We’re a few weeks into 2019 and already a few hotly anticipated new releases have hit shelves. I’m currently re-reading The Girl in the Tower to prepare for The Winter of the Witch, the final book in Katherine Arden’s Winternight Trilogy, and as a devoted fan of both Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the Conqueror’s Saga, I can’t wait to see Kiersten White’s take on the Buffyverse in Slayer. Here’s a look at some of the other amazing 2019 releases that stand in the way of my eternal bookish resolution to read more backlist titles!
Kingdom of Copper by SA Chakraborty
January 22, 2019
Nahri’s life changed forever the moment she accidentally summoned Dara, a formidable, mysterious djinn, during one of her schemes. Whisked from her home in Cairo, she was thrust into the dazzling royal court of Daevabad—and quickly discovered she would need all her grifter instincts to survive there.
Now, with Daevabad entrenched in the dark aftermath of a devastating battle, Nahri must forge a new path for herself. But even as she embraces her heritage and the power it holds, she knows she’s been trapped in a gilded cage, watched by a king who rules from the throne that once belonged to her family—and one misstep will doom her tribe..
Meanwhile, Ali has been exiled for daring to defy his father. Hunted by assassins, adrift on the unforgiving copper sands of his ancestral land, he is forced to rely on the frightening abilities the marid—the unpredictable water spirits—have gifted him. But in doing so, he threatens to unearth a terrible secret his family has long kept buried.
And as a new century approaches and the djinn gather within Daevabad’s towering brass walls for celebrations, a threat brews unseen in the desolate north. It’s a force that would bring a storm of fire straight to the city’s gates . . . and one that seeks the aid of a warrior trapped between worlds, torn between a violent duty he can never escape and a peace he fears he will never deserve.
The first book in the series, City of Brass, was unique and inventive and I look forward to returning to this world and seeing where the journey goes next.
King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo
January 29, 2019
Nikolai Lantsov has always had a gift for the impossible. No one knows what he endured in his country’s bloody civil war—and he intends to keep it that way. Now, as enemies gather at his weakened borders, the young king must find a way to refill Ravka’s coffers, forge new alliances, and stop a rising threat to the once-great Grisha Army.
Yet with every day a dark magic within him grows stronger, threatening to destroy all he has built. With the help of a young monk and a legendary Grisha Squaller, Nikolai will journey to the places in Ravka where the deepest magic survives to vanquish the terrible legacy inside him. He will risk everything to save his country and himself. But some secrets aren’t meant to stay buried—and some wounds aren’t meant to heal.
I think I squealed out loud when Leigh Bardugo announced that there would be new books set in the Grishaverse published starring Nikolai Lantsov. Although I definitely prefer Six of Crows to the Grisha trilogy, Nikolai was hands down my favourite character from the series and I look forward to seeing more of him, and more of my darling Nina. I’m a heavy public library user, but this is one of few books on this list that I’ve pre-ordered!
Vigilance by Robert Jackson Bennett
January 29, 2019
The United States. 2030. John McDean executive produces “Vigilance,” a reality game show designed to make sure American citizens stay alert to foreign and domestic threats. Shooters are introduced into a “game environment,” and the survivors get a cash prize.
The TV audience is not the only one that’s watching though, and McDean soon finds out what it’s like to be on the other side of the camera.
Robert Jackson Bennett has become an auto-buy/borrow author of mine and although I imagine this dark science-fiction novella about gun violence will be a sobering and at times difficult read, I’m certain it will be worth tackling.
The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders
February 12, 2019
Set on a planet that has fully definitive, never-changing zones of day and night, with ensuing extreme climates of endless, frigid darkness and blinding, relentless light, humankind has somehow continued apace — though the perils outside the built cities are rife with danger as much as the streets below.
But in a world where time means only what the ruling government proclaims, and the levels of light available are artificially imposed to great consequence, lost souls and disappeared bodies are shadow-bound and savage, and as common as grains of sand. And one such pariah, sacrificed to the night, but borne up by time and a mysterious bond with an enigmatic beast, will rise to take on the entire planet–before it can crumble beneath the weight of human existence.
When I set myself the challenge of reading all the Hugo nominees for best novel in 2016, I encountered Charlie Jane Anders’ novel All The Birds in the Sky. I remember thinking it was unlike anything I’d read before (originality is always a plus for me) and loving the flawed, engaging female protagonist. She’s definitely an author to watch and I look forward to reading her latest novel.
The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
February 26, 2019
The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen Sabran the Ninth must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction—but assassins are getting closer to her door.
Ead Duryan is an outsider at court. Though she has risen to the position of lady-in-waiting, she is loyal to a hidden society of mages. Ead keeps a watchful eye on Sabran, secretly protecting her with forbidden magic.
Across the dark sea, Tané has trained all her life to be a dragonrider, but is forced to make a choice that could see her life unravel.
Meanwhile, the divided East and West refuse to parley, and forces of chaos are rising from their sleep.
I’ll admit it, I initially was drawn to this book by it’s incredibly beautiful cover. I didn’t read as much fantasy as I wanted to last year, and as a result I had a pretty dismal reading year, so I’m looking forward to taking on this epic fantasy. The nearly 850 page count is a little daunting though, so maybe not until I’m well ahead on my goodreads challenge…
The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie
February 26, 2019
For centuries, the kingdom of Iraden has been protected by the god known as the Raven. He watches over his territory from atop a tower in the powerful port of Vastai. His will is enacted through the Raven’s Lease, a human ruler chosen by the god himself. His magic is sustained via the blood sacrifice that every Lease must offer. And under the Raven’s watch, the city flourishes.
But the power of the Raven is weakening. A usurper has claimed the throne. The kingdom borders are tested by invaders who long for the prosperity that Vastai boasts. And they have made their own alliances with other gods.
It is into this unrest that the warrior Eolo–aide to Mawat, the true Lease–arrives. And in seeking to help Mawat reclaim his city, Eolo discovers that the Raven’s Tower holds a secret. Its foundations conceal a dark history that has been waiting to reveal itself…and to set in motion a chain of events that could destroy Iraden forever.
After her Imperial Radch trilogy and the standalone Provenance I’m firmly in the Ann Leckie camp. I’ve adored her contributions to the science-fiction genre so I can’t wait to see her take on fantasy.
The Island of the Sea Women by Lisa See
March 5, 2019
Mi-ja and Young-sook, two girls living on the Korean island of Jeju, are best friends that come from very different backgrounds. When they are old enough, they begin working in the sea with their village’s all-female diving collective, led by Young-sook’s mother. As the girls take up their positions as baby divers, they know they are beginning a life of excitement and responsibility but also danger.
Despite their love for each other, Mi-ja and Young-sook’s differences are impossible to ignore. The Island of Sea Women is an epoch set over many decades, beginning during a period of Japanese colonialism in the 1930s and 1940s, followed by World War II, the Korean War and its aftermath, through the era of cell phones and wet suits for the women divers. Throughout this time, the residents of Jeju find themselves caught between warring empires. Mi-ja is the daughter of a Japanese collaborator, and she will forever be marked by this association. Young-sook was born into a long line of haenyeo and will inherit her mother’s position leading the divers in their village. Little do the two friends know that after surviving hundreds of dives and developing the closest of bonds, forces outside their control will push their friendship to the breaking point.
Historical fiction is a genre I love but I don’t read as much of it as I do fantasy or even YA. I’m determined to read more historical fiction, and to read more diverse historical fiction that isn’t just about Europe, so Lisa See is the natural choice. The only Lisa See book I’ve read so far was about China, but her novels are well-researched so I look forward to reading the first novel she’s written set in Korea.
The True Queen by Zen Cho
March 12, 2019
When sisters Muna and Sakti wake up on the peaceful beach of the island of Janda Baik, they can’t remember anything, except that they are bound as only sisters can be. They have been cursed by an unknown enchanter, and slowly Sakti starts to fade away. The only hope of saving her is to go to distant Britain, where the Sorceress Royal has established an academy to train women in magic.
If Muna is to save her sister, she must learn to navigate high society, and trick the English magicians into believing she is a magical prodigy. As she’s drawn into their intrigues, she must uncover the secrets of her past, and journey into a world with more magic than she had ever dreamed.
Georgian/Regency England is one of my favourite historical periods, so it’s not surprising that I was swept away by Zen Cho’s first novel, Sorcerer to the Crown. Witty, light, and empowering, it’s a brilliant underrated book about a woman of colour and a former slave upending convention and achieving power in a society that has put up barriers against them. I can’t wait to return to this world!
The Bird King by G. Willow Wilson
March 12, 2019
Hassan has a secret–he can draw maps of places he’s never seen and bend the shape of reality. When representatives of the newly formed Spanish monarchy arrive to negotiate the sultan’s surrender, Fatima befriends one of the women, not realizing that she will see Hassan’s gift as sorcery and a threat to Christian Spanish rule. With their freedoms at stake, what will Fatima risk to save Hassan and escape the palace walls?
As Fatima and Hassan traverse Spain with the help of a clever jinn to find safety, The Bird King asks us to consider what love is and the price of freedom at a time when the West and the Muslim world were not yet separate.
Okay, I know very little about this one. However, the cover is gorgeous and it’s about a period in history/place that I know very little about so I’m intrigued.
The Glass Woman by Caroline Lea
March 26, 2019 (Canadian publication date)
1686, ICELAND. AN ISOLATED, WINDSWEPT LAND HAUNTED BY WITCH TRIALS AND STEEPED IN THE ANCIENT SAGAS.
Betrothed unexpectedly to Jón Eiríksson, Rósa is sent to join her new husband in the remote village of Stykkishólmur. Here, the villagers are wary of outsiders.
But Rósa harbours her own suspicions. Her husband buried his first wife alone in the dead of night. He will not talk of it. Instead he gives her a small glass figurine. She does not know what it signifies.
“The villagers mistrust them both. Dark threats are whispered. There is an evil here – Rósa can feel it. Is it her husband, the villagers – or the land itself?
Alone and far from home, Rósa sees the darkness coming. She fears she will be its next victim . . .
I love atmospheric novels like Burial Rites (which this book has been compared to), The Lightkeepers, and Jane Eyre. This has the potential to be incredibly atmospheric and it’s written about an interesting period in time that I know nothing about. Sign me up!
The Last by Hanna Jameson
April 9, 2019
For fans of high-concept thrillers such as Annihilation and The Girl with All the Gifts, this breathtaking dystopian psychological thriller follows an American academic stranded at a Swiss hotel as the world descends into nuclear war—along with twenty other survivors—who becomes obsessed with identifying a murderer in their midst after the body of a young girl is discovered in one of the hotel’s water tanks.”
The other genre I don’t tend to read a lot of but would like to are thrillers. This murder mystery/dystopia sounds like a promising place to start.
Amnesty by Lara Elena Donnelly
April 16, 2019
The revolution has come and gone, with Amberlough City striving to rebuild itself from the ashes. The Ospies have been ousted, and the very face of the nation has been changed in the process.
Now, a rising politician is determined to bring Amberlough’s traitors to justice.
I’m cutting the summary short since it’s spoilery for the first book and I want as many people to read Amberlough (and come talk to me about it) as possible! Lara Elena Donnelly’s first book in the Amberlough Dossier trilogy was one of my favourite reads this year and I loved her follow-up, Armistice, as well. If I could pick any book on this list to get my hands on immediately it would be Amnesty. I have a feeling it’s going to absolutely break my heart (with an excess of feelings and potentially bad things happening to characters I love – not because the book is bad!) but I want it anyway. Is it April yet?
The Dragon Republic by R.F. Kuang
August 6, 2019
In the aftermath of the Third Poppy War, shaman and warrior Rin is on the run: haunted by the atrocity she committed to end the war, addicted to opium, and hiding from the murderous commands of her vengeful god, the fiery Phoenix. Her only reason for living is to get revenge on the traitorous Empress who sold out Nikan to their enemies.
With no other options, Rin joins forces with the powerful Dragon Warlord, who has a plan to conquer Nikan, unseat the Empress, and create a new Republic. Rin throws herself into his war. After all, making war is all she knows how to do.
But the Empress is a more powerful foe than she appears, and the Dragon Warlord’s motivations are not as democratic as they seem. The more Rin learns, the more she fears her love for Nikan will drive her away from every ally and lead her to rely more and more on the Phoenix’s deadly power. Because there is nothing she won’t sacrifice for her country and her vengeance.
The Poppy War was another on my list of favourite books read in 2018. A brutal fantasy debut featuring a ruthless antiheroine, I loved The Poppy War and can’t wait to find out what happens to Rin next.
Are you looking forward to reading any of these? What are your most anticipated releases of 2019? Let me know in the comments!