34 Highly Anticipated Fantasy Books of 2021

I’ve been thinking a lot about fantasy and science fiction and how much I appreciate and love these genres. One of my big goals for 2021 is to read more into these genres because truth is, I’m not very knowledgeable. I want to dive deeper into these worlds and discover new and different voices that share incredible fantasy stories. 2020 really opened my eyes to the potential SFF books have on the reading world; how it can discuss the realities we face but set it against famous stories you’ve heard before, new stories you’ve never heard of before, and great stories that just keep you reading.

So, I decided to put this list together of what’s to come. Granted, I’ll still be exploring older fantasy novels, but also wanted to bring you some of the books I’m excited are publishing next year. I probably missed some books, but I know that bookstagram will keep me updated on what books I missed. Gotta love a community that fills in the gaps in your knowledge.

Let me start by saying this is only the first half of the year. There will probably be books in the fall and winter that I will report on later in the year. This is also only new series and new standalones. There’s a ton of books publishing next year that are the continuation of an existing series. I’m excited for those books too, but I would much rather put the new books on your radar and the new voices you may not have heard before. You’ll definitely see more titles on my weekly pub day picks throughout the year. This is just to give you a taste of what’s to come in 2021.

This list is a BIG one, so save it or set yourself up with a cup of tea and a pen because I’m about to roll up my sleeves and share with you a ton of books!

The Beautiful Ones by Silvia Moreno-Garcia

A re-release of this story by Silvia Moreno-Garcia filled with intrigued and a little romance. “The Beautiful Ones is a charming tale of love and betrayal, and the struggle between conformity and passion, set in a world where scandal is a razor-sharp weapon.”

The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo

Ok wow, a Great Gatsby retelling, but with queer Asian girls. “Nghi Vo’s debut novel reinvents this classic of the American canon as a coming-of-age story full of magic, mystery, and glittering excess, and introduces a major new literary voice.

The Conductors by Nicole Glover

“A compelling debut by a new voice in fantasy fiction, The Conductors features the magic and mystery of Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files written with the sensibility and historical setting of Octavia Butler’s Kindred: Introducing Hetty Rhodes, a magic-user and former conductor on the Underground Railroad who now solves crimes in post–Civil War Philadelphia.”

Son of the Storm by Suyi Davies Okungbowa

A young scholar’s ambition threatens to reshape an empire determined to retain its might in this epic tale of violent conquest, buried histories, and forbidden magic.

The Library of the Dead by TL Hucha

Sixth Sense meets Stranger Things in T. L. Huchu’s The Library of the Dead, a sharp contemporary fantasy following a precocious and cynical teen as she explores the shadowy magical underside of modern Edinburgh.

A Master of Djinn by P Djeli Clark

If you weren’t aware, P Djeli Clark has been writing fantasy fiction in this alternate Cairo world. He has two novellas (one of which was up for a Hugo Award in 2020) in this universe, but the fact that he’s expanded to a full length novel is really what’s exciting for me. It doesn’t sound like you need to read the novellas before you read this one, but I highly recommend them. Reading his alternate Cairo series, it was so much fun. There was a lot of intrigue set around this small mystery with a classic “buddy-cop” duo. I cannot wait to read into this one!

Star Eater by Kerstin Hall

“A phantasmagorical indictment of hereditary power, Star Eater takes readers deep into a perilous and uncanny world where even the most powerful women are forced to choose what sacrifices they will make, so that they might have any choice at all.”

The Helm of Midnight by Marina Lostetter

A legendary serial killer stalks the streets of a fantastical city in The Helm of Midnight, the stunning first novel in a new trilogy from acclaimed author Marina Lostetter.

Fireheart Tiger by Aliette de Bodard

You had me at Howl’s Moving Castle. “Award-winning author Aliette de Bodard returns with a powerful romantic fantasy that reads like The Goblin Emperor meets Howl’s Moving Castle in a pre-colonial Vietnamese-esque world.

The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna

Bold and daring girls who bleed gold and join the ranks of an all-female army? Where do I sign up to read this one? I really love stories like this that include military strategy and all the emotions of being young and coming of age. “The start of a bold and immersive West African-inspired, feminist fantasy series for fans of Children of Blood and Bone and Black Panther. In this world, girls are outcasts by blood and warriors by choice.”

Into the Heartless Wood by Joanna Ruth Meyer

Epic, heartbreaking, and darkly atmospheric, Into the Heartless Wood is the story of impossible love between a monstrous tree siren and a boy who lives at the edge of her wood.

Malice by Heather Walter

A princess isn’t supposed to fall for an evil sorceress. But in this darkly magical retelling of “Sleeping Beauty,” true love is more than a simple fairy tale.

What Big Teeth by Rose Szabo

MISS PEREGRINE’S HOME FOR PECULIAR CHILDREN MEETS THE ADDAMS FAMILY IN THIS HAUNTING STORY OF ONE GIRL’S ATTEMPT TO RECONNECT WITH HER MONSTROUS FAMILY.

“Rose Szabo’s thrilling debut is a dark and thrilling novel about a teen girl who returns home to her strange, wild family after years of estrangement, perfect for fans of Wilder Girls.”

Lore by Alexandra Bracken

A Greek retelling with a Hunger Games feel to it. “From the #1 New York Times best-selling author of The Darkest Minds comes a sweepingly ambitious, high-octane tale of power, destiny, love and redemption.

The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri

“Author of Empire of Sand and Realm of Ash Tasha Suri’s The Jasmine Throne, beginning a new trilogy set in a world inspired by the history and epics of India, in which a captive princess and a maidservant in possession of forbidden magic become unlikely allies on a dark journey to save their empire from the princess’s traitor brother.”

The Bone Maker by Sarah Beth Durst

From award-winning author Sarah Beth Durst, a standalone epic fantasy set in a brand-new world of towering mountains and sparkling cities, in which a band of aging warriors have a second chance to defeat dark magic and avenge a haunting loss.

The Unbroken by CL Clark

Military fantasy plus a touch of court intrigue with a side of F/F romance? Whoa, this sounds like a mighty book with a lot of story to tell. I would definitely get into this. “In a political fantasy unlike any other, debut author C. L. Clark spins an epic tale of rebellion, espionage, and military might on the far outreaches of a crumbling desert empire.

Lost in the Never Woods by Aiden Thomas

Already fell in love with Aiden Thomas with their first book, Cemetery Boys. Now I’m going to fall in love with their next book because you had me at PETER PAN RETELLING, but it’s also a mystery? Please yes. “When children go missing, people want answers. When children go missing in the small coastal town of Astoria, people look to Wendy for answers.

We Are the Fire by Sam Taylor

All I can see are the antlers on these characters’ heads. If that isn’t enough to entice me, I don’t know what is. “As electrifying as it is heartbreaking, Sam Taylor’s explosive fantasy debut We Are the Fire is perfect for fans of An Ember in the Ashes and the legend of Spartacus.”

Black Water Sister by Zen Cho

A reluctant medium discovers the ties that bind can unleash a dangerous power in this compelling Malaysian-set contemporary fantasy.

The Councillor by EJ Beaton

“This Machiavellian fantasy follows a scholar’s quest to choose the next ruler of her kingdom amidst lies, conspiracy, and assassination.”

Wings of Ebony by J. Elle

In this riveting, keenly emotional debut fantasy, a Black teen from Houston has her world upended when she learns about her godly ancestry–and with evil sinking its claws into humans and gods alike, she’ll have to unearth the magic of her true identity to save both her worlds. Perfect for fans of Angie Thomas, Tomi Adeyemi, and The Hunger Games.

Witches Steeped in Gold by Ciannon Smart

This Jamaican-inspired fantasy debut about two enemy witches who must enter into a deadly alliance to take down a common enemy has the twisted cat-and-mouse of Killing Eve with the richly imagined fantasy world of Furyborn and Ember in the Ashes.

Divided by their order. United by their vengeance.

This Golden Flame by Emily Victoria

An epic fantasy journey as our ACE/ARO main character searches for her brother with the help of a secret automaton looking for meaning in his existence. Whoa.

These Feathered Flames by Alexandra Overy

Three Dark Crowns meets Wicked Saints in this queer #ownvoices retelling of “The Firebird,” a Russian folktale, by debut author Alexandra Overy.

The Infinity Courts by Akemi Dawn Bowman

“From award-winning author Akemi Dawn Bowman comes an incisive, action-packed tale that explores big questions about technology, grief, love, and humanity. Westworld meets Warcross in this high-stakes, dizzyingly smart sci-fi about a teen girl navigating an afterlife in which she must defeat an AI entity intent on destroying humanity, from award-winning author Akemi Dawn Bowman.

Sweet and Bitter Magic by Adrienne Tooley

In this charming debut fantasy perfect for fans of Sorcery of Thorns and Girls of Paper and Fire, a witch cursed to never love meets a girl hiding her own dangerous magic, and the two strike a dangerous bargain to save their queendom.

The Prison Healer by Lynette Noni

Something about having the main character exist inside this death prison and then has to save the rebel queen from whatever illnesses she has plus a mysterious plague? Prison break vibe? It most definitely reminds me of Sabaa Tahir. “From bestselling author Lynette Noni comes a dark, thrilling YA fantasy perfect for fans of Sarah J. Maas, and Sabaa Tahir.

The Wolf and the Woodsman by Ava Reid

In the vein of Naomi Novik’s New York Times bestseller Spinning Silver and Katherine Arden’s national bestseller The Bear and the Nightingale, this unforgettable debut— inspired by Hungarian history and Jewish mythology—follows a young pagan woman with hidden powers and a one-eyed captain of the Woodsmen as they form an unlikely alliance to thwart a tyrant.

The Witch’s Heart by Genevieve Gornichec

This one got me by mentioning Loki, but I’ve also had my eye on Norse mythology for a bit. This might be a nice introduction. All I know is I’ll definitely be reading it. “When a banished witch falls in love with the legendary trickster Loki, she risks the wrath of the gods in this moving, subversive debut novel that reimagines Norse mythology.

Hall of Smoke by H.M. Long

Epic fantasy featuring warrior priestesses and fickle gods at war, for readers of Brian Staveley’s Chronicles of the Unhewn Throne.”

The Black Coast by Mike Brooks

“Epic world-building at its finest, in an upcoming author’s fantasy debut. The Black Coast is the start of an unmissable series filled with war-dragons, armoured knights, sea-faring raiders, dangerous magic and crowd-pleasing battle scenes.”

The Blacktongue Thief by Christopher Buelhman

Set in a world of goblin wars, stag-sized battle ravens, and assassins who kill with deadly tattoos, Christopher Buehlman’s The Blacktongue Thief begins a ‘dazzling’ (Robin Hobb) fantasy adventure unlike any other.

She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan

Mulan meets The Song of Achilles; an accomplished, poetic debut of war and destiny, sweeping across an epic alternate China.

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