January's New Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books Will Help You Start 2021 on the Right Page

Persephone Station by Stina Leicht
Persephone Station by Stina Leicht
Image: Gallery / Saga Press

Happy New Year! Time to add some new books to your 2021 reading list, and we’ve got you covered with space adventures (including a little something from the world of Star Wars), fantasy battles, ghosts, unicorns, dragons, magical con artists, narcoleptic detectives, and so much more.


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The House of a Hundred Whispers by Graham Masterton

After a man’s lonely death in his rambling, isolated mansion, his estranged family comes to collect their inheritance—but soon realizes it’s too eerie to stay. Just when they decide to pack up and leave, one of their young children goes missing. (January 1)

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Image: Tor Books

Deuces Down: A Wild Cards Novel edited by George R.R. Martin

This revised Wild Cards anthology digs into the “Deuces,” people whose superpowers are “minor” but still have an impact in the world of the Wild Cards. Co-edited by Melinda M. Snodgrass, it features new illustrations and new stories by Carrie Vaughn, Mary Anne Mohanraj, and Caroline Spector. (January 5)

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The Ever After: The Omte Origins by Amanda Hocking

The author’s final novel in the Omte Origins arc returns to the world of her Trylle Trilogy, following Ulla Tulin as she embarks on a dangerous quest to unravel her family history. (January 5)

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Hard Time by Jodi Taylor

In this comedic spin-off of the author’s Chronicles of St. Mary’s, the Time Police are forced to task an inexperienced trio of undercover agents—nicknamed “Team Weird”—to battle the increasing problem of time-travel tourists altering history. (January 5)

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Image: Gallery / Saga Press

Persephone Station by Stina Leicht

On an out-of-the-way planet known for harboring elite criminals and secretive corporations, an ex-marine agrees to do a job for a local bar owner—only to uncover a secret that’ll put her and her team in the fight of their lives. (January 5)

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Image: Small Beer Press

Reconstruction: Stories by Alaya Dawn Johnson

This short-story collection blends genres, settings, and time periods to explore diverse characters; it includes “A Guide to the Fruits of Hawai’i,” a Nebula-winning novelette about tropical vampires and their human prey. (January 5)

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Root Magic by Eden Royce

The South Carolina author explores her own Gullah Geechee heritage with this 1963-set tale of a young Black girl who faces racism in the real world while using her gifts to battle sinister magic in the supernatural realm. (January 5)

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A Siege of Rage and Ruin by Django Wexler

The Wells of Sorcery Trilogy concludes as ghost-ship captain Isoka heads to free her sister, Tori—only to find Tori heading up a rebellion against the empire in their home city. Will their magical family reunion turn the tide in the fight? (January 5)

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Image: Pocket Books/Star Trek

Star Trek Picard: The Dark Veil by James Swallow

Inspired by the Picard TV series, this adventure finds Captain William Riker, his family, and his crew on the USS Titan caught up in a chaotic crisis at the Romulan-Federation border. (January 5)

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Star Wars: Light of the Jedi by Charles Soule

Lucasfilm’s new transmedia venture Star Wars: The High Republic kicks off with the release of this first novel digging into the long history of the Jedi. Today’s other High Republic release, Justina Ireland’s A Test of Courage, is a novel aimed at younger readers. (January 5)

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The Only Living Girl on Earth by Charles Yu

The National Book Award-winning author of Interior Chinatown’s latest is a 10,000-word short fiction work set a thousand years in the future; it will be published as by Scribd Originals as an ebook and audio book only. (January 8)

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Across the Green Grass Fields by Seanan McGuire

The latest Wayward Children novel is a standalone tale about a girl who discovers a portal to the “Hooflands,” a world populated by centaurs, unicorns, kelpies, and other magical horse creatures. (January 12)

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Doors of Sleep: Journals of Zaxony Delatree by Tim Pratt

“Every time Zax Delatree falls asleep, he travels to a new reality” is the set-up for this tale of a man who bounces between parallel universes without any say in where he goes—and he’s started to sense that something sinister is following behind him. (January 12)

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The Effort by Claire Holroyde

When a comet threatens to end all life on Earth, a team of scientist, scholars, and artists gather in South America. Can they a) figure out a way to prevent the collision (while also keeping global mass hysteria at bay), or should they b) accept that the end is inevitable? (January 12)

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The Frozen Crown by Greta Kelly

In this debut fantasy novel, an inexperienced ruler intent on keeping her magic powers a secret turns to a neighboring kingdom for help in defeating the invaders who threaten her land. (January 12)

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God of Night by Tom Lloyd

With war on the horizon and magical enemies gathering power, the Riven Kingdom must call upon its mightiest heroes—who unfortunately are a bunch of misfits, drunks, and ne’er-do-wells—for protection. (January 12)

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Into the Light by David Webber and Chris Kennedy

This sequel to Out of the Dark finds the war between humans and aliens still ongoing—but Earth’s population of vampires has suddenly stepped up to help fight for their planet. Read an excerpt below. (January 12)

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The Ruthless Lady’s Guide to Wizardry by C.M. Waggoner

A struggling witch cons her way onto a team of magical bodyguards tasked with protecting a noblewoman from assassins, only to stumble upon a dangerous conspiracy she’ll need all of her powers (and some quirky allies) to unravel. (January 12)

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Spin by Patricia Cornwell

In her latest adventure, NASA scientist and Space Force pilot Captain Calli Chase reunites with her long-lost twin sister and learns a shocking secret about their past—and it’s tied to an even bigger secret that could impact the future of all life on Earth. (January 12)

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Tales From the Hinterland by Melissa Albert

Featuring full-page illustrations by artist Jim Tierney, this collection of 12 dark fairy tales explores the “brutal and beautiful” world of the Hinterland. (January 12)

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The Unraveling by Benjamin Rosenbaum

Set in “a far-future society where biotechnology has revolutionized gender,” a young person named Fift must decide whether to stay within their strict social boundaries or be the spear point in the rebellion against it. (January 12)

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Waiting for the Night Song by Julie Carrick Dalton

In this debut novel, a woman and her estranged childhood best friend reunite to face the consequences of a shared magical secret that looms in their past. (January 12)

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Amari and the Night Brothers by B.B. Alston

This middle grade fantasy debut is described as “Artemis Fowl meets Men in Black [in] the first in a trilogy filled with #blackgirlmagic.” (January 19)

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The Forever Sea by Joshua Phillip Johnson

In a world where magical ships sail seas of grass, a sailor is devastated to learn of her grandmother’s presumed death—and is then pulled into the mystery surrounding not just her beloved relative’s disappearance, but the truth about what’s really beneath the grassy waves. (January 19)

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Hall of Smoke by H. M. Long

In this epic fantasy, a warrior priestess (with the ability to “turn an enemy’s bones to dust with a scream,” which is cool as hell) is banished for refusing to follow a murderous command from her goddess—only to see her village destroyed in her absence. As she struggles with her faith, she soon finds herself caught in a war between old and new gods. (January 19)

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A House at the Bottom of a Lake by Josh Malerman

This standalone horror novella from the author of Bird Box follows a teenage couple on their first date—a day of canoeing that leads them to discover something very strange lurking just below the surface. (January 19)

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Kindred, Fledgling, Collected Stories by Octavia E. Butler

In this first volume in a definitive Library of America series celebrating the late sci-fi legend, you’ll find two novels (including her acclaimed masterpiece, Kindred), eight short stories, and five essays, plus a new introduction and additional biographical and explanatory notes. (January 19)

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The Mask of Mirrors by M.A. Carrick

The Rook & Rose fantasy trilogy—written by author duo Marie Brennan (A Natural History of Dragons) and Alyc Helms—begins as a con artist arrives in a new city aiming to fake her way into wealth, but instead finds her fate is tied into some very dangerous magic. (January 19)

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Remote Control by Nnedi Okorafor

The latest from the Nebula and Hugo-winning author follows a young girl whose powers rise after she’s adopted by the Angel of Death. Read an excerpt here. (January 19)

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Rise of the Red Hand by Olivia Chadha

In climate change-ravaged South Asia, a hacker and a revolutionary with wildly different backgrounds team up to challenge a system that keeps the wealthy safe in a luxurious biodome, but condemns the poor to the wasteland that’s consumed the rest of the planet. (January 19)

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Vengewar by Kevin J. Anderson

The sequel to Spine of the Dragon finds two nations that have been at war for centuries still reluctant to address the growing threat in their midst: an ancient power that’s awakened and primed for world domination. (January 19)

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Wench by Maxine Kaplan

After her guardian dies, a young tavern wench seeks to take over the bar that’s both her home and workplace. But it’ll take a reprieve from the queen and a lot of outsmarting of her opponents—thieves, sleazy guards, a very tenacious enchanted feather—to get what she wants. (January 19)

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Winterkeep by Kristin Cashore

The Graceling Realm series continues as Bitterblue, the new Queen of Monsea, sets out to build an alliance with nearby Winterkeep—but the journey turns tragic, leaving both nations to face an uncertain future. (January 19)

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Dealbreaker by L.X. Beckett

The sequel to Gamechanger finds Rubi Whiting fighting to keep the galactic governing body from giving up on humanity—while also keeping certain members of that governing body from sabotaging humanity against any chance at redemption. (January 26)

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Dead of Winter edited by Lindy Ryan

This horror anthology collects “eight chilling tales to read under the cold moon.” (January 26)

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The Expert System’s Champion by Adrian Tchaikovsky

An outcast who travels the world fighting monsters faces a new danger that even the Ancients who raised him cannot explain. (January 26)

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The Little Sleep by Paul Tremblay

Meet Mark Genevich, a Boston private eye who tries his best not to let vivid hallucinations brought on by his narcolepsy interfere with his work. That proves difficult when he’s pulled into a blackmail case with details so surreal he just might have made them up. (January 26)

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The Mask Falling by Samantha Shannon

The author returns to the world of Scion to follow Paige Mahoney, a dreamwalker caught between political factions who’s determined to use her position as a way to advance her own dreams of rebellion. (January 26)

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The Paradise Affair by Bill Pronzini

This latest historical mystery featuring the author’s Carpenter and Quincannon detective characters finds the pair getting tangled up in a new case while on their second honeymoon in Honolulu. (January 26)

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Shadow City by Francesca Flores

The City of Diamond and Steel duology concludes as crime kingpin Aina and her former boss, Kohl, must put aside their hatred of each other, however temporarily, to prevent a civil war from destroying their city. (January 26)

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Unchosen by Katharyn Blair

A young woman who watched as her first love fell for her older sister—and then saw her younger sister anointed the “Chosen One” who can save humanity from a monstrous curse—must step out of the shadows when her help is suddenly needed. (January 26)

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A Vow So Bold and Deadly by Brigid Kemmerer

The Cursebreaker fantasy series concludes as Rhen and Grey fight for control of Emberfall, and Lia Mara struggles with her own leadership role in Syhl Shallow. But both kingdoms will have to look past themselves and each other when an old enemy threatens them both. (January 26)

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We Could Be Heroes by Mike Chen

When two people suffering from memory loss meet in a support group, they realize the things they can’t remember about themselves are what link them together—as does the fact that they both happen to have superpowers. (January 26)

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A Question of Navigation by Kevin Hearne

A physicist is abducted by aliens that immediately dress him in a t-shirt that reads “do not eat” in their language—to distinguish him from the other, less-useful humans they’re taking strictly to snack on as they make their way back to their home planet. He and the other “do not eat” passengers conspire to stop their hungry kidnappers—but how? (January 31)

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DISCUSSION

plectro1
Darwinian Man

Meh.

Sorry, Cheryl, but there’s nothing much exciting here. There’s less and less I’d be interested in reading being published, as time goes by.