Unmissable Fantasy & SciFi of 2024!

Posted 28th December 2023 by Sia in Book News, Lists / 8 Comments

IT’S FINALLY HERE: my annual list of the Fantasy and SciFi books I’m most looking forward to!

This isn’t meant to be an exhaustive list – these are the SFF releases I personally am excited for, not every noteworthy release scheduled for 2024; and of those, only the ones with set pub dates. And yes, the focus is very much on queer and BIPOC SFF; mostly Adult, but with some YA too. If you don’t like it, there are endless other lists for you to check out elsewhere.

I’ll be doing my best to keep this list updated throughout the year as more books are announced/I find out about them, covers are revealed, and release dates are confirmed/changed!

However, I’m trying something new this year. PreviousIy, I’ve removed books from my Unmissable lists when I ended up not liking them; this year, I will only be adding new books I discover, not removing any. You can tell which books ‘struck out’ with me by the way their listing has been struck out, but we’ll still know which books I was excited for, even if they were ultimately disappointing. That way, at the end of the year, we can see how well my reading experience matched up with my anticipated reads. I’m looking forward to that!

Lastly, I’ve done my best to be accurate, but please feel free to comment and correct me on what kind of representation a book has! And don’t hesitate to let me know of any titles you think I might want to add…

Now: the 2024 SFF releases I consider absolutely unmissable!


Mislaid in Parts Half-Known (Wayward Children #9) by Seanan McGuire
Genres: Fantasy, Portal Fantasy
Representation: secondary queer and BIPOC characters
Published on: January 9th, 2024

Dinosaurs and portals, and a girl who can find both in the latest book in the Hugo and Nebula Award-Winning series.

Antsy is the latest student to pass through the doors at Eleanor West’s School for Wayward Children.

When her fellow students realize that Antsy’s talent for finding absolutely anything may extend to doors, she’s forced to flee in the company of a small group of friends, looking for a way back to the Shop Where the Lost Things Go to be sure that Vineta and Hudson are keeping their promise.

Along the way, temptations are dangled, decisions are reinforced, and a departure to a world populated by dinosaurs brings untold dangers and one or two other surprises!

A story that reminds us that finding what you want doesn’t always mean finding what you need.

The only way to start the year off right is with a new Wayward Children book! Mislaid in Parts Half-Known sounds like it’s going to bring a few different characters and storylines from earlier books together, which is VERY EXCITING! Plus – DINOSAURS?!

Tadek and the Princess by Alexandra Rowland
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: brown cast, pansexual MC
Published on: January 12th, 2024

From the author of the critically-acclaimed fantasy novel A TASTE OF GOLD AND IRON comes a sequel/spinoff novella about loyalty and and grief:

Long before Tadek Hasira ever made it to the Gold Court to serve as one of the royal family’s elite bodyguards and servants, he was nothing more than a grubby street urchin in the poorest district of the capital city—that is, until her Highness, the Crown Princess Mihrişah, held out her hand in kindness, lifted him out of his circumstances, and gave him a future to dream of.

But that was twenty years ago, and tragedy befell the palace only a few years into Tadek’s training. Ever since, Tadek held his unwavering love and loyalty to his princess in silence. No one knows what she was to him, and he is prepared to carry that secret for the rest of his life…

Unless someone—the right person—happens to find him standing vigil at her portrait.

Praise for Book 1, A TASTE OF GOLD AND IRON:

Rowland delivers a breathtakingly intimate narrative in this gorgeous fantasy, in which the political intrigue of a kingdom serves as backdrop to a romance between the softest of hearts. . . . In exploring what monarchs owe their people, and what individuals owe each other, this achingly tender fantasy wows.”―Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“A beautifully detailed world, the power to touch-taste metal, political schemes, and a slow-burn romance wrap together in a lush fantasy. Rowland’s latest continues to showcase their captivating prose, immersive details, and complicated characters.”―Library Journal (starred review)

“The matriarchal defaults and three-gender system present in Arasti society place the novel squarely among the ranks of contemporary queer fantasy… An engaging fantasy/romance set in a large, lush, and inclusive world.”―Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

A new Alexandra Rowland book is always something to celebrate, but this is actually a prequel+sequel (in alternating chapters) to their incredible A Taste of Gold and Iron (which I adored, and put on my Best of 2022 list)!!! EXCUSE ME WHILE I SHRIEK MY DELIGHT AT THE SKY!!! It follows how Tadek became a kahya, and since it’s also a sequel, I guess we’ll be seeing how he and Kadou are getting on after the events of AToGaI!!! OMG LE YAY!!!

Emily Wilde’s Map of the Otherlands (Emily Wilde #2) by Heather Fawcett
Genres: Fantasy
Published on: January 16th, 2024

When mysterious faeries from other realms appear at her university, curmudgeonly professor Emily Wilde must uncover their secrets before it’s too late in this heartwarming, enchanting second installment of the Emily Wilde series.
Emily Wilde is a genius scholar of faerie folklore—she just wrote the world’s first comprehensive of encylopaedia of faeries. She’s learned many of the secrets of the Hidden Folk on her adventures . . . and also from her fellow scholar and former rival, Wendell Bambleby.
Because Bambleby is more than infuriatingly charming. He’s an exiled faerie king on the run from his murderous mother, and in search of a door back to his realm. So despite Emily’s feelings for Bambleby, she’s not ready to accept his proposal of Loving one of the Fair Folk comes with secrets and danger.
And she also has a new project to focus a map of the realms of faerie. While she is preparing her research, Bambleby lands her in trouble yet again, when assassins sent by Bambleby’s mother invade Cambridge. Now Bambleby and Emily are on another adventure, this time to the picturesque Austrian Alps, where Emily believes they may find the door to Bambley’s realm, and the key to freeing him from his family’s dark plans.
But with new relationships for the prickly Emily to navigate and dangerous Folk lurking in every forest and hollow, Emily must unravel the mysterious workings of faerie doors, and of her own heart.

Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries was utterly fantastic, and I know I’m far from the only one massively excited for the sequel! And look at the tiny fox-ish creatures tucked into the corners of the cover, staring out at us… I bet THEY know what’s going to happen next!

My review!

Beautyland by Marie-Helene Bertino
Genres: Science Fiction
Published on: January 16th, 2024

At the moment when Voyager 1 is launched into space carrying its famous golden record, a baby of unusual perception is born to a single mother in Philadelphia. Adina Giorno is tiny and jaundiced, but reaches for warmth and light. As a child, she recognizes that she is different; she also possesses knowledge of a faraway planet. The arrival of a fax machine enables her to contact her extraterrestrial relatives, beings who have sent her to report on the oddities of earthlings.

For years, as she moves through the world and makes a life for herself among humans, she dispatches transmissions on the terrors and surprising joys of their existence. But at a precarious moment, a beloved friend urges Adina to share her messages with the world. Is there a chance she is not alone?

A blazing novel of startling originality about the fragility and resilience of life in our universe, Marie-Helene Bertino’s Beautyland is a remarkable evocation of feeling in exile at home and introduces a gentle, unforgettable alien for our times.

Oh. Oh this is going to wreck me. ‘Caus I definitely know what it feels like growing up thinking you’re an alien. I’m just jealous that the main character here is able to communicate with her people!

The Principle of Moments (Order of Legends #1) by Esmie Jikiemi-Pearson
Genres: Science Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Queer Black MC, Black MC
Published on: January 18th, 2024

Unmissable for fans of the spacefaring found family of Becky Chambers, the alternate London of V. E. Schwab, and the virtuosic climate-craft of N. K. Jemisin.

A century-spanning space fantasy novel that will take you on a whirlwind adventure, from a Regency Era love affair between a time-traveller and the prince waiting for him in the past, to a rescue mission in the 60th century, where a girl desperately races against time as she searches for the sister the emperor stole.

6066: In Emperor Thracin’s brave new galaxy, humans are not citizens. Instead, they are indentured labourers, working to repay the debt they unwittingly incurred when they settled on Gahraan – a desert planet already owned by the emperor himself. Asha Akindele knows she’s just another voiceless cog working the assembly lines that fuel his vast imperial war machine. Her only rebellion: studying stolen aeronautics manuals in the dead of night. But then a cloaked stranger arrives to deliver an impossible message, and her life changes in an instant.

1812: Obi Amadi is done with time-travelling. Never mind the fact he doesn’t know how to cure himself of the temporal sickness he caught whilst anchoring his soul to Regency London, the one that unmakes him further with every jump. Or if the prince he loves will ever love him back. Or why his father disappeared. He is done. Until he hears about the ghost of a girl in the British Museum. A girl from another time.

When Obi’s path tangles with Asha’s and a prophecy awakens in the cold darkness of space, they must voyage through the stars, racing against time, tyranny, and the legacy of three heroes from an ancient religion who may be awakening, reincarnated in ways beyond comprehension.

I have been WILD to get my hands on The Principle of Moments since Jikiemi-Pearson won the Gollancz and Rivers of London BAME SFF Award back in 2020! It sounds so unique, like something really, genuinely special, and I’m counting down the minutes until I can pounce on it!

Exordia by Seth Dickinson
Genres: Science Fiction
Representation: Kurdish MC, Hispanic MC
Published on: January 23rd, 2024

Award-winning author Seth Dickinson explodes into a new genre with this new standalone novel, a science fiction debut.

“Anna, I came to Earth tracking a very old story, a story that goes back to the dawn of time. it’s very unlikely that you’ll die right now. It wouldn’t be narratively complete.”

Anna Sinjari—refugee, survivor of genocide, disaffected office worker—has a close encounter that reveals universe-threatening stakes. While humanity reels from disaster, she must join a small team of civilians, soldiers, and scientists to investigate a mysterious broadcast and unknowable horror. If they can manage to face their own demons, they just might save the world.

I don’t always follow authors I enjoy when they dive into different genres, but even aside from the amazing story that is the Baru Cormorant series, I majorly appreciate the sheer writing craft that has gone into those books. That’s what’s made Seth Dickinson an auto-buy author for me, so yes, I want to read his sci fi! I can’t wait to see what he does with a new genre.

My (woefully inadequate) review!

The City of Stardust by Georgia Summers
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Queer MC/major pov character
Published on: January 30th, 2024

Slip into a lush world of magic, stardust, and monsters in this spellbinding contemporary fantasy from debut author Georgia Summers.

For centuries, the Everlys have seen their best and brightest disappear, taken as punishment for a crime no one remembers, for a purpose no one understands. Their tormentor, a woman named Penelope, never ages, never grows sick – and never forgives a debt.

Violet Everly was a child when her mother left on a stormy night, determined to break the curse. When Marianne never returns, Penelope issues an ultimatum: Violet has ten years to find her mother, or she will take her place. Violet is the last of the Everly line, the last to suffer. Unless she can break the curse first.

Her hunt leads her into a seductive magical underworld of power-hungry scholars, fickle gods and monsters bent on revenge. And into the path of Penelope’s quiet assistant, Aleksander, who she knows cannot be trusted – and yet to whom she finds herself undeniably drawn.

With her time running out, Violet will travel the edges of the world to find Marianne and the key to the city of stardust, where the Everly story began.

Any fantasy described as ‘lush’ makes my ears perk up, and I have a weak spot for anything star-related – put stardust in your title, and I’m at least going to check out your blurb. This one sounds dreamy and wonderful – gods! monsters! scheming scholars!!! Yes pleeeeeeeeeeeease!

My review!


Red Side Story (Shades of Grey #2) by Jasper Fforde
Genres: Science Fiction
Published on: February 6th, 2024

Imagine a world where your position in society depended on what bit of the colour spectrum you could see. This is the world inhabited by Eddie Russett (red, middle-level) and Jane Grey (monochromatic, lowest in society). Eddie and Jane must negotiate the delicate Chromatic politics of society to find out what the ‘Something that Happened’ actually was, how society got to be this way, and crucially, is there Somewhere Else beyond their borders – and if there is, could there be Someone Else, too, someone whose unseen hand has been guiding the fortunes and misfortunes of the nation for the past 500 years?

It’s a tale of a young couple’s thirst for justice and answers in an implacably rigid society, where the prisoners are also the guards, and cages of convention bind the citizens to only one way of thinking – or suffer the consequences…

The long-awaited sequel to the incredible Shades of Grey! I can’t be the only one FOAMING AT THE MOUTH to pounce on this after the way book one ended! And if you’ve not read this series, I strongly encourage you to: it is very whimsically bonkers, and then slowly reveals itself to be very serious indeed.

Infinity Alchemist (Infinity Alchemist #1) by Kacen Callender
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: QBIPOC cast, polyamory
Published on: February 6th, 2024

Infinity Alchemist is a spellbinding novel about a quest that leads three young alchemists toward unexpected love and unimaginable power.

With their signature “prowess” (FIYAH) and “unbridled creativity” (New York Times Book Review), acclaimed author Kacen Callender turns their formidable skill to young adult fantasy for the first time.

For Ash Woods, practicing alchemy is a crime.

Only an elite few are legally permitted to study the science of magic—so when Ash is rejected by Lancaster College of Alchemic Science, he takes a job as the school’s groundskeeper instead, forced to learn alchemy in secret.

When he’s discovered by the condescending and brilliant apprentice Ramsay Thorne, Ash is sure he’s about to be arrested—but instead of calling the reds, Ramsay surprises Ash by making him an offer: Ramsay will keep Ash’s secret if he helps her find the legendary Book of Source, a sacred text that gives its reader extraordinary power.

As Ash and Ramsay work together and their feelings for each other grow, Ash discovers their mission is more dangerous than he imagined, pitting them against influential and powerful alchemists—Ash’s estranged father included. Ash’s journey takes him through the cities and wilds across New Anglia, forcing him to discover his own definition of true power and how far he and other alchemists will go to seize it.

Featuring trans, queer, and polyamorous characters of color, Infinity Alchemist is the hugely anticipated young adult fantasy debut from the extraordinary author of Felix Ever AfterKing and the DragonfliesQueen of the Conquered and more.

Queer polyamorous alchemy?! I don’t know what I did to deserve this, but someone should let me know so I can DO IT AGAIN IMMEDIATELY!

My review!

The Tainted Cup (Shadow of Leviathan #1) by Robert Jackson Bennett
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: MLM MC
Published on: February 6th, 2024

A Holmes and Watson-style detective duo take the stage in this fantasy with a mystery twist, from the Edgar-winning, multiple Hugo-nominated Robert Jackson Bennett

In Daretana’s greatest mansion, a high imperial officer lies dead—killed, to all appearances, when a tree erupted from his body. Even here at the Empire’s borders, where contagions abound and the blood of the leviathans works strange magical changes, it’s a death both terrifying and impossible.

Assigned to investigate is Ana Dolabra, a detective whose reputation for brilliance is matched only by her eccentricities. Rumor has it that she wears a blindfold at all times, and that she can solve impossible cases without even stepping outside the walls of her home.

At her side is her new assistant, Dinios Kol, magically altered in ways that make him the perfect aide to Ana’s brilliance. Din is at turns scandalized, perplexed, and utterly infuriated by his new superior—but as the case unfolds and he watches Ana’s mind leap from one startling deduction to the next, he must admit that she is, indeed, the Empire’s greatest detective.

As the two close in on a mastermind and uncover a scheme that threatens the Empire itself, Din realizes he’s barely begun to assemble the puzzle that is Ana Dolabra—and wonders how long he’ll be able to keep his own secrets safe from her piercing intellect.

By an “endlessly inventive” (Vulture) author with a “wicked sense of humor” (NPR), The Tainted Cup mixes the charms of detective fiction with brilliant world-building to deliver a fiendishly clever mystery that’s at once instantly recognizable and thrillingly new.

I’m adding Tainted Cup to the Unmissable list after having read it, so it’s not a case of hoping it’ll be excellent – I already know it is! I think this is a great place to start if you haven’t read Bennett before, and if you have, then you should know that this is probably his most unique world to date. Either way, it’s weird and massively FUN (despite elements that ought to make it feel bleak, but somehow don’t) and my gods is the cast fantastic!

My review!

The Absinthe Underground by Jamie Pacton
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: F/F
Published on: February 6th, 2024

Moulin Rouge meets Holly Black in a thrilling sapphic friends-to-lovers romantasy!

For Sybil Clarion, the Belle Époque city of Severon is a wild, romantic dream, filled with cafés, cabarets, and glittering nightclubs. Eager to embrace the city’s freedom after running away from home, she’s traded high-society soirées for empty pockets and barren cabinets. At least she has Esme, the girl who offered Sybil a home, and maybe—if either of them dared—something more.

Ever since Esme Rimbaud brought Sybil back to her flat, the girls have been everything to each other—best friends, found family, and secret crushes. While Esme would rather spend the night tinkering with her clocks and snuggling her cats, Sybil craves excitement and needs money. She plans to get both by stealing the rare posters that crop up around town and selling them to collectors. With rent due, Esme agrees to accompany—and more importantly protect —Sybil, who means more to her than even a comfortable night in.

When they’re caught selling a poster by none other than its glamorous subject, Maeve, she doesn’t press charges. Rather, she invites Sybil and Esme to The Absinthe Underground, the exclusive club she co-owns, and reveals herself to be a Green Faerie, trapped in this world. She wants to hire thieves for a daring heist in Fae that would set her free, and is willing to pay enough that Sybil and Esme never have to worry about rent again. It’s too good of an offer to pass up, even if Maeve’s tragic story doesn’t quite add up, and even if Sybil’s personal ties to Fae could jeopardize everything she and Esme have so carefully built.

Jamie Pacton, author of The Vermilion Emporium, dazzles in this lavish and decedent LGBTQ+ fantasy romance that will leave readers utterly enchanted!

As should be obvious by now, I am a BIG fan of strange and wonderful and queer, and Absinthe Underground is promising me all of that. And I’m just enchanted by the idea of the Green Fairy being actual Fae!

Projections by S.E. Porter
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: bisexual MC, sapphic romance
Published on: February 13th, 2024

S.E. Porter, critically-acclaimed YA author of Vassa in the Night, bursts onto the adult fantasy scene with her adult novel that is sure to appeal to fans of Jeff VanderMeer and China Mieville.

Love may last a lifetime, but in this dark historical fantasy, the bitterness of rejection endures for centuries.

As a young woman seeks vengeance on the obsessed sorcerer who murdered her because he could not have her, her murderer sends projections of himself out into the world to seek out and seduce women who will return the love she denied―or suffer mortal consequence. A lush, gothic journey across worlds full of strange characters and even stranger magic.

Sarah Porter’s adult debut explores misogyny and the soul-corrupting power of unrequited love through an enchanted lens of violence and revenge.

Porter’s Never-Contented Things is a beloved favourite of mine, and I’ve been hearing so much love for her Adult debut! Plus, while I am not myself a fan of Jeff VanderMeer or China Mieville, I know for sure a book is going to be Genuinely Weird if it gets compared to them – and Genuinely Weird is very much my thing.

The Briar Book of the Dead by A.G. Slatter
Genres: Fantasy
Representation: queernorm setting, secondary F/F
Published on: February 13th, 2024

Perfect for fans of Uprooted and For the Wolf, a dark and addictive tale of witches, ancient mysteries and sins that refuse to be buried from the award-winning author of All the Murmuring Bones.

To the outside world, Silverton appears not to matter much at all. It sits on a remote mountain pass, far from the great cathedral city of Lodellan. It’s run by witches who, in the usual scheme of things, would be burnt. Yet a dispensation keeps the Briars safe for one simple, dangerous they are the custodians of the threshold between the civilised world and the Darklands, where Leech Lords hold sway. Vampires are especially feared by the ecclesiastics, for leeches steal souls as well as bodies, and mortal souls are the Church’s most valuable currency.

However, things are changing in Silverton, with new forces coming into play and ancient mysteries and sins refusing to stay buried − and Anni Briar, the first non-witch born into the family for three hundred years, will find herself at the centre of the maelstrom.

Another book I’m adding to the list retroactively, aka, after having read it. I wasn’t smart enough to anticipate it like I should have – even though I’ve loved most of Slatter’s books! But I read it, and adored it, enough that it instantly became one of my faves of the year. Gods DAMN this is an epic witchy book!!!

Sunbringer (Fallen Gods #2) by Hannah Kaner
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: queernorm setting, probably disabled queer MC
Published on: February 15th, 2024

War is coming, godkiller.

Gods are forbidden in the kingdom of Middren. Now they are stirring, whispering of war. Godkiller Kissen sacrificed herself to vanquish the fire god Hseth and save her friends, but gods cannot be destroyed so easily – and neither can godkillers.

Reeling from the loss of Kissen, young noble Inara and her little god of white lies, Skedi, seek answers to the true nature of their bond. The secrets they uncover could determine the outcome of the war.

Meanwhile, Elogast, no longer a loyal knight of King Arren, has been charged with destroying the man he once called friend. The king vowed to eradicate all gods, but has now entered into an unholy pact with the most dangerous of them all.

The kingdom is on the brink of destruction. What will they each sacrifice to save it?

I really enjoyed Godkiller, the first book in this series – so yes, I’m dying for the sequel! After how that one ended, I have no idea where Sunbringer is going, but I am very invested in finding out! (And Kissen’s not really dead, right? Right???)

Ours by Phillip B. Williams
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fantasy, Speculative Fiction
Representation: Black cast
Published on: January 20th, 2024

“A beautifully-written and ambitious epic about the complexity of freedom.” —Brit Bennett, author of The Vanishing Half

An epic novel set in mid-nineteenth-century America about the spiritual costs of a freedom that demands fierce protection

In this ingenious, sweeping novel, Phillip B. Williams introduces us to an enigmatic woman named Saint, a fearsome conjuror who, in the 1830s, annihilates plantations all over Arkansas to rescue the people enslaved there. She brings those she has freed to a haven of her own a town just north of St. Louis, magically concealed from outsiders, named Ours.

It is in this miraculous place that Saint’s grand experiment—a truly secluded community where her people may flourish—takes root. But although Saint does her best to protect the inhabitants of Ours, over time, her conjuring and memories begin to betray her, leaving the town vulnerable to intrusions by newcomers with powers of their own. As the cracks in Saint’s creation are exposed, some begin to wonder whether the community’s safety might be yet another form of bondage.

Set over the course of four decades and steeped in a rich tradition of American literature informed by Black surrealism, mythology, and spirituality, Ours is a stunning exploration of the possibilities and limitations of love and freedom by a writer of capacious vision and talent.

Annihilating plantations??? Sweeping the rescued slaves into a magically protected town??? Who eventually have to deal with MORE people with magic/superpowers??? WHO WOULD NOT WANT TO READ THAT???

The Butcher of the Forest by Premee Mohamed
Genres: Fantasy
Published on: February 27th, 2024

A world-weary woman races against the clock to rescue the children of a wrathful tyrant from a dangerous, otherworldly forest.

At the northern edge of a land ruled by a monstrous, foreign tyrant lies the wild forest known as the Elmever. The villagers know better than to let their children go near—once someone goes in, they never come back out.

No one knows the strange and terrifying traps of the Elmever better than Veris Thorn, the only person to ever rescue a child from the forest many years ago. When the Tyrant’s two young children go missing, Veris is commanded to enter the forest once more and bring them home safe. If Veris fails, the Tyrant will kill her; if she remains in the forest for longer than a day, she will be trapped forevermore.

So Veris will travel deep into the Elmever to face traps, riddles, and monsters at the behest of another monster. One misstep will cost everything.

Listen, there’s a unicorn on the cover, that’s all I need to know – that it is some kind of skeleton monster just makes it BETTER! And it’s Premee Mohamed, so you already know it’s going to be amazing.

Fathomfolk (Drowned World #1) by Eliza Chan
Genres: Fantasy, Portal Fantasy
Representation: East Asian-coded cast & setting
Published on: February 27th, 2024

From one of fantasy’s most exciting new voices Eliza Chan comes a modern, myth-inflected story of revolution and magic set against the glittering, semi-submerged city of Tiankawi, perfect for fans of Jade City and The Bone Shard Daughter . Welcome to Tiankawi – shining pearl of human civilization and a safe haven for those fleeing civil unrest. Or at least, that’s how it first appears.
But in the semi-flooded city, humans are, quite literally, on peering down from skyscrapers and aerial walkways on the fathomfolk — sirens, seawitches, kelpies and kappas—who live in the polluted waters below.
For half-siren Mira, promotion to captain of the border guard means an opportunity to reform. At last, she has the ear of the city council and a chance to lift the repressive laws that restrict fathomfolk at every turn. But if earning the trust and respect of her human colleagues wasn’t hard enough, everything Mira has worked towards is put in jeopardy when a water dragon is exiled to the city.
New arrival Nami is an aristocratic water dragon with an opinion on everything. Frustrated by the lack of progress from Mira’s softly-softly approach in gaining equality, Nami throws her lot in with an anti-human extremist group, leaving Mira to find the headstrong youth before she makes everything worse.
And pulling strings behind everything is Cordelia, a second-generation sea-witch determined to do what she must to survive and see her family flourish, even if it means climbing over the bodies of her competitors. Her political game-playing and underground connections could disrupt everything Nami and Mira are fighting for.
When the extremists sabotage the annual boat race, violence erupts, as does the clampdown on fathomfolk rights. Even Nami realises her new friends are not what they seem. Both she and Mira must decide if the cost of change is worth it, or if Tiankawi should be left to drown.

I always feel like underwater settings get neglected when it comes to worldbuilding, but Fathomfolk seems to promise just the opposite! Yes PLEASE, give me aaaaaaaaaall your water mythology!

My review!

Redsight by Meredith Mooring
Genres: Science Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: sight-impaired sapphic MC
Published on: February 29th, 2024

Korinna has simple priorities: stay on the Navitas, stay out of trouble, and stay alive. She may be a Redseer, a blind priestess with the power to manipulate space-time, but she is the weakest in her Order. Useless and outcast. Or so she has been raised to believe.

As she takes her place as a navigator on an Imperium ship, Korinna’s full destiny is revealed to her: blood brimming with magic, she is meant to become a weapon of the Imperium, and pawn for the Order that raised her. But when the ship is attacked by the notorious pirate Aster Haran, Korinna’s world is ripped apart.

Aster has a vendetta against the Imperium, and an all-consuming, dark power that drives her to destroy everything in her path. She understands the world in a way Korinna has never imagined, and Korinna is drawn to her against her better judgment.

With the Imperium and the justice-seeking warrior Sahar hot on her heels, Korinna must choose her side, seize her power and fulfil her destiny–or risk imperiling the future of the galaxy, and destroying the fabric of space-time itself.

What, exactly, am I supposed to not love about this premise??? Space magic and pirates and dark powers, and an Imperium that proooooooobably needs to go? ALL THE YES, PLEASE AND THANK YOU!

My review!


Welcome to Forever by Nathan Tavares
Genres: Science Fiction, Queer Protagonists
Representation: M/M
Published on: March 5th, 2024

A sweeping, psychedelic romance of two men caught in a looping world of artificial realities, edited memories, secretive cabals and conspiracies to push humanity to the next step in its evolution.

For fans of Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow, Ubik, The Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Evangelion.

Fox is a memory editor – one of the best – gifted with the skill to create real life in the digital world. When he wakes up in Field of Reeds Center for Memory Reconstruction with no idea how he got there, the therapists tell him he was a victim in a terrorist bombing by Khadija Banks, the pioneer of memory editing technology turned revolutionary. A bombing which shredded the memory archives of all its victims, including his husband Gabe.

Thrust into reconstructions of his memories exploded from the fragments that survived the blast, Fox tries to rebuild his life, his marriage and himself. But he quickly realises his world is changing, unreliable, and echoing around itself over and over. 

As he unearths endless cycles of meeting Gabe, falling in love and breaking up, Fox digs deep into his past, his time in the refugee nation of Aaru, and the exact nature of his relationship with Khadija. Because, in a world tearing itself apart to forget all its sadness, saving the man he loves might be the key to saving us all.

I adored Tavares’ debut, A Fractured Infinity, which was all about multiverses, and I’m excited to see what he does with memory in his sophomore novel!

The Truth of the Aleke (Forever Desert #2) by Moses Ose Utomi
Genres: Fantasy
Representation: African-coded cast and setting
Published on: March 5th, 2024

Moses Ose Utomi returns to his Forever Desert series with The Truth of the Aleke, continuing his epic fable about truth, falsehood, and the shackles of history.

The Aleke is cruel. The Aleke is clever. The Aleke is coming.

500 years after the events of The Lies of the Ajungo, the City of Truth stands as the last remaining free city of the Forever Desert. A bastion of freedom and peace, the city has successfully weathered near-constant attacks from the Cult of Tutu, who have besieged it for three centuries, attempting to destroy its warriors and subjugate its people.

Seventeen-year-old Osi is a Junior Peacekeeper in the City. When the mysterious leader of the Cult, known only as the Aleke, commits a massacre in the capitol and steals the sacred God’s Eyes, Osi steps forward to valiantly defend his home. For his bravery he is tasked with a tremendous responsibility―destroy the Cult of Tutu, bring back the God’s Eyes, and discover the truth of the Aleke.

The Lies of the Ajungo ripped my heart out, and I’ve been flailing to know how the story continues since the last page. Luckily, Utomi is not making us wait long for the sequel! Which is probably going to rip my heart out again, but I’m good with that.

Floating Hotel by Grace Curtis
Genres: Science Fiction, Queer Protagonists
Representation: mlm MC
Published on: March 19th, 2024

Smart, bold and so much fun . . . I’m officially a member of the Grace Curtis fan club’ AMIE KAUFMAN

The Grand Budapest Hotel in space, Floating Hotel is a hopeful story of misfits, rebels and found family, perfect for fans of Becky Chambers, Martha Wells and Aliette de Bodard.

Welcome to the Grand Abeona Hotel: home of the finest food, the sweetest service, and the very best views the galaxy has to offer. Year round it moves from planet to planet, system to system, pampering guests across the furthest reaches of the milky way. The last word in sub-orbital luxury – and a magnet for intrigue. Intrigues such as:

Why are there love poems in the lobby intray?

How many Imperial spies are currently on board?

What is the true purpose of the Problem Solver’s conference?

And perhaps most pertinently – who is driving the ship?

At the centre of these mysteries stands Carl, one time stowaway, longtime manager, devoted caretaker to the hotel. It’s the love of his life and the only place he’s ever called home. But as forces beyond Carl’s comprehension converge on the Abeona, he has to face one final question: when is it time to let go?

Curtis’ debut, Frontier, was heartwarming and complex and vicious and hopeful, all at once, so I am MOST excited to read her sophomore novel! It doesn’t hurt that the cover’s pretty enough to want to hang on my wall.

My review!

A Botanical Daughter by Noah Medlock
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fantasy, Horror, Queer Protagonists
Representation: M/M
Published on: March 19th, 2024

Mexican Gothic meets The Lie Tree by way of Oscar Wilde and Mary Shelley in this delightfully witty horror debut. A captivating tale of two Victorian gentlemen hiding their relationship away in a botanical garden who embark on a Frankenstein-style experiment with unexpected consequences.

It is an unusual thing, to live in a botanical garden. But Simon and Gregor are an unusual pair of gentlemen. Hidden away in their glass sanctuary from the disapproving tattle of Victorian London, they are free to follow their own interests without interference. For Simon, this means long hours in the dark basement workshop, working his taxidermical art. Gregor’s business is exotic plants – lucrative, but harmless enough. Until his latest acquisition, a strange fungus which shows signs of intellect beyond any plant he’s seen, inspires him to attempt a masterwork: true intelligent life from plant matter.

Driven by the glory he’ll earn from the Royal Horticultural Society for such an achievement, Gregor ignores the flaws in his plan: that intelligence cannot be controlled; that plants cannot be reasoned with; and that the only way his plant-beast will flourish is if he uses a recently deceased corpse for the substrate.

The experiment – or Chloe, as she is named – outstrips even Gregor’s expectations, entangling their strange household. But as Gregor’s experiment flourishes, he wilts under the cost of keeping it hidden from jealous eyes. The mycelium grows apace in this sultry greenhouse. But who is cultivating whom?

Told with wit and warmth, this is an extraordinary tale of family, fungus and more than a dash of bloody revenge from an exciting new voice in queer horror.

I’ve been waiting for this book for years – following the author on social media since before he landed an agent! So YES, I am flailing at the fact that it’s really finally almost here!!! I cannot WAIT to finally get my hands on it!

My review!

The Mars House by Natasha Pulley
Genres: Science Fiction, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Queer MC, nonbinary MC, M/NB
Published on: March 19th, 2024

A compulsively readable queer sci-fi novel about a marriage of convenience between a Mars politician and an Earth refugee.

In the wake of an environmental catastrophe, January, once a principal in London’s Royal Ballet, has become a refugee in Tharsis, the terraformed colony on Mars. There, January’s life is dictated by his status as an Earthstronger-a person whose body is not adjusted to lower gravity and so poses a danger to those born on, or naturalized to, Mars. January’s job choices, housing, and even transportation are dictated by this second-class status, and now a xenophobic politician named Aubrey Gale is running on a platform that would make it all worse: Gale wants all Earthstrongers to naturalize, a process that is always disabling and sometimes deadly.

When Gale chooses January for an on-the-spot press junket interview that goes horribly awry, January’s life is thrown into chaos, but Gale’s political fortunes are damaged, too. Gale proposes a solution to both their problems: a five year made-for-the-press marriage that would secure January’s future without naturalization and ensure Gale’s political success. But when January accepts the offer, he discovers that Gale is not at all like they appear in the press. They’re kind, compassionate, and much more difficult to hate than January would prefer. As their romantic relationship develops, the political situation worsens, and January discovers Gale has an enemy, someone willing to destroy all of Tharsis to make them pay-and January may be the only person standing in the way.

Un-put-downably immersive and utterly timely, Natasha Pulley’s new novel is a gripping story about privilege, strength, and life across class divisions, perfect for readers of Sarah Gailey and Tamsyn Muir.

I have it on most excellent authority that Mars House is going to blow me away, and given that I am already in love with the blurb, I suspect my source is entirely correct.

My review!

The Woods All Black by Lee Mandelo
Genres: Horror, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Trans MC
Published on: March 19th, 2024

The Woods All Black is equal parts historical horror, trans romance, and blood-soaked revenge, all set in 1920s Appalachia

Leslie Bruin is assigned to the backwoods township of Spar Creek by the Frontier Nursing Service, under its usual mandate: vaccinate the flock, birth babies, and weather the judgements of churchy locals who look at him and see a failed woman. Forged in the fires of the Western Front and reborn in the cafes of Paris, Leslie believes he can handle whatever is thrown at him—but Spar Creek holds a darkness beyond his nightmares.

Something ugly festers within the local congregation, and its malice has focused on a young person they insist is an unruly tomboy who must be brought to heel. Violence is bubbling when Leslie arrives, ready to spill over, and he’ll have to act fast if he intends to be of use. But the hills enfolding Spar Creek have a mind of their own, and the woods are haunted in ways Leslie does not understand.

The Woods All Black is a story of passion, prejudice, and power — an Appalachian period piece that explores reproductive justice and bodily autonomy, the terrors of small-town religiosity, and the necessity of fighting tooth and claw to live as who you truly are.

Mandelo consistently knocks it out of the park with both fiction and non-fiction, and I am more excited than I probably should be for a book that is almost certain to give me nightmares. But it will be worth it!

My review!

Song of the Huntress by Lucy Holland
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: F/F
Published on: March 21st, 2024

The acclaimed author of Sistersong transforms the story of Herla and the Wild Hunt into a rich, feminist fantasy in this stunning tale of two great warriors, a war-torn land, and an ancient magic that is slowly awakening.

Britain, 60AD. Hoping to save her lover, her land, and her people from the Romans, Herla makes a desperate pact with the king of the Otherworld. But years pass unheeded in his realm, and she escapes to find everyone she loved long dead. Cursed to wield his blade, she becomes Lord of the Hunt. And for centuries, she rides, leading her immortal warriors and reaping wanderers’ souls. Until the night she meets a woman on a bloody battlefield—a Saxon queen with ice-blue eyes.

Queen Æthelburg of Wessex is a proven fighter. But when she leads her forces to disaster in battle, her husband’s court turns against her. Yet King Ine needs Æthel more than ever. Something dark and dangerous is at work in the Wessex court. His own brother seeks to usurp him. And their only hope is the magic in Ine’s bloodline that’s lain dormant since ancient days.

The moment she and Æthel meet, Herla knows it’s no coincidence. The dead kings are waking. The Otherworld seeks to rise, to bring the people of Britain under its dominion. And as Herla and Æthel grow closer, Herla must find her humanity—and a way to break the curse—before it’s too late.

Song of the Huntress made it onto my 2023 list, and when the release was pushed back it was guaranteed a spot on my list for this year. Everything about it sounds incredible, and I need it so bad!

My review!

The Feast Makers (The Scapegracers #3) by H. A. Clarke
Genres: Fantasy, Contemporary or Urban Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Nonbinary lesbian MC, major bisexual Asian-American character, major Black queer character, major lesbian character
Published on: March 26th, 2024

The Craft for Gen Z: The Feast Makers, indie bestselling author H. A. Clarke crafts an action-packed conclusion to the Scapegracers trilogy, as our beloved teen coven tackle college acceptances, queer romance, and a witch trial to remember for the ages.

After restoring their powers, Sideways just wants to get on with senior year. But the covens have convened for the trial of Madeline Kline. When this stubborn, independent witch begs the Scapegracers to save her from a cruel and unusual punishment, Sideways knows they have to get involved. It’s the right thing to do, even if Madeline did steal their soul and wear it for a time. Right?

Making an example out of Madeline seems, strangely, just as important to the most powerful covens as divvying up the Scapegracers amongst themselves. Sideways, Jing, Daisy, and Yates are reluctant to abandon what they’ve built together, but as the college acceptances (and rejections) roll in, the offer of a magical family beyond Sycamore Gorge becomes increasingly tempting.

Unfortunately, choosing a new coven will have to wait: witchfinders are gathering in town, and some of these visitors make the Chantrys seem tame in comparison. Every witch—Scapegracer or not—is about to be in grave danger. 

And on top of all that, Sideways thinks they just might be in love.

In H. A. Clarke’s signature raw and explosive style, The Feast Makers brings the indie-bestselling Scapegracers trilogy to a dynamic end as Sideways, Jing, Daisy, Yates, and Shiloh tackle college acceptances, queer romance, and the meaning of justice in an ever-challenging world.

The Scapegracers series is a no-holds-barred masterpiece, and frankly, absolutely none of us are ready for it to be over. ESPECIALLY NOT ME!

The Feast Makers is going to destroy me, I know it – but I also know I won’t regret a single second of it.

My review!

The Emperor and the Endless Palace by Justinian Huang
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: M/M
Published on: March 26th, 2024

“What if I told you that the feeling we call love is actually the feeling of metaphysical recognition, when your soul remembers someone from a previous life?”

In the year 4 BCE, an ambitious courtier is called upon to seduce the young emperor—but quickly discovers they are both ruled by blood, sex and intrigue.

In 1740, a lonely innkeeper agrees to help a mysterious visitor procure a rare medicine, only to unleash an otherworldly terror instead.

And in present-day Los Angeles, a college student meets a beautiful stranger and cannot shake the feeling they’ve met before.

Across these seemingly unrelated timelines woven together only by the twists and turns of fate, two men are reborn, lifetime after lifetime. Within the treacherous walls of an ancient palace and the boundless forests of the Asian wilderness to the heart-pounding cement floors of underground rave scenes, our lovers are inexplicably drawn to each other, constantly tested by the worlds around them.

As their many lives intertwine, they begin to realize the power of their undying love—a power that transcends time itself…but one that might consume them both.

An unpredictable roller coaster of a debut novel, The Emperor and the Endless Palace is a genre-bending romantasy that challenges everything w
e think we know about true love.

Reincarnation love story, but make it queer??? This sounds like everything I have ever wanted, YES PLEASE YES PLEASE YES PLEASEEEEEEEEE!

My review!


Someone You Can Build a Nest In by John Wiswell
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: F/F
Published on: April 2nd, 2024

Discover this creepy, charming monster-slaying fantasy romance—from the perspective of the monster—by Nebula Award-winning debut author John Wiswell
Shesheshen has made a mistake fatal to all monsters: she’s fallen in love.
Shesheshen is a shapeshifter, who happily resides as an amorphous lump at the bottom of a ruined manor. When her rest is interrupted by hunters intent on murdering her, she constructs a body from the remains of past meals: a metal chain for a backbone, borrowed bones for limbs, and a bear trap as an extra mouth.  
However, the hunters chase Shesheshen out of her home and off a cliff. Badly hurt, she’s found and nursed back to health by Homily, a warm-hearted human, who has mistaken Shesheshen as a fellow human. Homily is kind and nurturing and would make an excellent co-parent: an ideal place to lay Shesheshen’s eggs so their young could devour Homily from the inside out. But as they grow close, she realizes humans don’t think about love that way.
Shesheshen hates keeping her identity secret from Homily, but just as she’s about to confess, Homily reveals why she’s in the area: she’s hunting a shapeshifting monster that supposedly cursed her family. Has Shesheshen seen it anywhere?
Eating her girlfriend isn’t an option. Shesheshen didn’t curse anyone, but to give herself and Homily a chance at happiness, she has to figure out why Homily’s twisted family thinks she did. As the hunt for the monster becomes increasingly deadly, Shesheshen must unearth the truth quickly, or soon both of their lives will be at risk.

And the bigger challenge remains: surviving her toxic in-laws long enough to learn to build a life with, rather than in, the love of her life.

Someone You Can Build a Nest In has made me go heart-eyes since I first heard about it – it sounds utterly weird and wonderful in the very best of ways. Case in point: what kind of book could inspire two such COMPLETELY different (but equally awesome) covers?! SIA NEEDS!

And if YOU still need convincing, you can read an excerpt at the publisher website here!

My review!

The Jinn Daughter by Rania Hanna
Genres: Fantasy
Representation: Middle Eastern MC and setting
Published on: April 2nd, 2024

A stunning debut novel and an impressive feat of storytelling that pulls together mythology, magic, and ancient legend in the gripping story of a mother’s struggle to save her only daughter

Nadine is a jinn tasked with one job: telling the stories of the dead. She rises every morning to gather pomegranate seeds—the souls of the dead—that have fallen during the night. With her daughter Layala at her side, she eats the seeds and tells their stories. Only then can the departed pass through the final gate of death.

But when the seeds stop falling, Nadine knows something is terribly wrong. All her worst fears are confirmed when she is visited by Kamuna, Death herself and ruler of the underworld, who reveals her desire for someone to replace her: it is Layala she wants.

Nadine will do whatever it takes to keep her daughter safe, but Kamuna has little patience and a ruthless drive to get what she has come for. Layala’s fate, meanwhile, hangs in the balance.

Rooted in Middle Eastern mythology, Rania Hanna deftly weaves subtle, yet breathtaking, magic through this vivid and compelling story that has at its heart the universal human desire to, somehow, outmaneuver death.

I’m always eager to read SFF inspired by mythologies I’m not super familiar with, and this sounds enchantingly strange to me – especially since apparently Nadine’s husband lives in Death? I wonder if they can communicate at all through the pomegranate seeds? All the early reviews I’ve seen for this have been glowing; I can’t wait to read it for myself!

Dayspring by Anthony Oliveira
Genres: Speculative Fiction, Queer Protagonists
Representation: M/M
Published on: April 2nd, 2024

A singular, stunning debut that transcends and transfigures genre—at once a bold retelling of biblical tales and an unforgettable contemporary coming-of-age story, connected in collapsing time across millennia.

There are few love stories in the holy books. Love is what ruins. Love is what costs. Love is a flaming sword at our backs, a garden left to ruin and to wild.

In Dayspring, Anthony Oliveira brings to vibrant, glorious life the gospel according to the disciple Christ loved—his companion in the days before the crucifixion, the only instrument that remembers with fidelity his sound.

Sacred, profane, and rich with explicit desire and a poetic attention to form, Dayspring weaves electric and heart-wrenching stories of passion, grief, destruction, and survival into a narrative unmoored in space and time, one that re-examines and re-frames great and doomed figures from scripture and history, even as it casts its keen eye on the trials of modern life.

Seamlessly blending fiction, memoir, and verse in the exhilarating tradition of Anne Carson and Madeline Miller, Dayspring is an immersive, mesmerizing work, one that wrenches beauty from cataclysm and finds bliss in apocalypse.

Have I been obsessively stalking all mentions of this book since the pub deal was announced? I HAVE INDEED! This might end up being more speculative fiction than outright fantasy or sci fi, but that still qualifies it for this list, and damn it, you CANNOT make biblical stuff queer and expect me not to flail for it!

A Sweet Sting of Salt by Rose Sutherland
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: F/F
Published on: April 9th, 2024

Once a young woman uncovers a dark secret about her neighbor and his mysterious new wife, she’ll have to fight to keep herself—and the woman she loves—safe in this stunning queer reimagining of the classic folktale “The Selkie Wife.”

When a sharp cry wakes Jean in the middle of the night during a terrible tempest, she’s convinced it must have been a dream. But when the cry comes again, Jean ventures outside and is shocked by what she discovers—a young woman in labor, drenched to the bone in the bitter cold and able to speak barely a word of English.

Although Jean is the only midwife for miles around, she’s at a loss for who this woman is or where she’s from; Jean can only assume that she must be the new wife of the neighbor up the road, Tobias. And when Tobias does indeed arrive at her cabin in search of his wife, Muirin, Jean’s questions continue to multiply. Why has he kept his wife’s pregnancy a secret? And why does Muirin’s open demeanor change completely the moment she’s in his presence?

Though Jean learned long ago that she should stay out of other people’s business, her growing concern—and growing feelings—for Muirin mean that she can’t simply set her worries aside. But when the answers she finds are more harrowing than she ever could have imagined, she fears she may have endangered herself, Muirin, and the baby. Will she be able to put things right and save the woman she loves before it’s too late, or will someone have to pay for Jean’s actions with their life?

Selkies are one of my favourite magical beings, but I see them featured so rarely – and queer selkies are even harder to find! I suspect it’s going to hurt me, but also that it’s going to be beautiful.

My review!

Sheine Lende (Elatsoe #2) by Darcie Little Badger
Genres: Fantasy
Representation: Lipan Apache MC
Published on: April 16th, 2024

Shane works with her mother and their ghost dogs, tracking down missing persons even when their families can’t afford to pay. Their own family was displaced from their traditional home years ago following a devastating flood – and the loss of Shane’s father and her grandparents. They don’t think they’ll ever get their home back.

Then Shane’s mother and a local boy go missing, after a strange interaction with a fairy ring. Shane, her brother, her friends, and her lone, surviving grandparent – who isn’t to be trusted – set off on the road to find them. But they may not be anywhere in this world – or this place in time.

Nevertheless, Shane is going to find them.

Darcie Little Badger’s Elatsoe launched her career and in the years since has become a beloved favorite. This prequel to Elatsoe, centered on Ellie’s grandmother, deepens and expands Darcie’s one-of-a-kind world and introduces us to another cast of characters that will wend their way around readers’ hearts.

If you didn’t love Elatsoe, you’re wrong, and I was so surprised and delighted to hear that we’re getting a prequel about Elatsoe’s grandmother! With more of Rovina Cai’s gorgeous illustrations, too! We are the LUCKIEST!

Merciless Saviors (The Ouroborus #2) by H.E. Edgmon
Genres: Fantasy, Contemporary or Urban Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Trans nonbinary Seminole demiromantic pansexual MC, polyamory, brown trans love interest, plus-sized Indigenous trans love interest, QBIPOC cast
Published on: April 16th, 2024

That day at the First Church of Gracie changed everything for Gem Echols, and not just because Marian and Poppy betrayed them. Forced to use the Ouroboros knife on Zephyr, who had kidnapped their parents, Gem now has the power of the God of Air.

While for any other god things might work out okay, the Magician—whose role within the pantheon is to keep the balance—having the power of another god has thrown everything into chaos. The Goddess of Death can now reanimate corpses; the God of Art’s powers are now corrupted and twisted, giving life to his macabre creations; and, while the God of Land has always been able to communicate with creatures of the Earth, now everyone can hear their cries.

As Gem, Rory, and Enzo search for a way to restore the balance without sacrificing themselves, new horrors make them question how far they’re willing to go. In the end, Gem may be forced to fully embrace their merciless nature and kill off their own humanity—if it ever really existed in the first place.

I am not physically capable of loving the first book in this duology, Godly Heathens, more than I do (review here), and I am FROTHING AT THE MOUTH for the sequel-and-conclusion. I mean, I’m freaking terrified of how things are going to go, and how they will END, but – still frothing at the mouth. GIMME!

My review!

King of Dead Things by Nevin Holness
Genres: Fantasy
Representation: Black cast
Published on: April 16th, 2024

For fans of Legendborn, Neil Gaiman, and Leigh Bardugo, this urban young adult fantasy steeped in Afro-Carribbean folklore follows two Black teens searching for a powerful artifact in the hidden magical side of London.

Raising the dead is easy. Living is harder.

Eli doesn’t know who he is or who he came from. Three years ago, he was found by his now-best friends, Sunny and Max, who gave him a home in a magical sanctuary doubling as a Caribbean restaurant. What Eli does know is that he can heal a wound with just a touch and pluck magic from a soul like a petal from a flower—and there is nothing he wouldn’t do to survive and keep his new family together.

Malcolm would do anything to forget where he comes from. Desperate to escape his estranged father’s shadow and plagued with an inherited death magic he doesn’t fully understand, Malcolm has just one priority: save his mother, no matter the cost.

Malcolm and Eli’s paths collide when Eli and his friends are sent to track down the fang of the leopard god Osebo, a deadly weapon that can eat magic. In a job filled with enigmatic nine nights and Caribbean legends, the teens must face their own demons as they race through the magical underbelly of London to retrieve the fang…before an ancient and malevolent power comes back to life.

Um??? This sounds AMAZING? I have a huge Thing for people with magical powers and no memory, so I would be pouncing on this even without the promise of Afro-Carribbean folklore! And a restaurant doubling as a magical sanctuary??? Who else – or WHAT else – is hanging out there beyond Eli? I must know!

You can read an excerpt here!

A Letter to the Luminous Deep by Sylvie Cathrall
Genres: Fantasy
Published on: April 25th, 2024

‘An underwater treasure-chest to be slowly unpacked, full of things I adore: nosy and loving families, epistolary romance, gorgeous worldbuilding, and anxious scholars doing their best to meet the world with kindness and curiosity’ Freya Marske, author of A Marvellous Light

A charming fantasy set in an underwater world with magical academia and a heartwarming penpal romance, perfect for fans of A Marvellous Light and Emily Wilde’s Encylopaedia of Faeries.

A beautiful discovery outside the window of her underwater home prompts the reclusive E. to begin a correspondence with renowned scholar Henerey Clel. The letters they share are filled with passion, at first for their mutual interests, and then, inevitably, for each other.

Together, they uncover a mystery from the unknown depths, destined to transform the underwater world they both equally fear and love. But by no mere coincidence, a seaquake destroys E.’s home, and she and Henerey vanish.

A year later, E.’s sister Sophy, and Henerey’s brother Vyerin, are left to solve the mystery of their siblings’ disappearances with the letters, sketches and field notes left behind. As they uncover the wondrous love their siblings shared, Sophy and Vyerin learn the key to their disappearance – and what it could mean for life as they know it.

Praise for Sylvie Cathrall:

With its gorgeous underwater setting and whimsical academic sensibility, A Letter to the Luminous Deep is a strange, epistolary wonder.’ Mary McMyne, author of The Book of Gothel

‘A shimmering, delicately crafted delight. . . Readers looking for heart warming romance and scholarly mystery against the backdrop of a wildly imaginative world will be charmed’ H.G. Parry, author of The Magician’s Daughter

‘Cathrall’s debut caught me up on a wave of whimsy and swept me away with its charm. A story to be cherished’ Lyra Selene, author of A Feather So Black

A Letter to the Luminous Deep is a fascinating and charming story told in a uniquely elegant voice. A watery wonder of a novel! I loved it.’ Louisa Morgan, author of A Secret History of Witches

A Letter to the Luminous Deep is like nothing I’ve read before. The heartfelt intimacy of the epistolary narrative, juxtaposed with the magnificent oceanic world-building, results in a novel that is at once deeply human and mind-bogglingly imaginative. Both the setting and the story are exquisite, but it was the lovingly crafted voices of the characters that kept me hooked from beginning to end’ Megan Bannen, author of The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy

I mentioned that we don’t get enough underwater settings – this sounds very different from Fathomfolk, but I’m here for underwater wonders of all sorts! And I love stories told through things like letters and field notes; I’m eager to see how that looks here.

My review!

In Universes by Emet North
Genres: Science Fiction, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Nonbinary MC
Published on: April 30th, 2024

“An explosion of creative beauty and heart. Emet North is a massively talented writer arriving ready to awe.”Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah, New York Times bestselling author of Chain Gang All Stars

For fans of Emily St. John Mandel and Kelly Link, a profoundly imaginative debut novel set in numerous universes, which follows a queer physicist’s search for belonging across time and space.

Raffi works in an observational cosmology lab, searching for dark matter and trying to hide how little they understand their own research. Every chance they get, they escape to see Britt, a queer sculptor who fascinates them for reasons they also can’t—or won’t—understand. Despite years of professors scoffing at the link between the many-words interpretation of quantum mechanics and alternative lives, Raffi can’t help but dream of a universe where they mean as much to Britt as Britt does to them. And just like that, Raffi and Britt are thirteen years old, best friends and maybe something more… 

In Universes is a mind-bending tour across parallel worlds, each an answer to the question of what Raffi’s life would be like if things had happened just a little differently. Across lives Raffi—alongside their sometimes-friends, sometimes-lovers Britt, Kay, and Graham—reaches for a life that feels authentically their own.

The universes grow increasingly strange. Women fracture into hordes of animals, alien-possessed bears prowl apocalyptic landscapes. But Raffi’s divergent existences all lead back to the summer of Britt: the terrible thing Raffi did and the guilt that continues to chase them across realities.

Blending realism with science fiction, In Universes explores the thirst for genius, the fluidity of gender and identity, and the desire to lead a meaningful life. Part Ted Chiang, part Carmen Maria Machado, part Everything Everywhere All At OnceIn Universes insists on the transgressive power of hope even in the darkest of times.

Nathan Tavares gave me a taste for queer multiverses with Fractured Infinity last year – and In Universes sounds like it’ll hit the spot perfectly! ‘Women fracture into hordes of animals, alien-possessed bears prowl apocalyptic landscapes’? That is exactly the kind of weird I want, thank you, especially when you’re also dealing me ‘the fluidity of gender’. *grabby hands*

My review!


The Brides at High Hill (The Singing Hill Cycle #5) by Nghi Vo
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Nonbinary MC
Published on: May 7th, 2024

The Hugo Award-Winning Series returns with its newest standalone entry: a gothic mystery involving a crumbling estate, a mysterious bride, and an extremely murderous teapot.

The Cleric Chih accompanies a beautiful young bride to her wedding to an aging lord at a crumbling estate situated at the crossroads of dead empires. But they’re forgetting things they ought to remember, and the lord’s mad young son wanders the grounds at night like a hanged ghost.

The Singing Hills Cycle has been shortlisted for the Lambda Literary Award, the Locus Award, the Ignyte Award, and has won the Hugo Award and the Crawford Award.

“A remarkable accomplishment of storytelling.”―NPR on The Empress of Salt and Fortune

“Nghi Vo is one of the most original writers we have today.”―Taylor Jenkins Reid on Siren Queen

Another author I will follow anywhere, there is no WAY I’m not featuring (and pouncing on, when it’s released) a new Singing Hills novella from Nghi Vo! This one will apparently be going into Gothic territory, which should be interesting.

The Sins on Their Bones by Laura R. Samotin
Genres: Fantasy, Historical Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: mlm MCs, M/M
Published on: 7th, 2024

Dimitri Alexeyev used to be the Tzar of Novo-Svitsevo. Now, he is merely a broken man, languishing in exile after losing a devastating civil war instigated by his estranged husband, Alexey Balakin. In hiding with what remains of his court, Dimitri and his spymaster, Vasily Sokolov, engineer a dangerous ruse. Vasily will sneak into Alexey’s court under a false identity to gather information, paving the way for the usurper’s downfall, while Dimitri finds a way to kill him for good.

But stopping Alexey is not so easy as plotting to kill an ordinary man. Through a perversion of the Ludayzim religion that he terms the Holy Science, Alexey has died and resurrected himself in an immortal, indestructible body—and now claims he is guided by the voice of God Himself. Able to summon forth creatures from the realm of demons, he seeks to build an army, turning Novo-Svitsevo into the greatest empire that history has ever seen.

Dimitri is determined not to let Alexey corrupt his country, but saving Novo-Svitsevo and its people will mean forfeiting the soul of the husband he can’t bring himself to forsake—or the spymaster he’s come to love.

I kind of hate this cover, but I love everything else about this book! Ex-husbands on opposite sides of a war? I’m predicting much angst, but of the kind I’ll eat up with a SPOON, not the annoying kind.

The Z Word by Lindsay King-Miller
Genres: Horror, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Bisexual MC, assorted queer cast
Published on: May 7th, 2024

Packed with action, humor, sex, and big gay feelings, The Z Word is the queer Zombieland you didn’t know you needed.

Chaotic bisexual Wendy is trying to find her place in the queer community of San Lazaro, Arizona, after a bad breakup—which is particularly difficult because her ex is hooking up with some of her friends. And when the people around them start turning into violent, terrifying mindless husks, well, that makes things harder. Especially since the infection seems to be spreading.

Now, Wendy and her friends and frenemies—drag queen Logan, silver fox Beau, sword lesbian Aurelia and her wife Sam, mysterious pizza delivery stoner Sunshine, and, oh yeah, Wendy’s ex-girlfriend Leah—have to team up to stay alive, save Pride, and track the zombie outbreak to its shocking source. Hopefully without killing each other first.

The Z Word is a propulsive, funny, emotional horror debut about a found family coming together to fight corporate greed, political corruption, gay drama, and zombies.

I’m not particularly into zombies, but I’m happy to read about them in the right story (can I interest you in Mira Grant’s Newsflesh series?) and this sounds awesome. Who doesn’t want to read about queer friends and frenemies teaming up to survive the apocalypse???

Death’s Country by R.M. Romero
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Latine MC, M/F/F polyamory
Published on: May 7th, 2024

Lakelore meets “Orpheus and Eurydice” when two Miami teens travel to the underworld to retrieve their girlfriend’s soul.

Andres Santos of São Paulo was all swinging fists and firecracker fury, a foot soldier in the war between his parents, until he drowned in the Tietê River… and made a bargain with Death for a new life. A year later, his parents have relocated the family to Miami, but their promises of a fresh start quickly dissolve in the summer heat.

Instead of fists, Andres now uses music to escape his parents’ battles. While wandering Miami Beach, he meets two girls: photographer Renee, a blaze of fire, and dancer Liora, a ray of sunshine. The three become a polyamorous triad, happy, despite how no one understands their relationship. But when a car accident leaves Liora in a coma, Andres and Renee are shattered.

Then Renee proposes a radical solution: She and Andres must go into the underworld to retrieve their girlfriend’s spirit and reunite it with her body—before it’s too late. Their search takes them to the City of the dead, where painters bleed color, songs grow flowers, and regretful souls will do anything to forget their lives on earth. But finding Liora’s spirit is only the first step in returning to the living world. Because when Andres drowned, he left a part of himself in the underworld—a part he’s in no hurry to meet again. But it is eager to be reunited with him…

In verse as vibrant as the Miami skyline, critically acclaimed author R.M. Romero has crafted a masterpiece of magical realism and an openhearted ode to the nature of healing.

I’ve read very few novels-in-verse, but I don’t think I’m physically capable of resisting this one – especially since I’ve dipped into some of Romero’s other works and liked what I saw. But, just – that freaking PREMISE. I’m always pining for more polyamory rep, and to see it in YA, AND combined with a journey to the underworld to bring back their lost love??? OhmygodsYES!!!

Blood at the Root by LaDarrion Williams
Genres: Fantasy, Contemporary or Urban Fantasy
Representation: Black MC
Published on: May 7th, 2024

A teenager on the run from his past finds the family he never knew existed and the community he never knew he needed at an HBCU for the young, Black, and magical. Enroll in this fresh fantasy debut with the emotional power of Legendborn and the redefined ancestral magic of Lovecraft Country.

“A genre-shattering amalgamation of culture, heritage, and magic….utterly refreshing”
—J. Elle, New York Times bestselling author of Wings of Ebony

Ten years ago, Malik’s life changed forever the night his mother mysteriously vanished and he discovered he had uncontrollable powers. Since then, he has kept his abilities hidden, looking out for himself and his younger foster brother, Taye. Now, at 17, Malik is finally ready to start a new life for both of them, far from the trauma of his past. However, a daring act to rescue Taye reveals an unexpected connection with his long-lost grandmother: a legendary conjurer with ties to a hidden magical university that Malik’s mother attended.

At Caiman University, Malik’s eyes are opened to a future he never could have envisioned for himself— one that includes the reappearance of his first love, Alexis. His search for answers about his heritage, his powers, and what really happened to his mother exposes the cracks in their magical community as it faces a reawakened evil dating back to the Haitian Revolution. Together with Alexis, Malik discovers a lot beneath the surface at Caiman: feuding covens and magical politics, forbidden knowledge and buried mysteries. 

In a wholly unique saga of family, history and community, Malik must embrace his legacy to save what’s left of his old family as well as his new one. Exploring the roots and secrets that connect us in an unforgettable contemporary setting, this heart-pounding fantasy series opener is a rich tapestry of atmosphere, intrigue, and emotion.

I have been hearing so many good things about Blood at the Root, and!!! MAGIC UNIVERSITY! To say nothing of foster-sibling bonds; I love it when we get sibling bonds featured, and even moreso when those siblings are adopted or fostered. WE DON’T SEE THAT OFTEN ENOUGH.

Road to Ruin (Magebike Courier #1) by Hana Lee
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Queer MC
Published on: May 14th, 2024

An electrifying, gritty fantasy from debut author Hana Lee that takes a royal messenger on a high-speed chase across a climate-ravaged wasteland, featuring motorcycles, monsters, and magic.

Jin-Lu has the most dangerous job in the wasteland. She’s a magebike courier, one of the few who venture outside the domed cities on motorcycles powered by magic. Every day, she braves the wasteland’s dangers—deadly storms, roving marauders, and territorial beasts—to deliver her wares.

Her most valuable cargo? A prince’s love letters addressed to Yi-Nereen, a princess desperate to escape the clutches of her abusive family and soon-to-be husband. Jin, desperately in love with both her and the prince, can’t refuse Yi-Nereen’s plea for help. The two of them flee across the wastes, pursued by Yi-Nereen’s furious father, her scheming betrothed, and a bounty hunter with mysterious powers.

A storm to end all storms is brewing and dark secrets about the heritability of magic are coming to light. Jin’s heart has led her into peril before, but this time she may not find her way back.

Yet another one I’ve been tracking since the pub deal was announced! I’ve been craving more motorcycles with my magic since The Velocity of Revolution by Marshall Ryan Maresca (which made it onto my Best of 2021 list; review here!) and FINALLY someone is serving it to me!!! Plus, wastelands, ‘dark secrets about the heritability of magic’, and what sounds like the promise of polyamory??? I AM SO HEART-EYES FOR THIS BOOK!

My review!

The Garden of Delights by Amal Singh
Genres: Fantasy,
Representation: Desi-coded setting and cast
Published on: May 14th, 2024

Amal Singh is an engaging and motivated writer from Mumbai, India, with a long list of short story credits in Clarkesworld, F&SF, Apex, Fantasy and many others.

In the city of Sirvassa, where petals are currency and flowers are magic, the Caretaker tends to the Garden of Delights. He imparts temporary magical abilities to the citizens of Sirvassa, while battling a curse of eternal old age. No Delight could uplift his curse, and so he must seek out a mythical figure. A god.

When a Delight allows a young girl an ability to change reality, the Caretaker believes he’s at the end of his search. But soon a magical rot takes root in his Garden, and the Caretaker must join forces with the girl and stop it from spreading.

Even as he battles a different rot that plagues Sirvassa, he learns that Delights are always a precursor to Sorrows.

I love reading about magical plants, and this sounds dreamy and beautiful. Flower petals as currency? A girl who can change reality? And what are capital-s Sorrows? Curses, maybe, if Delights impart magical abilities (if I haven’t misunderstood the blurb)? I’ll find out!

The Honey Witch by Sydney J. Shields
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: F/F
Published on: May 14th, 2024

The Honey Witch of Innisfree can never find true love. That is her curse to bear. But when a young woman who doesn’t believe in magic arrives on her island, sparks fly in this deliciously sweet debut novel of magic, hope, and love overcoming all.
Twenty-one-year-old Marigold Claude has always preferred the company of the spirits of the meadow to any of the suitors who’ve tried to woo her. So when her grandmother whisks her away to the family cottage on the tiny Isle of Innisfree with an offer to train her as the next Honey Witch, she accepts immediately. But her newfound magic and independence come with a price: No one can fall in love with the Honey Witch.
When Lottie Burke, a notoriously grumpy skeptic who doesn’t believe in magic, shows up on her doorstep, Marigold can’t resist the challenge to prove to her that magic is real. But soon, Marigold begins to care for Lottie in ways she never expected. And when darker magic awakens and threatens to destroy her home, she must fight for much more than her new home—at the risk of losing her magic and her heart.

This sounds as sweet as the titular honey! I like grumpy characters who have to reconcile the existence of magic, and I’m curious about why no one can fall in love with the Honey Witch – it sounds like the Honey Witch might lose her powers? But is that only if someone falls in love with her, or does she have to love them back? And what does a Honey Witch do? WILL THERE BE BEEKEEPING??? We know there are spirits in the meadow…so looking forward to curling up somewhere cosy with this!

My review!

Keeper of the Stones and Stars by Michael Barakiva
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Queer MCs
Published on: May 21st, 2024

Save the world.
Get the guy.

Keepers of the Stones and Stars is a witty, young adult contemporary epic fantasy about a cheeky quintet of teens chosen by magical gems to save the world.

Reed is leading his best life: he’s just kissed the boy of his dreams, his band is starting to get actual paying gigs, and he’s a shoo-in to getting elected as next year’s Student Council president. But he’s ready to give it all up when his suspiciously aristocratic guidance counselor tells him he has been chosen to go on the adventure of a lifetime.

Because Reed is the first of five Stone Bearers who have been chosen by magical gems and granted super powers. All he has to do is unite all five and lead them to seal a portal that will release an onslaught of uncontrollable chaotic magical energies, and destroy the world as we know it. It’s up to the Ruby, Sapphire, Topaz, Emerald, and Amethyst Bearers to save the world, fulfilling their roles in a centuries-old cycle that dates back to the 17th century Mughal court and the first Bearers of the Stones.

I’ve been looking forward to this one for a LONG time – since back when it had another title! – and I’m SO EXCITED that it’s releasing at last this year! Magical gems bestowing powers on queer teens who need to save the world??? Checks so many of my boxes. And what’s the connection to the Mughal court of the 17th century?! DID NOT SEE THAT COMING, but as a history nerd I am VERY on-board!

Evocation by S.T. Gibson
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Bisexual MC, polyamory
Published on: May 28th, 2024

The Devil knows your name, David Aristarkhov.

As a teen, David Aristarkhov was a psychic prodigy, operating under the shadow of his oppressive occultist father. Now, years after his father’s death and rapidly approaching his thirtieth birthday, he is content with the high-powered life he’s curated as a Boston attorney, moonlighting as a powerful medium for his secret society.

But with power comes a price, and the Devil has come to collect on an ancestral deal. David’s days are numbered, and death looms at his door.

Reluctantly, he reaches out to the only person he’s ever trusted, his ex-boyfriend and secret Society rival Rhys, for help. However, the only way to get to Rhys is through his wife, Moira. Thrust into each other’s care, emotions once buried deep resurface, and the trio race to figure out their feelings for one another before the Devil steals David away for good…

The first book in a spellbinding and vibrant new series from The Sunday Times bestselling author of A Dowry of Blood.

S.T. Gibson won me over forever with Dowry of Blood, and I don’t think it’s physically possible for me to be more excited for Evocation – poly fantasy from an incredible author will do that! And when you toss in bargains with the Devil…how could I possibly resist???

And you can read chapter one for free here!

My review!


Running Close to the Wind by Alexandra Rowland
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Brown cast, M/NB, major nonbinary character/love interest
Published on: June 11th, 2024

Avra Helvaçi, former field agent of the Arashti Ministry of Intelligence, has accidentally stolen the single most expensive secret in the world – and the only place to flee with a secret that big is the open sea.

To find a buyer with deep enough pockets, Avra must ask for help from his on-again, off-again ex, the pirate Captain Teveri az-Haffar. They are far from happy to see him but, together, they hatch a plan: take the information to the isolated pirate republic of the Isles of Lost Souls; fence it; profit. The only things in their way? A calculating new Arashti ambassador to the Isles of Lost Souls who’s got his eyes on Avra’s every move; Brother Julian, a beautiful, mysterious new member of the crew with secrets of his own and a frankly inconvenient vow of celibacy; and the fact that they’re sailing straight into sea serpent breeding season and almost certain doom.

But if they can find a way to survive and sell the secret on the black market, they’ll all be as wealthy as kings – and, more importantly, they’ll be legends.

Alexandra Rowland is another auto-buy author, and even if they weren’t, I’ve read enough snippets of Running Close to the Wind on their patreon to be head-over-heels in love with this book since LONG before its release!

(It’s so good and so funny and so AHHHHHH I NEED IT IMMEDIATELY!!!)

Cuckoo by Gretchen Felker-Martin
Genres: Horror, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Queer cast
Published on: June 11th, 2024

From Gretchen Felker-Martin, the acclaimed author of Manhunt, comes a vicious new novel about a group of teens who must stay true to themselves while in a conversion camp from hell.

Something evil is buried deep in the desert.
It wants your body.
It wears your skin.

In the summer of 1995, seven queer kids abandoned by their parents at a remote conversion camp came face to face with it. They survived―but at Camp Resolution, everybody leaves a different person.

Sixteen years later, only the scarred and broken survivors of that terrible summer can put an end to the horror before it’s too late.

The fate of the world depends on it.

I loved Felker-Martin’s debut, Manhunt, and I’ve been eagerly waiting for her next book! I’m sure this will freak-and-gross me out as much as Manhunt did, but it’ll be so worth it!

My review!

The Wilderness of Girls by Madeline Claire Franklin
Genres: Fantasy
Published on: June 11th, 2024

An unflinching YA debut about a troubled teen who discovers a pack of feral girls in the woods and is swept up in the ensuing mystery: Are the Wild Girls of Happy Valley lost princesses from a faraway land, as they believe, or are they brainwashed victims of a deranged kidnapper?

In her ambitious debut perfect for fans of Sadie and The Hazel Wood, Madeline Claire Franklin crafts a gripping exploration of how the world teaches young girls to cage their wildness—and what happens when they claw themselves free.

After being placed in foster care, Rhi is hungry for a fresh start and begins working at the Happy Valley Wildlife Preserve. While in the woods, she stumbles upon a surreal sight: a pack of wolves guarding four feral and majestic girls. After Rhi gains their trust, they reveal that they’re princesses from another land, raised by a magical prophet they call Mother—and they’re convinced Rhi is their lost fifth sister.

Unsure what to believe, Rhi ushers the girls to civilization, where they’re met with societal uproar and scrutiny, dubbed by the ravenous media and true crime junkies as “The Wild Girls of Happy Valley.” Desperate to return to their kingdom, the girls look to Rhi for help. Rhi knows the girls are deluded, but at the same time she’s drawn in by their boldness and authenticity—traits she is afraid she has lost within herself. And when Rhi witnesses strange phenomena she can’t quite explain, the line between fantasy and reality grows blurry.

As the hunt for answers intensifies, Rhi must make a decision that will change the course of her lives and the lives of her Wild Girls forever.

It’s possible that this isn’t spec-fic at all, but I’m crossing my fingers that the Hazel Woods comp in the blurb (and the fact that Franklin has written SFF before) means that it is, in fact, some strange kind of fantasy. I love feral girls, and non-feral girls discovering their own wildness – and Franklin has promised there’s no romance, which is refreshing. (I don’t mind romance plotlines, but it’s nice to get stories without them now and then!)

The Fire Within Them (The Soulfire Saga #2) by Matthew Ward
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: queernorm setting, sapphic MC, Deaf MC
Published on: June 11th, 2024

The second book in the action-packed new trilogy from epic fantasy author Matthew Ward, the Soulfire Saga is set in a world ruled by an immortal king, where souls fuel magic and a supernatural mist known as the Veil threatens to engulf the land. Perfect for readers of John Gwynne and Anthony Ryan. 

The sprawling Kingdom of Khalad stands alone. Severed from the rest of the world by an ancient, arcane war, its folk toil behind a wall of living mist, beholden to an undead king and his barons.

But hope lies with two figures: Kat, an accomplished thief, and Vallant, a rebel and folk hero. Together they will light a fire that will burn away the corruption and tyranny of King Diar’s rule.

But only if they succeed . . .

This series has been done SO DIRTY – the covers and blurbs of the first two books are generic and meh as hell, when in fact book one KNOCKED ME ON MY ASS with incredibly unique worldbuilding, some of the most backstabby and twisty political intrigue I’ve ever come across, and a cast of deeply flawed but amazing characters! I’M JUMPING UP AND DOWN WITH EXCITEMENT for the sequel!!!

Rakesfall by Vajra Chandrasekera
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: M/M
Published on: June 18th, 2024

Rakesfall is a groundbreaking, standalone science fiction epic about two souls bound together from here until the ends of time, from the author of The Saint of Bright Doors

Some stories take more than one lifetime to tell. There are wrongs that echo through the ages, friendships that outpace the claws of death, loves that leave their mark on civilization, and promises that nothing can break. This is one such story.

Annelid and Leveret met after the war, but before the peace. They found each other in a torn-up nation, peering through propaganda to grasp a deeper truth. And in a demon-haunted wood, another act of violence linked them and propelled their souls on a journey throughout the ages. No world can hold them, no life can bind them, and they’ll never leave each other behind. But their journey will not be easy. In every lifetime, oppressors narrow the walls of possibility, shaping reality to fit their own needs. And behind the walls of history, the witches of the red web swear that every throne will fall.

Tracing two souls through endless lifetimes, Rakesfall is a virtuosic exploration of what stories can be. As Annelid and Leveret reincarnate ever deeper into the future, they will chase the edge of human possibility, in a dark science fiction epic unlike anything you’ve read before.

The Saint of Bright Doors, Chandrasekera’s debut, blew me away – so obviously I’m ready to pounce on his next book! Like The Emperor and the Endless Palace, this seems to be a queer reincarnation story – but a very different one, and I can’t stop myself making grabby hands. Oppressors shaping reality! Demon-haunted woods! WHO AND WHAT ARE THE WITCHES OF THE RED WEB??? And excuse me, I need to go embroider ‘No world can hold them, no life can bind them, and they’ll never leave each other behind.’ on all my throw pillows!

Saints of Storm and Sorrow by Gabriella Buba
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Bisexual Filipino-coded MC
Published on: June 25th, 2024

In this fiercely imaginative Filipino-inspired fantasy debut, a bisexual nun hiding a goddess-given gift is unwillingly transformed into a lightning rod for her people’s struggle against colonization.

Perfect for fans of lush fantasy full of morally ambiguous characters, including The Poppy War and The Jasmine Throne.

Maria Lunurin has been living a double life for as long as she can remember. To the world, she is Sister Maria, dutiful nun and devoted servant of Aynila’s Codicían colonizers. But behind closed doors, she is a stormcaller, chosen daughter of the Aynilan goddess Anitun Tabu. In hiding not only from the Codicíans and their witch hunts, but also from the vengeful eye of her slighted goddess, Lunurin does what she can to protect her fellow Aynilans and the small family she has created in the convent: her lover Catalina, and her younger sister Inez.

Lunurin is determined to keep her head down – until one day she makes a devastating discovery, which threatens to tear her family apart. In desperation, she turns for help to Alon Dakila, heir to Aynila’s most powerful family, who has been ardently in love with Lunurin for years. But this choice sets in motion a chain of events beyond her control, awakening Anitun Tabu’s rage and putting everyone Lunurin loves in terrible danger. Torn between the call of Alon’s magic and Catalina’s jealousy, her duty to her family and to her people, Lunurin can no longer keep Anitun Tabu’s fury at bay.

For the goddess of storms demands vengeance. And she will sweep aside anyone who stands in her way.

A morally ambiguous, bisexual, magically-powered nun, fighting colonisation and trying to deal with her goddess, all in a Filipino-inspired setting??? SIGN ME UP, PLEASE!!!

The Daughters’ War (Blacktongue #0) by Christopher Buehlman
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: sapphic MC
Published on: June 25th, 2024

Enter the fray in this luminous new adventure from Christopher Buehlman, set during the war-torn, goblin-infested years just before The Blacktongue Thief.

The goblins have killed all of our horses and most of our men.

They have enslaved our cities, burned our fields, and still they wage war.

Now, our daughters take up arms.

Galva — Galvicha to her three brothers, two of whom the goblins will kill — has defied her family’s wishes and joined the army’s untested new unit, the Raven Knights. They march toward a once-beautiful city overrun by the goblin horde, accompanied by scores of giant war corvids. Made with the darkest magics, these fearsome black birds may hold the key to stopping the goblins in their war to make cattle of mankind.

The road to victory is bloody, and goblins are clever and merciless. The Raven Knights can take nothing for granted — not the bonds of family, nor the wisdom of their leaders, nor their own safety against the dangerous war birds at their side. But some hopes are worth any risk.

I didn’t expect to love The Blacktongue Thief, but it went and nicked my heart right out of my chest – and before we get a sequel, we’re getting a prequel! Following GALVA!!! I adored her in Blacktongue (who didn’t???) and am so excited to be getting her backstory – not to mention we’ll actually get to see the goblin war/s, which left their mark on every aspect of Blacktongue‘s world, and!!! WE’LL GET TO SEE THE WAR COVIDS, PEOPLE!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!


The Failures (The Wanderlands #1) by Benjamin Liar
Genres: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Science Fantasy
Published on: July 2nd, 2024

In an unparalleled blend of apocalyptic science fiction and epic fantasy akin to masterpieces like Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, N. K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth trilogy, and David Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas, debut author Benjamin Liar presents the first gripping installment of The Wanderlands trilogy. The vast machine-like expanse of the Wanderlands, crafted by long-lost gods, is teetering on the brink of eternal darkness. Amidst this decaying behemoth, a diverse group of heroes, driven by prophetic dreams, embark on a perilous journey. Their mission? To mend their crumbling world—or witness its irrevocable end.

Benjamin Liar masterfully weaves intricate tales across time and space. With unique world-building, this tale plunges readers into a mechanical planet-sized realm abandoned by its divine creators. It’s a tale of second chances and redemption, for these heroes have once tried—and failed—to salvage their home. Now, they’re presented with another shot at salvation or doom.

What sets The Failures apart is not just its genre-defying narrative but also its ingenious fusion of humor, charm, and profound depth. Liar’s debut, though dark and twisted, sparkles with witty prose, keeping readers riveted and eager for more. As you traverse The Wanderlands, you’ll uncover a multitude of interlinked stories, an intricate puzzle that begs to be pieced together. This is not just a book—it’s a captivating experience.

Benjamin Liar—writer, musician, filmmaker, and game designer—ventures into the literary world with The Failures as his first published novel. With accolades in music and short filmmaking, and a recent foray into virtual reality game design, Liar proves to be a multifaceted talent. Though his pseudonym might hint at deceit, one thing is certain: his storytelling prowess is undeniably genuine. Dive into this compelling epic, and lose yourself in the vastness of The Wanderlands.

When DAW says ‘I’ve never read anything like it’, I pay attention. And true enough, this doesn’t sound like anything I’ve come across before, which is always terribly exciting!

The Moonlight Market by Joanne Harris
Genres: Fantasy, Urban or Contemporary Fantasy
Published on: July 20th, 2024

From New York Times bestselling author Joanne Harris comes a richly imagined and captivating novel of two colliding worlds.

Deep in the heart of London, a photographer walks the streets and captures whatever catches his eye: an old man drinking coffee; a beautiful woman sipping champagne in St. Pancras station; a cloud of moths, disturbed, taking flight across the sky.

But with each photo, he captures something unseen by the eye, and as each negative develops—revealing a person he hadn’t met, a danger he hadn’t noticed, and a world he hadn’t seen—he is drawn further into a hidden war. One which he has been drawn into many times before . . . and every time, had his memories of the truth, and of the woman he loves, stolen from him.

As Tom pieces fragments of the truth together, he realizes he must weave through the war and fight his own battle: both for the woman he loves, and for himself.

Although the blurb says nothing about it, I confirmed that The Moonlight Market is the ‘Fae Romeo & Juliet’ book Harris talked about in her interview with Fantasy Hive back in July. She did say that the warring tribes of Fae were sort of the background of the story, but with her beautiful prose, I’m pretty sure I’m going to love this!

The Spellshop by Sarah Beth Durst
Genres: Fantasy
Published on: July 9th, 2024

The Spellshop is Sarah Beth Durst’s romantasy debut–a lush cottagecore tale full of stolen spellbooks, unexpected friendships, sweet jams, and even sweeter love.

Join Kiela the librarian and her assistant, Caz the sentient spider plant, as they navigate the low stakes market of illegal spellmaking and the high risk business of starting over.

“Sarah Beth Durst is the hidden gem of the fantasy world.” ―Book Riot

Kiela has always had trouble dealing with people. Thankfully, as librarian at the Great Library of Alyssium, she hasn’t had to.

She and her assistant, Caz, a magically sentient spider plant, have spent the last eleven years sequestered among the empire’s most precious spellbooks, preserving their magic for the city’s elite. But when a revolution begins and the library goes up in flames, she and Caz save as many books as they can carry and flee to a faraway island Kiela was sure she’d never return to: her childhood home. Kiela hopes to lay low in the overgrown and rundown cottage her late parents left her and figure out a way to survive without drawing the attention of either the empire or the revolutionaries. Much to her dismay, in addition to a nosy―and very handsome―neighbor, she finds the town neglected and in a state of disrepair.

The empire, for all its magic and power, has been neglecting for years the people who depend on magical intervention to maintain healthy livestock and crops. Not only that, but the very magic that should be helping them has been creating destructive storms that have taken a toll on the island. Due to her past role at the library, Kiela feels partially responsible for this, and now she’s determined to find a way to make things right: by opening the island’s first-ever secret spellshop.

Her plan comes with risks―the consequence of sharing magic with commoners is death. And as Kiela comes to make a place for herself among the kind and quirky townspeople of her former home, she realizes that in order to make a life for herself, she must learn to break down the walls she has built up so high.

Like a Hallmark rom-com full of mythical creatures and fueled by cinnamon rolls and magic, Sarah Beth Durst’s The Spellshop will heal your heart and feed your soul.

Durst has written some of the most incredible YA I’ve ever read – Conjured is still one of my all-time faves – so an (Adult) story about magical libraries and spellbooks, and a cover with an adorable winged cat on it??? I am so here for it!

The West Passage by Jared Pechaček
Genres: Fantasy
Published on: July 16th, 2024

A palace the size of a city, ruled by giant Ladies of unknowable, eldritch origin. A land left to slow decay, drowning in the debris of generations. All this and more awaits you within The West Passage, a delightfully mysterious and intriguingly weird medieval fantasy unlike anything you’ve read before.

When the Guardian of the West Passage died in her bed, the women of Grey Tower fed her to the crows and went back to their chores. No successor was named as Guardian, no one took up the fallen blade; the West Passage went unguarded.

Now, snow blankets Grey in the height of summer. Rats erupt from beneath the earth, fleeing that which comes. Crops fail. Hunger looms. And none stand ready to face the Beast, stirring beneath the poisoned soil.

The fate of all who live in the palace hangs on narrow shoulders. The too-young Mother of Grey House sets out to fix the seasons. The unnamed apprentice of the deceased Grey Guardian goes to warn Black Tower. Both their paths cross the West Passage, the ancient byway of the Beast. On their journeys they will meet schoolteachers and beekeepers, miracles and monsters, and very, very big Ladies. None can say if they’ll reach their destinations, but one thing is for the world is about to change.

This sounds weird as fuck, and weird as fuck is my jam. HIT ME WITH EVERYTHING YOU’VE GOT, SIR!

You can read an excerpt (and see some of the internal artwork!) here!

The Spice Gate by Prashanth Srivatsa
Genres: Fantasy
Representation: Desi-coded cast and setting
Published on: July 16th, 2024

Delve into this debut fantasy and journey through the Spice Gates as Amir, a young man born with the ability to travel between the eight kingdoms, unravels the power that keeps the world in balance, perfect for readers of Ken Liu’s Dandelion Dynasty, S.A. Chakraborty’s Daevabad Trilogy, and Andrea Stewart’s The Drowning Empire.

The weight of spice is more than you know.

Relics of a mysterious god, the Spice Gates connect the eight far-flung kingdoms, each separated by a distinct spice and only accessible by those born with a special mark. This is not a caste of distinction, though, but one of subjugation: Spice Carriers suffer the lashes of their masters, the weight of the spices they bear on their backs, and the jolting pain of the Gates themselves.

Amir is one such Spice Carrier, and he dreams of escaping his fate of being a mule for the rich who gorge themselves on spices like the addicted gluttons they are. More important than relieving his own pain, though, is saving his family, especially his brother, born like him with the unfortunate spice mark that designates him for a life of servitude.

But while Amir makes his plans for freedom, something stirs in the inhospitable spaces between the kingdoms. Fate has designs of its own for Amir, and he soon finds himself drawn into a conspiracy that could disrupt the delicate dynamics of the kingdoms forever.

The more Amir discovers truth and myth blurring, the more he realizes that his own schemes are insignificant compared to the machinations going on around him. Forced to chase after shadows with unlikely companions, searching for answers that he never even thought to question, Amir’s simple dream of slipping away transforms into a grand, Spice Gate–hopping adventure. Gods, assassins, throne-keepers, and slaves all have a vested interest in the spice trade, and Amir will have to decide—for the first time in his life—what kind of world he wants to live in…if the world survives at all.

I love food magic, and initially that’s what I thought Spice Gate was going to be about… but now we have the (probably) final blurb, it’s clear that this is going to be a lot more than that. And I am not complaining! I love the sound of this; it’s properly High/Epic Fantasy, WITH SPICES. Yes please!

In the Shadow of the Fall by Tobi Ogundiran
Genres: Fantasy
Representation: African-coded cast and setting
Published on: July 23rd, 2024

A cosmic war reignites and the fate of the orisha lie in the hands of an untried acolyte in this first entry of a new epic fantasy novella duology by Tobi Ogundiran, for fans of N. K. Jemisin and Suyi Davies Okungbowa.

The novella of the year has arrived!”―Mark Oshiro, #1 New York Times bestselling author

Ashâke is an acolyte in the temple of Ifa, yearning for the day she is made a priest and sent out into the world to serve the orisha. But of all the acolytes, she is the only one the orisha refuse to speak to. For years she has watched from the sidelines as peer after peer passes her by and ascends to full priesthood.

Desperate, Ashâke attempts to summon and trap an orisha―any orisha. Instead, she experiences a vision so terrible it draws the attention of a powerful enemy sect and thrusts Ashâke into the center of a centuries-old war that will shatter the very foundations of her world.

Trapping an orisha sounds like a very, VERY bad idea, and it sounds like Ashâke’s going to have some appropriately hardcore repercussions to deal with for even trying! And – a cosmic war, you say??? You have my attention, sir!

The Dissonance by Shaun Hamill
Genres: Fantasy, Contemporary or Urban Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: mlm MC
Published on: July 23rd, 2024

From the acclaimed author of A Cosmology of Monsters (“I loved it” —Stephen King) comes an epic contemporary fantasy, a mixture of The Magicians and It: a story of dark magic, terrible mistakes, and second chances.

“You can never go home again,” the saying goes—but Hal, Athena, and Erin have to. In high school, the three were students of the eccentric Professor Marsh, trained in a secret system of magic known as the Dissonance, which is built around harnessing negative emotions: alienation, anger, pain. Then, twenty years ago, something happened that shattered their coven, scattering them across the country, stuck in mundane lives, alone.

But now, terrifying signs and portents (not to mention a pointed Facebook invite) have summoned them back to Clegg, Texas. There, their paths will collide with that of Owen, a closeted teenager from Alabama whose aborted cemetery seance with his crush summoned something far worse: a murderous entity whose desperate, driving purpose includes kidnapping Owen to serve as its Renfield. As Owen tries to outwit his new master, and Hal, Athena, and Erin reckon with how the choices they made as teens might connect to the apocalyptic event unfurling over the Lone Star State, shocking alliances form, old and new romances brew, and three unsuccessful adults and one frightened teen are all that stand between reality and oblivion. 

From one of the boldest, most brilliant voices in modern fantastical horror, The Dissonance is a thrilling and beautifully written story of magic and monsters, forgiveness and friendship.

Magic built on negative emotions??? Attempts to zombify a crush??? Building to an APOCALYPSE??? Oh wow, yes PLEASE! I can’t wait to see how this magic works (it sounds potentially toxic and scary as hell) and having four misfits be all that stands between reality and oblivion??? All of it going down in TEXAS?! I cannot WAIT to dive in and see how this all unfolds!

Long Live Evil by Sarah Rees Brennan
Genres: Fantasy
Published on: July 30th, 2024

A tale for everyone who’s ever fallen for the villain… From New York Times bestselling author Sarah Rees Brennan comes a wild and witty portal fantasy where a young woman falls into her favorite fantasy novel—and gets to play the villain. 

When her whole life collapsed, Rae still had books. Dying, she seizes a second chance at living: a magical bargain that lets her enter the world of her favorite fantasy series.

She wakes in a castle on the edge of a hellish chasm, in a kingdom on the brink of war. Home to dangerous monsters, scheming courtiers and her favorite fictional character: the Once and Forever Emperor. He’s impossibly alluring, as only fiction can be. And in this fantasy world, she discovers she’s not the heroine, but the villainess in the Emperor’s tale.

So be it. The wicked are better dressed, with better one-liners, even if they’re doomed to bad ends. She assembles the wildly disparate villains of the story under her evil leadership, plotting to change their fate. But as the body count rises and the Emperor’s fury increases, it seems Rae and her allies may not survive to see the final page. 

This adult epic fantasy debut from Sarah Rees Brennan puts the reader in the villain’s shoes, for an adventure that is both “brilliant” (Holly Black) and “supremely satisfying” (Leigh Bardugo): expect a rogue’s gallery of villains including an axe-wielding maid, a shining knight with dark moods, a homicidal bodyguard, and a playboy spymaster with a golden heart and a filthy reputation.

Sarah Rees Brennan has been a favourite of mine since her debut Demon’s Lexicon, and her masterpiece In Other Lands can, I think, be fairly called a cult classic at this point. (If you haven’t read them, I recommend both. In fact, just go and read her entire backlist, okay?) Long Live Evil will be her first Adult novel, and I am losing my mind over how incredible it sounds! LOSING. MY. MIND!!!


Deep Black (Arcana Imperii #2) by Miles Cameron
Genres: Science Fiction
Representation: queernorm setting, Black MC, autistic-coded love interest, secondary nonbinary characters
Published on: August 1st, 2024

Marca Nbaro had always dreamed of serving aboard the Greatships, with their vast cargo holds and a crew that could fill a city.

​They are the lifeblood of human-occupied space, transporting an unimaginable volume – and value – of goods from City, the greatest human orbital, all the way to Tradepoint at the other, to trade for xenoglas with an unknowable alien species.

And now, out in the darkness of space, something is targeting them.

Nbaro and her friends are close to locating their enemy, in this gripping sequel to the award-nominated Artifact Space, but they are running out of time – and their allies are running out of patience . . .

Written by one of the most exciting new voices in SF, this space thriller will keep readers on the edge of their seats.

The first book in this series, Artifact Space, is a DEEPLY beloved favourite of mine, and in fact made it onto my Best of 2021 list. I’ve been pining for the sequel, and here it is! If you haven’t read Artifact Space, you’ve got plenty of time to do so before August – and you really should, because genuinely, this is some of my favourite sci fi EVER!

Sunforge (The Endsong #2) by Sascha Stronach
Genres: Fantasy, Science Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: QBIPOC cast, F/F
Published on: August 6th, 2024

Sascha Stronach’s queer, Maori-inspired Endsong trilogy reopens on a city in flames, where a magic-wielding pirate crew uncovers an age-old fight between the gods that threatens their world.

The steel city of Radovan is consumed by fire between. Stranded in its harbor is the crew of the Kopek, the survivors of a bioterror attack overseas. But they bear scars: their captain, Sibbi, has gone missing; Yat, their newest Weaver, is fighting for control of her own mind; and their Weaving powers are in a badly weakened state.

To disable the technology that prevents the group from escaping, Sen and Kiada must plot their way through the ruins of the foreign capital, which is patrolled by a hostile militia, using wits alone. But to navigate through Radovan, Kiada will have to rely on her own history with the city—one she shares with a band of misfits dubbed Fort Tomorrow and their leader, Ari, a charismatic thief.

Ari may hold the key not only to saving Radovan from complete annihilation, but the history of their world, which will come into play as the gods begin to unleash destruction on humanity and one another.

The Dawnhounds was one of the strangest, most unique and most gorgeous books I’ve ever read; I cannot express how much I’m coveting the sequel!!! Stronach writes like no one else I know, and the incredibly unique imagination that came up with the Endsong world and characters…! *chef’s kiss* More people need to be reading these!!!

Mistress of Lies by K.M. Enright
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Polyamory, queer MC, trans love interest, Filipino rep
Published on: August 13th, 2024

A villainous, bloodthirsty heroine finds herself plunged into the dangerous world of power, politics and murder in the court of the vampire king in this dark romantic fantasy debut.

Fate is a cruel mistress. 

The daughter of a powerful but disgraced Blood Worker, Shan LeClaire has spent her entire life perfecting her blood magic, building her network of spies, and gathering every scrap of power she could. Now, to protect her brother, she assassinates their father and takes her place at the head of the family. And that is only the start of her revenge.

Samuel Hutchinson is a bastard with a terrible gift. When he stumbles upon the first victim of a magical serial killer, he’s drawn into the world of magic and intrigue he’s worked so hard to avoid – and is pulled deeply into the ravenous and bloodthirsty court of the vampire king.

Tasked by the Eternal King to discover the identity of the killer cutting a bloody swath through the city, Samuel, Shan and mysterious Royal Bloodworker Isaac find themselves growing ever closer to each other. But Shan’s plans are treacherous, and as she lures Samuel into her complicated web of desire, treason and vengeance, he must decide if the good of their nation is worth the cost of his soul.

This sounds like the dark!heroine book of my DREAMS, I cannot EVEN. And then on top of that blurb (which, !!!) the author has promised us queer polyamory, with a trans love interest and Filipino rep!!! WHAT PART OF THIS DOES NOT SOUND MOST EXCELLENT???

You can read an excerpt here!

The Palace of Eros by Caro De Robertis
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Queer MC, nonbinary MC
Published on: August 13th, 2024

Perfect for fans of Circe and Black Sun, this bold and subversive feminist retelling of the Greek myth of Psyche and Eros explores the power of queer joy and freedom.

Young, headstrong Psyche has captured the eyes of every suitor in town and far beyond with her tempestuous beauty, which has made her irresistible as a woman yet undesirable as a wife. Secretly, she longs for a life away from the expectations and demands of men. When her father realizes that the future of his family and town will be forever cursed unless he appeases an enraged Aphrodite, he follows the orders of the Oracle, tying Psyche to a rock to be ravaged by a monstrous husband. And yet a monster never arrives.

When Eros, nonbinary deity of desire, sees Psyche, she cannot fulfill her promise to her mother Aphrodite to destroy the mortal young woman. Instead, Eros devises a plan to sweep Psyche away to an idyllic palace, hidden from the prying eyes of Aphrodite, Zeus, and the outside world. There, against the dire dictates of Olympus, Eros and Psyche fall in love. Each night, Eros visits Psyche under the cover of impenetrable darkness, where they both experience untold passion and love. But each morning, Eros flies away before light comes to break the spell of the palace that keeps them safe.

Before long, Psyche’s nights spent in pleasure turn to days filled with doubts, as she grapples with the cost of secrecy and the complexities of freedom and desire. Restless and spurred by her sisters to reveal Eros’s true nature, she breaks her trust and forces a reckoning that tests them both—and transforms the very heavens.

Told in bold and sparkling prose from “a brilliant and luminous writer” (Madeline Miller, New York Times bestselling author), The Palace of Eros transports us to a magical world imbued by divine forces as well as everyday realities, where palaces glitter with magic even as ordinary people fight for freedom in a society that fears the unknown.

I pretty much lost my mind when I saw the pub deal for this one; I mostly steer clear of Greek myth stuff these days, but I could be dead and buried and still show up for Palace of Eros on release day!!! Eros is a figure who means a lot to me, and to actually be getting a nonbinary depiction?! I CANNOT EVEN!

The Dollmakers by Lynn Buchanan
Genres: Fantasy
Published on: August 13th, 2024

In this dark and enchanting stand-alone fantasy from debut author Lynn Buchanan–complete with black and white illustrations and a full-wrap illustrated cover–discover a world centered around destructive, all-consuming monsters; the magical dolls designed to fight this force; and the artisans tasked with creating demon-slaying dolls. A touch cozy fantasy and a touch horror, The Dollmakers is perfect for fans of Studio Ghibli films, the works of TJ Klune and Travis Baldree, and readers of Juniper & Thorn and The Goblin Emperor.

In the country called One, dollmakers are vital members of the community. An artisan’s doll is the height of society’s accomplishments, while a guard’s doll is the only thing standing between the people of One and the Shod: vicious, cobbled monstrosities that will tear apart any structure—living or dead, inanimate or otherwise—to add to their horde.

Apprentice Shean of Pearl is a brilliant dollmaker. With her clever dolls, she intends to outsmart and destroy the Shod, once and for all—a destiny she’s worked her whole life toward accomplishing. But when the time comes for her dolls to be licensed, she’s told her work is too beautiful and delicate to fight. A statement that wounds and infuriates her; the Shod killed everyone she loved. How could her fate be anything but fighting them?

In an attempt to help her see a new path for herself, Shean’s mentor sends her on a journey to the remote village called Web, urging her to glean some wisdom from Ikiisa, a reclusive and well-respected guard dollmaker. But Shean has another plan: if she can convince the village of Web of her talents, the Licensor Guild will have to reconsider and grant her a guard’s license. And what better way to convince them than challenging Ikiisa and instating herself as the official dollmaker of Web? Once she’s done that, proving her dolls’ worth in the fight against the Shod will be simple.

As simple, that is, as calling the Shod to Web…

Something about this blurb/premise enchanted me from the first time I heard it – maybe because I love stories about crafting, regardless of what the craft is, and I’m hopeful that we’ll have lovely descriptive prose to do the beautiful dolls justice (especially when they’re kicking monster ass!) Deandra Scicluna illustrated a couple of scenes from the book (and according to the Edelweiss listing Dollmakers will have seven illustrations in it, so perhaps these are two of them???) and they’re absolutely beautiful – definitely have me even more excited to get to read it!

Time’s Agent by Brenda Peynado
Genres: Science Fiction, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Sapphic MC
Published on: August 13th, 2024

Pocket World―a geographically small, hidden offshoot of our own reality, sped up or slowed down by time

“What would you do, given another universe, a do-over?”

Since humanity discovered the existence of pocket worlds, academics have embarked on exploratory missions as agents for the Institute for the Scientific and Humanistic Study of Portal Worlds to study this new technology and harness the potential of a seemingly limitless horizon.

Archeologist Raquel and her biologist wife Marlena once dreamed the pocket worlds held the key to solving the universe’s mysteries. Now, forty years in the future, Raquel is a disgraced ex-agent, pocket worlds are controlled by corporations squeezing every penny out of all colonizable space and time, and Marlena now lives in a pocket universe Raquel wears around her neck in which time passes faster than on Earth, and no longer speaks to her.

Standing in the ruins of her dream and her calling, Raquel seizes one last chance to redeem herself, to her wife and her own failed ideals and confront what it means to save something―or someone―from time.

Pocket universes are something I’ve been fascinated by for as long as I can remember – I don’t know when I first came across the concept – and there’s something so very Extra about wearing one as a necklace that your estranged wife lives in!!! I have no idea how Raquel is going to redeem herself (or even what went wrong in the first place!) but wow, I want to find out!

The Phoenix Keeper by S.A. MacLean
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: sapphic MC, F/F
Published on: August 13th, 2024

As head phoenix keeper at a world-renowned zoo for magical creatures, Aila’s childhood dream of conserving critically endangered firebirds seems closer than ever. There’s just one glaring caveat: her zoo’s breeding program hasn’t functioned for a decade. When a tragic phoenix heist sabotages the flagship initiative at a neighbouring zoo, Aila must prove her derelict facilities are fit to take the reins.

But saving an entire species from extinction requires more than stellar animal handling skills. Carnivorous water horses, tempestuous thunderhawks, mischievous dragons… Aila has no problem wrangling beasts. Inspiring zoo patrons? That’s another story. Mustering the courage to ask for help from the hotshot griffin keeper at the zoo’s most popular exhibit? Virtually impossible.

Especially when that hotshot griffin keeper happens to be her arch-rival from college: Luciana, an annoyingly brooding and insufferable know-it-all with the grace of a basilisk and the face of a goddess who’s convinced that Aila’s beloved phoenix would serve their cause better as an active performer rather than as a passive conservation exhibit.

With the world watching and the threat of poachers looming, Aila’s success is no longer merely a matter of keeping her job…

She is the keeper of the phoenix, and the future of a species now rests on her shoulders.

There’s just one thing she has to remember: she is also not alone.

Against an epic fantasy backdrop teeming with all your favourite mythical beasts from dragons and unicorns to kelpies and krakens, The Phoenix Keeper combines the fierce joy of cozy fantasy kings TJ Klune and Travis Baldree with the soul-restoring romance of queer icons Alice Oseman and Casey McQuiston.

I have a major Thing for magical beasties, and The Phoenix Keeper sounds like everything I could ever want on that score. Magical vets, zoos, conservationists – I’ve been craving that kind of set-up for ages, AND this one’s queer? WITH THE FATE OF THE WHOLE PHOENIX SPECIES ON THE MC’S SHOULDERS?! Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!

The Republic of Salt (The Mirror Realm Cycle #2) by Ariel Kaplan
Genres: Fantasy, Portal Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Jewish MCs, queer Jewish MC, M/M
Published on: August 20th, 2024

In this riveting sequel to The Pomegranate Gate, Toba, Naftaly, and their allies must defend a city under siege—while the desperate deals they’ve made begin to unravel around them.

After a near-disastrous confrontation with La Caceria, Toba and Asmel are trapped on the human side of the gate, pursued by the Courser and a possessed Inquisitor. In the Mazik world, Naftaly’s visions are getting worse, predicting the prosperous gate city of Zayit in flames and overrun by La Caceria. Zayit is notorious for its trade in salt, a substance toxic to the near-immortal Maziks; if the Cacador can control the salt, he will be nearly unstoppable. But the stolen killstone, the key to the Cacador’s destruction, could eliminate the threat—if only Barsilay could find and use it.

Deadly allies and even more dangerous bargains might be the only path to resist La Caceria’s ruthless conquest of both the mortal world and the Maziks’, but the cost is steep and the threat is near. A twisty, clever entry in The Mirror Realm Cycle, The Republic of Salt asks what personal morals weigh in the face of widespread danger and how best to care for one another.

The first book in this series, The Pomegranate Gate, took my breath away, and it is in fact a little hard to breathe thinking about where the story’s going to go next. WHY IS AUGUST SO FAR AWAY?!

Asunder by Kerstin Hall
Genres: Fantasy
Published on: August 20th, 2024

Eerie, lovely, and surreal.”―Ann Leckie on The Border Keeper

We choose our own gods here.

Karys Eska is a deathspeaker, locked into an irrevocable compact with Sabaster, a terrifying eldritch being―three-faced, hundred-winged, unforgiving―who has granted her the ability to communicate with the newly departed. She pays the rent by using her abilities to investigate suspicious deaths around the troubled city she calls home. When a job goes sideways and connects her to a dying stranger with some very dangerous secrets, her entire world is upended.

Ferain is willing to pay a ludicrous sum of money for her help. To save him, Karys inadvertently binds him to her shadow, an act that may doom them both. If they want to survive, they will need to learn to trust one another. Together, they must journey to the heart of a faded empire, all the while haunted by arcane horrors, and the unquiet ghosts of their pasts.

And all too soon, Karys knows her debts will come due.

I love Hall’s Mkalis Cycle – even if the most recent entry, A Heart Between Teeth, made me sob! – and while Asunder sounds very different, it also sounds EXCELLENT. Eldritch beings and shadow-bindings and faded empires – this might be more horror-y than Mkalis, potentially, but I’m excited to check it out nonetheless!


Out of the Drowning Deep by A.C. Wise
Genres: Science Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: queer and nonbinary MCs
Published on: September 3rd, 2024

In a future where mortals mingle with the gods in deep space, an out-of-date automaton, a recovering addict, and an angel try to solve the pope’s murder. Dreamy, beautifully written science-fantasy for fans of Becky Chambers, Gideon the Ninth, and This is How You Lose the Time War.

Scribe IV is an obsolete automaton, peacefully whiling away his years on the Bastion, a secluded monastery in an abandoned corner of the galaxy. But when the visiting Pope is found murdered, Scribe IV knows he has very little time before the terrifying Sisters of the Drowned Deep rise up to punish the Bastion’s residents for their crime.

Quin, a recovering drug addict turned private investigator, picks up a scrambled signal from the Bastion and agrees to take the case. Traumatized by a bizarre experience in his childhood, Quin repeatedly feeds his memories to his lover, the angel Murmuration. But fragmented glimpses of an otherworldly horror he calls the crawling dark continue to haunt his dreams.

Meanwhile in Heaven, an angel named Angel hears Scribe IV’s prayer. Intrigued by the idea of solving a crime with mortals, xe descends to offer xer divine assistance (whether those mortals want it or not). With the Drowned Sisters closing in around the Bastion, Scribe IV, Quin, and Angel race to find out who really murdered the Pope, and why. Quin’s missing memories may hold the key to the case—but will rememering be worth the price Quin will pay?

I LOVE getting nonbinary angels, and the idea of gods and mortals both out in deep space??? A murdered pope? Scary nuns? Otherworldly horrors? An angel literally named Angel, who is pushy as hell? This sounds like the kind of science fantasy I DREAM of getting!

Immortal Dark (Immortal Dark #1) by Tigest Girma
Genres: Fantasy
Representation: Black cast
Published on: September 5th, 2024

Hidden in our world, a society of vampires originating in Africa, can only feed from select human bloodlines. Each bloodline represents a House more cutthroat than the next. To ensure peaceful co-existence and inherit their legacy, human children of these families must study at an elite university before choosing a vampire companion.

Lost Heiress, Kidan Adane grew up far from Uxlay University. She is obsessively protective, mildly nihilistic, and willing to do anything to save her loved ones. When her sister, June, disappears, Kidan is convinced a vampire stole her – the alluring yet dangerous Susenyos Sagad, the same vampire bound to her own House.

To stay in Uxlay, Kidan must study an arcane philosophy, work with four enigmatic students, and survive living with Susenyos – even as he does everything to drive her away. It doesn’t matter that Susenyos’ violence speaks to her own and tempts Kidan to surrender to a life of darkness. She must find her sister and kill him at all costs.

When a murder mirroring June’s disappearance shakes Uxlay, Kidan sinks further into the ruthless underworld of vampires, risking her very soul. Here, she discovers a centuries-old threat. And June could be at the very centre of it.

The Cruel Prince meets Ninth House in this dangerously romantic dark academia debut, where a lost heiress must infiltrate a secret society and live with the vampire she suspects kidnapped her sister.

Girma has said that the only white thing in this book is the paper, which DELIGHTS me – even before hearing that these vampires are inspired by African folklore! But what makes Immortal Dark a must-read for me are the excerpts I’ve seen on Girma’s social media and on her book updates google form. Prose is always the dealbreaker for me, and I am in love with Girma’s already. Plus, dark academia with arcane philosophy? I’m delighted to be seeing a surge in dark academia where our characters are studying magical subjects!

The Scarlet Throne (The False Goddess #1) by Amy Leow
Genres: Fantasy
Representation: Asian-coded setting & cast (possibly)
Published on: September 10th, 2024

A dark, heart-thumping political epic fantasy by debut author Amy Leow—full of scheming demons, morally grey heroines, talking cats, and cut-throat priests, this delicious tale of power and corruption will captivate from beginning to end.

Binsa is a “living goddess,” chosen by the gods to dispense both mercy and punishment from her place on the Scarlet Throne. But her reign hides a deadly secret. Rather than channeling the wisdom of an immortal deity, she harbors a demon.

But now her priests are growing suspicious. When a new girl, Medha, is selected to take over her position, Binsa and her demon strike a deal: To magnify his power and help her wrest control from the priests, she will sacrifice human lives. She’ll do anything not to end up back on the streets, forgotten and alone. But how much of her humanity is she willing to trade in her quest for power? Deals with demons are rarely so simple.

Gimme ALL the morally grey, ruthless heroines! And one who is using a demon to pose as a living goddess?! YEAH, I CAN SEE HOW THAT MIGHT KICK OFF A SERIOUSLY EPIC STORY! Is it bad that I want to cheer Binsa on re trading away her humanity? And what are the chances Medha is as squeaky clean as she probably appears??? Pretty damn sure this is going to be MOST EXCELLENT!

(I mean, there’s a talking cat. That practically guarantees excellence!!!)

A Dark and Drowning Tide by Allison Saft
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: F/F
Published on: September 17th, 2024

A sharp-tongued folklorist must pair up with her academic rival to solve their mentor’s murder in this lush and enthralling sapphic fantasy romance from the New York Times bestselling author of A Far Wilder Magic.

Lorelei Kaskel, a folklorist with a quick temper and an even quicker wit, is on an expedition with six eccentric nobles in search of a fabled spring. The magical spring promises untold power, which the king wants to harness in order to secure his reign over the embattled country of Brunnestaad. Lorelei is determined to use this opportunity to prove herself and make her wildest, most impossible dream come true: to become a naturalist, able to travel freely to lands she’s only read about.

The expedition gets off to a harrowing start when its leader—Lorelei’s beloved mentor—is murdered in her quarters aboard their ship. The suspects are the five remaining expedition mates, each with their own motive. The only person Lorelei knows must be innocent is her longtime academic rival, the insufferably gallant and maddeningly beautiful Sylvia von Wolff. Now in charge of the expedition, Lorelei must find the spring before the murderer strikes again—and a coup begins in earnest.

But there are other dangers lurking in the dark: forests that rearrange themselves at night, rivers with slumbering dragons hiding beneath the water, and shapeshifting beasts out for blood.

As Lorelei and Sylvia grudgingly work together to uncover the truth—and resist their growing feelings for each other—they discover that their leader had secrets of her own. Secrets that make Lorelei question whether justice is worth pursuing, and if this kingdom is worth saving at all.

After A Far Wilder Magic I will give anything Saft writes a go, and everything about A Dark and Drowning Tide entices me. Academic rivals – who are studying practical folklore/mythology, if I’ve understood the early reviews correctly?! HEY, WHERE CAN I GO TO GET A DEGREE IN THAT? Also – DRAGONS?! No one said anything about dragons! Could this possibly be any more awesome?!

Buried Deep and Other Stories by Naomi Novik
Genres: Fantasy
Published on: September 17th, 2024

A thrilling anthology of thirteen short stories that span the wide-ranging imagination of the New York Times bestselling author of the Scholomance Trilogy, including a sneak peek at the world where her next novel will be set.

From the dragon-filled Temeraire series and the gothic, magical halls of the Scholomance trilogy, through the realms next door to Spinning Silver and Uprooted, this stunning collection takes us from fairy tale to fantasy, myth to history, and mystery to science fiction as we travel through Naomi Novik’s most beloved stories. Here, among many others, we encounter:

  • A mushroom witch who learns that sometimes the worst thing in the Scholomance can be your roommate.
  • The start of the Dragon Corps in ancient Rome, after Mark Antony hatches a dragon’s egg and bonds with the hatchling.
  • A young bride in the middle ages who finds herself gambling with Death, for the highest of stakes.
  • A delightful reimagining of Pride & Prejudice, in which Elizabeth Bennet captains a Longwing dragon.
  • The first glimpse at the world of Abandon, the setting of Novik’s upcoming epic fantasy series—a deserted continent populated only by silent and enigmatic architectural mysteries.

Though the stories are vastly different, there is a unifying theme: wrestling with destiny, and the lengths some will go to find their own and fulfill its promise.

I’m a die-hard Novik fan and was so excited to see that, not only are we getting a collection of short stories from her, but many of them will be set in worlds of hers we’ve already visited! PLUS a glimpse of the world of her next book?! I FEEL SO VERY SPOILED!

Space Oddity (Space Opera #2) by Catherynne M. Valente
Genres: Science Fiction, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Nonbinary MC
Published on: September 24th, 2024

Return to the greatest contest in the galaxy in the sequel to the hilarious USA TODAY bestseller Space Opera from New York Times bestselling author and finalist for the Hugo, Nebula, World Fantasy, and Ursula K. Le Guin awards.

The Metagalactic Grand Prix—part gladiatorial contest, part beauty pageant, part concert extravaganza, and part continuation of the wars of the past returns and the fate of the Earth is once again threatened. The civilizations opposed to humanity have been plotting and want to take down the upstarts. Can humanity rise again in this sequel to the beloved Hugo­ Award–nominated national bestselling Space Opera by New York Times bestselling author Catherynne M. Valente?

Catherynne Valente is one of very few authors I will follow absolutely anywhere – but it certainly doesn’t hurt that this is the sequel to the GLITTERPUNK AWESOMENESS that is Space Opera, aka the Eurovision in space book! I feel so spoiled to be getting another adventure with these characters!!!

The Sapling Cage (Daughters of the Empty Throne #1) by Margaret Killjoy
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Trans MC
Published on: September 24th, 2024

In the gripping first novel in the Daughters of the Empty Throne trilogy, author Margaret Killjoy spins a tale of earth magic, power struggle, and self-invention in an own-voices story of trans witchcraft.

Lorel has always dreamed of becoming a witch: learning magic, fighting monsters, and exploring the world beyond the small town where she and her mother run the stables. Even though a strange plague is killing the trees in the Kingdom of Cekon and witches are being blamed for it, Lorel wants nothing more than to join them. There’s only one problem: all witches are women, and she was born a boy.

When the coven comes to claim her best friend, Lorel disguises herself in a dress and joins in her friend’s place, leaving home and her old self behind. She soon discovers the dark powers threatening the kingdom: a magical blight scars the land, and the power-mad Duchess Helte is crushing everything between her and the crown. In spite of these dangers, Lorel makes friends and begins learning magic from the powerful witches in her coven. However, she fears that her new friends and mentors will find out her secret and kick her out of the coven, or worse.





Killjoy made a fair splash with their Danielle Cain series, but frankly she deserves to be known for SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT (I’m not saying that series isn’t awesome, it is, but so is everything else she’s written!!!) and MY GODS I hope this properly puts them on the map, where she should be!!!

The Village Librarian Demon-Hunting Society by C.M. Waggoner
Genres: Fantasy
Published on: September 24th, 2024

A librarian with a knack for solving murders realizes there is something decidedly supernatural afoot in her little town in this cozy fantasy mystery.

Librarian Sherry Pinkwhistle keeps finding bodies—and solving murders. But she’s concerned by just how many killers she’s had to track down in her quaint village. None of her neighbors seem surprised by the rising body count…but Sherry is becoming convinced that whatever has been causing these deaths is unnatural.

When someone close to Sherry ends up dead, and her cat, Lord Thomas Crowell, becomes possessed by what seems to be an ancient demon, Sherry begins to think she’s going to need to become an exorcist as well as an amateur sleuth. With the help of her town’s new priest, and an assortment of friends who dub themselves the “Demon-Hunting Society,” Sherry will have to solve the murder and get rid of a demon.

This riotous mix of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Murder, She Wrote is a lesson for demons and murderers alike: Never mess with a librarian.

From the cover, and the fact that this has been tagged Contemporary Fantasy, I’m guessing that this will not be set in the world of Waggoner’s previous standalones, Unnatural Magic and The Ruthless Lady’s Guide to Wizardry (my review of the latter is here, but I loved them both!!!) But even if it’s not – it’s Waggoner, which makes it an auto-buy, and would even if that blurb didn’t sound charmingly hilarious (which it does!)

The Naming Song by Jedediah Berry
Genres: Fantasy
Published on: September 24th, 2024

“The Naming Song understands the fundamental magic of language, and breathes that magic onto every page.” –Holly Black, #1 New York Times bestselling author

There’s nothing more dangerous than an unnamed thing

When the words went away, the world changed.

All meaning was lost, and every border fell. Monsters slipped from dreams to haunt the waking while ghosts wandered the land in futile reveries. Only with the rise of the committees of the named–Maps, Ghosts, Dreams, and Names–could the people stand against the terrors of the nameless wilds. They built borders around their world and within their minds, shackled ghosts and hunted monsters, and went to war against the unknown.

For one unnamed courier of the Names Committee, the task of delivering new words preserves her place in a world that fears her. But after a series of monstrous attacks on the named, she is forced to flee her committee and seek her long-lost sister. Accompanied by a patchwork ghost, a fretful monster, and a nameless animal who prowls the shadows, her search for the truth of her past opens the door to a revolutionary future–for the words she carries will reshape the world.

The Naming Song is a book of deep secrets and marvelous discoveries, strange adventures and dangerous truths. It’s the story of a world locked in a battle over meaning. Most of all, it’s the perfect fantasy for anyone who’s ever dreamed of a stranger, freer, more magical world.

I’m just thrilled by how completely unique this premise is – a world where words went away! I WANT TO KNOW WHAT THAT LOOKS LIKE. And the idea that meaning went away – that that broke the barriers between dreams and reality, let the monsters and ghosts in – I love that! Also I, too, would like a job delivering new words to people. That sounds like a Most Amazing task!


The City in Glass by Nghi Vo
Genres: Fantasy
Published on: October 1st, 2024

In this new standalone, Hugo Award-winning author Nghi Vo introduces a beguiling fantasy city in the tradition of Calvino, Mieville, and Le Guin.

A demon. An angel. A city that burns at the heart of the world.

The demon Vitrine—immortal, powerful, and capricious—loves the dazzling city of Azril. She has mothered, married, and maddened the city and its people for generations, and built it into a place of joy and desire, revelry and riot.

And then the angels come, and the city falls.

Vitrine is left with nothing but memories and a book containing the names of those she has lost—and an angel, now bound by her mad, grief-stricken curse to haunt the city he burned.

She mourns her dead and rages against the angel she longs to destroy. Made to be each other’s devastation, angel and demon are destined for eternal battle. Instead, they find themselves locked in a devouring fascination that will change them both forever.

Together, they unearth the past of the lost city and begin to shape its future. But when war threatens Azril and everything they have built, Vitrine and her angel must decide whether they will let the city fall again.

The City in Glass is both a brilliantly constructed history and an epic love story, of death and resurrection, memory and transformation, redemption and desire strong enough to burn a world to ashes and build it anew.

The day I do not FLAIL WITH DELIGHT at the news of a new Nghi Vo book is the day you can call for an exorcist, because clearly someone else is driving this thing. And City in Glass sounds especially amazing: demons! angels!! cooperating to rebuild a city!!! I would be obsessed with this premise even if I didn’t know it would come wrapped in Vo’s exquisite prose – and I do know!!! If I had to choose my most-anticipated out of my most-anticipated, City in Glass would definitely make the top ten!!!

Sargassa by Sophie Burnham
Genres: Speculative Fiction, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Queer MC
Published on: October 3rd, 2024

In a world where Rome never fell, an unlikely group of protagonists are ready to burn down the empire in the first of this new speculative trilogy

In an alternate present where the Roman Empire never fell, Roma Sargassa—or North America—is under Roman rule, and always has been. And the Imperial Historian has just been murdered.

His low-caste son, Arran, and his noble-born daughter, Selah, the new Imperial Historian, are left to pick up the pieces—setting them on a collision course with an undercover rebel group who are determined to steal an ancient artifact called the Iveroa Stone, expose the truth behind the so-called democratic society, and overthrow the Roman Empire.

As Selah begins to unravel the Stone’s mysteries alongside her friends and allies, she must decide what to do with a world-shattering discovery: Roma has not always ruled in Sargassa, as the history books say. And if the Roman Empire could be toppled once, what’s to stop the Sargassans from doing it again?

Equal parts political intrigue, queer romance, and revolution, Sargassa explores gender, sexuality and the racism and classism inherent in the carceral system.

I’m always hopeful for really well-thought-out and interesting worldbuilding in these sorts of alternate-history stories (although can you call it alternate-history when it’s set in our present???) And – a book pulling ancient Rome into the present, that wants to try tackling gender, sexuality, and the prison-system? Specifically the racist and classist aspects of it? I am SOLD!

The Nightmare Before Kissmass (Royals and Romance #1) by Sarah Raasch
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: M/M
Published on: October 8th, 2024

Red, White & Royal Blue meets The Nightmare Before Christmas in a sexy, quirky romcom where the golden-hearted Prince of Christmas falls for the totally off-limits Prince of Halloween.

Nicholas “Coal” Claus used to love Christmas. Until his father, the reigning Santa, turned the holiday into a PR façade. Coal will do anything to escape the spectacle, including getting tangled in a drunken, supremely hot make-out session with a beautiful man behind a seedy bar one night.

But the heir to Christmas is soon commanded to do his duty: he will marry his best friend, Iris, the Easter Princess and his brother’s not-so-secret crush. A situation that has disaster written all over it.

Things go from bad to worse when a rival arrives to challenge Coal for the princess’s hand…and Coal comes face-to-face with his mysterious behind-the-bar hottie: Hex, the Prince of Halloween.

It’s a fake competition between two holiday princes who can’t keep their hands off each other over a marriage of convenience that no one wants. And it all leads to one of the sweetest, sexiest, messiest, most delightfully unforgettable love stories of the year.

Listen. L i s t e n. I am WEAK for stupid puns, okay??? And this sounds like so much FUN! Is this likely to be more romance than fantasy? Yeah, probably. But we all need giggles in our lives, and I suspect there will be plenty in this one, and I am genuinely curious about the holiday kingdoms. (Will they be anything like the ones in Seanan McGuire’s Velveteen Vs. series??? Perhaps!) It’s fantasy enough for me, and I can’t wait to get my hands on it, so ON THE LIST IT GOES!

The Nightward by R.S.A. Garcia
Genres: Fantasy, Science Fantasy
Representation: Caribbean-coded setting and cast
Published on: October 15th, 2024

Sturgeon, Nebula, Locus, and Ignyte awards finalist R.S.A. Garcia’s scifantasy debut novel—the first in a duology—in which Caribbean mythology meets The Witcher, introduces a world where women warrior-magicians rule, and a child princess and her bodyguard must flee an attempted coup and evade the wave of darkness sent to kill her.

For 500 years Gaiea’s Hand has stood as a ward against the Dark. The Age of Chaos is a faded memory. The Goddess has left Gailand and given her Blessing to the Queens to rule in her stead.

Princess Viella of the court of Hamber is the Spirit of Gaiea, presumptive heir to the throne and budding wielder of magic. And yet she’s still a child—not yet ten years old—and a day spent evading her teachers and her dutiful bodyguard, Luka, is much more satisfying than learning about telepathy, illusions, and other spells, or obeying even her mother, the Queen.

There is time enough…until there isn’t.

For the night the Queen hosts the Ceremony to confirm Viella as the next Hand of Gaiea, everything changes for her—in the most horrific way the assassination of Viella’s mother.

Now Viella is Queen.

Luka, despite resenting his position as royal babysitter, does not hesitate. He rushes his charge from the Court and vows to keep her safe. Yet he is unsure how to help a burgeoning Hand of Gaiea, let alone contend with his place as a man in a matriarchal world and the secret that is burning inside him.

Together, they are on the run from darkness in a world where the lines between magic and technology are blurring and it’s up to a child and her protector to bring clarity and light back to the Queendom.

Women warrior-magicians is kind of all you need to say to sell me on a book, but one that’s also giving me Caribbean mythology and child-queens?! Not to mention that it apparently mixes fantasy and sci-fi, which is something we’re slowly starting to see more of and I am SO HAPPY ABOUT IT, because science fantasy rocks.

Legend of the White Snake by Sher Lee
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Queer Chinese MCs, M/M
Published on: October 15th, 2024

A snake spirit transforms into a boy and must hide his true identity after falling for a headstrong prince in this lush, romantic retelling of the traditional Chinese folktale.

When Prince Xian was a boy, a white snake bit his mother and condemned her to a slow, painful death. The only known cure is an elusive spirit pearl—or an antidote created from the rare white snake itself. Desperate and determined, Xian travels to the city of Changle, where an oracle predicted he would find and capture a white snake.

Seven years ago, Zhen, a white snake in the West Lake, consumed a coveted spirit pearl, which gave him special powers—including the ability to change into human form.

In Changle, Xian encounters an enigmatic but beautiful stable boy named Zhen. The two are immediately drawn to each other, but Zhen soon realizes that he is the white snake Xian is hunting. As their feelings grow deeper, will the truth about Zhen’s identity tear them apart?

Another Legend of the White Snake retelling! I’m always going to be here for queer takes on this folktale; keep ’em coming!

Metal From Heaven by August Clarke
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonist
Representation: Queer MC
Published on: October 22nd, 2024

For fans of The Princess Bride and Gideon the Ninth: a bloody lesbian revenge tale and political fantasy set in a glittering world transformed by industrial change – and simmering class warfare.

He who controls ichorite controls the world.

A malleable metal more durable than steel, ichorite is a toxic natural resource fueling national growth, and ambitious industrialist Yann Chauncey helms production of this miraculous ore. Working his foundry is an underclass of destitute workers, struggling to get better wages and proper medical treatment for those exposed to ichorite’s debilitating effects since birth.

One of those luster-touched victims, the child worker Marney Honeycutt, is picketing with her family and best friend when a bloody tragedy unfolds. Chauncey’s strikebreakers open fire.

Only Marney survives.

A decade later, as Yann Chauncey searches for a suitable political marriage for his ward, Marney sees the perfect opportunity for revenge. With the help of radical bandits and their stolen wealth, she must masquerade as an aristocrat to win over the calculating Gossamer Chauncey and kill the man who slaughtered her family and friends. But she is not the only suitor after Lady Gossamer’s hand, leading her to play twisted elitist games of intrigue. And Marney’s luster-touched connection to the mysterious resource and its foundry might put her in grave danger – or save her from it.

H. A. Clarke’s adult fantasy debut, writing as August Clarke, Metal From Heaven is a caustic, dizzying eco-fantasy that addresses labor politics, corporate greed, and the relentless grind of capitalism, while also embodying a visceral lesbian revenge quest against the people and institutions who control and oppress the helpless.

“A riotous phantasmagoria that epitomizes the phrase ‘be gay, do crime.'” – Melinda Borie, Collection Development Librarian, Floyd County Library (New Albany, IN)

After the Scapegracers trilogy, I will read absolutely anything Clarke writes, and that definitely includes their Adult debut! Does it sound completely different from Scapegracers? Yes, yes it does. Does that bother me? Not in the slightest. Political fantasy – a lesbian revenge quest – industrial change in a fantasy setting? WHY WOULD I NOT IMMEDIATELY GO FERAL FOR THAT?! Seriously cannot wait!!!

Especially after this twitter thread, where Clarke gave us more info about the book!!! And the excerpt posted with the cover reveal!!!

Don’t Let the Forest In by CG Drews
Genres: Fantasy, Horror, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Asexual MC
Published on: October 29th, 2024

As alluring as it is unsettling, award-winning author CG Drews’ debut YA psychological horror will leave readers breathless and hesitant to venture deeper into the woods.

Once upon a time, Andrew had cut out his heart and given it to this boy, and he was very sure Thomas had no idea that Andrew would do anything for him. Protect him. Lie for him.

Kill for him.

High school senior Andrew Perrault finds refuge in the twisted fairytales that he writes for the only person who can ground him to reality—Thomas Rye, the boy with perpetually ink-stained hands and hair like autumn leaves. And with his twin sister, Dove, inexplicably keeping him at a cold distance upon their return to Wickwood Academy, Andrew finds himself leaning on his friend even more.

But something strange is going on with Thomas. His abusive parents have mysteriously vanished, and he arrives at school with blood on his sleeve. Thomas won’t say a word about it, and shuts down whenever Andrew tries to ask him questions. Stranger still, Thomas is haunted by something, and he seems to have lost interest in his artwork—whimsically macabre sketches of the monsters from Andrew’s wicked stories.

Desperate to figure out what’s wrong with his friend, Andrew follows Thomas into the off-limits forest one night and catches him fighting a nightmarish monster—Thomas’s drawings have come to life and are killing anyone close to him. To make sure no one else dies, the boys battle the monsters every night. But as their obsession with each other grows stronger, so do the monsters, and Andrew begins to fear that the only way to stop the creatures might be to destroy their creator…

Well, this sounds bloody marvellous. I love stories where art starts coming to life, and IntenseTM relationships where characters would kill for each other? And all of this coming from CG Drews, of all people??? This is gonna ROCK!


The Moonstone Covenant by Jill Hammer
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: sapphic MC, polyamory/group marriage, F/F/F/F
Published on: November 5th, 2024

The story of four women who set out to uncover the secret origins of an intricate, magical city—and to change its fate.

Istehar Sha’an, whose unique powers allow her to communicate with trees and books, has led her community of refugee forest people to a remarkable place. In the archipelago-city of Moonstone, the Sha’an people find themselves in an extraordinary, multicultural metropolis that houses the Library: the world’s all-encompassing repository of wisdom. But in their search for a new home, the refugees soon garner the suspicion of Moonstone’s locals, who forbid their magical practices. And when a hostile prince makes a bid to inherit the city’s rule from his father, Istehar and her people realize they may be faced with exile—or worse. Meanwhile, Istehar has married three wives of Moonstone—a brave warrior librarian, a subtle-minded former concubine, and a tenacious apothecary who has spent years trying to solve her parents’ murder. Driven by magical intuition and guided by a mysterious book, Istehar and her wives embark on a journey that will transform not only their lives, but the city of Moonstone itself.

Hi, I love everything about this??? A main character whose power lets her TALK TO TREES AND BOOKS?! Archipelago-cities! A library that contains the knowledge of a whole WORLD! And, sorry – did I read that correctly??? Our MC marries THREE WOMEN?! Are you kidding me??? I NEED THIS YESTERDAY!!!

Interstellar Megachef (Flavour Hacker #1) by Lavanya Lakshminarayan
Genres: Science Fiction
Representation: brown MC (probably Desi)
Published on: November 5th, 2024

Masterchef in Space! A fun, satirical, thought-provoking novel by the critically-acclaimed author of The Ten-Percent Thief

Looking for your one shot to rise to the “top of the pots” in the cutthroat world of interstellar cuisine? Look no further—you might have what it takes to be an Interstellar MegaChef!

Stepping off a long-haul star freighter from Earth, Saras Kaveri has one bag of clothes, her little flying robot Kili… and an invitation to compete in the galaxy’s most watched, most prestigious cooking show. Interstellar MegaChef is the showcase of the planet Primus’s austere, carefully synthesised cuisine. No-one from Earth—where they’re so incredibly primitive they still cook with fire—has ever graced its flowmetal cookstations before, or smiled awkwardly for its buzzing drone-cams. Until now.

Corporate prodigy Serenity Ko, inventor of the smash-hit sim SoundSpace, has just got messily drunk at a floating bar, narrowly escaped an angry mob and been put on two weeks’ mandatory leave to rest and get her work-life balance back. Perfect time to start a new project! And she’s got just the idea: a sim for food. Now she just needs someone to teach her how to cook.

A chance meeting in the back of a flying cab has Saras and Serenity Ko working together on a new technology that could change the future of food—and both their lives—forever…

I will always show up for a spec-fic foodie book!!! And this one sounds marvellous; I already know I’m going to love Kili, just from its name, and an underdog-Earthling competing in the galaxy’s biggest cooking show? Um, SO MUCH YES?! With bonus diaspora and probably colonial themes? I expect GREAT DELICIOUSNESS!

The Teller of Small Fortunes by Julie Leong
Genres: Fantasy
Representation: East Asian-coded MC, asexual rep
Published on: November 5th, 2024

A wandering fortune teller finds an unexpected family in this warm and wonderful debut fantasy, perfect for readers of Travis Baldree and Sangu Mandanna.

Tao is an immigrant fortune teller, traveling between villages with just her trusty mule for company. She only tells “small” fortunes: whether it will hail next week; which boy the barmaid will kiss; when the cow will calve. She knows from bitter experience that big fortunes come with big consequences…

Even if it’s a lonely life, it’s better than the one she left behind. But a small fortune unexpectedly becomes something more when a (semi) reformed thief and an ex-mercenary recruit her into their desperate search for a lost child. Soon, they’re joined by a baker with a knead for adventure, and—of course—a slightly magical cat.

Tao sets down a new path with companions as big-hearted as her fortunes are small. But as she lowers her walls, the shadows of her past are closing in—and she’ll have to decide whether to risk everything to preserve the family she never thought she could have.

This sounds sweet and wonderful and I am utterly charmed. UTTERLY. And the excerpt (linked below) sealed the deal for me – this is going to be so wonderful to snuggle down with and read while it’s cold out!

You can read an excerpt here!

The Lotus Empire (The Burning Kingdoms #3) by Tasha Suri
Genres: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Desi-coded setting & cast, F/F
Published on: November 12th, 2024

Malini has claimed her rightful throne as the empress of Parijatdvipa, just as the nameless gods prophesied. Now, in order to gain the support of the priesthood who remain loyal to the fallen emperor, she must consider a terrible bargain: Claim her throne and burn in order to seal her legacy-or find another willing to take her place on the pyre.

Priya has survived the deathless waters and now their magic runs in her veins. But a mysterious yaksa with flowering eyes and a mouth of thorns lies beneath the waters. The yaksa promises protection for Ahiranya. But in exchange, she needs a sacrifice. And she’s chosen Priya as the one to offer it.

Two women once entwined by fate now stand against each other for the sake of their respective homes. But when a new enemy rises, they will once again find themselves fighting together to prevent their kingdoms, and their futures, from burning to ash.

The Lotus Empire brings Tasha Suri’s acclaimed Burning Kingdoms trilogy to a heart-stopping close. As an ancient magic returns to Ahiranya and threatens its very foundations, Empress Malini and priestess Priya will stop at nothing to save their kingdom-even if it means they must destroy each other.

It’s the final book in the Burning Kingdoms trilogy!!! As someone who enjoyed the second book even more than the first, I am FLAILING at the thought of the final showdown. AHHHHHH! This is totally gonna break me, isn’t it??? Yeah, probably. THAT’S NOT GONNA STOP ME DIVING IN THOUGH.

I Am the Dark That Answers When You Call (I Feed Her to the Beast #2) by Jamison Shea
Genres: Fantasy, Urban or Contemporary Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Black bisexual MC
Published on: November 12th, 2024

Monsters and mortals, rejoice! Acheron is back . . .

Though Laure has tried to close the lid on her ballet shoes and the feelings she once held for dance since the Palais Garnier incident two months ago, Laure is spinning out. Between partying, drinking, and avoiding anything and, well, everyone, she has no time to be anything but a monster. But when Laure stumbles across a mysterious dead body during one of her nights out, she’s forced to notice the cracks stretching beyond herself.

Below the streets of Paris, Elysium is dying, and Acheron and Lethe’s influence is spilling into the streets like a blight. Laure isn’t the only of Elysium’s beasts to rise from the ruins of Palais Garnier, and someone is mobilizing an army of monsters with plans greater than Laure, Andor, and Keturah could have ever guessed. While Laure is warring between her wants and Acheron’s ever-demanding appetite, she and her circle of monsters are left to reckon with a not-so-simple question: how do you save yourself from oblivion?

Jamison Shea’s sharp and unflinching voice will bring readers to terrifying new heights in this vicious sequel to the “relentlessly gory and almost euphoric in its embrace of the horrific” (NPR) I Feed Her to the Beast and the Beast is Me.

I ADORED I Feed Her to the Beast and the Beast is Me – and I had no idea we were getting a sequel!!! The stakes sound MUCH higher this time around, and I’m so excited to get to see Laure and her ‘circle of monsters’ again!

Witch Queen of Redwinter (The Redwinter Chronicles #3) by Ed McDonald
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Bisexual MC, sapphic love interest
Published on: November 12th, 2024

The conclusion to Ed McDonanld’s Chronicles of Redwinter, full of shady politics, militant monks, ancient powers… and a young woman navigating a world in which no one is quite what they seem.

Raine and her closest allies have left the world behind them, borne through into the ever-changing Fault, a nightmare land of deformed, monstrous spirits and creatures of legend that have been trapped there for centuries. Even as they struggle to find a way to free themselves from the dark powers that trap them there, they are drawn towards a dark city on the horizon – a city that never draws closer no matter how long they pursue it. Allies are hard to find, and the dark king of the Fault is never far from their heels, whispering darkness and reaching with inhuman limbs to bear them down into the darkness. Raine seeks the Queen of Feathers, but her guide and mentor has gone strangely silent.

But the world that Raine, Esher and Sanvaunt left behind now teeters on the brink of destruction. The Crown is unbound, violent disasters break the earth, and the creatures and corrupting magic of the Fault pour through. Worse, Ovitus LacNaithe, the Traitor of Redwinter, has seized power, unaware that he is being manipulated by the Fault’s dark master, Iddin, who would merge his prison with the true world above if it meant he can escape it. Raine must tear her soul in two to fight the battle on both fronts, existing in both the world above and the world below simultaneously, meeting her other self only in dreams. For she knows that she is the only one who has the power to reactivate the dead Crowns, and only through mastering the terrible necromantic power within her can she do so. She must go beyond morality, beyond humanity, and become the very dark queen she has always feared she could be. Only she can stop the enemies of the world both above it, and in the hellish Fault below.

This is another one where we don’t have a blurb for yet – and yet again, I couldn’t care less, because hi, THE ENDING OF THE LAST BOOK?! WE NOW HAVE A BLURB AND IT IS A THING OF BEAUTY! This trilogy has taken over my brain from day one, and I am both terrified of and elated for the epic conclusion to it. McDonald is on my auto-buy list forever after this series!


Rebel Blade by Davinia Evans
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Queer MC, nonbinary secondary character
Published on: December 3rd, 2024

The satisfying conclusion to Davinia Evans’s wickedly entertaining debut fantasy trilogy that follows our favorite irreverent alchemists, high society ladies, and swashbuckling street gangs as they wrestle with the nature of reality itself. 

Magic has awoken in the Mundane, but it’s not all fun and games. Creatures of myth have begun to plague Bezim and what’s more, the people have begin to turn against Siyon Velo, the Alchemist, at a time where they need him most. Even if they don’t believe it. 

Meanwhile, Anahid Savani has been successfully hiding her identity as the baroness of a brothel, known to Bezim as a Flower House. But curious eyes come aplenty among the high society ladies she belongs to by day and secrets can only be kept for so long. 

All the while, her sister Zagiri Savani is making her introduction to high society. But failure might be her only future if Siyon and Anahid’s reputations precede her. 

After how Shadow Baron ended, I am VIBRATING with excitement for the finale of this trilogy! (Even while I don’t want this series to end!) Sia neeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeds!

Sister Snake by Amanda Lee Koe
Genres: Fantasy, Urban or Contemporary Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: Chinese MCs, sapphic Chinese MC
Published on: December 3rd, 2024

A glittering, bold, darkly funny novel about two sisters—one in New York, one in Singapore—who are bound by an ancient secret

Sisterhood is difficult for Su and Emerald. Su leads a sheltered, moneyed life as the picture-perfect wife of a conservative politician in Singapore. Emerald is a nihilistic sugar baby in New York, living from whim to whim as she freely uses her beauty and charms to make ends meet.

But they share a secret: once they were snakes, basking under a full moon in Tang Dynasty China. A thousand years later, their mysterious history is the only thing still binding them together.

When Emerald experiences a violent encounter in Central Park, and Su boards the next flight to New York, the two reach a tenuous reconciliation for the first time in decades. Su convinces Emerald to move to Singapore so she can keep an eye on her—but she soon begins to worry that Emerald’s irrepressible behavior will out them both in an affluent city where everything runs like clockwork, but no deviation from the norm can be tolerated.

Dark, hilarious, razor-sharp, and raw in emotion, Sister Snake explores chosen family, queerness, passing, and the struggle against conformity. Boldly reimagining the Chinese folktale the Legend of the White Snake, this is a novel about being seen for who you are—and, ultimately, how to live free. 

We’ve had some beautiful depictions of Legend of the White Snake, and this sounds like it’s going to be a wonderful addition to them! It’s certainly ticking my box for themes – ‘chosen family, queerness, passing, and the struggle against conformity’! I mean, I bet conformity is hard when you’re really a magical snake…!

North is the Night by Emily Rath
Genres: Fantasy, Queer Protagonists
Representation: sapphic MCs, F/F
Published on: December 24th, 2024

From bestselling and popular TikTok author Emily Rath, a new romantic fantasy with adventure, intrigue, and two young women who defy the gods.

Inspired by Finnish folklore, this duology is perfect for fans of The Witch’s Heart by Genevieve Gornichec and Jennifer L. Armentrout.

In the Finnish wilderness, more than wolves roam the dark forests. For Siiri and her best friend Aina, summer’s fading light is a harbinger of unwelcome change. Land-hungry Swedes venture north, threatening the peace; a zealous Christian priest denounces the old ways; and young women have begun to disappear.

Bold and resilient, Siiri vows to protect Aina from danger. But even Siiri cannot stop a death goddess from dragging her friend to Tuonela, the mythical underworld. Determined to save Aina, Siiri braves a dangerous journey north to seek the greatest shaman of legend, the only person to venture to the realm of death and return alive.

In Tuonela, the cruel Witch Queen turns Aina’s every waking moment into a living nightmare. But armed with compassion and cleverness, Aina learns the truth of her capture: the king of the underworld himself has plans for her. To return home, Aina must make a costly bargain—even as Siiri plots a daring rescue.

In this sweeping fantasy adventure perfect for fans of Katherine Arden, Naomi Novik, and H.M. Long, hope and love can conquer even death itself.

Sapphics and Finnish mythology?! SIA HAS A MIGHTY NEED!!! And – does Erewhon Press know the 24th of December is when they open Christmas gifts in Finland??? Was that date chosen with that in mind??? Is North is the Night our Christmas present??? Because I will totally take it!!!

I am sure there will be many, many more incredible books in 2024 than the ones I’ve gathered here, but I think we can already say it will be another most excellent book year!

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8 responses to “Unmissable Fantasy & SciFi of 2024!

  1. Totally agree about starting the year off with a new Wayward Children book! I’m going to be sad when the series wraps up 🥲 I don’t have a lot of 2024 releases on my TBR, so I’m happy to add THE BUTCHER OF THE FOREST, and then maybe I’ll check back in a few months to see what else is coming up.

    • Sia

      I’ll be so heartbroken when the Wayward Children series is over – how will we start our years then?! But as far as I know, Seanan McGuire hasn’t announced she’ll be wrapping them up any time soon…

      I hope we both enjoy Butcher! 😀

  2. mags

    Thanks for creating this list! I found it very useful in adding new books to my TBR. I hadn’t heard of “Shoestring Theory” or “The Teller of Small Fortunes” yet and those both sound very interesting.

    • Sia

      You’re welcome, I had such fun making it! And I update it all the time, so you can check back later to see if new books have been added!

  3. Ann

    Awesome list, thank you so much for compiling this, and helpfully linking to your reviews!

    I just discovered your blog this evening, and have already spent a few hours reading through some of your older reviews. I find them so thoughtful and informative! You are clearly very well-read and have brought my attention to less hyped up books that I otherwise probably would never have come across. And I also really appreciate that you include such detailed notes on the representation in the books. (And a smaller note, I also really appreciate the organized tagging system, it made finding older reviews I’m interested in much easier.) So glad I found this blog! Thank you again!

    • Sia

      You are so welcome – thank you for such a wonderful comment! I’m so happy you’ve been enjoying my blog – even better if you found some books you hadn’t heard of before! Pretty sure that’s every book blogger’s dream 😀 And really glad you appreciate the representation notes and the tags – I work hard on both, so I’m glad they’re of use!

      Seriously, thank you so much – this comment made my week <3

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