Calling all book lovers! There are plenty of new tomes coming this year and the next from Tor, Tor Teen, Nightfire, and Tor.com Publishing. The SFF & Horror Dream Team—Tor & Tor Teen Publicity Manager Saraciea Fennell, Tor & Forge Senior Publicist Desirae May Friesen, Nightfire Marketing Manager Jordan Hanley, and Tor Books Senior Marketing Manager Renata Sweeney—united at San Diego Comic-Con 2020, where they hyped up the line-up with friendly banter, at-home cosplay, and some very saucy AO3 tags.
The new releases include stand-alone novels and novellas from the likes of S.L. Huang, Nnedi Okorafor, V.E. Schwab, P. Djèlí Clark, Christopher Paolini, and Sarah Gailey, as well as hotly anticipated installments in hit series such as Harrow the Ninth, book 2 of Tamsyn Muir’s Locked Tomb Trilogy, Rhythm of War, book 4 in Brandon Sanderson’s The Stormlight Archive, and A Desolation of Peace, book 2 of Arkady Martine’s Teixcalaan series. Check out the sampler below!
Unconquerable Sun by Kate Elliott
Renata: “I love space operas, and this one is a glorious F/F gender-spun Alexander the Great in space. Throw in some American Idol and one garbage mom, one space daddy, a jock with four arms, political intrigue, well-timed musical numbers, and found family.” Relevant AO3 tags: angst, hurt/comfort, galactic big dick energy, and (we can’t stress this enough) space daddy.
Trouble the Saints by Alaya Dawn Johnson
Saraciea: “This is HBO’s Boardwalk Empire meets the fantastical allure of Beyoncé’s Lemonade. I mean, just look at this Beyoncé-inspired cover—I’m in love with it. Plus, it features a badass biracial female assassin with knives, and a yummy love interest, plus gangs on gangs on gangs. And, if that’s not enough, N.K. Jemisin said it best:
Juju assassins, alternate history, a gritty New York crime story…in a word: awesome.”
Psst: There may or may not be tarot readings in this book.
Deal with the Devil by Kit Rocha
Desirae: “Every apocalypse has a hero, and in Deal with the Devil we get Mina the Mercenary Librarian. Yes, you heard me right: a mercenary librarian. She’s got the knowledge and badass fighting skills to help the helpless. Then, you’ve got Knox, a bitter, battle-weary super-soldier who went AWOL to avoid slaughtering innocents. Guess who teams up for the perfect post-apocalyptic romance?”
Warning: You might get roundhouse-kicked right in the feels.
Burning Roses by S.L. Huang
Jordan: “A mash-up of Goldilocks, Little Red Riding Hood, and Hu-Yi, a Chinese fairytale. It features Sapphic middle-aged lovers, which I loved. I feel like so frequently we center the conversation around young people, and forget that older folks need love, too. Hu-Yi is one of the most famous stories in Chinese mythology, and in Burning Roses, it’s totally flipped on its head.”
Yes, there are archers in this, and so it mayyy make you want to bust out your cross-bow, as it did with Desirae.
Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
Desirae: “I know how excited you are about Harrow the Ninth. I mean, have any of us fully recovered from Gideon the Ninth? Because I know I haven’t. We’re back with your favorite lesbian necromancers in space. In Harrow the Ninth, we’ve got more skeletons, more goth gays, more murder, and more ghosts.”
And when you’re done, get excited for Alecto the Ninth, coming next year.
Harrow the Ninth comes out August 4 from Tor.com Publishing. Download a free e-book of Act One here, and feast your eyes upon the definitely incredibly not spoiler-y dramatis personae here!
The Memory of Souls by Jenn Lyons
Desirae: “This book has everything you could want in epic fantasy. Cool thieves, unlikely princes, prophecies, my personal favorite: dragons, monsters, family feuds, and an enormous, complex world that’s a delight to explore.”
Keep an eye out for books 4 and 5 of A Chorus of Dragons, due to come out over the next two years.
The Memory of Souls comes out August 25 from Tor Books. Read an excerpt here, or go all the way back to the beginning with our re-read of A Chorus of Dragons book 1, The Ruin of Kings!
The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan
In case you hadn’t heard, Amazon Studios is hard at work turning The Wheel of Time into your next binge-worthy prestige fantasy obsession. To prepare, Tor Books is releasing two new editions of book 1, The Eye of the World: a brand-new paperback edition coming out August 4, and then a 30th anniversary edition coming out October 6, which features a refined cover, an introduction from Brandon Sanderson, and redesigned world-map end-papers.
Each of Us a Desert by Mark Oshiro
Saraciea: “We have our fan-favorite, Mark Oshiro, the award-winning author’s pivot from contemporary to fantasy with their powerful coming-of-age fantasy novel about finding home and falling in love in the midst of dangers of a desert where stories come to life. Mark Oshiro totally breaks all of the rules with this one, and weaves in some horror, and sprinkles in some poetry. The novel is also very bittersweet, because it features a queer female love story, and it also tackles what it truly means to be alone, even when you’re surrounded by family and loved ones.”
Be warned: You may be scared, happy, excited, or all three at the same time. Basically, this one’s going to give you ALL the feels.
Each of Us a Desert comes out September 15 from Tor Teen. Check out the author’s discussion of the book in “Empathy Over Stigma,” a TorCon panel about mental health representation in YA fiction with Lauren Shippen and TJ Klune, here!
A Neon Darkness by Lauren Shippen
Saraciea: “It’s this fall’s darkly twisted YA fantasy that features the origin story of Robert Gorham, or Damien, as listeners of The Bright Sessions podcast know him. This is the Atypical who has the power to manipulate people to bend to his will and desires. I am so excited for this book…I’m still trying to figure out: Is he an anti-hero? Is he a villain? I have really mixed emotions about it.”
When you’re done, slide into Tor Teen’s DMs and tell Saraciea what you thought.
A Neon Darkness comes out September 29 from Tor Teen. Download a free sneak peek here, read the first three chapters of The Infinite Noise, book 1 of The Bright Sessions, here, or listen to the podcast the series is based on!
To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini
Renata: “It’s got everything: alien contact, accidental murder, a suit that doesn’t know how to say ‘I love you,’ a space-ship cat named Mr. Fuzzypants, explosions, tentacles, math, and pirates…The book is a twist on one of my favorite sci-fi tropes, which is the one where humans that they’re not alone in the universe, but more specifically: What happens when we, the ultimate scrappy underdog asshole, bring a knife to the gunfight?”
Just as Christopher Paolini’s Inheritance series (written when he was 15), is a love-letter to fantasy, this standalone novel (written after he leveled up and got a beard) is a love-letter to sci-fi.
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab
Jordan: “This one…tells the story of a girl who makes a deal with the devil. Addie gets to live forever, but the one thing is: no one will ever remember her. That is, until one day, Addie meets a boy in a bookshop, and nothing is the same ever again for either of them. It’s such an epic. It spans three centuries and crosses multiple oceans. I think this one is on par with American Gods by Neil Gaiman and Circe by Madeline Miller.”
Jordan bets you one pan-ful of magic beans that your local bookseller has already read it and loved it, so when it’s safe to do so, head on over to your local bookstore and inquire within.
Ring Shout by P. Djèlí Clark
Renata: “In P. Djèlí Clark’s Ring Shout, the darkest thoughts from the darkest heart of America are made physical as the Klan plots to unleash Hell on earth. Enter: Maryse, bootleg whiskey runner and her magic sword. Fighting monsters called Ku Kluxes together with a foul-mouthed sharp-shooter and a Harlem Hellfighter, Maryse has to save the world from the hate that would just love to consume it. It’s dark, it’s atmospheric, it’s intense, but it’s also Black women saving the world and having fun doing it.”
If that’s not enough to persuade you, a.) What is wrong with you? And b.) We’ll let these blurbs speak for themselves:
“A sublime work of revolutionary body horror.” —Sarah Gailey
“A thrilling and provocative inferno of a story.” —Tochi Onyebuchi
Ring Shout comes out October 13 from Tor.com Publishing. Check out the author’s discussion of the book in “A Whole Universe in Pages,” a TorCon panel on Worldbuilding with Charlotte Nicole Davis, Bethany C. Morrow, and Tochi Onyebuchi, here!
Attack Surface by Cory Doctorow
Desirae: “This one is particularly exciting for me, because it returns to the world of Little Brother, which is a near-future in which technology has turned against those who use it. Attack Surface is not about [Little Brother protagonist] Marcus, it’s about his childhood friend Masha. She has now grown up, she has a career, and she works as a counter-terrorism expert for an international cybersecurity firm. Basically, she helps a repressive regime spy on dissidents, except when she feels like it, then she helps the trouble-makers evade detection.”
PS. This one just might make you want to go out and buy a Faraday bag, as it did for Renata.
Rhythm of War by Brandon Sanderson
Desirae: “I am personally very excited to tell you: You’re in for over 1,000 pages of Sanderson goodness. Sanderson himself is also very excited for this book. He has said that this book contains not only the first scene he imagined for the entire Stormlight Archive series, but also his favorite scene of the series to date.”
Let the count-down begin!
Rhythm of War comes out November 17 from Tor Books. Preview chapters will appear on Tor.com every Tuesday at 9 AM ET. Read the Prologue and Chapter One now, then discuss it with our resident Cosmere experts, Lyndsey Luther and Alice Arneson, here!
Remote Control by Nnedi Okorafor
Saraciea: “So you may or may not have heard of this fabulous author Nnedi Okorafor, the award-winning author of African-futurist stories including Binti, Who Fears Death, and the Akata series. Remote Control is a novella about a young girl who discovers she has the gift of Death after finding a certain seed that drops to earth after a meteor shower. It’s a thrilling, moving story about the power of young Black girls, and we all know we could use more Black girls in SFF.”
Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell
Renata: “Winter’s Orbit is Ancillary Justice meets Red, White, and Royal Blue. That’s right: It’s more gay space opera! The prince is dead. But now, his widower, Jainan, is being married off post-haste to a disreputable cousin to keep the peace. But when Jainan is implicated in the prince’s death, this new, unconventional mismatched quirky duo has to work together, trust each other, solve a murder, prevent interplanetary war, and deal with all of this while dealing with feelings that they were never supposed to feel for each other.”
A History of What Comes Next by Sylvain Neuvel
Saraciea: “This is a fast-paced, fun, and darkly satirical sci-fi thriller set in the 1940s. A History of What Comes Next stars a family of aliens manipulating human history behind the scenes to push them towards the stars. Mia’s mission comes at the dawn of the age of rocketry. She must lure Wernher Von Braun away from the Nazi Party and into the American rocket program, securing the future of the space race. Can she do it?”
A History of What Comes Next comes out February 2, 2021 from Tor.com Publishing and Tor/Forge.
The Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey
Jordan: “The Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey is a dark, feminist-inflected thriller and one of my most anticipated novels of 2021. The Echo Wife follows the spiraling life of famed scientist Evelyn Caldwell as she copes with the theft of her research, covering her own husband’s murder, and falling into a new life with her own clone, the very pregnant result of her now-dead husband’s betrayals.”
Frankenstein meets The Wife Between Us in a bar, and then Recursion by Blake Crouch shows up, there’s a blood-bath, and no one makes it out without a total paradigm shift. May be of special interest to Orphan Black fans.
A Desolation Called Peace by Arkady Martine
Desirae: “In A Memory Called Empire, [the ambassador Mahit] was sent to the huge, poetic, violent empire Teixcalaan to try and persuade them not to invade her home space-station and, oh, also investigates the death of her predecessor, which may have been murder. She’s assisted by the memories of the previous ambassador in her head and also a wonderful guide called Three Seagrass, who’s a little bit of a romantic interest. Now, in A Desolation Called Peace, Mahit and Three Seagrass are back on a new mission. They are sent to try and communicate with an alien armada before it invades and kills everyone.”
More gay space opera!
A Desolation Called Peace comes out March 2, 2021 from Tor Books and Tor/Forge. Check out the author’s discussion of the novel during her r/Fantasy AMA, or read the Prologue and Chapter One of Teixcalaan book 1, A Memory Called Empire!
The Library of the Dead by T.L. Huchu
Renata: “Where is the best place to talk to ghosts?…It is the most haunted city in the world: Edinburgh, Scotland. The main character of this book, Ropa, dropped out of school to become a messenger for the dead, carrying the words of ghosts, who she can hear, back to the living. Add in an occult library, a mysterious force that’s stealing the souls of children maybe to make drugs, and you have got The Library of the Dead.”
The Library of the Dead comes out March 16, 2021 from Tor Books and Tor/Forge. Check out what the author, Tor editorial director Bella Pagan, and Tor executive editor Will Hinton had to say about the book here!
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