So. 2020 is nearly over, and while the turning of the year won’t solve many of our problems, ringing in the new year gives us all a chance to shake off the old one and feel like we can start anew. While the rest of the year was pretty much a dumpster fire, I read a lot of great books and made new friends in the book community. And thanks to the book community, I’ve come across a flock of 2021 science fiction and fantasy releases that I’m looking forward to.
- Hall of Smoke by H.M. Long
Due out January 19 by Titan Books
Hessa is a warrior priestess of the Goddess of War. She has the ability to turn an enemy’s bones to dust with a scream. But after she refuses the Goddesses order to kill a traveler, Hessa is banished to a hillside where she must pray for forgiveness. While she is gone, warriors from the north and an army from the south ravage the countryside, killing her family and the rest of the Goddess’s priestesses. Alone and beset by zealots, Hessa must find a path to redemption and revenge.
- The Forever Sea by Joshua Phillip Johnson
Due out January 19 from Daw Books
In a world covered by an endless sea of prairie grass, heathfire keepers are responsible for keeping afloat the great ships that sail this great grass sea. Kindred Greyreach, hearthfire keeper and new crewmember of The Errant is just beginning to fit in when tragic news reaches her: her grandmother stepped off her own ship and disappeared into the grass sea. But the note Kindred receives makes her think that her grandmother’s death was not a suicide. To find answers, Kindred must plunge into conflicts she could never imagine and find out just how much she is willing to sacrifice to find the truth in the depths of the Forever Sea.
- The Witch’s Heart by Genevieve Gornichec
Due out February 9 by Ace Books
After being nearly burned alive as a punishment for refusing to give the god Odin knowledge of the future, the witch Angrboda is driven, injured and powerless, into a remote forest. There, she meets and ultimately falls in love with a man who reveals himself to be the god Loki. Their union results in three unusual children with strange destinies. Angrboda is eager to keep them away from all-seeing Odin, but as her prophetic powers slowly return to her, Angrboda sees that her quiet life– and perhaps all of creation– is at risk. With help from the fierces warrior woman, Skadi, Angrboda must decide if she will accept the fate she sees before her, or if she’ll dare to make the world anew.
- The Councillor by E.J. Beaton
Due out March 2nd from DAW
In this Machiavellian fantasy, scholarly Lysande Prior investigates the murder of her friend, Queen Sarelin Bray, ruler of Elira, even as she is the one who must choose the next ruler from the ruthless city rulers. Though she is of a scholarly bent, Lysande cannot let go of a hidden addiction or her growing taste for power as she engages in ruthless strategy with the city rulers. But far away, the magic-wielding White Queen is raising an army and becoming an ever-growing threat to Elira.
- Odin’s Child (Ravneringene #1) by Siri Pettersen
Due March 23 from Arctis
In this Norwegian fantasy novel newly translated into English, fifteen year old Hirka has always been an outsider, and her differences only become greater the closer she comes to The Rite, when the all-knowing Seer blesses the people and the powerful families who rule in his name. With only weeks left before the Rite, Hirka discovers that she is tailless and mightless– she is from another world. As an infant, she was brought through the Raven Ring, and as long as she remains in Ym, terrifying creatures can enter into the world.
- Fugitive Telemetry (The Murderbot Diaries #6) by Martha Wells
Due out April 27 from Tor
When a dead human body is discovered on Preservation Station, Murderbot knows it will have to aid station security to figure out who the body was, how they were killed, and why. This means Murderbot will have to do the unthinkable: voluntarily speak to humans. Again.
- A Master of Djinn (Fatma el-Sha’arawi #3) by P. Djèlí Clark
Due out May 11 from Tor
Cairo, 1912: Though Fatma is a young investigator for the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities, she’s no rookie, especially after everything she’s done in past year or so. So when a secret brotherhood is murdered Fatma is tasked with the investigation. The brotherhood was dedicated to one of the most famous men in the world, al-Jihaz, who opened up the veil between the magical and mundane worlds fifty years earlier. The murderer claims to be al-Jihaz reborn, and he is bringing chaos to the streets of Cairo and potentially to the world at large. Along with her clever girlfriend and Ministry associates, Fatma must figure out who the impostor really is– or face the notion that he may be exactly who he says he is.
The Kingdoms by Natasha Pulley
Due out May 25 from Bloomsbury Publishing
In an alternate history where England is a French colony, a man named Joe Tournier is suffering from amnesia. The only thing he knows about his identity comes from a century-old Scottish postcard, written in the forbidden language of English, signed only as “M”. Joe goes in search of M in order to discover more than one identity, and in so doing, will change the course of history forever.
- The Witness for the Dead (The Goblin Emperor #2) by Katherine Addison
Due out June 22 from Tor
In The Goblin Emperor, the young Emperor Edrihasivar the Seventh turned to a Witness for the Dead, one Thara Celehar, to find the ones responsible for the death of the previous emperor and his three elder sons. Now, living in self-imposed exile far from the imperial court, Celehar quietly serves the people as best he may. But his fundamental honesty prevents him from letting go of injustice, no matter who the criminal may be or what it may cost him.