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Finally Some Good News: September Is Overflowing With New Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books

Tracy Deonn’s Legendborn
Tracy Deonn’s Legendborn
Image: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Movies are slowly trickling back into theaters, but a far safer option is to pick up one of September’s new books instead. And it’s a ridiculously bountiful month, with witches, warriors, time travelers, ghosts, robots, aliens, monsters, and space pirates to fire up your imagination without needing to leave the house.

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As the Shadow Rises by Katy Rose Pool

In this sequel to There Will Come a Darkness, the world is in an unsteady place. The long-awaited Last Prophet sees doom ahead, with apocalyptic cults and ancient threats gaining power. But he also glimpses a way to prevent the Age of Darkness—that is, if it’s not already too late. (September 1)

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Image: HarperTeen

Blood & Honey by Shelby Mahurin

The sequel to Serpent & Dove picks back up with witch Lou and her witch-hunter husband Reid as they flee from pretty much everyone—the church, the court, and Lou’s old coven. Will they be able to figure out life on the run without Lou needing to embrace a new, much darker form of magic? (September 1)

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Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas

When a trans boy whose family is reluctant to accept him decides to summon the ghost of his murdered cousin, he accidentally raises a different spirit in need—and the two teens form a strong bond as they begin to help each other. (September 1)

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A Dance With Fate by Juliet Marillier

When a young warrior is blamed for a training accident that blinds another fighter, she agrees to serve his family for a year. But his home is no safe haven, and the two will have to use all their skills to battle great danger if they hope to survive. (September 1)

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Image: Wednesday Books

Fable by Adrienne Young

After her mother’s death at sea, a teenager’s father, a powerful trader, abandons her on an island populated by unsavory characters. There, she’s forced to hone her survival skills while plotting some payback. (September 1)

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Image: Tiller Press

Fifty in Reverse by Bill Flanagan

In this comedic time-travel story set in 1970, a psychologist studies the strange case of a ninth-grader who’s actually a 65-year-old who went to sleep in 2020 and woke up transported back into his teenage years. (September 1)

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Grave Secrets by Alice James

An estate agent looking forward to a quiet life in the country realizes her plans for leisure will need to go on hold...because her town is crawling with vampires, zombies, and murder mysteries, and somehow she’s right in the middle of all of it. (September 1)

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A Killing Frost by Seanan McGuire

Half-human, half-fae October “Toby” Daye returns for her next adventure in this long-running urban fantasy series. This time, she’s forced to track down her complicated father figure so she can reluctantly invite him to her wedding. (September 1)

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Knight Watch by Tim Akers

A Renaissance Faire enthusiast gets more than he bargained for when a real dragon pops up on the (pretend) battlefield. His quick-thinking response involving his mom’s Volvo earns him an invite to join the Knight Watch—secret defenders against the world’s hidden fantasy monsters. (September 1)

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Image: Margaret K. McElderry Books

The Lost Book of the White by Cassandra Clare and Wesley Chu

This spin-off of the Shadowhunters series follows breakout characters Alec Lightwood and warlock Magnus Bane, whose quiet home life with their young son is rudely interrupted with thieves make off with their powerful book of magic. (September 1)

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Night of the Mannequins by Stephen Graham Jones

Teenagers pull a prank that goes horribly wrong—like, maybe even supernaturally horribly wrong. (September 1)

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The Residence by Andrew Pyper

The White House has its own fresh horrors these days, but this novel takes the First Family’s residence back to 1853. When President Franklin Pierce moves in, he soon begins to suspect his new abode is haunted. (September 1)

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Road Out of Winter by Alison Stine

In a world much like our own—where climate change has altered the weather into a bitterly harsh permanent winter—a woman who is unusually gifted at growing plants is targeted by an extreme cult. (September 1)

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Image: Hanover Square Press

Set My Heart to Five by Simon Stephenson

Director Edgar Wright is already planning an adaptation of this sci-fi tale about a small-town dentist who only looks like a person; actually, he’s a bot engineered with human DNA. He’s not supposed to have emotions, so things get rather strange and confusing when he starts realizing he has them. (September 1)

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The Somebody People by Bob Proehl

This sequel to The Nobody People checks in on the world seven years after “the Pulse” gave millions of people superpowers. When a mysterious villain demonstrates his ability to control all these gifted people, the woman who triggered the Pulse in the first place must figure out how to stop him. (September 1)

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Star Wars: Thrawn Ascendancy (Book I: Chaos Rising) by Timothy Zahn

The author’s new Star Wars trilogy begins by exploring the origins of the antagonistic character we all know and love as Grand Admiral Thrawn. Read an excerpt here. (September 1)

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Architects of Memory by Karen Osborne

After a war with aliens wipes out millions, a terminally ill salvage pilot becomes determined to take control of her own destiny. But her search for a cure leads her to discover a terrible, terrifying weapon instead. (September 8)

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The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart

Intent on reclaiming her birthright, the emperor’s outcast daughter works to build her magical powers—until she’s called upon to join a revolution rising against the throne. Read an excerpt here. (September 8)

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Captain Moxley and the Embers of the Empire by Dan Hanks

A few years after World War II, former Nazis (and some very shady Americans) are after Captain Samantha Moxley and her archaeologist sister as they frantically set out to protect an artifact that could unleash the powers of Atlantis. (September 8)

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Devastation Class by Glen Zipper and Elaine Mongeon

In the far future, Earth’s best chance against invading aliens lies with the understaffed starship California and its brave but inexperienced cadets. (September 8) 

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Divergence by C.J. Cherryh

The Foreigner saga continues with this 21st installment, as diplomat Bren Cameron faces new challenges, danger, and plenty of political intrigue when the atevi head of state, to whom he’s been serving as an advisor, is overthrown. (September 8)

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A Flood of Posies by Tiffany Meuret

When a flood ravages the planet, a woman must first reunite with her estranged sister, then battle for survival in a waterlogged world that’s suddenly crawling with monsters. (September 8)

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The Ghost Tree by Christina Henry

After two girls are horribly murdered in her small town, a teenager has visions that a supernatural creature is to blame. Soon, she begins to suspect her community is hiding some deeply awful secrets. (September 8)

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Master of Poisons by Andrea Hairston

African folklore and postcolonial literature helped inspire this epic fantasy of a young woman cultivating her magic powers in a world that’s slowly dying. (September 8)

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The Phlebotomist by Chris Panatier

In a world where people are cruelly segregated by blood type, a woman who works as a phlebotomist for a military blood contractor discovers a secret about her employer—and must go on the run with a “blood-hacker” to survive. (September 8)

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Prime Deceptions by Valerie Valdes

The space explorers and their psychic cats from Chilling Effect are back for a new adventure, this time tracking down a missing scientist. Captain Eva Innocente leads the charge, but she’ll have to confront her own past if she wants to complete the job. (September 8)

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Stephen Hawking: A Memoir of Friendship and Physics by Leonard Mlodinow

One of Stephen Hawking’s longtime collaborators and closest friends offers a professional and personal remembrance of the groundbreaking physicist. (September 8)

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The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Vol. 1 edited by Jonathan Strahan

This collection includes short sci-fi and speculative fiction from Ken Liu, N.K. Jemisin, Kim Stanley Robinson, Yoon Ha Lee, Ted Chiang, io9 co-founder Charlie Jane Anders, and many more. (September 8)

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The Art of Saving the World by Corinne Duyvis

A girl who’s never been allowed to leave her town—lest she stray too far from an interdimensional rift that depends on her proximity for stability—gets a surprise on her 16th birthday: three interdimensional doppelgängers, and a chance to solve the mystery of the rift and (as the title suggests) save the world. (September 15)

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Image: Quirk Books

Cursed Objects: Strange but True Stories of the World’s Most Infamous Items by J.W. Ocker

The Hope Diamond, King Tut’s tomb, Annabelle the doll, and other strange and unusual objects—some eerie-looking, some totally mundane, but all with grim tales attached to them—are cataloged in this non-fiction collection. (September 15)

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Each of Us a Desert by Mark Oshiro

This coming-of-age fantasy tale follows a storyteller who travels the desert alone until she meets a conqueror’s daughter who might be her match. (September 15)

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Even if We Break by Marieke Nijkamp

Five friends head to a cabin for one last round of the murder mystery game they’ve been playing for years. When all of their own personal demons start to surface, the game begins crossing over into reality. (September 15)

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The Evening and the Morning by Ken Follett

This prequel comes 30 years after the author’s best-selling The Pillars of the Earth and is set in England at the start of the Middle Ages, which means—yes, there are Vikings involved. (September 15)

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The Hellion by S.A. Hunt

The Malus Domestica series continues as YouTuber turned witch hunter Robin Martine heads to Texas, where she aims to save a woman and her daughter from the family patriarch, a cruel, shape-shifting gangster. (September 15)

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Image: Margaret K. McElderry Books

Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

Seeking answers about her mother’s death, a teenage girl with magic powers infiltrates a monster-fighting secret society whose members are all descended from King Arthur’s knights. (September 15)

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Piranesi by Susanna Clarke

The latest from the author of Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrel is about a man whose entire world is his massive house, which occupies its own dimension. He thinks he lives there alone, with just one regular visitor, but he soon begins to discover an alarming new truth about his reality. (September 15)

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Return of the Wizard King by Chad Corrie

A new fantasy trilogy begins with this story of the title character and the misfit gang of mercenaries he hires to help him return to his throne after many centuries in exile. (September 15)

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The Scapegracers by Hannah Abigail Clarke

She’s gay, she’s a witch, and she’s the most uncool kid at her high school. When the popular girls take an interest in magic, the heroine of this story finds her new friendships are nearly as complicated as her dealings with the occult. (September 15)

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To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini

The new sci-fi epic from the author of Eragon follows a surveyor who stumbles across an alien artifact while exploring an uncolonized planet; the discovery soon propels her into a decidedly scary first contact experience. (September 15)

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Sons of War 2: Saints by Nicholas Sansbury Smith

America’s second civil war has ended, but the country is still in turmoil. In Los Angeles, crime families fight each other and the corrupt LAPD while trying to protect their own at any cost. (September 15)

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The Trials of Koli by M.R. Carey

The author’s post-apocalyptic Rampart Trilogy continues with this sequel to The Book of Koli (read an excerpt of that book here), as an exiled Koli ventures from the safety of his village in search of redemption in the long-lost city of London. (September 15)

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The Trouble With Peace by Joe Abercrombie

The sequel to A Little Hatred finds Adua in a time of peace—but things are still treacherous. The formerly wealthy are determined to recover what they’ve lost, the warriors have grown bored and restless, and the politicians are still waging plenty of war with their words. (September 15)

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The X-Files: The Official Archives—Cryptids, Biological Anomalies, and Parapsychic Phenomena by Paul Terry

Fifty of the most iconic cases from The X-Files get the deep-dive treatment in this book that uses actual props from the show to recreate Scully and Mulder’s FBI documentation. Check out an exclusive excerpt and author interview below! (September 15)

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Daughters of the Wild by Natalka Burian

On a farm in rural Appalachia, a recently widowed woman harnesses the supernatural powers of a mysterious vine to help her find her missing son. (September 22)

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The Doors of Eden by Adrian Tchaikovsky

The latest from the Arthur C. Clarke Award winner is about a girl who disappears while searching for monsters, only to return four years later in a puzzling case that suggests a parallel universe has begun to open its doors. (September 22)

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Dracula’s Child by J.S. Barnes

Ever wonder what happened to Jonathan and Mina Harker after they defeated Dracula and headed back to England? This book explores their not-so-happy marriage, as well as a new supernatural force that’s about to creep into the world at large. (September 22)

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Hench by Natalie Zina Walschots

In this story in the vein of The Boys, a woman who works for supervillians—in a boring, office-bound capacity—starts to see the downside of cape life when she’s injured by a “superhero” and is laid off from her job. So she decides to upend things using her well-honed knowledge of marketing and social media. (September 22)

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Kingdom of Ice and Bone by Jill Criswell

On an island being torn apart by a warlord named Dragon, a woman whose grief has awakened her superpowers vows revenge, while her former love, who believes she’s dead, must pretend to become a loyal Dragonman if he wants to survive. (September 22)

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The Left-Handed Booksellers of London by Garth Nix

In 1983 London, a girl searching for her father becomes entangled with a league of booksellers...who are actually magical beings, all dedicated to keeping tabs on Old World mythical creatures that keep trying to burst into the modern world. (September 22)

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The Silvered Serpents by Roshani Chokshi

This follow-up to The Gilded Wolves returns to 19th century Europe, where treasure hunter Séverin leaves Paris for Russia on a dangerous mission to find an artifact said to hold tremendous power. (September 22)

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Vampires Never Get Old: Tales With a Fresh Bite by Zoraida Córdova and Natalie C. Parker

A collection celebrating the evolution of the vampire, with stories by Samira Ahmed, Dhonielle Clayton, Tessa Gratton, Heidi Heilig, Mark Oshiro, Rebecca Roanhorse, Laura Ruby, V. E. Schwab, and more. (September 22)

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White Fox by Sara Faring

Ten years after a famous actress vanishes, her daughters discover the screenplay she left behind—filled with clues about the strange island where the family once lived together and offering fresh hope that she may still be alive. (September 22)

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Battle Ground by Jim Butcher

Chicago wizard Harry Dresden returns in the latest entry in the Dresden Files series; this time, he’s facing the Last Titan, a villain more powerful than any he’s ever encountered before. (September 29)

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Burning Roses by S.L. Huang

The Hugo winner’s new story catches up with Red Riding Hood—who goes by Rosa now that she’s outgrown fairy tales—and Hou Yi, the mythological archer, who is intent on retiring. Now middle-aged, the legendary characters must reluctantly join forces to save the land they’ve both come to love when it comes under attack. (September 29)

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The Cabin on Sounder Hill by Lonnie Busch

A wilderness getaway to repair a flailing marriage turns bizarre when the husband goes missing—and the wife tracks him to a cabin on the other side of the mountain, where an alternate reality version of her life awaits. (September 29)

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The Constant Rabbit by Jasper Fforde

This standalone novel from the author of the Thursday Next series is set in England, circa 2022, a country filled with over a million walking, talking, literate, car-driving, human-sized rabbits. The humans have gone so far as to vote the Anti-Rabbit Party into power, but their furry neighbors won’t go down without a fight. (September 29)

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Dark Star Rising by Bennet R. Coles

The crew of the starship HMSS Daring goes undercover to bust up an enemy pirate network led by the enigmatic Dark Star. But as their investigation deepens, they realize there’s an entirely different enemy out there that’s also preparing to attack. (September 29)

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A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik

A sorceress who everyone assumes is evil vows revenge on a popular combat magician who has, annoyingly, saved her life twice. (September 29)

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The Loop by Jeremy Robert Johnson

Described as “Stranger Things meets World War Z,” this thriller is set in an Oregon town where a biotech experiment turns several local teens into murderous monsters. (September 29)

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The Midnight Library by Matt Haig

Granted entry to a library at the edge of the universe filled with infinite books charting infinite realities, a woman must figure out if she really wants to know what might have been—or if she should face up to the decisions she did make instead. (September 29)

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Mutation by Michael McBride

An ancient virus with the ability to alter physiology is discovered just as a new species known as “Subject Z” begins to rapidly evolve in the Amazonian rainforest. Can the scientists of Unit 51 unravel the connection before a new dominant race emerges to challenge humanity? (September 29)

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A Neon Darkness by Lauren Shippen

The author’s second book inspired by her Bright Sessions podcast introduces a new member of the Unusuals: Robert, who’s reluctant to control his ability to persuade people to do whatever he wants—even if means endangering his place in the first community he’s ever wanted to be a part of. (September 29)

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Skyhunter by Marie Lu

An elite warrior fights to save her homeland from an invasion of mutant beasts, but a mysterious prisoner may shift the meaning of the war with his arrival. Read an excerpt here. (September 29)

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DISCUSSION

DarthPumpkin

I started both the October Daye and Dresden Files series this summer, having seen reviews indicating they were similar and well-liked.

Two books into both and I’m hooked on October Daye, but gave up on Dresden. Too much casual sexism for my taste, and it felt like Dresden was just too self-defeating, making things harder than they needed to be (more so than October, in any case).