Ok so one of my book resolutions for 2020 was to have my finger on the pulse of what’s new in science fiction and fantasy. I want to read more new books as well as the older backlist titles I’m forever trying to catch up on, ’cause let’s face it, I’m never ACTUALLY going to be caught up. I also have this weird thing where I like to start with an author’s first book and follow their development as a writer through their career. I also find it very upsetting to start a new podcast or pick up a TV/movie franchise without listening to or watching everything from the very beginning.
It’s a curse.
Suffice to say, it cripples my ability to keep up with new releases in the book world, ’cause I always want to go back and start reading previous books in the author’s back catalogue first. 2020 is the year where I try to loosen the iron grip of this weird compulsion. And so to that end, here are some of the upcoming 2020 releases I can’t wait to get my hands on and will absolutely be reading on release.
THE OBSIDIAN TOWER by Melissa Caruso
Thankfully Melissa Caruso is an author who I’ve been reading since her debut, THE TETHERED MAGE, began her Swords and Fire trilogy, so at least I don’t have to overcome my weird compulsions to read this one! The Obsidian Tower is set in the same world as the Swords and Fire books, except the protagonist hails from the country of Vaskandar, a realm where mages rule through virtue of their arcane powers and ostensibly where many of the antagonists of the previous series came from.
This book follows Ryx, a mage-marked granddaughter of a Vaskandran ruler, destined for power and prestige at the top of Vaskandran society. But Ryx’s magic is broken; all she can do is uncontrollably drain the life from everything she touches, and Vaskandar has no place for a mage with unusable powers. To add to her misery, Ryx accidentally kills a visiting dignitary in self-defence, activating a mysterious magical artefact sealed in an ancient tower in the heart of her family’s castle.
Forced to flee, Ryx begins seeking a solution to her deadly magic, falling in with a group of unlikely magical experts investigating the disturbance in Vaskandar—and Ryx realizes that her family is in danger and her domain is at stake. She and her new colleagues must return to the family stronghold to take control of the artefact that everyone wants to claim—before it destroys the world.
LIGHT OF IMPOSSIBLE STARS by Gareth L. Powell
This is another series I’ve been following since the beginning, though I’m yet to catch up on Gareth’s back catalogue (he also wrote a frankly incredible sounding series called Ack-Ack Macaque about a cynical, cigar-chomping monkey Spitfire pilot fighting Nazis during WWII). LIGHT OF IMPOSSIBLE STARS is the final book in his Embers of War trilogy, which I have loved so, so much. I’ve always enjoyed space opera, but sometimes found the sometimes whimsical settings of the genre a bit too light and often found myself wanting something with a bit more depth.
This series is exactly that.
There’s no blurb for this book yet and it’s kinda difficult to talk about without spoilers for the first two books anyway, but suffice to say that Gareth has succeeded in creating a sprawling, galaxy-spanning world that is true to everything space opera fans love, yet filled it with deeply realised, relatable-yet-flawed characters that I rooted for harder than any characters in anything I’ve read recently. Go read my gushing review of EMBERS OF WAR and please please please check out this series.
THE EMPRESS OF SALT AND FORTUNE by Nghi Vo
I can’t actually remember how this book came to be on my radar; I’m assuming one of the wonderful book bloggers I follow mentioned it at some point and it’s been hovering in the back of my brain ever since. The blurb for this book doesn’t reveal much about the plot, just that ‘a young royal from the far north is sent south for a political marriage. Alone and sometimes reviled, she has only her servants on her side. This evocative debut chronicles her rise to power through the eyes of her handmaiden, at once feminist high fantasy and a thrilling indictment of monarchy’. And well, shit. I’m a sucker for some good court drama, feminism in fantasy and monarchy-bashing so I’ll be all over this like a donkey on a waffle.
THE ORDER OF THE PURE MOON REFLECTED IN WATER by Zen Cho
Ok so I’d never actually heard of Zen Cho until Caitlin from Realms Of My Mind posted about this book, and I was instantly intrigued. The hook for this story goes ‘a bandit walks into a coffeehouse, and it all goes downhill from there’.
I mean come on. Put this story in my eyeholes.
To expand slightly, ORDER OF THE PURE MOON tells the story of Guet Imm, a young votary of the Order of the Pure Moon, who joins up with an eclectic group of thieves (whether they like it or not) in order to protect a sacred object, and finds herself in a far more complicated situation than she could have ever imagined. I have no idea what that situation is or what sacred object they’re protecting and why, but I ABSOLUTELY want to find out. If you’re a fan of the found family trope, wuxia fantasy or martial arts films then it sounds like there’s something in this book for you. I personally can’t wait.
So there you have it folks, four exciting books I can’t wait to sink my bookwyrm claws into. As my quest to read more new SFF progresses I’ve got no doubt I’ll discover new releases to get excited about in the coming months, but for now this is what I’m eagerly awaiting.
Let me know what are your most anticipated releases this year? And if you enjoyed this post follow the blog for plenty of SFF reviews and more bookish ramblings.