From "The City We Became" by N. K. Jemisin to Naomi Novik's "A Deadly Education," 2020 brings new epic stories to fantasy readers.
With so many series concluding this year—most significantly, Terry Brooks’ Shannara saga—the only thing to do to console myself was to look deeper into 2020 to see what new series are starting.
And, woo-hoo, there’s a lot of glorious new fantasy! Before diving into my research, I expected to find an even split in new series between fantasy and science fiction. But no; fantasy currently dominates the scene. That doesn’t mean there isn’t new sci-fi out there, though. Stay tuned for an article on new sci-fi later in March.
While some of these series start as early as next week, for others, the only information I have comes from the publisher’s copy. And a few books are so far out they don’t even have covers yet, so I’ve shown author photos instead.
House of Earth and Blood (Crescent City) by Sarah J. Maas
Sarah J. Maas has wowed readers of young adult fantasy with her Throne of Glass and Court of Thorns and Roses sagas. Now she delivers her first book aimed at an adult audience with House of Earth and Blood. Set in a realm that mixes angels, Norse mythology, Fae, shifters, and humans, Maas’ complex world puts emotionally scarred heroine Bryce on a path toward redemption as she attempts to gain justice for the death of her best friend. (March 3)
The City We Became (The Great Cities Trilogy Book 1) by N. K. Jemisin
Multi-award-winner N. K. Jemisin brings her rip-roaring storytelling skills to her backyard of New York City in this propulsive series starter. Five very different people in New York City discover that they, somehow, have become the living avatars of each of the five boroughs of the city, which is now newly sentient. With that responsibility also comes paranormal powers—as well as an enemy who wishes to kill the newborn city. Battles on top of cabs, hidden subway stations, and local artists’ galleries come together in one of the most convincing and action-packed modern love letters to the city that never sleeps…excepting Staten Island. (March 24)
The Girl and the Stars (The Book of the Ice 1) by Mark Lawrence
Mark Lawrence’s new series is set in the same world as Red Sister but peopled with new protagonists. From the publisher: “In the ice, east of the Black Rock, there is a hole into which broken children are thrown. Yaz’s people call it the Pit of the Missing and now it is drawing her in as she has always known it would. To resist the cold, to endure the months of night when even the air itself begins to freeze, requires a special breed. Variation is dangerous, difference is fatal. And Yaz is not the same.” (April 21)
Ashes of the Sun (Burningblade & Silvereye Book 1) by Django Wexler
The author of the Wells of Sorcery and the Shadow Campaigns novels delivers a new series in which two siblings fight on opposing sides of a sorcerous war. From the publisher: “Gyre hasn't seen his beloved sister since their parents sold her to the mysterious Twilight Order. Now, twelve years after her disappearance, Gyre's sole focus is revenge, and he's willing to risk anything and anyone to claim enough power to destroy the Order. Chasing rumors of a fabled city protecting a powerful artifact, Gyre comes face-to-face with his lost sister. But she isn't who she once was. Trained to be a warrior, Maya wields magic for the Twilight Order's cause. Standing on opposite sides of a looming civil war, the two siblings will learn that not even the ties of blood will keep them from splitting the world in two.” (July 21)
Spellbreaker by Charlie N. Holmberg
Charlie Holmberg, best known for her Paper Magician series, launches a new saga in which the heroine doesn’t create spells—she breaks them. An unlicensed magic user, Elsie works with an underground group to erode the powers of the aristocracy. But a bargain struck with an aristocrat shows Elsie another world of power, even as more and more wizards are being killed around her. (September 8)
A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik
Those who’ve read and loved Naomi Novik’s Uprooted, Spinning Silver, and Temeraire books, rejoice: Novik launches a new series this fall. From the publisher: “I decided that Orion Lake needed to die after the second time he saved my life. Everyone loves Orion Lake. Everyone else, that is. Far as I’m concerned, he can keep his flashy combat magic to himself. I’m not joining his pack of adoring fans. I don’t need help surviving the Scholomance, even if they do. Forget the hordes of monsters and cursed artifacts. I’m probably the most dangerous thing in the place. Just give me a chance and I’ll level mountains and kill untold millions, make myself the dark queen of the world.” (September 29)
Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse
I was lucky enough to get a sneak preview this new fantasy series from Rebecca Roanhorse herself when I met her last fall at New York Comic Con. She said the new series will “focus on the indigenous cultures of the Americas—like the Cahokia and…one of the maritime Maya along the coast of what is now Mexico—and primarily the ancestral Puebloans of what we know as Chaco Canyon.” She added, “Those are just allegorical cultures,” meaning that this wasn’t meant to be read as historical fiction, “but I’m excited.” From the publisher: “A new epic fantasy of the great matriarchal clans of a prosperous cliff-city and its fight for survival against invasion, political intrigue, and dark celestial prophecies.” (October 13)
The Awakening (The Dragon Heart Legacy, Book 1) by Nora Roberts
Nora Roberts dived into postapocalyptic fantasy several years ago with her series called Chronicles of The One. According to the publisher, now Roberts returns “with the first in a brand new series where parallel worlds clash over the struggle between good and evil.” (November 24)
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- 100 Science fiction and fantasy books to read in a lifetime
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