With new directions from some of the biggest names in science fiction and fantasy, as well as some high-profile adult debuts from YA superstars, 2020 is shaping up to be a particularly interesting year in SFF.
Highfire by Eoin Colfer
Harper Perennial | January 28
The author of the beloved Artemis Fowl series brings his trademark zany wit and barbed humor to this hysterical adult fantasy about a hard-drinking dragon and the dirt bag Louisiana teen who becomes his only friend. Friends, it is a joy.
The Unspoken Name by A.K. Larkwood
Tor | February 11
If you love Ursula K. Le Guin, and specifically her masterpiece The Tombs of Atuan, this is the book for you. Orc priestess Csorwe is sworn to die as a sacrifice, but she takes a chance at escape with a mysterious mage instead. The hype is big for this one, and deservedly so.
Stormsong by C.L. Polk
Tor.com | February 11
I fell in rapturous love with Polk’s debut, Witchmark, and am overjoyed that she’s returning to her Edwardian-esque world with Stormsong, another queer fantasy romance that will make me feel many emotions.
House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas
Bloomsbury | March 3
YA supernova Maas releases her first novel for adults, and takes on urban fantasy for the first time. Expect enjoyable complicated heroines, some very hot heroes and Maas’ knack for evocative world building.
The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune
Tor | March 17
Klune’s tale of an orphanage for magical children and the caseworker who finds true love with its caretaker sounds utterly adorable.
The City We Became by N.K. Jemisin
Orbit | March 24
Jemisin’s short story “The City Born Great” absolutely blew my mind when I first read it, so it doesn’t surprise me that early reviews for this novel, which picks up where that story left off, are ecstatic.
Chosen Ones by Veronica Roth
John Joseph Adams | April 7
Another YA phenom making her adult debut, Divergent author Roth examines life for five heroes after the dust has settled, the evil has been defeated and they have to find some semblance of an actual life.
The Glass Magician by Caroline Stevermer
Tor | April 7
Thalia is a Solitaire, a human without magic, in a Gilded Age-esque world ruled by Traders, who can change into an animal at will, in Stevermer’s intriguing historical fantasy.
The Book of Koli by M.R. Carey
Orbit | April 14
Carey goes post-apocalyptic in this tale of a young boy who ventures beyond the walls of his village into the terrifying unknown. Knowing Carey, it’s probably going to get a lot more complicated and weird than that, and I can’t wait.
Race the Sands by Sarah Beth Durst
Harper Voyager | April 21
All you have to know is that this is a book about competitive monster racing.
The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones
Saga | May 19
I started hearing buzz about this book as early as last fall, and I’ve been anxiously awaiting my chance to read it ever since. Four American Indian men, bound by a traumatic event in their childhood, are stalked by a violent entity bent on revenge in this disturbing horror novel.
Chaos Reigning by Jessie Mihalik
Harper Voyager | May 19
Mihalik’s acclaimed sci-fi romance series comes to an end with a love story between an aristocratic spy and her bodyguard.
Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir
Tor.com | June 2
I feel like I don’t even have to write a blurb for this one, but in case you escaped the gleeful reception of Muir’s Gideon the Ninth, this is a series about necromancers in space. This particular book will take place on a haunted spaceship and yes, it will probably be just as goth and just as fun as it sounds.
The Obsidian Tower by Melissa Caruso
Orbit | June 2
I really enjoyed Caruso’s Swords and Fire series, and am hype for her next series set in the same world, but set this time in the brutal (but super cool) magical nation of Vaskandar.
A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians by H.G. Parry
Redhook | June 23
Things about this historical fantasy that make me want to read it: 1) In this world, Robespierre is a necromancer. 2) Toussaint L’Ouverture is a weather mage. 3) It is probably the nerdiest book on this list, and that is saying a lot.
The Empire of Gold by S.A. Chakraborty
Harper Voyager | June 30
Chakraborty’s absolutely fabulous Daevabad series comes to a close, and there will certainly be tears and maybe even a shipper war.
The Year of the Witching by Alexis Henderson
Bantam | July 21
This looks like a fantasy mash up of The Crucible and The Handmaid’s Tale, but with actually good and not deeply questionable racial politics.
To Sleep in a Sea of Stars by Christopher Paolini
Tor | September 15
Paolini’s Inheritance series was a formative experience of many SFF fans my age, so there will be a lot of interest over his first book in an entirely new world, and a science fiction one at that.
The Invisible Life of Addie La Rue by V.E. Schwab
Tor | October 6
Schwab has described this as a book about “a French girl and the devil over 300 years.” So we’ll be ready and waiting come October 6.
The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow
Orbit | October 15
Suffragettes. In Salem. Become witches. From the author of The Ten Thousand Doors of January. That is all.
The Conductors by Nicole Glover
John Joseph Adams | November 3
A historical fantasy where the conductors of the Underground Railroad were magic users, and two of them, husband and wife Hetty and Benjy Rhodes, solve mysteries together in post-Civil War Philadelphia. *chef’s kiss*
The Burning God by R.F. Kuang
Harper Voyager | November 19
Kuang is back to ruin everyone’s day and make us all cry, one last time. At least before she starts another series, that is.