Winter 2018’s Hottest Sci-Fi & Fantasy Books: A Moon Murder, a Russian Reverie, and Big Brother

Winter 2018’s Hottest Sci-Fi & Fantasy Books: A Moon Murder, a Russian Reverie, and Big Brother

Itching for tales of time-travelling astronauts? Intrigued by worlds filled with espionage and intergalactic feuds? We’ve got you covered. This winter is delivering a fantastic crop of sci-fi and fantasy books, including titles from favorites Seanan McGuire and Charles Stross. Not to mention that fans of the Expanse series will be delighted to get their hands on the newest installment, Persepolis Rising. Meanwhile, readers looking for a brand new adventure will have to decide whether they want to take on time travel, warring timelines, or a murder on the moon. There are ten books on this list, so you’d better start reading soon because spring will be here before you know it.

The Girl in the Tower

Let it go

Hot on the heels of The Bear and the Nightingale, Katherine Arden once again gives voice to Vasya, who has learned how to protect and care for herself in the frozen Russian landscape she inhabits. Rather than live her expected life—either in the convent or an arranged marriage—Vasya sets out on her own disguised as a male, hoping to see all the world has to offer. Instead of a fun adventure, she finds girls in need of rescuing from the bandits who kidnapped them. After a fight with the bandits, she earns the gratitude of the Grand Prince of Moscow and relishes the freedom of being perceived as a male in a society that sees women as needing protectors. When she begins to see that her strength is not only physical and mental, but also magical, she realizes that she might be the only one who can save the prince from those who would unseat him. Readers who fell in love with Vasya in the first book of this trilogy will find their admiration grows alongside her strength and powers in this stirring and fantastical tale.

On shelves: December 5

Year One

Lights out

We have all felt the familiar grip of fear when the power goes out or when there is no cell service. What if power is never restored? Worse yet, what if we can never finish that game of Words with Friends? This is the reality in Year One, Nora Roberts’ latest and the first in a new series. A plague spreads around the world, killing billions and causing a complete breakdown of society. Only the Uncanny, people who find themselves suddenly gifted with magical abilities, seem to be immune. Meanwhile, authorities are rounding up these survivors. Feeling as though her unborn child is meant for great things and in an effort to evade capture, Lana flees the ruined streets of New York City in hopes of finding safety on a remote farm—that is, until other survivors show up and all must try to discern who to trust.

On shelves: December 5

Persepolis Rising

Oh, the humanity!

James S. A. Corey returns to the gunship Rocinante in Persepolis Rising, the seventh novel in the Expanse series. Despite the alliance of the inner planets, James Holden and the crew of Rocinante must be constantly vigilant against humans devolving into the age-old habits of war. Unbeknownst to them, a dark force is rising in the form of alien technology on the forgotten colony of Laconia, controlled by those who seek to break the alliance and plunge humanity into chaos. Ultimately, the question is which will destroy humanity first: the weaknesses of human nature or the dark forces designed to crush it?

On shelves: December 5

Beneath the Sugar Sky

Journey to the past

Beneath the Sugar Sky is the third book in Seanan McGuire’s Wayward Children series, and is set once again at Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children, a boarding school filled with magic. There, children who have been on magical adventures go through a process of reintroduction to society. Rini, finding herself at the home, shockingly learns from another student that her mother, Sumi, died before she was even conceived. If she can’t bring Sumi back, Rini will never have been born, and without her, who will save the world? It’s a race against time, but luckily Rini has plenty of fellow wayward children to help and many hands make quick work. Though this book can be read as a standalone, we highly recommend starting this fantastic series from the very beginning.

On shelves: January 9

Gnomon

They’re watching you

Some of the more paranoid among us believe that the government is watching our every move, but imagine if you knew they were watching you. Such is the world that the citizens of Nick Harkaway’s Gnomon inhabit in Britain’s not-too-distant future. In this world of ultimate transparency, everyone knows everything about everyone else and secrets are verboten. Except for writer Diana Hunter, who bucks the system by remaining off the grid and undetected. When she dies in the custody of the authorities, she leaves behind a twisted trail of clues for Mielikki Neith—the investigator assigned to the case—to try to tease out. Will she find out the truth about Diana Hunter? Or does she know it already?

On shelves: January 9

Dark State

Time after time

Charles Stross creates a chilling world within his techno-thriller, Dark State, where nuclear warfare, big-brother surveillance, and espionage are all on the table. In this sequel to Empire Games, Stross continues to explore the danger of three separate timelines attempting to destroy each other. One timeline is a ruined world, one is a near-future nuclear-weapon hair-triggered United States, and the other is a world in which the U.S. never existed at all and an interest in nuclear weaponry is just beginning to take hold. The U.S., anxious about nuclear weapons in the hands of others, turns world-walkers—those who can traverse between timelines—into spies. At the center of the action is Commissioner Miriam Burgeson and her estranged daughter Rita Douglas. Miriam is in charge of a risky mission in her timeline, while Rita faces counterrevolutionaries in hers. A starred Kirkus review raves, “Tension crackles from every page as readers grapple with the horrifying sociological and political implications, the looming threat of another intra-time nuclear war, and the fates of individual characters embroiled in disturbing intrigues.”

On shelves: January 9

Iron Gold

A new dawn

Some revolutions bring about peace and change while others bring only more anger, chaos, and hardship. Pierce Brown brings on the latter in Iron Gold, first in a new trilogy within the Red Rising saga. It’s been ten years since the Rising, and Darrow, hero of the revolution, leads the charge in the brave new world as one of the leaders of the Solar Republic. But not everyone is happy under the new rule, and more turmoil seems inevitable, as far-flung characters dream of revenge. Chaos will reign supreme unless Darrow and a band of fresh characters can band together to save the future they fought for.

On shelves: January 16

Senlin Ascends

Don’t look down

What would you do if you lost that which you hold most dear? Thomas Senlin, the main character in Josiah Bancroft’s debut fantasy Senlin Ascends, knows what he would do. He would climb up the Tower of Babel—a tower so high that the uppermost floors are in the clouds—in search of his wife Marya. They have come to Babel on their honeymoon. Almost as soon as they arrive, the two are separated in the crowd. More of a scholar than a fighter, Senlin must learn how to use his instincts for survival as well as his finely-tuned brain, because as he climbs he discovers new worlds, curiosities, and danger. First in a planned series, Senlin Ascends will leave readers eager for the next installment.

On shelves: January 16

The Gone World

Ground Control to Major Tom

Fasten your seatbelts for this genre-bending sci-fi thriller from Tom Sweterlitsch. Shannon Moss, a federal agent with the Naval Criminal Investigative Service, is tasked with finding a missing teenager whose family has been murdered. Moss is also an undercover time traveler and she begins to suspect that the murder may have been committed by one of the time-traveling astronauts of U.S.S. Libra, a ship thought to be lost in Deep Time. Traveling forward in time, Moss looks into the future to hunt for clues and uncovers that a horrible fate awaits humanity if she fails in her mission.

On shelves: February 6

Gunpowder Moon

The murderer on the moon

In the year 2072, mankind is mining the moon for minerals that will save the Earth from the effects of an environmental disaster. Caden Dechert is the chief of the mining operation for the United States. He’s also a tortured war veteran, triggered by the ever-present and inexplicable gunpowder scent of the moon. When one of his workers is murdered, Dechert hunts for the killer and in doing so finds himself in the middle of a much larger struggle—one for global supremacy. In a starred review, Publisher’s Weekly calls David Pedreira’s debut “an exciting story with an unexpected depth—a solid winner.”

On shelves: February 13

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