We're still recovering from our 2014 book binge, but already there are a ton of new books that we're dying to read. Including a long-awaited new Michael Moorcock novel, and new books by Jo Walton, Karen Lord and Brian Staveley. Here are our picks for January's most interesting science fiction and fantasy books.
Note: Our list of books to watch out for in 2015 is coming sometime in the next week. But for now, here's our list of just the books in January.
Top image: Unmade by Amy Rose Carpetta
This book, set during the Hundred Years War, has a fascinating premise — France has angels fighting on its side. So what can England do? King Edward III can't call on God for help, because he's a usurper and maybe God is on the side of the French, after all. But what if King Edward could call on Hell instead, and unleash a tide of demons to attack France?
We loved Lord's space opera romance The Best of All Possible Worlds, and here's a quasi-sequel with some of the same characters. Rafi is a teenager, attending a school for gifted kids... but because he has possible psychic powers, they want him to wear a cap that will draw his powers out (and maybe drive him insane.) On the plus side, they're letting him play Wallrunning, the coolest gravity-defying sport in the universe.
This sounds like a twisted, insane version of We3 — basically, a super-intelligent ant colony has been plotting to destroy the human race for years, and now the ants are finally ready to make their move. Part of their plan is to turn surface animals into weapons, so they uplifte a housecat named Mort(e) into a superintelligent soldier. But Mort(e) just wants to be reunited with Sheba, the dog he was friends with before Mort(e) was uplifted.
The conclusion of the YA saga that began with Entangled — some aliens called the Unmakers are going around wiping out the last remains of the human race from the universe. It's up to the young hero Cade to save the day by learning to let go of the people she loves.
The award-winning author of Midwinterblood is back again, with another set of interlocking stories that span centuries in a very David Mitchell fashion, only for kids. This time, the stories include a girl at the very dawn of civilization, learning to pick up a stick and make symbols in the dirt, an early 20th century poet who knows the ocean hides something monstrous, and an astronaut traveling to the first exoplanet aboard a great spaceship in the far future.
Yay, a brand new military SF series. Basically, humans are at war with some relentless aliens called the Phrenorians, and Master Sergeant Frank Sage has to help the human race hold the key strategic planet of Makaum. Two problems: Makaum is a total hellhole, one of the most dangerous planets in the universe. And Sage is also facing a civil war brewing among the humans, which could ruin everything.
A new Holly Black book! Rejoice! Hazel and Ben live in a town where humans and fae live side by side, in peace. When Hazel was a little girl, she believed she was a heroic knight who knew how to stop the fae if they got out of hand — but now the horned, pointy-eared boy in the glass coffin, who used to be Hazel and Ben's best friend, is waking up. And Hazel is no longer so sure of what a hero really is.
The co-editor of the Crossed Genres book of diverse alternate history stories brings a new spin to urban fantasy. Carlos Delacruz is unique, a person caught between life and death — or at least, he thinks he's unique, until he meets another one like him. Soon, he uncovers a plot to bridge the gap between life and death, and someone has summoned a plague of monsters called "ngks" that can destroy spirits.
This "military fantasy" series continues to blow us away, and this time around US Navy SEAL Jim Schweitzer has seen something he wasn't supposed to see on a covert mission. This puts Jim, as well as his wife and son, in danger — and then Jim dies. When he comes back to life, he's become the ultimate warrior, but nobody will tell him what happened to his family.
The blood-sucking Nahan have lived among humans for centuries, hiding behind our legends of vampires and other creatures. One young Nahan, Tomas, wants to join their most elite class, the Storytellers, while a young woman named Stell wants to become an assassin — but both of their gifts will come in handy when they discover a deadly conspiracy.
After the thought-provoking parallel-worlds story of My Real Children, Walton is venturing into much stranger waters. The Greek gods are real, and they're creating a planned community called the Just City, populated by 10,000 children and a few hundred adults — plus some robots from the far future. And Apollo is there, transformed into a human child. Also there? Sokrates, asking way too many troublesome questions.
Sternbergh's Shovel Ready was a bracingly weird look at a post-apocalyptic New York where the rich escape into virtual reality and everybody else lives in the ruins. Now, in the sequel, Spademan gets a warning that terrorists are going to attack New York again — this time "from the inside out."
Famous children's author Laura White only invites a handful of people to join her mysterious Rabbit Back Literature Society — so when a young teacher named Ella is chosen, it's a huge honor. Except what's with the weird rituals? And that mysterious disappearance at the dinner party? And why are the words inside books starting to rearrange themselves?
A young girl leaves Eastern Europe for the first time to become a freshman at Princeton, and falls in love with two brothers. But Bulgarian legends of forest witches who seek to trap men seem to have followed her to America, and she discovers that a family secret may transform her forever.
The first book in this series was one of our favorite books of 2014, so we're excited for the sequel, in which the three children of the dead Emperor continue their schemes. Adare flees the capitol, looking for allies who will believe that she's touched by the Empire's patron goddess Intarra. Meanwhile, Adare's brothers are respectively teaming up with invading nomads, and sneaking into the capitol in disguise.
A brand new series from the author of the Calliope Reaper-Jones novels. Elyse leaves her comfortable life in L.A. to go be with her dying great-aunt Eleanora, who raised her — but Eleanora is secretly a witch, part of a coven that guards the world of normal people from magic. And Elyse is her heir, which means it's up to Elyse to fight back against the person who's killing off all the Echo Park witches.
Here's another book with a pretty unique premise: Five kids sit around the campfire and wish they could trade problems. One of them has MS, one of them has PTSD from being a child soldier in Liberia, and one of them has amnesia from doing too many drugs when she was younger, and so on. They do a weird ritual, symbolizing adopting each other's sorrows... and it works. When they wake up the next morning, they've traded.
We already wrote about this book back when it was supposed to come out last fall — but it's Moorcock's first original novel in years. And it's a semi-autobiographical tale that takes place during World War II, when the Blitz uncovers a realm that's been hidden since the time of Henry III.