Fall is upon us, never mind what the weather says. This is my favorite time of year, not least because there is an abundance of riches for book and movie lovers alike! And this first week of September does not disappoint — there are a ton of new sci-fi and fantasy book releases, with everything from witches and feminist fairy tales to time travel via magic balloons and an epic Wild West full of magic.
There are also quite a few new additions to series you probably love, like Seanan McGuire's Hugo-nominated October Daye series, the latest in Max Gladstone's awesome urban fantasy series, the next installment of Sarah J. Maas' Throne of Glass series, and book two in Jay Kristoff's Nevernight Chronicle. Like I said, there are a lot of new books this week!
Here's what's new in speculative fiction:
The Brightest Fell (October Daye #11)
Seanan McGuire | Urban Fantasy
Things are slow, and October “Toby” Daye couldn’t be happier about that. The elf-shot cure has been approved, Arden Windermere is settling into her position as Queen in the Mists, and Toby doesn’t have anything demanding her attention except for wedding planning and spending time with her family.
Maybe she should have realized that it was too good to last.
When Toby’s mother, Amandine, appears on her doorstep with a demand for help, refusing her seems like the right thing to do…until Amandine starts taking hostages, and everything changes. Now Toby doesn’t have a choice about whether or not she does as her mother asks. Not with Jazz and Tybalt’s lives hanging in the balance. But who could possibly help her find a pureblood she’s never met, one who’s been missing for over a hundred years?
Enter Simon Torquill, elf-shot enemy turned awakened, uneasy ally. Together, the two of them must try to solve one of the greatest mysteries in the Mists: what happened to Amandine’s oldest daughter, August, who disappeared in 1906.
This is one missing person case Toby can’t afford to get wrong.
The Devil's Revolver
V.S. McGrath | YA / Fantasy / Western
She is Hettie Alabama — unlikely, scarred, single-minded, and blood bound to a revolver forged by a demon.
The first book in an epic, magic-clad series featuring the Wild West reimagined as a crosscultural stereoscope of interdimensional magic and hardship, The Devil’s Revolver opens with a shooting competition and takes off across the landscape after a brutal double murder and kidnapping — to which revenge is the only answer. Hettie Alabama, only seventeen years old, leads her crew of underdogs with her father’s cursed revolver, magicked to take a year off her life each time she fires it. It’s no way for a ranch girl to grow up, but grow up she does, her scars and determination to rescue her vulnerable younger sister deepening with every year of life she loses.
A sweeping and high-stakes saga that gilds familiar Western adventure with powerful magic and panoramic fantasy, The Devil’s Revolver is the last word and the blackest hat in the Weird West.
Even the Darkest Stars
Heather Fawcett | YA / Fantasy
The first in a sweeping and action-packed debut fantasy duology loosely inspired by the early climbers of Mt. Everest—perfect for fans of Cindy Pon and Alison Goodman.
Kamzin has always dreamed of becoming one of the Emperor’s royal explorers, the elite climbers tasked with mapping the wintry, mountainous Empire and spying on its enemies. She knows she could be the best in the world, if only someone would give her a chance.
But everything changes when the mysterious and eccentric River Shara, the greatest explorer ever known, arrives in her village and demands to hire Kamzin—not her older sister Lusha, as everyone had expected—for his next expedition. This is Kamzin’s chance to prove herself—even though River’s mission to retrieve a rare talisman for the emperor means climbing Raksha, the tallest and deadliest mountain in the Aryas. Then Lusha sets off on her own mission to Raksha with a rival explorer who is determined to best River, and Kamzin must decide what’s most important to her: protecting her sister from the countless perils of the climb or beating her to the summit.
The challenges of climbing Raksha are unlike anything Kamzin expected—or prepared for—with avalanches, ice chasms, ghosts, and even worse at every turn. And as dark secrets are revealed, Kamzin must unravel the truth of their mission and of her companions—while surviving the deadliest climb she has ever faced.
Girls Made of Snow and Glass
Melissa Bashardoust | YA / Fantasy / Retelling
Frozen meets The Bloody Chamber in this feminist fantasy reimagining of the Snow White fairytale
At sixteen, Mina's mother is dead, her magician father is vicious, and her silent heart has never beat with love for anyone—has never beat at all, in fact, but she’d always thought that fact normal. She never guessed that her father cut out her heart and replaced it with one of glass. When she moves to Whitespring Castle and sees its king for the first time, Mina forms a plan: win the king’s heart with her beauty, become queen, and finally know love. The only catch is that she’ll have to become a stepmother.
Fifteen-year-old Lynet looks just like her late mother, and one day she discovers why: a magician created her out of snow in the dead queen’s image, at her father’s order. But despite being the dead queen made flesh, Lynet would rather be like her fierce and regal stepmother, Mina. She gets her wish when her father makes Lynet queen of the southern territories, displacing Mina. Now Mina is starting to look at Lynet with something like hatred, and Lynet must decide what to do—and who to be—to win back the only mother she’s ever known…or else defeat her once and for all.
Entwining the stories of both Lynet and Mina in the past and present, Girls Made of Snow and Glass traces the relationship of two young women doomed to be rivals from the start. Only one can win all, while the other must lose everything—unless both can find a way to reshape themselves and their story.
The Girl With the Red Balloon
Katherine Locke | YA / Fantasy / Time Travel
When sixteen-year-old Ellie Baum accidentally time-travels via red balloon to 1988 East Berlin, she's caught up in a conspiracy of history and magic. She meets members of an underground guild in East Berlin who use balloons and magic to help people escape over the Wall—but even to the balloon makers, Ellie's time travel is a mystery. When it becomes clear that someone is using dark magic to change history, Ellie must risk everything—including her only way home—to stop the process.
Godsgrave (The Nevernight Chronicle #2)
Jay Kristoff | Fantasy
The second thrilling installment of the award-winning Nevernight Chronicle, from New York Times bestselling author Jay Kristoff.
In a land where three suns almost never set, a ruthless assassin continues her quest for vengeance against the powers who destroyed her family.
Mia Corvere has found her place among the Blades of Our Lady of Blessed Murder, but many in the Red Church hierarchy think she’s far from earned it. Plying her bloody trade in a backwater of the Republic, she’s no closer to ending the men who destroyed her familia; in fact, she’s told directly that Consul Scaeva is off limits. But after a deadly confrontation with an old enemy, Mia's suspicions about the Red Church’s true motives begin to grow.
When it’s announced that Scaeva will be making a rare public appearance at the conclusion of the grand games in Godsgrave, Mia defies the Church and sells herself to a gladiatorial collegium for a chance to finally end him. Upon the sands of the arena, Mia finds new allies, bitter rivals, and more questions about her strange affinity for the shadows. But as conspiracies unfold within the collegium walls, and the body count rises, Mia will be forced to choose between love and revenge, and uncover a secret that could change the very face of her world.
MJ-12: Shadows (MAJESTIC-12 #2)
Michael Martinez | Science Fiction / Psi Paranormal
It’s 1949, and the Cold War is heating up across the world. For the United States, the key to winning might be Variants—once ordinary US citizens, now imbued with strange paranormal abilities and corralled into covert service by the government’s top secret MAJESTIC-12 program.
Some Variants are testing the murky international waters in Syria, while others are back at home, fighting to stay ahead of a political power struggle in Washington. And back at Area 51, the operation’s headquarters, the next wave of recruits is anxiously awaiting their first mission. All the while, dangerous figures flit among the shadows and it’s unclear whether they are threatening to expose the Variants for what they are . . . or to completely destroy them. Are they working for the Soviet Union, or something far worse?
The Ruin of Angels (Craft Sequence #6)
Max Gladstone | Urban Fantasy
Max Gladstone returns with The Ruin of Angels, the sixth novel in the Hugo-nominated Craft Sequence, which The Washington Post calls "the best kind of urban fantasy" and NPR calls "sharp, original, and passionate"
The God Wars destroyed the city of Alikand. Now, a century and a half and a great many construction contracts later, Agdel Lex rises in its place. Dead deities litter the surrounding desert, streets shift when people aren’t looking, a squidlike tower dominates the skyline, and the foreign Iskari Rectification Authority keeps strict order in this once-independent city—while treasure seekers, criminals, combat librarians, nightmare artists, angels, demons, dispossessed knights, grad students, and other fools gather in its ever-changing alleys, hungry for the next big score.
Priestess/investment banker Kai Pohala (last seen in Full Fathom Five) hits town to corner Agdel Lex’s burgeoning nightmare startup scene, and to visit her estranged sister Ley. But Kai finds Ley desperate at the center of a shadowy, and rapidly unravelling, business deal. When Ley ends up on the run, wanted for a crime she most definitely committed, Kai races to track her sister down before the Authority finds her first. But Ley has her own plans, involving her ex-girlfriend, a daring heist into the god-haunted desert, and, perhaps, freedom for an occupied city. Because Alikand might not be completely dead—and some people want to finish the job.
The Salt Line
Holly Goddard Jones | Science Fiction / Dystopia
In the spirit of Station Eleven and California, award-winning novelist Holly Goddard Jones offers a literary spin on the dystopian genre with this gripping story of survival and humanity about a group of adrenaline junkies who jump “the Salt Line.”
How far will they go for their freedom—once they decide what freedom really means?
In an unspecified future, the United States' borders have receded behind a salt line—a ring of scorched earth that protects its citizens from deadly disease-carrying ticks. Those within the zone live safe, if limited, lives in a society controlled by a common fear. Few have any reason to venture out of zone, except for the adrenaline junkies who pay a fortune to tour what's left of nature. Those among the latest expedition include a popstar and his girlfriend, Edie; the tech giant Wes; and Marta; a seemingly simple housewife.
Once out of zone, the group find themselves at the mercy of deadly ticks—and at the center of a murderous plot. They become captives in Ruby City, a community made up of outer-zone survivors determined to protect their hardscrabble existence. As alliances and friendships shift amongst the hostages, Edie, Wes, and Marta must decide how far they are willing to go to get to the right side of the salt line.
A Secret History of Witches
Louisa Morgan | Historical Fantasy
A sweeping historical saga that traces five generations of fiercely powerful mothers and daughters - witches whose magical inheritance is both a dangerous threat and an extraordinary gift.
Brittany, 1821. After Grand-mere Ursule gives her life to save her family, their magic seems to die with her.
Even so, the Orchires fight to keep the old ways alive, practicing half-remembered spells and arcane rites in hopes of a revival. And when their youngest daughter comes of age, magic flows anew. The lineage continues, though new generations struggle not only to master their power, but also to keep it hidden.
But when World War II looms on the horizon, magic is needed more urgently than ever - not for simple potions or visions, but to change the entire course of history.
Tower of Dawn (Throne of Glass)
Sarah J. Maas | YA / Fantasy
In the next installment of the New York Times bestselling Throne of Glass series, follow Chaol on his sweeping journey to a distant empire.
Chaol Westfall has always defined himself by his unwavering loyalty, his strength, and his position as the Captain of the Guard. But all of that has changed since the glass castle shattered, since his men were slaughtered, since the King of Adarlan spared him from a killing blow, but left his body broken.
His only shot at recovery lies with the legendary healers of the Torre Cesme in Antica--the stronghold of the southern continent's mighty empire. And with war looming over Dorian and Aelin back home, their survival might lie with Chaol and Nesryn convincing its rulers to ally with them.
But what they discover in Antica will change them both--and be more vital to saving Erilea than they could have imagined.
RATINGS & REVIEWS: goodreads (4.41 avg ★★★★ / 482)
David Macinnis Gill | YA / Horror
A chilling stand-alone novel by the acclaimed David Macinnis Gill. This original and sinister spin on gothic tradition will appeal to fans of Asylum, American Horror Story: Coven, and The Walking Dead.
When a bolt of lightning causes a Boston-wide blackout on her sixteenth birthday, Willow Jane doesn’t think anything of it—until she begins stopping time, until she comes face-to-face with her menacing familiar, until her sister disappears.
But these aren’t the only strange and horrifying things to come out of the storm. An ancient witch named the Shadowless has awoken and escaped from her crypt, and she’s looking for revenge on Willow Jane’s family.
From the critically acclaimed author of Black Hole Sun and Soul Enchilada, this eerie horror story lingers long after its bloody end, and is perfect for fans of Madeleine Roux, The Ghost Files, and anyone who likes things that go bump in the night.
★ Weekly Pick: There are so many awesome sounding books this week, it's pretty hard to choose! But since I have yet to read Nevernight (it's been on my TBR pile for ages — I need to get on that!), and because I am admittedly obsessed with fairy tales, especially Snow White, and I do so love retellings, this week's pick is Girls Made of Snow and Glass.