And so the 2020 celebration continues – today I am here with part 2 of my fantasy to watch out. Today’s list has some of my most anticipated of the year, many which don’t have covers yet but which I am SO KEEN to see and read!! I hope you are too!
Woven in Moonlight – Isabel Ibañez
Quick summary: Bolivian politcs and history in a fantasy setting, weaving magic to hide messages in tapestries!
Release date: January 7
Goodreads blurb: A lush tapestry of magic, romance, and revolución, drawing inspiration from Bolivian politics and history.
Ximena is the decoy Condesa, a stand-in for the last remaining Illustrian royal. Her people lost everything when the usurper, Atoc, used an ancient relic to summon ghosts and drive the Illustrians from La Ciudad. Now Ximena’s motivated by her insatiable thirst for revenge, and her rare ability to spin thread from moonlight.
When Atoc demands the real Condesa’s hand in marriage, it’s Ximena’s duty to go in her stead. She relishes the chance, as Illustrian spies have reported that Atoc’s no longer carrying his deadly relic. If Ximena can find it, she can return the true aristócrata to their rightful place.
She hunts for the relic, using her weaving ability to hide messages in tapestries for the resistance. But when a masked vigilante, a warm-hearted princess, and a thoughtful healer challenge Ximena, her mission becomes more complicated. There could be a way to overthrow the usurper without starting another war, but only if Ximena turns her back on revenge—and her Condesa.
Spellhacker – M.K England
Quick summary: Fantasy heist, capitalism, magic as plague
Genres: Fantasy, young adult
Release date: January 21
Goodreads blurb: From the author of The Disasters, this genre-bending YA fantasy heist story is perfect for fans of Marie Lu and Amie Kaufman.
In Kyrkarta, magic—known as maz—was once a freely available natural resource. Then an earthquake released a magical plague, killing thousands and opening the door for a greedy corporation to make maz a commodity that’s tightly controlled—and, of course, outrageously expensive.
Which is why Diz and her three best friends run a highly lucrative, highly illegal maz siphoning gig on the side. Their next job is supposed to be their last heist ever.
But when their plan turns up a powerful new strain of maz that (literally) blows up in their faces, they’re driven to unravel a conspiracy at the very center of the spellplague—and possibly save the world.
The Shadows Between Us – Tricia Levenseller
Quick summary: Another marriage story to kill the other half, authors of 2020 really are fighting marriage aren’t they?!
Release date: February 25
Goodreads blurb: Alessandra is tired of being overlooked, but she has a plan to gain power:
1) Woo the Shadow King.
2) Marry him.
3) Kill him and take his kingdom for herself.
No one knows the extent of the freshly crowned Shadow King’s power. Some say he can command the shadows that swirl around him to do his bidding. Others say they speak to him, whispering the thoughts of his enemies. Regardless, Alessandra knows what she deserves, and she’s going to do everything within her power to get it.
But Alessandra’s not the only one trying to kill the king. As attempts on his life are made, she finds herself trying to keep him alive long enough for him to make her his queen—all while struggling not to lose her heart. After all, who better for a Shadow King than a cunning, villainous queen?
Mermaid Moon – Susann Cokal
Quick summary: Mermaid searching for mother on land, what sounds very like a Little Mermaid retelling
Release date: March 3
Goodreads blurb: An award-winning author tells of a mermaid who leaves the sea in search of her landish mother in a captivating tale spun with beautiful prose, lush descriptions, empathy, and keen wit.
This is just a children’s tale; would you wreck your ship for it?
Would you drown for a mere mother’s story?
Sanna is a mermaid — except her mother was landish, not seavish. The undersea witch who delivered her cast a spell that made her people, and her mother, forget her birth. Sanna longs to find her mother so much that she apprentices herself to the witch, learns the magic of making and unmaking, and fashions herself a pair of legs to go ashore on the Thirty-Seven Dark Islands, the nearest anyone can remember to where they left her mother. There, Sanna stumbles into a wall of white roses and a community desperate for a miracle — and into a baroness who would do anything to live forever. From the author of the Michael L. Printz Honor Book The Kingdom of Little Wounds comes an original fairy tale of belonging, sacrifice, choice, hope, magic, and mortality.
The House in the Cerulean Sea – T.J Klune
Quick summary: Caretakers of magical youth, orphanages, the antichrist….
Genres: Fantasy, romance, adult (I think?)
Release date: March 17
Goodreads blurb: A magical island. A dangerous task. A burning secret.
Linus Baker leads a quiet, solitary life. At forty, he lives in a tiny house with a devious cat and his old records. As a Case Worker at the Department in Charge Of Magical Youth, he spends his days overseeing the well-being of children in government-sanctioned orphanages.
When Linus is unexpectedly summoned by Extremely Upper Management he’s given a curious and highly classified assignment: travel to Marsyas Island Orphanage, where six dangerous children reside: a gnome, a sprite, a wyvern, an unidentifiable green blob, a were-Pomeranian, and the Antichrist. Linus must set aside his fears and determine whether or not they’re likely to bring about the end of days.
But the children aren’t the only secret the island keeps. Their caretaker is the charming and enigmatic Arthur Parnassus, who will do anything to keep his wards safe. As Arthur and Linus grow closer, long-held secrets are exposed, and Linus must make a choice: destroy a home or watch the world burn.
An enchanting story, masterfully told, The House in the Cerulean Sea is about the profound experience of discovering an unlikely family in an unexpected place—and realizing that family is yours.
Elysium Girls – Kate Pentecost
Quick summary: I saw ‘scrap metal horses’ and immediately added
Genres: Fantasy, young adult
Release date: April 14
Goodreads blurb: In this sweeping Dust Bowl-inspired fantasy, a ten-year game between Life and Death pits the walled Oklahoma city of Elysium-including a girl gang of witches and a demon who longs for humanity-against the supernatural in order to judge mankind.
When Sal is named Successor to Mother Morevna, a powerful witch and leader of Elysium, she jumps at the chance to prove herself to the town. Ever since she was a kid, Sal has been plagued by false visions of rain, and though people think she’s a liar, she knows she’s a leader. Even the arrival of enigmatic outsider Asa-a human-obsessed demon in disguise-doesn’t shake her confidence in her ability. Until a terrible mistake results in both Sal and Asa’s exile into the Desert of Dust and Steel.
Face-to-face with a brutal, unforgiving landscape, Sal and Asa join a gang of girls headed by another Elysium exile-and young witch herself-Olivia Rosales. In order to atone for their mistake, they create a cavalry of magic powered, scrap metal horses to save Elysium from the coming apocalypse. But Sal, Asa, and Olivia must do more than simply tip the scales in Elysium’s favor-only by reinventing the rules can they beat the Life and Death at their own game.
The Extraordinaries – T.J Klune
Quick summary: Fanfic + fandom community, superheros
Release date: May 5
Goodreads blurb: Some people are extraordinary. Some are just extra.
Nick Bell? Not extraordinary. But being the most popular fanfiction writer in the Extraordinaries fandom is a superpower, right?
After a chance encounter with Shadow Star, Nova City’s mightiest hero (and Nick’s biggest crush), Nick sets out to make himself extraordinary. And he’ll do it with or without the reluctant help of Seth Gray, Nick’s best friend (and maybe the love of his life).
The Scapegraces – Hannah Abigail Clarke
Quick summary: Witches, covens, bonds of female friendship, subvertion of the mean girl trope!!
Genres: Fantasy, young adult
Release date: May 12
Goodreads blurb: An outcast teenage lesbian witch finds her coven hidden amongst the popular girls in her school, and performs some seriously badass magic in the process.
Skulking near the bottom of West High’s social pyramid, Sideways Pike lurks under the bleachers doing magic tricks for Coke bottles. As a witch, lesbian, and lifelong outsider, she’s had a hard time making friends. But when the three most popular girls pay her $40 to cast a spell at their Halloween party, Sideways gets swept into a new clique. The unholy trinity are dangerous angels, sugar-coated rattlesnakes, and now–unbelievably–Sideways’ best friends.
Together, the four bond to form a ferocious and powerful coven. They plan parties, cast curses on dudebros, try to find Sideways a girlfriend, and elude the fundamentalist witch hunters hellbent stealing their magic. But for Sideways, the hardest part is the whole ‘having friends’ thing. Who knew that balancing human interaction with supernatural peril could be so complicated?
Rich with the urgency of feral youth, The Scapegracers explores growing up and complex female friendship with all the rage of a teenage girl. It subverts the trope of competitive mean girls and instead portrays a mercilessly supportive clique of diverse and vivid characters. It is an atmospheric, voice-driven novel of the occult, and the first of a three-book series.
A Song Below Water – Bethany C Morrow
Quick summary: YA siren fantasy! Murder trial!
Release date: June 2
Goodreads blurb: Tavia is already at odds with the world, forced to keep her siren identity under wraps in a society that wants to keep her kind under lock and key. Nevermind she’s also stuck in Portland, Oregon, a city with only a handful of black folk and even fewer of those with magical powers. At least she has her bestie Effie by her side as they tackle high school drama, family secrets, and unrequited crushes.
But everything changes in the aftermath of a siren murder trial that rocks the nation; the girls’ favorite Internet fashion icon reveals she’s also a siren, and the news rips through their community. Tensions escalate when Effie starts being haunted by demons from her past, and Tavia accidentally lets out her magical voice during a police stop. No secret seems safe anymore—soon Portland won’t be either.
Forest of Souls – Lori M Lee
Quick summary: Another incredible cover! Royal spies, and Spider Kings, and an ancient forest possessed by souls?!
Release date: June 23
Goodreads blurb: Danger lurks within the roots of Forest of Souls, an epic, unrelenting tale of destiny and sisterhood, perfect for fans of Naomi Novik and Susan Dennard.
Sirscha Ashwyn comes from nothing, but she’s intent on becoming something. After years of training to become the queen’s next royal spy, her plans are derailed when shamans attack and kill her best friend Saengo.
And then Sirscha, somehow, restores Saengo to life.
Unveiled as the first lightwender in living memory, Sirscha is summoned to the domain of the Spider King. For centuries, he has used his influence over the Dead Wood—an ancient forest possessed by souls—to enforce peace between the kingdoms. Now, with the trees growing wild and untamed, only a lightwender can restrain them. As war looms, Sirscha must master her newly awakened abilities before the trees shatter the brittle peace, or worse, claim Saengo, the friend she would die for.
Cinderella is Dead – Kalynn Bayron
Quick summary: Sapphic Cinderella retelling, featuring her last living descendant
Release date: July 7
Goodreads blurb: It’s 200 years after Cinderella found her prince, but the fairy tale is over. Teen girls are now required to appear at the Annual Ball, where the men of the kingdom select wives based on a girl’s display of finery. If a suitable match is not found, the girls not chosen are never heard from again.
Sixteen-year-old Sophia would much rather marry Erin, her childhood best friend, than parade in front of suitors. At the ball, Sophia makes the desperate decision to flee, and finds herself hiding in Cinderella’s mausoleum. There, she meets Constance, the last known descendant of Cinderella and her step sisters. Together they vow to bring down the king once and for all–and in the process, they learn that there’s more to Cinderella’s story than they ever knew . . .
This fresh take on a classic story will make readers question the tales they’ve been told, and root for girls to break down the constructs of the world around them.
Ghost Wood Song – Erica Waters
Quick summary: Ghosts and magic fiddles and murder
Genres: Fantasy, mystery, young adult
Release date: July 21
Goodreads blurb: Shady Grove is her father’s daughter, through and through. She inherited his riotous, curly hair, his devotion to bluegrass, and his ability to call ghosts from the grave with his fiddle.
That cursed instrument drowned with him, though, when his car went off the road, taking with it the whispering ghosts, nightmares, and the grief and obsession that forced her daddy to play.
But Shady’s brother was just accused of murder, and so she has a choice to make: unearth the fiddle that sang her father to the grave and speak to the dead to clear her brother’s name, or watch the only family she has left splinter to pieces.
The ghosts have secrets to keep, but Shady will make those old bones sing.
The Reckless Afterlife of Harriet Stoker – Lauren James
Quick summary: Afterlife setting, ghosts with magic, learn how to possess the living
Release date: September 3
Goodreads blurb: What if death is only the beginning?
When Harriet Stoker dies falling from a balcony in a long-abandoned building, she discovers a world of ghosts with magical powers – shape-shifting, hypnosis, or even the ability to possess the living. As she learns more about their community, Harriet is willing to do anything to unleash her own power, even if it means destroying everyone around her. But when all of eternity is at stake, the afterlife can be a dangerous place to make an enemy. Because who knows what grudges people have been holding onto for millennia, just waiting for a reckless girl to give them the chance to get vengeance.
The Ones We’re Meant to Find – Joan He
Quick summary: After Descendant of the Crane I will read anything by Joan He. And this Black Mirror inspired novel on an Earth decimated by natural disasters is NO DIFFERENT.
Release date: Fall 2020
Goodreads blurb: Jennifer Besser at Roaring Brook, Macmillan has won at auction North American rights to Joan He’s YA novel, The Ones We’re Meant to Find. Pitched as We Were Liars meets Black Mirror, the story follows two sisters, one living on a deserted island with little memory of who she was, the other fighting to save an Earth decimated by natural disasters, while believing her sister to be dead. Publication is set for fall 2020; John Cusick at Folio Jr./Folio Literary Management did the two book deal.
Jade Fire Gold – June C.L Tan
Quick summary: Chinese mythology, The Last Airbender, saving your grandmother – this is one of my most anticipated fantasies of the year!!
Release date: Fall 2020
Goodreads blurb: Told in a dual POV narrative reminiscent of EMBER IN THE ASHES, JADE FIRE GOLD is a YA fantasy is inspired by Chinese mythology and folk tales. Epic in scope but intimate in characterization, fans of classic fantasies by Tamora Pierce and the magical Asiatic setting of AVATAR: THE LAST AIRBENDER will enjoy this cinematic tale of family, revenge, and forgiveness.
In order to save her grandmother from a cult of dangerous priests, a peasant girl cursed with the power to steal souls enters a tenuous alliance with an exiled prince bent on taking back the Dragon Throne. The pair must learn to trust each other but are haunted by their pasts—and the true nature of her dark magic.
Blazewrath – Amparo Ortiz
Quick summary: Sports fantasy with dragons!
Release date: Fall 2020
Goodreads blurb: Blazewrath, a comtemporary fantasy pitched as How to Train Your Dragon meets Quidditch Through the Ages, about 17-year-old Luna Torres, who after rescuing a prized dragon from an attacker is awarded a spot on her native Puerto Rico’s Blazewrath World Cup Team. But the return of the Sire, an ancient dragon who’s cursed to remain in human form, threatens to compromise this year’s tournament. Publication is set for Fall 2020.
Bone Shard Daughter – Andrea Stewart
Quick summary: Bone shard magic make mammoth monsters as soldiers
Release date: Late 2020
Goodreads blurb: BONE SHARD DAUGHTER is set in an empire of many islands, where bone shard magic fuels monstrous constructs that enforce law and order. Yet the emperor’s rule is failing and whispers of revolution carry from island to island. Lin is the emperor’s daughter and heir, and only she can save the empire and its people. But to do so, she must master the art of bone shard magic – and unlock the secrets of her own forgotten past.
Master of One – Jaida Jones and Danielle Bennett
Quick summary: Thief accompanies evil sorcerer to kidnap a fae prince and then falls in love with said prince
Genres: Fantasy, young adult
Release date: November 17
Goodreads blurb: Alice Jerman at HarperTeen has bought Danielle Bennett (l.) and Jaida Jones’s YA fantasy, Master of One. When a common thief finds himself on the wrong side of the law, his punishment is to join an evil sorcerer on a perilous journey to uncover a lost fae relic. The relic turns out to be a fae himself—a distractingly handsome, annoyingly perfect, ancient fae prince. Together they must save the world from the evil sorcerer, while trying not to fall in love with each other. Publication is set for fall 2020
Ruinsong – Julia Ember
Quick summary: Phantom of the Opera retelling!! Music magic! Possible enemies to lovers? Rival factions need to unite a country?
Genres: Fantasy, romance
Release date: November 24
Goodreads blurb: Revolution or silence?
In a world where magic is sung, a powerful mage named Cadence is forced to use her power to torture her country’s disgraced nobility at her ruthless queen’s bidding.
But when Cadence is reunited with her childhood friend, a noblewoman with ties to the underground rebellion, she must make a choice: take a stand to free her country from a tyrant — or follow in her queen’s footsteps and become a monster herself.
In this dark and lush LGBTQ+ romantic fantasy, two young women from rival factions must work together to reunite their country as they wrestle with their feelings for each other.
That’s it for my fantasy list so far! Still have my science fiction list to go and then between my horror post (here!) and Part 1 and 2 Fantasy, all speculative fiction will be done! Wait…minus my retellings post (cause 2020 got a LOT). Onto contemporary and historical and sequels and authors of colour and oh my gosh there are just too many 2020 books to talk about.
I hope everyone is continuing to have a wonderful holiday period!
Paws out for now,
Rach + Draco