Itching for tales of espionage and tea-drinking witches? Intrigued by worlds filled with mechanical creatures and dead women talking? We’ve got you covered. This summer is delivering a fantastic crop of sci-fi and fantasy books, including titles from favorites Neal Stephenson and Catherynne M. Valente. Not to mention that fans of N.K. Jemisin will be delighted to get their hands on the final book in The Broken Earth trilogy. Meanwhile, readers looking for a brand new adventure will have to decide whether to pick up a tale of time-traveling robots or one of a plot to invade England first. There are ten books on this list, so you’d better start reading soon. Fall is right around the corner.
Hell hath no fury
Welcome to Deadtown, home of the Hell Hath Club, which is made up of a group of dead women. Some of these women are superheroes themselves, others are girlfriends and wives of superheroes, but the common thread is that all of them have been refrigerated—killed off for the sake of a male character’s development. Meeting in the Lethe Café, these women share their stories with each other in Catherynne M. Valente’s The Refrigerator Monologues. There are no Hollywood endings in Deadtown; rather, Valente gives the dead a chance to speak for themselves and remind readers that the lives and deaths of women mean more than a convenient plot point.
On shelves: June 6
You put a spell on me
After meeting intelligence operator Tristan Lyons, linguist Melisande Stokes becomes part of an operation she never could have imagined: translating documents that prove that magic did truly exist before it was obliterated in 1851. From there, the D.O.D.O. (Department of Diachronic Operations) begins its mission to create a device that can bring magic back. The book seems to defy categorization, which isn’t a surprise when you look at its co-authors. Neal Stephenson‘s previous works fall into the realms of speculative fiction, science fiction, historical fiction, and cyberpunk. Meanwhile, Nicole Galland writes historical and contemporary novels. Weaving time travel, science, technology and magic, this book is sure to please fans of both authors.
On shelves: June 13
Words will never hurt me
While firmly standing on its own, Seanan McGuire’s latest, Down Among the Sticks and Bones, features Jacqueline and Jillian Wolcott, first encountered in Every Heart a Doorway. While Jacqueline was beloved by their mother and Jillian was beloved by their father, they both learned at a tender age that adults can’t really be trusted. At 12, they discover a winding staircase, leading them into a magical world where a scientist seeks to reanimate the dead. Here they learn about trust, love, and how your choices can sometimes change your life forever.
On shelves: June 13
Back to the future
Fantasy readers, the day has come. The highly-anticipated sequel series to Tad Williams’ Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn trilogy is here. With this installment, Williams moves readers 30 years forward in the realm of Osten Ard. The world is threatened by the awakening of the immortal Norn queen, who seeks to go to war against mortals. Delving into both the sweeping history and the personal narrative, Williams beautifully resurrects those first encountered in the original trilogy, while bringing readers a whole new cycle to absorb. Kirkus hailed this as “an instant fantasy classic.” Don’t miss out.
On shelves: June 27
Mother, may I?
With a background in writing for theater, film, television, and radio, David Demchuk is no stranger to storytelling, and his writing chops are on full display in his dark debut novel. The Bone Mother follows the stories of the last mythical creatures of Eastern Europe. Mortals and creatures alike have taken refuge in three neighboring villages near the border of Ukraine and Romania. Then war comes, and with it the Nichni Politsiyi, the Night Police. The creatures’ stories are woven and pieced together to create one elegantly brutal narrative.
On shelves: July 4
Double, double toil and trouble
Two hundred years have passed since the Salem witch trials at the opening of Ami McKay’s literary fantasy, The Witches of New York. Undercover witches Adelaide Thom and Eleanor St. Clair happily run a successful tea shop in New York, catering to the ladies of society. All is well until a young woman named, Beatrice Dunn, enters the scene as their new shop girl. The two women agonize over what’s best for this special young woman and her magical powers, though none of them expects the challenges and dangers ahead.
On shelves: July 11
Howl at the moon
Espionage and psychic abilities mix in Kay Kenyon’s latest, a paranormal historical fantasy that reads like a British spy novel. It’s 1936 and Kim Tavistock, like 1 in 1000 other people since 1918, possesses a psychic power. Her particular gift is called spill, which causes people to reveal their innermost secrets to her. Because of this gift, Kim is recruited to infiltrate the upper echelons of British Nazi sympathizers. Once undercover, she learns of a Nazi plan to invade England. Her colleagues think an invasion is impossible, which means it is up to Kim to use her special abilities to try to stop it from happening.
On shelves: July 11
Simply the best
In the nine years it was published, Subterranean Magazine was home to stories written by many of the well-known talents in the science fiction and fantasy realms. As such, The Best of Subterranean, edited by William Schafer, is a must-have for science fiction, fantasy, and horror fans. Featuring the work of such writers as Joe Hill, Karen Joy Fowler, George R. R. Martin, and Catherynne M. Valente, the anthology clocks in at over 700 pages and 30 stories. This tome promises to be as genre-bending as the authors themselves.
On shelves: July 28
A PhD in robotics from Carnegie Mellon and masters degrees in robotics and artificial intelligence certainly have provided inspiration and authority to Daniel H. Wilson author of The Clockwork Dynasty. The novel blends the past lives of two Russian mechanical beings, Peter and Elena, with the present life of an anthropologist, June Stefanov, who specializes in ancient technology. The two stories are told in parallel but ultimately weave together, as June delves deeper into the lives of the ancient mechanical beings. Their fate rests in her hands, and the choices that June makes could decide whether these beings continue to exist or die out.
On shelves: August 1
Not all who wander are lost
With the The Stone Sky N.K. Jemisin brings The Broken Earth trilogy to a thrilling conclusion. Years ago, Nassun was stolen away by her father. She’s witnessed unspeakable evil, and it may have broken something inside of her. Nassun has a belief that the only way to begin fresh is to destroy that which has done the damage. But using the power of her mentor, Alabaster Tenring, Nassun’s mother Essun is on a quest to find her daughter and create a world where children can grow up safely.
On shelves: August 15