As we approach midwinter, you’ll need some engrossing new reads to keep you warm until spring! You could delve into fantasy intrigue through the eyes of bastard-orphan-turned-royal-heir Kihrin in Jenn Lyons’ The Ruin of Kings, or through the nose of the enigmatic Tracker in Marlon James’ Black Leopard, Red Wolf—both the start of epic new series. Or maybe this February you’re feeling soft-hearted about such misunderstood creatures as the Beast or Sasquatch. Peruse this month’s new fantasy releases, from haunted tram cars to haunted pork processing plants, from L.E. Modesitt, Jr.’s 12th Imager novel to Ann Leckie’s first fantasy adventure—and get started on that blanket fort. Lord knows you’ve got enough in your TBR stacks for the foundations.
Keep track of all the new releases here. Note: All title summaries are taken and/or summarized from copy provided by the publisher.
Smoke and Summons (Numina #1)—Charlie N. Holmberg (February 1, 47North)
As a human vessel for an ancient spirit, Sandis lives no ordinary life. At the command of her master, she can be transformed against her will into his weapon—a raging monster summoned to do his bidding. Unlike other vessels, Sandis can host extremely powerful spirits, but hosting such creatures can be fatal. To stay alive, she must run. And in a city fueled by smoke and corruption, she finds a surprising ally. A cunning thief for hire, Rone owns a rare device that grants him immortality for one minute every day—a unique advantage that will come in handy in Sandis’s fight for freedom. But Sandis’s master knows how powerful she is. He’s determined to get her back, and he has the manpower to find her, wherever she runs. Now, to outwit her pursuers, Sandis must put all her trust in Rone and his immortal device. For her master has summoned more than mere men to hunt her down…
Wild Life—Molly Gloss (February 5, Saga Press)
Set among lava sinkholes and logging camps at the fringe of the Northwest frontier in the early 1900s, Wild Life is the story—both real and imagined—of the free-thinking, cigar-smoking, trouser-wearing Charlotte Bridger Drummond, who pens dime-store women’s adventure stories. One day, when a little girl gets lost in the woods, Charlotte anxiously joins the search. When she becomes lost in the dark and tangled woods, she finds herself face to face with a mysterious band of mountain giants… or more commonly known as Sasquatch. With great assurance and skill, Molly Gloss blends “heady cerebral satisfactions, gorgeous prose, and page-turning adventure” (Karen Joy Fowler, bestselling author of We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves), and puts a new spin on a classic piece of American folklore.
Break the Bodies, Haunt the Bones—Micah Dean Hicks (February 5, John Joseph Adams/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Almost everyone in Swine Hill is haunted. Jane’s ghost tells her what everyone around her is thinking, even when she doesn’t want to know. The lonely spirit possessing her mother burns anyone she touches. Her brother Henry’s genius ghost forces him to build strange and dangerous machines. When pig people appear in town, taking precious jobs at the pork processing plant and enraging the spirits, Jane knows her brother’s ghost has something to do with it. As Swine Hill’s violent tide of dead begins tearing the town apart, Jane will have to find a way to save her haunted family and escape the town before it kills her.
Black Leopard, Red Wolf (Dark Star #1)—Marlon James (February 5, Riverhead Books)
Tracker is known far and wide for his skills as a hunter: “He has a nose,” people say. Engaged to track down a mysterious boy who disappeared three years earlier, Tracker breaks his own rule of always working alone when he finds himself part of a group that comes together to search for the boy. The band is a hodgepodge, full of unusual characters with secrets of their own, including a shape-shifting man-animal known as Leopard. As Tracker follows the boy’s scent—from one ancient city to another; into dense forests and across deep rivers—he and the band are set upon by creatures intent on destroying them. As he struggles to survive, Tracker starts to wonder: Who, really, is this boy? Why has he been missing for so long? Why do so many people want to keep Tracker from finding him? And perhaps the most important questions of all: Who is telling the truth, and who is lying?
The Ruin of Kings (A Chorus of Dragons #1)—Jenn Lyons (February 5, Tor Books)
Kihrin is a bastard orphan who grew up on storybook tales of long-lost princes and grand quests. When he is claimed against his will as the long-lost son of a treasonous prince, Kihrin finds that being a long-lost prince isn’t what the storybooks promised. Far from living the dream, Kihrin finds himself practically a prisoner, at the mercy of his new family’s power plays and ambitions. He also discovers that the storybooks have lied about a lot of other things too: dragons, demons, gods, prophecies, true love, and how the hero always wins. Then again, maybe he’s not the hero, for Kihrin is not destined to save the empire. He’s destined to destroy it.
Strife’s Bane (Shattered Kingdoms #3)—Evie Manieri (February 5, Tor Books)
Once known as the Mongrel, Lahlil had only one purpose then: to reap blood and carnage for those who paid the right price. And though the ravages of past wars haunted her every waking moment, when Lahlil was called upon to lead the rebellion against Norlanders—telepathic and bloodthirsty invaders who conquered Shadari lands and enslaved their people to the mines—she delivered. Then she ran. Now, Lahlil must return to Shadar to save the person she loves the most and rebuild. What she finds first is a kingdom that has devolved to political discord, with an old enemy’s ships sailing just beyond the horizon.
Endgames (Imager #12)—L.E. Modesitt, Jr. (February 5, Tor Books)
Solidar is in chaos. Charyn, the young and untested ruler of Solidar, has survived assassination, and he struggles to gain control of a realm in the grip of social upheaval, war, and rioting. Solidar cannot be allowed to slide into social and political turmoil that will leave the High Holders with their ancient power and privilege, and the common people with nothing. But the stakes are even higher than he realizes.
Sisters of the Fire (Daughters of the Storm #2)—Kim Wilkins (February 5, Del Rey)
Four years have passed since the five royal sisters—daughters of the king—worked together to restore their father to health and to the throne while fracturing the bonds among themselves almost irreparably. Only Bluebell remains at home, dutifully serving as heir to her father’s kingdom. Rose has been cast aside by her former husband and hides in exile with her aunt, separated forever from her beloved daughter, Rowan. Ash wanders the distant wastes with her teacher, learning magic and hunting dragons, determined that the dread fate she has foreseen for herself and her loved ones never comes to pass. Ivy rules over a prosperous seaport, married to an aged husband she hates yet finding delight in her two young sons and a handsome captain of the guard. And as for Willow, she hides the most dangerous secret of all—one that could destroy all that the sisters once sought to save.
Fog Season (Tales of Port Saint Frey #2)—Patrice Sarath (February 5, Angry Robot)
After the shocking events of last summer, the high society of Port Saint Frey has plenty to gossip about. Who was the Gentleman Bandit? Why hasn’t he been captured? And what really happened that night when the Guildmaster disappeared? When the Guild hires Abel Fresnel, a detective with special powers of his own, to find the answers, Tesara and Yvienne Mederos have to avoid his probing questions and keep mum about their role in the events of that dark night. Everything’s more or less under control until a dead man turns up in the dumbwaiter…
House of Assassins (Saga of the Forgotten Warrior #2)—Larry Correia (February 5, Baen)
Ashok Vidal, Protector-turned-political-pawn, and the Sons of the Black Sword march to rescue Thera, a member of the Warrior Order struck with the Voice and spirited away to the House of Assassins by a shapeshifting wizard with designs on her powers. With his ancestor sword Angruvadal, Ashok was unstoppable. But Angruvadal is gone, shattered to pieces on the demon possessed husk of a warrior. Now, Ashok must fight without the aid of the magic blade for the first time. Thera’s life depends on it. But there is much more at risk in the continent of Lok. Strange forces are working behind the scenes. Ashok Vidal and the Sons of the Black Sword are caught up in a game they do not fully understand, with powerful forces allied against them. Ashok no longer knows what to believe. He is beginning to think perhaps the gods really do exist. If so, he’s warned them to stay out of his way. They would do well to listen.
The Ingenious—Darius Hinks (February 5, Angry Robot)
Thousands of years ago, the city of Athanor was set adrift in time and space by alchemists, called “the Curious Men”. Ever since, it has accumulated cultures, citizens and species into a vast, unmappable metropolis. Isten and her gang of half-starved political exiles live off petty crime and gangland warfare in Athanor’s seediest alleys. Though they dream of returning home to lead a glorious revolution, Isten’s downward spiral drags them into a mire of addiction and violence. Isten must find a way to save the exiles and herself if they are ever to build a better, fairer world for the people of their distant homeland.
Early Riser—Jasper Fforde (February 12, Viking)
Every Winter, the human population hibernates. During those bitterly cold four months, the nation is a snow-draped landscape of desolate loneliness, devoid of human activity. Well, not quite. Your name is Charlie Worthing and it’s your first season with the Winter Consuls, the committed but mildly unhinged group of misfits who are responsible for ensuring the hibernatory safe passage of the sleeping masses. You are investigating an outbreak of viral dreams which you dismiss as nonsense; nothing more than a quirky artefact borne of the sleeping mind. When the dreams start to kill people, it’s unsettling. When you get the dreams too, it’s weird. When they start to come true, you begin to doubt your sanity. But teasing truth from the Winter is never easy: You have to avoid the Villains and their penchant for murder, kidnapping, and stamp collecting, ensure you aren’t eaten by Nightwalkers, whose thirst for human flesh can only be satisfied by comfort food, and sidestep the increasingly less-than-mythical WinterVolk. But so long as you remember to wrap up warmly, you’ll be fine.
The Beast’s Heart—Leife Shallcross (February 12, Ace)
I am neither monster nor man—yet I am both. I am the Beast. He is a broken, wild thing, his heart’s nature exposed by his beastly form. Long ago cursed with a wretched existence, the Beast prowls the dusty hallways of his ruined château with only magical, unseen servants to keep him company—until a weary traveler disturbs his isolation. Bewitched by the man’s dreams of his beautiful daughter, the Beast devises a plan to lure her to the château. There, Isabeau courageously exchanges her father’s life for her own and agrees to remain with the Beast for a year. But even as their time together weaves its own spell, the Beast finds winning Isabeau’s love is only the first impossible step in breaking free from the curse . . .
The Haunting of Tram Car 015—P. Djèlí Clark (February 19, Tor.com Publishing)
Cairo, 1912: The case started as a simple one for the Ministry of Alchemy, Enchantments and Supernatural Entities—handling a possessed tram car. Soon, however, Agent Hamed Nasr and his new partner Agent Onsi Youssef are exposed to a new side of Cairo stirring with suffragettes, secret societies, and sentient automatons in a race against time to protect the city from an encroaching danger that crosses the line between the magical and the mundane.
Where Oblivion Lives—T. Frohock (February 19, Harper Voyager)
Born of daimon and angel, Diago Alvarez is a being unlike all others. The embodiment of dark and light, he has witnessed the good and the horror of this world and those beyond. In the supernatural war between angels and daimons that will determine humankind’s future, Diago has chosen Los Nefilim, the sons and daughters of angels who possess the power to harness music and light. As the forces of evil gather, Diago must locate the Key, the special chord that will unite the nefilim’s voices, giving them the power to avert the coming civil war between the Republicans and Franco’s Nationalists. Finding the Key will save Spain from plunging into darkness. And for Diago, it will resurrect the anguish caused by a tragedy he experienced in a past life. But someone—or something—is determined to stop Diago in his quest and will use his history to destroy him and the nefilim. Hearing his stolen Stradivarius played through the night, Diago is tormented by nightmares about his past life. Each incarnation strengthens the ties shared by the nefilim, whether those bonds are of love or hate… or even betrayal. To retrieve the violin, Diago must journey into enemy territory… and face an old nemesis and a fallen angel bent on revenge.
For the Killing of Kings—Howard Andrew Jones (February 19, St. Martin’s Press)
Their peace was a fragile thing, but it had endured for seven years, mostly because the people of Darassus and the king of the Naor hordes believed his doom was foretold upon the edge of the great sword hung in the hall of champions. Unruly Naor clans might raid across the border, but the king himself would never lead his people to war so long as the blade remained in the hands of his enemies. But when squire Elenai’s aging mentor uncovers evidence that the sword in their hall is a forgery she’s forced to flee Darassus for her life, her only ally the reckless, disillusioned Kyrkenall the archer. Framed for murder and treason, pursued by the greatest heroes of the realm, they race to recover the real sword, only to stumble into a conspiracy that leads all the way back to the Darassan queen and her secretive advisors. They must find a way to clear their names and set things right, all while dodging friends determined to kill them—and the Naor hordes, invading at last with a new and deadly weapon.
Gates of Stone (Lord of the Islands #1)—Angus Macallan (February 19, Ace)
An emperor’s daughter who will not be denied. Just before her sixteenth birthday, Princess Katerina is refused her rightful place as heir to the Empire of the Ice-Bear—solely because of her sex. Determined to regain her inheritance, she murders the foreign lord she’s been ordered to marry and embarks on a perilous voyage to the lush, tropical islands of the Laut Besar in search of the vast wealth and power she needs to claim the Empire for herself. A prince forced to take a stand. On a small island kingdom, Prince Arjun’s idyllic life is shattered when a malignant sorcerer invades, slaughters his people and steals the sacred sword of Jun’s ancestors. With his royal father dead and his palace in ruins, Jun reluctantly tracks the sorcerer and the magical blade far across the pirate-infested waters of the Laut Besar. A sorcerer seeking to destroy the world. Long ago the powerful relics known as the Seven Keys were used to safely lock away the terrifying evils of the Seven Hells. With Jun’s ancient sword in his grasp, the sorcerer Mangku has claimed the first Key, and begun his mission to unleash catastrophe upon the land. As the destinies of these three entwine in the lawless islands of the Laut Besar, the fate of humanity hangs in the balance. For if the sorcerer cannot be stopped, the world itself will be unmade…
Firstborn (House War #7)—Michelle West (February 19, DAW)
Jewel ATerafin has never wanted to be a power. What she truly wants, she built in the streets of the poorer holdings. To protect what she built, to protect what she values above all else, she has accepted that power is necessary. But with power comes responsibility. Jewel has forced herself to do what would have once been unthinkable: She has surrendered her den-kin, Carver, to the wilderness, because she must if she is to have any hope of saving the rest of her family, and the city in which they dwell. But she cannot leave him with nothing. Into his hands, she has placed the single, blue leaf that came from the wilderness and the dreaming combined. She doesn’t know what it does or what it was meant to do—but it is the most powerful item on her person, and it is the only thing she can leave him. That leaf, however, was created to serve a purpose that Jewel does not understand. Nor does Carver, who now possesses it. With Ellerson by his side, Carver intends to traverse the wild Winter in an attempt to reach home—and the people who are waiting for him. There are those who do understand the significance of Carver’s gift, and the disaster that will prevail if it remains in his hands. But time is of the essence. These lands are not unclaimed, and the Lord of these lands is waking from his ancient slumber. Nor is the Lord the only threat. Firstborn, demons, and wild elementals are swirling around two mortal men in a storm that threatens to end the only chance the city of Averalaan has of surviving what is to follow.
Dreams of the Dark (The Legacy of the Heavens #2)—Tina LeCount Myers (February 19, Night Shade)
The war between men and immortals that raged across the frozen Northland of Davvieana has ended. For men, the balance of power between Believer and Brethren, between honoring the gods and honoring the sword, has shifted to favor priests over Hunters. But it is the legacy of one man’s love for his son that shapes the lives of all who survived. While Irjan, the once-legendary immortal hunter, has saved his son’s life, he cannot save Marnej from the men who will make him a killer, nor can he save the immortal girl he’d promised to protect from the secret of her birth. Raised by Irjan among the immortals, Dárja has been trained to fight by a man who once hunted her kind. Prisoner among the humans, her hatred for them is challenged by the chance to give Irjan what he has always wanted—his son Marnej returned to him. Together, Marnej and Dárja, human and immortal, must find a way to trust one another if they are to live long enough to learn the truth behind the secrets and lies that have forged their lives.
In the Land of the Everliving (Eirlandia #2)—Stephen R. Lawhead (February 26, Tor Books)
Conor and his sword companions must leave the safety of the faéry kingdom for the barbarian Scálda threaten to overrun Eirlandia. As he fights for his people’s survival, Conor discovers that several of the clan leaders have betrayed their nation by aiding the Scálda. The corruption is such that Conor and his men choose to become outcasts, clan-less and open to attack by friend and foe alike.They form their own warband…and the beginning of a legend as Conor unites the common people of Eirlandia to drive the poison from their land.
The Raven Tower—Ann Leckie (February 26, Orbit Books)
For centuries, the kingdom of Iraden has been protected by the god known as the Raven. He watches over his territory from atop a tower in the powerful port of Vastai. His will is enacted through the Raven’s Lease, a human ruler chosen by the god himself. His magic is sustained via the blood sacrifice that every Lease must offer. And under the Raven’s watch, the city flourishes. But the power of the Raven is weakening. A usurper has claimed the throne. The kingdom borders are tested by invaders who long for the prosperity that Vastai boasts. And they have made their own alliances with other gods. It is into this unrest that the warrior Eolo—aide to Mawat, the true Lease—arrives. And in seeking to help Mawat reclaim his city, Eolo discovers that the Raven’s Tower holds a secret. Its foundations conceal a dark history that has been waiting to reveal itself…and to set in motion a chain of events that could destroy Iraden forever.
The Priory of the Orange Tree—Samantha Shannon (February 26, Bloomsbury)
The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen Sabran the Ninth must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction—but assassins are getting closer to her door. Ead Duryan is an outsider at court. Though she has risen to the position of lady-in-waiting, she is loyal to a hidden society of mages. Ead keeps a watchful eye on Sabran, secretly protecting her with forbidden magic. Across the dark sea, Tané has trained all her life to be a dragonrider, but is forced to make a choice that could see her life unravel. Meanwhile, the divided East and West refuse to parley, and forces of chaos are rising from their sleep.
The Blackest Heart (Five Warrior Angels #2)—Brian Lee Durfee (February 26, Saga Press)
Gladiator. Assassin. Thief. Princess. And the Slave. The Five Warrior Angels have been revealed, one by one the mystical weapons they once wielded are being found, and an ancient prophecy is finally being fulfilled. Or is it? For when it comes to recorded history, much is intended to manipulate and deceive. Returning to the kingdom of Gul Kana, Princess Jondralyn has suffered a devastating loss, discovering that not all prophecy is to be assumed, not all scripture to be trusted. At the same time, her younger sister, Tala, has found faith within herself while facing off against villains, who are using her for their devices. Hawkwood, the former Bloodwood Assassin, is captured. And the knight, Gault, betrayed by the Angel Prince, can only wonder of the fate of his daughter who has fallen into terrible hands. All while Nail embarks upon the deadliest quest the Five Isles has ever known.