Winter 2019’s Most-Anticipated Young Adult Sci-Fi & Fantasy

Winter 2019’s Most-Anticipated Young Adult Sci-Fi & Fantasy

winter's must-read young adult sci-fi and fantasy

Winter is the perfect time to get lost in a science fiction or fantasy novel. After all, it is a season where reindeer can fly, world travel takes only a single night, and cookies can be exchanged for gifts. We know you’re itching for exciting adventures of your own, which is why we’ve rounded up winter’s must-read young adult sci-fi and fantasy books. Prepare for worlds filled with danger, intrigue, and magic.

If you’re craving some contemporary or historical YA, we have a list for that too.

Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful by Arwen Elys Dayton

Six connected stories explore ethics and what it means to be human in a future shaped by technological and scientific advancements. Drawing on modern science, Arwen Elys Dayton skillfully creates a series of all-too-plausible outcomes born out of the obsession with creating perfection in humans. The tales explore both the lifesaving possibilities that science offers, while also featuring for-profit corporations that seek to take advantage of new systems. With four starred reviews, this thought-provoking and often terrifying book is a must-read for science fiction fans.

On shelves: December 4

The Wicked King by Holly Black

Holly Black whisked readers off to the High Court of Faerie in The Cruel Prince, and now she’s back with the addicting sequel. A human in the land of Faerie, Jude Duarte holds her cards close to her chest and trusts no one. It’s been five months since she succeeded at placing Prince Cardan on the throne, but he’s difficult to control in the best of times, and she has her hands full attempting to protect herself and her younger brother from those who might betray her. Fans are sure to devour this installment, while newbies will want to start at the beginning to savor every twist and turn of this tale.

On shelves: January 8

The Girl King by Mimi Yu

Sibling rivalry takes on a whole new meaning in this YA tale of sisters vying for the throne. Lu always believed that she would be the first empress of the Hu dynasty. After all, she’s been training for battle since she was only seven. She’s stunned when when her father announces that Lord Set, her cousin, is to be both his heir and her betrothed. When it becomes clear that Lu won’t go along with these plans, Set attempts to have her killed and Lu is forced to leave her home to regroup. Meanwhile, Min’s long felt trapped in her sister Lu’s shadow, and with Lu gone Min begins to wonder if she can use her newfound magical abilities to take the throne for herself.

On shelves: January 8

Slayer by Kiersten White

Buffy fans, prepare to meet the new Slayer. Following the arc of the comics (and infused with fun nods to the television show), Kiersten White’s series introduces readers to 16-year-old Nina Jamison-Smythe. She’s in the middle of training as a healer at the Watchers Academy in Ireland when magic suddenly disappears from the world. In the same moment, Nina feels new powers ignite in her veins. She’s been chosen as the new Slayer, and she may be the very last of the line. As the saying goes, with great power comes great responsibility, and Nina must act quickly to master her new abilities if she has any hope of protecting those she loves from a deadly new threat.

On shelves: January 8

The Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi

Travel to 19th-century Paris in this thrilling fantasy novel from Roshani Chokshi. The first in a series, this book is set in an alternate version of France run by the Order of Babel. This powerful group is on the hunt for a artifact, and they’ve hired Séverin Montagnet-Alarie to find it for them. Years ago Séverin attempted to take his late father’s place in the Order, though he was rejected and refused the inheritance he was owed. When the Order offers to restore his birthright, Séverin puts together an unbeatable team to pull off the heist of a lifetime.

(Psst: Head over to BookishFirst for an excerpt!)

On shelves: January 15

King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo

Readers couldn’t get enough of roguish privateer Nikolai Lantsov in Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha trilogy, and now the fan favorite is taking center stage in a duology all his own. In King of Scars, we meet the young king in a tumultuous moment: Enemies are rising against him and with the Grisha Army only a shadow of its former glory, the borders could too easily be breached. Meanwhile, long-kept secrets are starting to surface and Nikolai must journey across Ravka if he hopes to save everything he holds dear. Personally, we’ve been hyperventilating with excitement ever since this book was announced, and we can’t wait to reunite with this too-clever fox and other familiar faces from the Grisha universe.

On shelves: January 29

A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer

While Harper Lacy’s brother meets with a loan shark over their father’s debt, Harper acts as lookout. It’s the only role her brother, who underestimates her because of her cerebral palsy, will allow. When Harper notices a kidnapping in progress, she leaves her post to help and accidentally finds herself transported to Emberfall—a kingdom plagued by attacks from a vicious beast. It’s there that she meets Prince Rhen, who is under a curse that turns him into a monster each winter. Rhen believes falling in love will break the spell and help his people. At first, Harper’s only thoughts are of escaping Emberfall and returning to her family. But as time passes, she begins to help Rhen find ways to protect his kingdom and to fight against the dangers that threaten to tear it apart. YA readers who can’t resist a fairytale retelling won’t want to miss this reimagining of “Beauty and the Beast.”

On shelves: January 29

Courting Darkness by Robin LaFevers

Robin LaFevers kicks off her Courting Darkness duology this winter, and it features a characters readers will recognize from the His Fair Assassin series. The year is 1489 and trained assassin Sybella is escorting the duchess of Brittany across the sea to France where she is to wed King Charles. In exchange, the duchess promises to protect Sybella’s sisters from their brother, who abused Sybella in the past. Meanwhile, fellow assassin Genevieve has been undercover in France awaiting assignment, and she’s growing restless. The two trade off narration as their paths grow ever closer.

On shelves: February 5

Bloodwitch by Susan Dennard

Witchlanders, rejoice: Baeduan has arrived. Bloodwitch, the third novel in the Witchlands series, reunites readers with Threadwitch Iseult, Truthwitch Safi, and the Bloodwitch Aeduan. Threadsisters Safi and Iseult have been fighting their way back to each other for ages. Could a reunion finally be in sight? Meanwhile, readers have long waited for Aeduan’s backstory, and this book delivers an insightful look into his moral code and the past events that shaped him into who he is today. There are plenty of payoffs here, as well as hints of looming danger that awaits. This last November, we chatted with Susan Dennard about this epic installment. We won’t spoil it, but fans are sure to be satisfied by the action, adventure, and romance. Newbies, start with book one; series regulars, get ready to dive in.

(Psst: Head over to BookishFirst to read the first 50 pages!)

On shelves: February 12

Crown of Feathers by Nicki Pau Preto

Years ago Queen Nefyra reigned as the first of the great Rider Queens who rode on the backs of blazing phoenixes. But the group was driven underground after the kingdom turned on them in the aftermath of a brutal war between two Rider sisters for the throne. Still, orphan Veronyka believes it’s her destiny to become a Rider, and after her own sister betrays her, Veronyka sets out to find them and join their ranks. But Val isn’t ready to give up control of her sister’s life. Booklist called this fantasy tale about sisterhood “as ambitious as it is lyrical,” and we think you’ll agree.

On shelves: February 12

We Set the Dark on Fire by Tehlor Kay Mejia

On the island nation of Medio, status is everything. The rich and the poor are divided by a wall, and men have two wives: a Primera to serve as his partner in business and a Segunda to care for his home and family. Seventeen-year-old Dani Vargas is preparing to become a Primera, and she’s at the top of her class at the Medio School for Girls. But she’s guarding a secret that could cost her everything: Her parents used forged identity papers to relocate her to the wealthy side of the wall. When Dani is approached by a member of the resistance who wants her to spy on her new husband, she must consider where her loyalties truly lie.

On shelves: February 26

Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte

Raise your hand if you braved the crowds at BookCon 2018 for the ARC drop of Four Dead Queens. The hype has been building ever since for this gripping novel about a thief who finds herself in possession of a dangerous secret. The land of Quadara is divided into four quadrants, each with its own specialized focus: intelligence, pleasure, nature, and technology. This layout has created a thriving black market where citizens can get items not found in their quarters. Keralie Corrington works as a thief providing items to the market, and her most recent mission finds her in possession of chips that contain the memories of four assassinated queens. Can she uncover who the killer is before she becomes a target? You’ll have to read to find out.

(Psst: Head over to BookishFirst to read the first 60 pages!)

On shelves: February 26

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