If you love YA Fantasy, this week is for you!
From an imprisoned princess fighting to reclaim her kingdom for fans of Victoria Aveyard's Red Queen, to a fun take on fandom and nerd culture with a little dystopian satire thrown in, the follow up to Melissa Caruso's political fantasy The Tethered Mage, the conclusion to Julie Kagawa's dragon fantasy series, and this month's most buzzed about new release hailed as Wonder Woman meets Vikings (and my personal pick this week 😍), there's a ton of YA fantasy hitting the selves.
This week may be all about fantasy, but there are still a few new releases to scratch that sci-fi or speculative fiction itch. Like the short novella from Ian McDonald packed full of old book discoveries, love letters, time travel, and gay love during World War II. There's also Japanese author Yoko Tawada's newly translated spec fic about a post-Fukushima world where all the children are born ancient — it may sound dark and dystopian, but it's actually described as a delightful, irrepressibly funny book.
Here are this week's best new sci-fi and fantasy books...
YA | Fantasy
Goodreads (3.89 ★ ★ ★ ★ | 571 ratings)
For fans of Victoria Aveyard's Red Queen and Sabaa Tahir's An Ember in the Ashes, Ash Princess is an epic new fantasy about a throne cruelly stolen and a girl who must fight to take it back for her people.
Theodosia was six when her country was invaded and her mother, the Fire Queen, was murdered before her eyes. On that day, the Kaiser took Theodosia's family, her land, and her name. Theo was crowned Ash Princess--a title of shame to bear in her new life as a prisoner.
For ten years Theo has been a captive in her own palace. She's endured the relentless abuse and ridicule of the Kaiser and his court. She is powerless, surviving in her new world only by burying the girl she was deep inside.
Then, one night, the Kaiser forces her to do the unthinkable. With blood on her hands and all hope of reclaiming her throne lost, she realizes that surviving is no longer enough. But she does have a weapon: her mind is sharper than any sword. And power isn't always won on the battlefield.
For ten years, the Ash Princess has seen her land pillaged and her people enslaved. That all ends here.
The Defiant Heir
Swords and Fire #2
YA | Fantasy
Goodreads (4.64 ★ ★ ★ ★ ¾ | 11 ratings)
Across the border, the Witch Lords of Vaskandar are preparing for war. But before an invasion can begin, they must call a rare gathering of all seventeen lords to decide a course of action.
Lady Amalia Cornaro knows that this Conclave might be her only chance to smother the growing flames of war, and she is ready to make any sacrifice if it means saving Raverra from destruction.
Amalia and Zaira must go behind enemy lines, using every ounce of wit and cunning they have, to sway Vaskandar from war. Or else it will all come down to swords and fire.
Yoko Tawada, Margaret Mitsutani (Translator)
Speculative Fiction | Literary
Goodreads (3.52 ★ ★ ★ ½ | 25 ratings)
Yoko Tawada’s new novel is a breathtakingly light-hearted meditation on mortality and fully displays what Rivka Galchen has called her “brilliant, shimmering, magnificent strangeness”.
Japan, after suffering from a massive irreparable disaster, cuts itself off from the world. Children are so weak they can barely stand or walk: the only people with any get-go are the elderly. Mumei lives with his grandfather Yoshiro, who worries about him constantly. They carry on a day-to-day routine in what could be viewed as a post-Fukushima time, with all the children born ancient—frail and gray-haired, yet incredibly compassionate and wise. Mumei may be enfeebled and feverish, but he is a beacon of hope, full of wit and free of self-pity and pessimism. Yoshiro concentrates on nourishing Mumei, a strangely wonderful boy who offers “the beauty of the time that is yet to come.”
A delightful, irrepressibly funny book, The Emissary is filled with light. Yoko Tawada, deftly turning inside-out “the curse,” defies gravity and creates a playful joyous novel out of a dystopian one, with a legerdemain uniquely her own.
YA | Fantasy | Dystopian
Goodreads (3.51 ★ ★ ★ ½ | 727 ratings)
Violet's in her element. Cosplay at the ready, she can't wait to feel part of her favorite fandom: The Gallows Dance, a mega book and movie franchise that she and her friends know EVERY WORD of (canon and fanfic included).
But at Comic Con, a freak accident transports Violet and her friends into the story for real. And in just the first five minutes, they cause the death of the heroine, and get taken prisoner by the rebel group she was supposed to lead to victory.
It's up to Violet to take her place, and play out the plot the way it was written. But stories have a life of their own, and when you change the script in one place, the rest gets revised too...
Talon Saga #5
YA | Fantasy | Dragons
Goodreads (4.33 ★ ★ ★ ★ ¼ | 111 ratings)
From the internationally bestselling author of The Iron Fey series comes the final novel in the fiery and unforgettable Talon Saga. Get ready to burn…
TODAY, WE STRIKE BACK.
WE SHOW TALON THAT WE WILL NEVER ACCEPT THEIR NEW WORLD.
Ember Hill has learned a shocking truth about herself: she is the blood of the Elder Wyrm, the ancient dragon who leads Talon and who is on the verge of world domination. With the Order of St. George destroyed, Ember, Riley and Garret journey to the Amazon jungle in search of one who might hold the key to take down the Elder Wyrm and Talon. If they can survive the encounter.
Meanwhile, Ember’s brother, Dante, will travel to China with a message for the last Eastern dragons: join Talon or die. With the stakes rising and the Elder Wyrm declaring war, time is running out for the rogues and any dragon not allied with Talon.
The final battle approaches. And if Talon is victorious, the world will burn.
Sky in the Deep
YA | Fantasy
Goodreads (4.3 ★ ★ ★ ★ ¼ | 766 ratings)
A 2018 Most Anticipated Young Adult book that is part Wonder Woman, part Vikings—and all heart.
OND ELDR. BREATHE FIRE.
Raised to be a warrior, seventeen-year-old Eelyn fights alongside her Aska clansmen in an ancient, rivalry against the Riki clan. Her life is brutal but simple: fight and survive. Until the day she sees the impossible on the battlefield—her brother, fighting with the enemy—the brother she watched die five years ago.
Faced with her brother's betrayal, she must survive the winter in the mountains with the Riki, in a village where every neighbor is an enemy, every battle scar possibly one she delivered. But when the Riki village is raided by a ruthless clan thought to be a legend, Eelyn is even more desperate to get back to her beloved family.
She is given no choice but to trust Fiske, her brother’s friend, who sees her as a threat. They must do the impossible: unite the clans to fight together, or risk being slaughtered one by one. Driven by a love for her clan and her growing love for Fiske, Eelyn must confront her own definition of loyalty and family while daring to put her faith in the people she’s spent her life hating.
😍 MY READING PICK THIS WEEK!
Sci-Fi | Time Travel
Goodreads (3.17 | 18 ratings)
Ian McDonald weaves a love story across an endless expanse with his science fiction novella Time Was.
A love story stitched across time and war, shaped by the power of books, and ultimately destroyed by it.
In the heart of World War II, Tom and Ben became lovers. Brought together by a secret project designed to hide British targets from German radar, the two founded a love that could not be revealed. When the project went wrong, Tom and Ben vanished into nothingness, presumed dead. Their bodies were never found.
Now the two are lost in time, hunting each other across decades, leaving clues in books of poetry and trying to make their desperate timelines overlap.