New Sci-Fi & Fantasy Books: September 17-23


Dystopian, cyberpunk, steampunk, historical fantasy, urban fantasy... this week you'll find a little something for everyone. On the sci-fi end of things, there's the long-awaited debut from i09 founder Annalee Newitz about a drug pirate in the year 2144 who acts as a pharmaceutical Robin Hood in a submarine.

Sliding towards fantasy, there's a ton of series starters: a romantic steampunk adventure in 1800s China with alchemy, a fun Regency romp with magic and murder and spies, and urban fantasy worlds where magic is advanced science, wolf pack loyalty reigns supreme, and storybook characters come to life in a unique spin on retellings.

This week also brings sequels galore, with follow ups to the cyberpunk thriller Infomocracy and the dystopian The Girl Who Dared to Think. And for the YA fantasy lover, you'll find continuations to last year's throne-seeking Three Dark Crowns and magic-bingeing A Shadow Bright and Burning.

All of that, plus horror and fantasy standalones that play with multi-dimensional time and space. See? A little bit of all the things. Here's what's new in sci-fi and fantasy this week...


Annalee Newitz

When anything can be owned, how can we be free

Earth, 2144. Jack is an anti-patent scientist turned drug pirate, traversing the world in a submarine as a pharmaceutical Robin Hood, fabricating cheap scrips for poor people who can’t otherwise afford them. But her latest drug hack has left a trail of lethal overdoses as people become addicted to their work, doing repetitive tasks until they become unsafe or insane.

Hot on her trail, an unlikely pair: Eliasz, a brooding military agent, and his robotic partner, Paladin. As they race to stop information about the sinister origins of Jack’s drug from getting out, they begin to form an uncommonly close bond that neither of them fully understand.

And underlying it all is one fundamental question: Is freedom possible in a culture where everything, even people, can be owned?

RATINGS & REVIEWS: kirkus review / publisher's weekly ✪ / chicago tribune / RT book reviews / goodreads (3.81 avg ★ ★ ★ ¾  | 445 ratings)

City of Magic

(Happily Ever Afterlife Book 1)

Patricia Thomas
Urban Fantasy

Where do your favorite characters go after their stories are over?

The last thing Kadie remembers is getting dumped by the man she thought was the love of her life. Then, without warning, she finds herself somewhere impossible, surrounded by everything from magical kingdoms to futuristic cities and quiet suburban towns.

Her life before was merely fiction; this is where her story really begins.

The After is a world beyond imagining, existing for unfulfilled book characters who have reached the end of their stories. But not everyone in the After is happy with the status quo.

When Kadie arrives, her situation escalates from strange to deadly. Those in power are willing to play dirty in order to keep their secrets hidden. This time around, Kadie will have the chance to write her own future. But happily ever after isn't going to come without a fight.

Fantasy lovers can one click today to start their journey into the After in this not-to-be-missed first book in an epic new series!

RATINGS & REVIEWS: goodreads (no ratings yet)

The Girl Who Dared to Stand

(The Girl Who Dared #2)

Bella Forrest
Sci-Fi / Dystopian

Liana Castell's journey continues in the breathtaking second book of the bestselling The Girl Who Dared to Think series.

After stumbling upon an ancient, dusty office sealed away from the rest of the Tower, Liana makes a shocking discovery. Her first instinct is to flee - until she realizes all is not what it seems. 

The room has been hidden for a reason. It holds secrets about the Tower's past, and answers that could be key to her people's future. But with this knowledge comes grave danger, as Liana will quickly discover...

Return to the Tower in another hair-raising adventure.

Previous books in series...

RATINGS & REVIEWS: goodreads (4.5 avg ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ | 8 ratings)

Gunpowder Alchemy

(The Gunpowder Chronicles Book 1)

Jeannie Lin

Book 1 of the The Gunpowder Chronicles, an Opium War steampunk series

In 1842, the gunpowder might of China’s Qing Dynasty fell to Britain’s steam engines. Furious, the Emperor ordered the death of his engineers, eliminating China’s best chance of fighting back.

Since her father’s execution eight years ago, Jin Soling has kept her family from falling apart. With her mother addicted to opium and her younger brother in danger of being sent off to the factories, Soling has no choice but to sell off the last of her father’s possessions. Unwittingly, her actions bring her to the attention of the imperial court—the same court that betrayed her father.

The Crown Prince has launched a secret mission to bring together the remnants of the former Ministry of Science. To restore her family’s name, Soling must track down the rebel alchemist who holds the key to powering the imperial fleet. Her only ally is a man she’s just met—the engineer with a mysterious past who was once meant to be her husband…

RATINGS & REVIEWS: smart bitches trashy books / dear author / dark faerie tales / got fiction? / smexy books / goodreads (3.63 avg ★ ★ ★ ¾  | 445 ratings)

Huntress Born

(Wolf Legacy Book 1)

Aimee Easterling
Urban Fantasy

A missing brother. A family-focused werewolf. An impossible choice.

Ember's large werewolf family has always been both her anchor and her support. But when a missing half-brother draws the twenty-something away from home for the very first time, bonds to her family are tested at every turn.

The milk-chocolate eyes of an off-limits human are the first threat to her pack commitment. Meanwhile, the local alpha is less interested in dark dangers facing human women and more intent upon eliminating his guest's ability to leave his territory ever again.

Can Ember protect innocents and track down her elusive sibling in time, or will the not-so-charming alpha cut off all ties to her home pack?

From the USA Today bestselling author that readers are comparing to Patricia Briggs comes a new urban fantasy novel full of adventure, romance, and danger that will leave readers craving more.

RATINGS & REVIEWS: goodreads (4.9 avg ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ | 10 ratings)

Jane, Unlimited

Kristin Cashore
YA / Fantasy

The highly anticipated standalone from the award-winning, New York Times bestselling author of the Graceling Realm series—a kaleidoscopic novel about grief, adventure, storytelling, and finding yourself in a world of seemingly infinite choices.

Jane has lived an ordinary life, raised by her aunt Magnolia—an adjunct professor and deep sea photographer. Jane counted on Magnolia to make the world feel expansive and to turn life into an adventure. But Aunt Magnolia was lost a few months ago in Antarctica on one of her expeditions.

Now, with no direction, a year out of high school, and obsessed with making umbrellas that look like her own dreams (but mostly just mourning her aunt), she is easily swept away by Kiran Thrash—a glamorous, capricious acquaintance who shows up and asks Jane to accompany her to a gala at her family's island mansion called Tu Reviens.

Jane remembers her aunt telling her: "If anyone ever invites to you to Tu Reviens, promise me that you'll go." With nothing but a trunkful of umbrella parts to her name, Jane ventures out to the Thrash estate. Then her story takes a turn, or rather, five turns. What Jane doesn't know is that Tu Reviens will offer her choices that can ultimately determine the course of her untethered life. But at Tu Reviens, every choice comes with a reward, or a price.

RATINGS & REVIEWS: kirkus review / publisher's weekly / a page with a view / arctic books / my friends are fiction / goodreads (3.72 avg ★ ★ ★ ¾  | 445 ratings)

Murder, Magic, and What We Wore

Kelly Jones
YA / Historical Fantasy

Fans of Patrice Kindl’s Keeping the Castle or Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer’s Sorcery and Cecelia will adore this funny Regency-era mystery about a determined young woman with a magical trick up her sleeve . . .
The year is 1818, the city is London, and 16-year-old Annis Whitworth has just learned that her father is dead and all his money is missing. And so, of course, she decides to become a spy.
Annis always suspected that her father was himself a spy, and following in his footsteps to unmask his killer makes perfect sense. Alas, it does not make sense to England’s current spymasters—not even when Annis reveals that she has the rare magical ability to sew glamours: garments that can disguise the wearer completely.
Well, if the spies are too pigheaded to take on a young woman of quality, then Annis will take them on. And so she crafts a new double life for herself. Miss Annis Whitworth will appear to live a quiet life in a country cottage with her aunt, and Annis-in-disguise as Madame Martine, glamour artist, will open a magical dressmaking shop. That way she can earn a living, maintain her social standing, and, in her spare time, follow the coded clues her father left behind and unmask his killer. 

It can’t be any harder than navigating the London social season, can it?

RATINGS & REVIEWS: kirkus review / the story sanctuary / book culture / awkwordly emma / goodreads (3.83 avg ★ ★ ★ ¾  | 66 ratings)

Null States 

(Infomocracy #2)

Malka Older
Sci-Fi / Cyberpunk

Null States continues Campbell Award finalist Malka Older's Centenal Cycle, the near-future science fiction trilogy beginning with Infomocracy

• A Locus Award Finalist for Best First Novel
• The book The Huffington Post called "one of the greatest literary debuts in recent history"
• Named one of the best books of the year by The Washington PostThe VergeFlavorwireKirkus, and Book Riot

The future of democracy is about to implode.

After the last controversial global election, the global infomocracy that has ensured thirty years of world peace is fraying at the edges. As the new Supermajority government struggles to establish its legitimacy, agents of Information across the globe strive to keep the peace and maintain the flows of data that feed the new world order.

In the newly-incorporated DarFur, a governor dies in a fiery explosion. In Geneva, a superpower hatches plans to bring microdemocracy to its knees. In Central Asia, a sprawling war among archaic states threatens to explode into a global crisis. And across the world, a shadowy plot is growing, threatening to strangle Information with the reins of power.

Previous books in series...

RATINGS & REVIEWS: kirkus review / publisher's weekly / utopia state of mind / RT book reviews / goodreads (3.94 avg ★ ★ ★ ★ | 18 ratings)

One Dark Throne 

(Three Dark Crowns #2)

Kendare Blake
YA / Fantasy

The battle for the crown has begun, but which of the three sisters will prevail?

With the unforgettable events of the Quickening behind them and the Ascension Year underway, all bets are off. Katharine, once the weak and feeble sister, is stronger than ever before. Arsinoe, after discovering the truth about her powers, must figure out how to make her secret talent work in her favor without anyone finding out. And Mirabella, once thought to be the strongest sister of all and the certain Queen Crowned, faces attacks like never before—ones that put those around her in danger she can’t seem to prevent.

In this enthralling sequel to Kendare Blake’s New York Times bestselling Three Dark Crowns, Fennbirn’s deadliest queens must face the one thing standing in their way of the crown: each other.

Previous books in series...

RATINGS & REVIEWS: kirkus review ✪ / kissin blue karen / a page with a view / her bookish things / carina's books / goodreads (4.19 avg ★ ★ ★ ★ ¼  | 449 ratings)

A Poison Dark and Drowning

(Kingdom on Fire #2)

Jessica Cluess
YA / Fantasy

The magicians want her to lead.
The sorcerers want her to lie.
The demons want her blood.
Henrietta wants to save the one she loves.
But will his dark magic be her undoing?
In this seductive and explosive second book in the Kingdom on Fire series, Jessica Cluess delivers her signature mix of magic, passion, and teen warriors fighting for survival. Hand to fans of Victoria Aveyard, Sarah J. Maas, and Kiersten White.
Henrietta doesn’t need a prophecy to know that she’s in danger. She came to London to be named the chosen one, the first female sorcerer in centuries, the one who would defeat the Ancients. Instead, she discovered a city ruled by secrets. And the biggest secret of all: Henrietta is not the chosen one.

Still, she must play the role in order to keep herself and Rook, her best friend and childhood love, safe. But can she truly save him? The poison in Rook’s system is transforming him into something monstrous as he begins to master dark powers of his own. So when Henrietta finds a clue to the Ancients’ past that could turn the tide of the war, she persuades Blackwood, the mysterious Earl of Sorrow-Fell, to travel up the coast to seek out strange new weapons. And Magnus, the brave, reckless flirt who wants to win back her favor, is assigned to their mission. Together, they will face monsters, meet powerful new allies, and uncover the most devastating weapon of all: the truth.

Previous books in series...

RATINGS & REVIEWS: kirkus review / RT book reviews / a great read / carina's books / claire m. andrews / goodreads (4.26 avg ★ ★ ★ ★ ¼  | 97 ratings)

Slaughter, Idaho

Michael Richan

The horror comes every sixteen years…

Slaughter used to exist in Idaho years ago. Something happened to the town, something that caused it to fall a fraction of a second behind the rest of our timeline — and the entire town disappeared.

Andrew knows the rare skill of travel between timelines, but finding a town like Slaughter — unmoored, isolated, drifting in time — is a difficult task, and traveling to it is even harder.

The space between timelines is a hunting ground for strange creatures that feed on meat they find in places like Slaughter. Andrew lands in a town under siege, with residents arguing about how to best prepare for the invaders who arrive every sixteen years.

He meets Helen, who lost her parents in the last attack. The next cycle is due any day, and the town is hunkering down, deploying new defenses. When the creatures arrive on schedule, Andrew and Helen try to repel the attack, but they are overpowered: people are dragged from their homes and rounded up like cattle, then fed while still alive to giant Eaters. It’s a huge farming operation for the invaders, where half the town’s population will be used as food.

The attack usually lasts for days, but this time, the invaders leave suddenly, well before their normal departure, sparing most of the town. The citizens think they’ve been lucky, but Andrew and Helen soon learn the truth: the worst is yet to come.

Can Andrew and Helen convince the town of what they’ve learned? Or will the citizens of Slaughterid ignore them, thinking they dodged a bullet? The political and religious forces within the town all have their own agendas, and Andrew and Helen’s warnings don’t fit nicely with their plans.

When the new terror arrives, they’re completely unprepared…except for the few who listened.

RATINGS & REVIEWS: goodreads (no ratings yet)

Soul Marked

(After the Fire Book 1)

C. Gockel
Fantasy / Urban Fantasy

Magic is real, but Tara’s life isn’t a fairy tale.

From humble beginnings, Tara’s managed to work her way into a great job researching Dark Energy, aka “magic,” in Chicago. She has a beautiful house she renovated with her own hands, and a loving extended family, but she hasn’t found her soulmate … Not that she believes in soulmates.

Lionel is a Light Elf. Despite being of dubious heritage and being born a peasant, he’s risen in the ranks to serve the Elf Queen. Like all true elves, Lionel has a soulmark to identify his soulmate … He just hasn’t found her yet.

When Lionel’s and Tara’s lives collide and Dark Elves strike, they’re forced to work together or perish. Friendship and more grows between them, but dangers loom … Tara is more important than she knows, and Lionel is more important than he wants to admit. Both of them have choices to make.

Will Lionel choose a “perfect” love over Tara? How much is Tara willing to give up for a happily ever after?

They might find that in an uncertain world, the love you struggle for is the only certain thing.

RATINGS & REVIEWS: goodreads (no ratings yet)

What new books are you excited to add to your reading list?