performing the life of a woman, trader, wife, and grandmother.

As the past catches up to the nameless man, he must choose between the life he dreamed of and Uiziya, and Uiziya must discover how to challenge a tyrant, and weave from deaths that matter.

Set in R. B. Lemberg’s beloved Birdverse, The Four Profound Weaves hearkens to Ursula Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness. In this breathtaking debut, Lemberg offers a timeless chronicle of claiming one’s identity in a hostile world.

I’d better stop there before I drown everyone in pretty covers! What about you guys? Which books are you most looking forward to this year?

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