Have you been playing a lot of video games recently? Good, because if you ask Ernest Cline, those skills might come in handy if aliens invade. But don’t worry, if you spend more time in the library you could be in training to fill God’s shoes, according to Scott Hawkins. One of the best things about the science fiction and fantasy genres is that there’s literally something for everyone and this summer is no different. Whether you’ve been anxiously waiting for Erika Johansen’s The Invasion of the Tearling or if you can’t wait to dive into The Divine, a politically-charged graphic novel about child soldiers, we’ve got the perfect book for you.
A wrinkle in dimensions
If you had the chance to step through a door and enter a different dimension, you’d take it, right? Scientists in the California desert have created a device called the Albuquerque Door and claim that it can “fold” dimensions, thus shrinking the distance between them and making it easy for a human to step through the door and instantly end up somewhere else. The problem is that those who return aren’t the same. Mike Erikson is a high school English teacher by day and a genius with eidetic memory by… well, technically all the time. When a childhood friend tells him about the Door, he can’t resist investigating. Fans of Peter Clines will love the thrilling mystery he carefully builds, and newbies are in for quite the treat.
On shelves: June 2
Draw your weapons
Did you hear about actress Emma Watson scoring the role of a book-loving princess? No, we’re not talking about her role as Belle in Beauty and the Beast (though, trust me, we are excited about that). We’re talking about her starring as Princess Kelsea Raleigh Glynn. Readers fell quickly for Kelsea in The Queen of the Tearling, where the 19-year-old lost princess had to return to her former home and take back the throne from her uncle. It’s a not-so-easy task learning to reign while watching her back and learning not to trust anyone, even some of the men in her own private guard. In this thrilling sequel, the Mort are moving in and beginning to attack, threatening to take over Kelsea’s kingdom. New to the throne and still learning to control her fragile realm, this book takes Kelsea on the next step in her journey from meek girl in the forest to powerful and formidable queen.
On shelves: June 9
The library of knowledge
All readers know that libraries are powerful places, but we bet you’ve never entered one like this. At the age of 8, Carolyn and 11 other children were “adopted” by a man they grew to know as Father. At times he was benevolent, sharing his Library with them and teaching them how to speak other languages, how to connect with beasts, and how to resurrect the dead. Other times he was dangerous and unforgiving. Carolyn wonders if he’s God. And if he is God, who is to take his place now that he’s gone missing? At times funny, and always strange, this original fantasy debut is not to be missed.
On shelves: June 16
The disease is spreading
When we think of fae, we typically think of lush, rolling green hills and ancient magic. We don’t expect to find them in diners and dives, but that’s exactly where Guy Faery… er Jeremiah finds himself. Half-human, half-Sidhe, Jeremiah was once close to the queen of the Summer Court, but these days he fills his hours with mortal construction work instead. That is until he runs into a fellow half-Sidhe who bears more than a passing resemblance to his dead wife. Her name is Robin and no matter how he tries to stay away, Jeremiah can’t help but abandon the mortal realm and follow her back into a plagued world on the brink of war. The first in a series, fans of Lilith Saintcrow will have more to look forward to once they devour this urban fantasy.
On shelves: June 23
What’s a god to a non-believer
In Jo Walton‘s The Just City, time-traveling goddess Pallas Athene decided to realize the dream of Plato’s Republic and build a city on the island of Atlantis (ah, fantasy). Set 20 years later, The Philosopher Kings shows that things are not quite going as planned. The city has been split into five cities and conflict resulting in violence is common between them. The god Apollo, disguised as the mortal Pythias, finds himself consumed with ideas of revenge and sets sail into the Eastern Mediterranean. Though he seeks vengeance, what he finds on the other side of the sea is a far greater gift. Ideal for those who enjoyed the first book and anyone who thinks about the lines between what makes a god a god and a man a man.
On shelves: June 30
To infinity and beyond
In a story many science fiction readers will be familiar with, a starship carrying 2,000 people leaves the Earth in the hopes of starting anew in a galaxy far, far away. The problem? 200 years into that mission, the ship is breaking down. In a story narrated by the ship’s artificial intelligence, readers are given an inside look at the inhabitants’ increasing worries as the struggle for survival becomes imminent. If you haven’t read anything by Kim Stanley Robinson yet, you’re in for a treat from a writer at his very best.
On shelves: July 7
Mark could only stay out of the fray for so long. His life with his pregnant wife is peaceful, yet he can’t help but jump at the chance to link up with Jason, a friend of his from back in his military days. Jason’s heading out to a South-East Asian country called Quanlom for a mining job, an operation that requires stealth and precision due to the country’s ongoing civil war. Nothing could’ve prepared Mark for what he’d encounter in Quanlom: 10-year-old twins leading the war, magic, gods, an actual real-life dragon. Inspired by Apichart Weerawong’s 2000 photograph of twin child soldiers in Thailand, this graphic novel mixes ancient powers and modern warfare with explosive results.
On shelves: July 14
Ready to play? Zack Lightman is your typical teenager: He thinks math class is dull, he’s counting down the days until graduation, and he loves the online video game Armada. He plays Armada online every night, which is why he’s certain that the UFO he just saw outside of his classroom is a real version of the kind players pilot in the game. Straight out of every video gamer’s wildest fantasy, Zack and other top players are called upon to save the Earth from an alien invasion. But even as he gears up for battle, Zach’s thinking something just isn’t quite right about this scenario. From the author of Ready Player One, yet another stellar read certain to get even the most die-hard of gamers to unplug and dive in.
On shelves: July 14
Death comes knocking
We’re continuing to wait for more news on the upcoming Sandman Slim film, but at least we have a new novel in the series to keep us occupied. In the latest installment, Death is literally at James Stark’s door. Turns out someone tried to kill Death, by ripping the heart out of the body he’s currently inhabiting, and he thinks Start is the only one who can help him. From the depths of LA to vampire-filled nightclubs, Richard Kadrey delivers his usual lineup of the right amount of violence, humor, and snark. It doesn’t hurt that there’s also a new bad girl in town, drawing Stark in with dangerous and mysterious vibes.
On shelves: July 28
Magic among the hills
Fans of Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels series have been waiting nearly a year for this eighth installment, though new fans can easily use the summer to catch up on the series. Our favorite mercenary, Kate Daniels, is taking a break after her and her mate Curran have left the Pack. Curran misses the demands of leading a group of shapeshifters, though otherwise life seems quiet for the moment. But things never stay dull for long in paranormal Atlanta. An ancient evil is rising and threatens to destroy everything Kate and Curran hold dear. Filled with fun and danger, it’s a summer read sure to please fans of urban fantasy.