The World May Be on Hold, But August Is Still Bursting With New Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books

A crop of the most excellent cover of Harrow the Ninth. (Image: Tor.com)
A crop of the most excellent cover of Harrow the Ninth. (Image: Tor.com)

It’s almost August? Time sure passes at a weird rate when you don’t ever leave the house. Fortunately, there’s a tidal wave of new sci-fi and fantasy books on the way, ready to sweep you away into fantastical kingdoms, adventures across the multiverse, space battles, and at least one zombie apocalypse.

Court of Lions by Somaiya Daud

The Mirage series concludes with young rebel Amani trying to preserve her relationship with princess Maram amid unrest on their planet. Can she scheme from her position inside the royal court without putting everyone she loves in danger? (August 4)

The First Sister by Linden A. Lewis

This space opera is propelled by its intriguing main characters, including the unnamed “First Sister,” a priestess forced to work as a comfort woman while plotting her freedom, and an elite soldier who’s growing unsure as to where his loyalties lie. (August 4)

Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

The gothic Locked Tomb trilogy, which began with Gideon the Ninth, continues in this much-anticipated sequel following the continuing adventures of Harrowhark Nonagesimus, lesbian necromancer in space. (August 4)

It Came From the Sky by Chelsea Sedoti

Told in “report form” (with interviews, blog posts, text messages, found documents, and more), this tale charts the alien invasion of a small town in Pennsylvania — and the two brothers who faked the entire phenomenon. (August 4)

The Living Dead by George A. Romero and Daniel Kraus

Completed by Kraus (co-writer of The Shape of Water novel with Guillermo del Toro), this is the nearly 700-page zombie novel the horror legend was working on when he died in in 2017. (August 4)

Lobizona by Romina Garber

Manuela Azul, a young undocumented immigrant from Argentina living in Miami, is left on her own when ICE takes her mother away. Her desperate search into her father’s murky past uncovers some surprising hints about her family’s magical origins. (August 4)

Midnight Sun by Stephenie Meyer

It’s 2020 and yes, a new Twilight book has emerged into the world. This one tells the story from Edward Cullen’s vampiric point of view. (August 4)

The Morning Flower by Amanda Hocking

The second Omte Origins book returns to the author’s magical forest world of the Trylle, as Ulla Tulin — a woman abandoned by her young mother when she was just an infant — continues to pursue the truth about her past. (August 4)

Sorcery of a Queen by Brian Naslund

The Dragons of Terra series continues as exiled queen Ashlyn dedicates herself to learning sorcery, and mutant human Bershad tries to use his powers to help her before it’s too late. (August 4)

The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson

In a dystopian reality where multiverse travel is possible — but only if your counterpart is no longer alive in the realm you want to visit — a woman with 372 dead versions of herself is singled out for her travel capabilities. But her upgraded social status, and the multiverse itself, is imperiled when she discovers some dark truths about her many lives. (August 4)

Space Station Down by Ben Bova and Doug Beason

The Hugo winner and the Nebula finalist team up for a thriller described as “Die Hard in space,” in which a billionaire space tourist teams up with a rogue cosmonaut in a plot to crash the International Space Station into New York City. Can the only (reluctant) hero left in space — an astronaut who’s managed to hide undetected — foil their plot and save the day? (August 4)

Sucker Punch by Laurell K. Hamilton

Anita Blake, vampire hunter, returns for a new mission; this time, she’s in small-town Michigan investigating a murder case involving a wereleopard that isn’t as straightforward as everyone keeps trying to tell her it is. (August 4)

The Boundless by Peter Newman

The Deathless Trilogy fantasy series concludes with a massive conflict looming between the realm’s crystal castle-dwelling magical families and the strange beasts that lurk in the forests below. (August 6)

By Force Alone by Lavie Tidhar

The King Arthur myth gets a subversive retelling from the World Fantasy Award-winning author of Osama. (August 11)

Cry of Metal & Bone by L. Penelope

The Earthsinger Chronicles saga continues as two kingdoms on the brink of unification are subjected to sudden violence, though the race to find out who’s behind the attacks may be sidelined by a new, more menacingly magical threat from abroad. (August 11)

Failed State by Christopher Brown

The author’s latest dystopian legal thriller is set after America’s second revolution in a time of unsteady peace. Attorney Donny Kimoe is in the middle as he gets caught up in a high-stakes trial and feels compelled to help the wealthy daughter of one of his oldest friends. (August 11)

The Last Uncharted Sky by Curtis Craddock

The Risen Kingdoms series concludes with this high fantasy adventure, described as “The Three Musketeers meets Jules Verne.” (August 11)

Mirage by Julie C. Czerneda

Shapeshifting alien Esen returns in the second Web Shifter’s Library book, which sees her trying to save a new species amid a disease outbreak (and some other, even more dangerous complications). (August 11)

A Private Cathedral by James Lee Burke

Veteran detective Dave Robicheaux has been through a lot and faced a lot of unusual foes — but this time, he’s fighting a “time-travelling superhuman assassin” who gets around via ghost ship, in a story that also features the New Orleans criminal underground. (August 11)

The Shadow Commission by David Mack

The Cold War wizards are back, this time digging into the connection between the Kennedy assassination and the deaths of several of their fellow magicians. (August 11)

Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland

A Mexican American teen living in Arizona has a strange reunion with her mother — who’d been deported years before — aboard an alien spaceship, and they’re soon propelled into a dangerous new fight for survival. (August 11)

Star Trek: More Beautiful Than Death by David Mack

The busy author’s second book this month follows the versions of the Star Trek characters from the recent film series, as they escort Spock’s father, Sarek, on a diplomatic mission to a planet with what appears to be a serious demon infestation. (August 11)

Tyrant Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson

The author’s epic fantasy series continues as the now-powerful Baru Cormorant must decide between swift, violent revenge or intricate political manipulations to achieve her ultimate goal. (August 11)

The Buddha’s Story by Chris Matheson

This comedic take on the Buddha’s life story comes from the co-writer of the Bill & Ted movies. (August 17)

Blood World by Chris Mooney

A superdrug that makes use of a highly specific blood type has ushered in a dangerous crime wave of “blood cartels” and an LAPD detail called the Blood Squad to combat it. Things take a turn for the worse when a mad scientist figures out how to make the superdrug even more powerful. (August 18)

Drowned Country by Emily Tesh

The sequel to Silver in the Wood returns to the story of Henry and Tobias, as they travel from the ancient Greenhollow forest to a nearby seaside town at the behest of Henry’s mother — and uncover a new mystery and at least one new monster. (August 18)

The Faithless Hawk by Margaret Owen

The sequel to The Merciful Crow finds new Crow chieftain Fie facing a plague unleashed by a witch queen, as well as perilous intrigue from within her own ranks. (August 18)

How to Rule an Empire and Get Away with It by K.J. Parker

This follow-up to Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City finds playwright and actor Notker thrust into a new real-world role that’ll take every bit of his performative talents to survive. (August 18)

Noumenon Ultra by Marina J. Lostetter

The Noumenon series — named for the megastructure-created world at its centre — continues as alien life begins to make its presence known, causing an AI that’s been dormant on the planet for thousands of years to reach out to Earth for assistance. (August 18)

Raybearer by Jordan Ifueko

This debut YA fantasy follows a young girl who hopes to be chosen for an elite royal council, mostly because she wants the comfort of a close-knit family more than anything. Unfortunately, the mysterious woman who raised her in isolation has far more sinister plans for the girl once she arrives. (August 18)

The Vanished Queen by Lisbeth Campbell

In a country ruled by a cruel king, an impassioned young woman joins the resistance with the goal of overthrowing the throne — something that actually starts to seem possible once she befriends a prince who shares her point of view. (August 18)

Vicious Spirits by Kat Cho

The friends who came together in the magical adventure Wicked Fox are having trouble moving forward after all they went through, and so is the rest of Seoul, as it turns out — since there’s now a rip between the world of the living and the dead that they’ll need to figure out how to repair. (August 18)

City Under the Stars by Gardner Dozois and Michael Swanwick

A follow-up to the duo’s The City of God, and released in tribute to the late Dozois, this tale set in Earth’s far future follows a former coal miner as he strikes out for the wilderness and toward the shimmering wall that separates humans and gods. (August 25)

The Hierarchies by Ros Anderson

A fully sentient synthetic woman — designed only to serve her rich husband, who also has a human wife and child dwelling elsewhere in his mansion — begins to question her isolated life and keeps a forbidden diary charting the changes in her thoughts. (August 25)

Ink & Sigil by Kevin Herne

The Iron Druid Chronicles get a spin-off about Al McBharrais, a cocktail-sipping master of magic who protects our world without speaking because he’s cursed with a voice that makes anyone who hears it instantly hate him. It’s not always an easy life, and things get even more challenging when his assistant dies and leaves behind a mystery Al will need to solve to save his own neck. (August 25)

The Memory of Souls by Jenn Lyons

The Chorus of Dragons epic fantasy series continues as demons roam free and the end of the world looms. There’s an ancient ritual that can help — but not everybody’s interested in keeping the world intact, and the story’s hero is starting to feel the terrible pull of his own demonic ties. (August 25)

The Mother Code by Carole Stivers

This debut novel begins with the human race on the brink of extinction. Earth’s survival strategy involves incubating genetically engineered children inside robots programmed with maternal instincts — including Kai and “Rho-Z,” whose bond builds over the years and is greatly threatened when the government decides there’s no need for “Mothers” anymore. (August 25)

Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles

The debut author’s Kingdom of Cards fantasy duology begins in a ruined city, as rival magicians and showgirls desperate to land a coveted circus gig find the stakes are much higher and more dangerous than they’d ever realised. (August 25)

Dispersion by Greg Egan

The Australian sci-fi author’s latest novella explores how a terrible new disease affects not just individuals, but also the delicately structured “fractions” that uniquely divide the society in which the story take place. (August 31)