Best science fiction and fantasy of July

Adrian Liang on July 14, 2020

Best science fiction and fantasy of July

As people begin to peel off to their summer vacations (many of them still staycations, but we’ll take what we can get), it’s the perfect time to start a new fantasy or sci-fi series. Happily, July includes a number of them among the Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Books of the Month, as well as highly anticipated reads that continue or conclude excellent series.

Find your happy place, pour yourself a glass of something cool and refreshing, and dive into a new world.

Unconquerable Sun by Kate Elliott

Kate Elliott, author of the Court of Fives and Spiritwalker novels, launches a new epic sci-fi series with a political cat-and-mouse game in which Sun fights not just for what she believes in but for her life. The heir to her legendary mother, who has kept the Phene Empire at bay while building up Chaonia’s strengths, Sun seeks to make her mark in the world and be known as more than the heir. But as political schemes within schemes are set in motion, Sun is unclear whether she has become a player or a pawn. But Sun has learned a lot from her mother—perhaps more than anyone suspects.

Peace Talks by Jim Butcher

With power vacuums and frightening new players causing chaos among supernatural folk, a meeting is called among the major factions to find a path to peace. The location? Chicago—home of Harry Dresden, wizard and Winter Knight of the Sidhe Court. Dresden is tasked with protection of the Senior Council members, a challenging role even when everyone isn't at each other's throats. Snappy dialogue, tense politics, and magical battles keep the pacing of Peace Talks tight. For readers worried that the negotiations might solve everyone's problems, be reassured by the title of Harry Dresden's swiftly approaching next adventure: Battle Ground (September 29).

Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Signal to Noise, Gods of Jade and Shadow) cleverly doubles down on the gothic’s overwrought reputation by setting Mexican Gothic in the 1950s, putting a young socialite in the starring role, and then delivering a hair-raising horror novel. Unsettled by a strange letter, Noemí leaves cosmopolitan Mexico City to check on her newly married cousin, who now lives at a remote estate called High Place. Noemí—who smokes cigarettes, drives a convertible, and knows her mind—discovers that High Place lives in the past, plus the ancient English-born master of the house has a thing for eugenics, and Noemí’s cousin is clearly losing her mind. And then Noemí herself begins to hear voices.… You won’t want to stop for breaks while you race through Moreno-Garcia’s creepy, glorious read.

Every Sky a Grave by Jay Posey

As Posey’s new sci-fi thriller opens, Elyth is killing a planet by using Deep Language to reach down into the planet’s core and accelerate its normal process toward entropy. All too soon she’s sent to discover if another planet has been corrupted and needs to be destroyed, but this mission is a clandestine one, known only to her superior and not to the rest of the galaxy-spanning Ascendance. What Elyth discovers on the small planet challenges everything she’s ever been taught. Posey creates both a big-action and thoughtful series starter that has multiple layers, should one want to delve into them, but is an entertaining read even if one does not.

Scarlet Odyssey by C. T. Rwizi

Battling expectations, Salo wants to become a magic user—a calling typically reserved for women. When an attack on his people reveals that his interest in magic has gone far beyond dabbling, he is sent on a quest to prove himself. Those who gravitate toward coming-of-age fantasy novels but who are looking for something beyond the European-styled sword-and-sorcery tropes will enjoy how Rwizi folds together magic, tech, and original world building, leaving readers eager for the next book in the series.

Looking for more? See all our picks for the Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Books of the Month, including young adult fantasy Girl, Serpent, Thorn; the final book in S. A. Chakraborty’s Daevabad trilogy; and Stephen Graham Jones’ new horror novel, The Only Good Indians. Or check out the 20 books we named the Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of 2020 So Far, covering new releases from January through June.

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