New Sci-Fi & Fantasy Books: September 11-16


Dude. There's so much diversity in this week's new sci-fi and fantasy book releases, I can't even. It's just pretty exciting to scroll through a list of a dozen new SFF books and see multiple covers featuring people of color, with multiple synopses featuring underrepresented cultures, with multiple authors of color represented.

Beyond diversity, there's just a lot of cool stuff for the SFF reader this week. You've got dragons and jinn and aliens and missions to space. A dystopian look at China's One Child Policy. Hackers in a futuristic video game world. A K-drama + Pacific Rim mash-up. And, of course, magic, from a James Bond-like fantasy based on real-world magical order The Golden Dawn (with a punny title that I love) to a very cool magical world that takes on oppression and racism. 

Here's what's new in speculative fiction this week...

Before She Ignites
(Fallen Isles #1)

Jodi Meadows
YA | Fantasy | Dragons

From the New York Times bestselling co-author of My Lady Jane comes a smoldering new fantasy trilogy perfect for fans of Victoria Aveyard and Kristin Cashore about a girl condemned for defending dragons and the inner fire that may be her only chance of escape.

Mira has always been a symbol of hope for the Fallen Isles, perfect and beautiful—or at least that’s how she’s forced to appear. But when she uncovers a dangerous secret, Mira is betrayed by those closest to her and sentenced to the deadliest prison in the Fallen Isles.

Except Mira is over being a pawn. Fighting to survive against outer threats and inner demons of mental illness, Mira must find her inner fire and the scorching truth about her own endangered magic—before her very world collapses.

And that’s all before she ignites. 

RATINGS & REVIEWS: kirkus review nose graze kissin blue karen  vampire book club  a thousand words  goodreads (3.74 avg ★ ★ ★ ¾  | 277 ratings)

An Excess Male

Maggie Shen King
Sci-Fi | Dystopian 

From debut author Maggie Shen King, An Excess Male is the chilling dystopian tale of politics, inequality, marriage, love, and rebellion, set in a near-future China, that further explores the themes of the classics The Handmaid's Tale and When She Woke.

Under the One Child Policy, everyone plotted to have a son.

Now 40 million of them can't find wives.

Wei-guo holds fast to the belief that as long as he continues to improve himself, his small business, and in turn, his country, his chance at love will come. He finally saves up the dowry required to enter matchmaking talks at the lowest rung as a third husband—the maximum allowed by law. Only a single family—one harboring an illegal spouse—shows interest, yet with May-ling and her two husbands, Wei-guo feels seen, heard, and connected to like never before. But everyone and everything—walls, streetlights, garbage cans—are listening, and men, excess or not, are dispensable to the State. Wei-guo must reach a new understanding of patriotism and test the limits of his love and his resolve in order to save himself and this family he has come to hold dear.

In Maggie Shen King’s startling and beautiful debut, An Excess Male looks to explore the intersection of marriage, family, gender, and state in an all-too-plausible future.

RATINGS & REVIEWS: kirkus review publisher's weekly RT reviews washington post  SFRevu  goodreads (4.42 avg ★★★★ ½  | 36 ratings)

Fire and Fantasy

Urban & Epic Fantasy Boxed Set

Burn the Earth and revenge is yours!
Set the world ablaze for the one you love!
Unleash Magic, Fire, and Fantasy!
These 20+ full length Fantasy novels are packed with daring quests, bewitching legends, and dark magic.
Embark on wild adventures alongside fiery dragons, demons, mutant vampires, and sword-wielding heroes! FIRE & FANTASY will have your imagination soaring as you charge headfirst into this enchanting collection by today's hottest USA Today bestselling authors and rising new talents.
Pre-Order Today and lose yourself in the high-stake fates of lovers and villains!

Including exclusive material from the following authors:

Award-Winning author CK Dawn ● USA Today bestselling author Alicia Rades ● Michelle Lynn and Michelle Bryan ● Award-Winning authors Yelena Casale & Tina Moss ● Kindle Scout Winner Cassandra Sky West ● Kris Austen Radcliffe ● Award-Winning author Jessica Cage ● Sharon Rose Mayes ● Award-Winning author Wendy Knight ● D.N. Leo ● Kassandra Lynn ● Steve Turnbull ● Award-Winning author Charlene A. Wilson  Eileen Enwright Hodgetts ● Award-Winning author Meg Xuemei X ● Jason Paul Rice ● Joss Dey ● Axelle Chandler ● JC Kang ● Samuel Stokes ● Frost Kay  USA Today Bestselling authors J.A. Culican & Felicia Starr

RATINGS & REVIEWS: goodreads (4.55 avg ★★★★ ½  | 11 ratings)

Landscape With Invisible Hand

M.T. Anderson
YA | Sci-Fi | Aliens

National Book Award winner M. T. Anderson returns to future Earth in a sharply wrought satire of art and truth in the midst of colonization.

When the vuvv first landed, it came as a surprise to aspiring artist Adam and the rest of planet Earth — but not necessarily an unwelcome one. Can it really be called an invasion when the vuvv generously offered free advanced technology and cures for every illness imaginable? As it turns out, yes. With his parents’ jobs replaced by alien tech and no money for food, clean water, or the vuvv’s miraculous medicine, Adam and his girlfriend, Chloe, have to get creative to survive. And since the vuvv crave anything they deem classic Earth culture (doo-wop music, still life paintings of fruit, true love), recording 1950s-style dates for the vuvv to watch in a pay-per-minute format seems like a brilliant idea. But it’s hard for Adam and Chloe to sell true love when they hate each other more with every passing episode. Soon enough, Adam must decide how far he’s willing to go — and what he’s willing to sacrifice — to give the vuvv what they want.

RATINGS & REVIEWS: kirkus review publisher's weekly school library journal book page the horn book goodreads (4.05 avg ★★★★ | 105 ratings)

Magicians Impossible

Brad Abraham
Urban Fantasy

Twenty-something bartender Jason Bishop’s world is shattered when his estranged father commits suicide, but the greater shock comes when he learns his father was a secret agent in the employ of the Invisible Hand; an ancient society of spies wielding magic in a centuries-spanning war. Now the Golden Dawn—the shadowy cabal of witches and warlocks responsible for Daniel Bishop’s murder, and the death of Jason’s mother years beforehave Jason in their sights. His survival will depend on mastering his own dormant magic abilities; provided he makes it through the training.

From New York, to Paris, to worlds between worlds, Jason's journey through the realm of magic will be fraught with peril. But with enemies and allies on both sides of this war, whom can he trust? The Invisible Hand, who’ve been more of a family than his own family ever was? The Golden Dawn, who may know the secrets behind his mysterious lineage? For Jason Bishop, only one thing is for certain; the magic he has slowly been mastering is telling him not to trust anybody.

RATINGS & REVIEWS: publisher's weekly book list red carpet crash tenacious reader goodreads (3.75 avg ★★★ ¾  | 36 ratings)

The Man in the Tree

Sage Walker
Sci-Fi | Space 

Humanity’s last hope of survival lies in space…but will a random death doom the venture?

Our planet is dying and the world’s remaining nations have pooled their resources to build a seed ship that will carry colonists on a multi-generational journey to a distant planet.

Everything is set for a bright adventure…and then someone is found hanging dead just weeks before the launch. Fear and paranoia spread as the death begins to look more and more like a murder. The authorities want the case settled quickly and quietly so as not to cause panic…and to prevent a murderer from sabotaging the entire mission.

With The Man in the Tree, Locus Award-winning author Sage Walker has given us a thrilling hard science fiction mystery that explores the intersection of law, justice, and human nature.

RATINGS & REVIEWS: publisher's weekly RT reviews goodreads (4.00 avg ★★★★ | 2 ratings)


Scott Reintgen
YA | Sci-Fi | Space

Every life has a price in this sci-fi thriller that has the nonstop action of The Maze Runner and the high-stakes space setting of Illuminae. This is the first in a new three-book series called the Nyxia Triad that will take a group of broken teens to the far reaches of the universe and force them to decide what they’re willing to risk for a lifetime of fortune.
Emmett Atwater isn’t just leaving Detroit; he’s leaving Earth. Why the Babel Corporation recruited him is a mystery, but the number of zeroes on their contract has him boarding their lightship and hoping to return to Earth with enough money to take care of his family.
Before long, Emmett discovers that he is one of ten recruits, all of whom have troubled pasts and are a long way from home. Now each recruit must earn the right to travel down to the planet of Eden—a planet that Babel has kept hidden—where they will mine a substance called Nyxia that has quietly become the most valuable material in the universe.

But Babel’s ship is full of secrets. And Emmett will face the ultimate choice: win the fortune at any cost, or find a way to fight that won’t forever compromise what it means to be human.

RATINGS & REVIEWS: kirkus review publisher's weekly kissin blue karen the winged pen the genre minx goodreads (4.14 avg ★★★★ | 455 ratings)

Rebel Seoul

Axie Oh
YA | Sci-Fi | Dystopian | Robots

EAST ASIA, 2199. After a great war, the East Pacific is in ruins. In brutal Neo Seoul, where status comes from success in combat, ex-gang member Lee Jaewon is a talented pilot rising in the academy's ranks. Abandoned as a child in the slums of Old Seoul by his rebel father, Jaewon desires only to escape his past.

When Jaewon is recruited into the most lucrative weapons development division in Neo Seoul, he is eager to claim his best shot at military glory. But the mission becomes more complicated when he meets Tera, a test subject in the government's supersoldier project. Tera was trained for one purpose: to pilot one of the lethal God Machines, massive robots for a never-ending war.

With secret orders to report on Tera, Jaewon becomes Tera's partner, earning her reluctant respect. But as respect turns to love, Jaewon begins to question his loyalty to an oppressive regime that creates weapons out of humans. As the project prepares to go public amidst rumors of a rebellion, Jaewon must decide where he stands--as a soldier of the Republic, or a rebel of the people.

Pacific Rim meets Korean action dramas in this mind-blowing, New Visions Award-winning science fiction debut.

RATINGS & REVIEWS: kirkus review publisher's weekly foreword reviews nick and nereydas infinite book list rich in color goodreads (4.59 avg ★ ★ ★ ★ ½  | 56 ratings)

Shadowhouse Fall
(Shadowshaper Cypher #2)

Daniel José Older
YA | Urban Fantasy 

Sierra and her friends love their new lives as shadowshapers, making art and creating change with the spirits of Brooklyn. Then Sierra receives a strange card depicting a beast called the Hound of Light -- an image from the enigmatic, influential Deck of Worlds. The shadowshapers know their next battle has arrived.

Thrust into an ancient struggle with enemies old and new, Sierra and Shadowhouse are determined to win. Revolution is brewing in the real world as well, as the shadowshapers lead the fight against systems that oppress their community. To protect her family and friends in every sphere, Sierra must take down the Hound and master the Deck of Worlds . . . or risk losing them all.

Previous books in the series...

RATINGS & REVIEWS: kirkus review RT reviews (top pick) YA books central will read for booze (series review) beautifully bookish bethany goodreads (4.54 avg ★ ★ ★ ★ ½  | 57 ratings)

The Smoking Lamp
(Sons of the Sand Book 1)

Kimberly Loth
YA | Fantasy

She wants to use him.
He wants to consume her.
Not every wish should come true.

Liv never expected to fall for Gabriel, the exotic and mysterious jinn she released from his thousand-year imprisonment—and then used to exact revenge on her two-timing boyfriend. 

But what she doesn’t know is that the jinn survive on the life-force of their mistresses, and every wish Liv makes brings her one step closer to death. 

Gabriel has been locked in his vessel for far too long. When he’s summoned, his predatory instincts kick in and he can’t help but begin draining the girl who called him. But when something about Liv stops him from from plotting her death, Gabriel discovers a humanity he never knew he had.

As the attraction between them heats up, Gabriel buries his deadly secret—but Liv keeps making wishes, and he’s beginning to think the only way to save her may be to sacrifice himself instead.

RATINGS & REVIEWS: goodreads (4.89 avg ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ | 9 ratings)

The Twilight Pariah

Jeffrey Ford
Horror | Novella

Three friends go looking for treasure and find horror in Jeffrey Ford's The Twilight Pariah.

All Maggie, Russell, and Henry wanted out of their last college vacation was to get drunk and play archaeologist in an old house in the woods outside of town. When they excavate the mansion's outhouse they find way more than they bargained for: a sealed bottle filled with a red liquid, along with the bizarre skeleton of a horned child

Disturbing the skeleton throws each of their lives into a living hell. They feel followed wherever they go, their homes are ransacked by unknown intruders, and people they care about are brutally, horribly dismembered. The three friends awakened something, a creature that will stop at nothing to retrieve its child.

RATINGS & REVIEWS: publisher's weekly RT reviews (top pick) horror talk beauty in ruins speculiction goodreads (3.36 avg ★ ★ ★ ¼  | 14 ratings)


Marie Lu
YA | Sci-Fi | Futuristic

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu—when a game called Warcross takes the world by storm, one girl hacks her way into its dangerous depths.

For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down Warcross players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty-hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. To make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.

In this sci-fi thriller, #1 New York Times bestselling author Marie Lu conjures an immersive, exhilarating world where choosing who to trust may be the biggest gamble of all.

RATINGS & REVIEWS: kirkus reviewpublisher's weekly school library journalnose graze the book smugglers goodreads (4.4 avg ★ ★ ★ ★ ½  | 969 ratings)

★ Weekly Pick: With so many dope sounding stories getting so much really great buzz (just look how many starred reviews there are this week!), it's hard to choose just one book. But I'm going with Daniel José Older's Shadowhouse Fall (along with the whole Shadowshaper series), because this series sounds amazing and I believe that fantastical fiction is at its best when it tackles real-world issues especially when it does so in a fun but thought-provoking way.