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The Future of Fantasy: The Best New Releases in July

Monday, July 27th, 2015 | Posted by John ONeill

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We’re more than three quarters of the way through July, and I’ve barely scratched the surface on the 30 new books we covered in The Best New Releases in June. If I want to get caught up, I’ll have to cut back on late-night superhero movie marathons with my kids (and probably sleeping, and eating.)

July’s crop of new fantasy releases includes some terrific work from C.S.E. Cooney. Peter V. Brett, Max Gladstone, Wesley Chu, Lou Anders, Melinda Snodgrass, Victor Milan, Chris Willrich, Elizabeth Bear, Nnedi Okorafor, D.B. Jackson, and many others. There are 33 in the list this month, so let’s get started.

First out of the gate is C.S.E. Cooney’s first full-length short story collection, Bone Swans, which is already being praised as one of the strongest collections of the year, with Library Journal calling it “gorgeous,” and Publishers Weekly calling in “brilliantly executed” in a starred review. Bone Swans was published by Mythic Delirium Press on July 7th, 2015, with an introduction by Gene Wolfe. Don’t miss out on one of the best books of the year.

Max Gladstone’s Last First Snow is the fourth installment in his brilliant Craft Sequence, following Three Parts DeadTwo Serpents Rise, and Full Fathom Five. It was released in hardcover by Tor Books on July 14, 2015.

Peter V. Brett is one of the hottest writers in fantasy today. Most of his fans aren’t even aware that he wrote several novellas set in his popular Demon Cycle, published in ultra-rare limited editions from Subterranean Press. Now Tachyon has reprinted two of those novellas in a handsome new collection, The Great Bazaar. It appeared in trade paperback on July 7.

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Contemporary fantasy writer Shanna Swendson is launching a brand new series with Rebel Mechanics: All Is Fair in Love and Revolution, featuring an 1888 governess in an alternate New York where magisters rule, and rebels work on non-magical sources of power based on steam engines. It was published in hardcover by Farrar, Straus and Giroux on July 14.

Back in February I reported on the debut fantasy release by Marshall Ryan Maresca: The Thorn of Denton Hill, the tale of Veranix Calbert, diligent college student by day, and crime-fighting vigilante by night, in a fantasy city that hides many secrets. A Murder of Mages: A Novel of the Maradaine Constabulary, the opening novel in a new series that shares the same setting, was released in paperback on July 7 by DAW.

One of the more intriguing urban fantasy debuts of last year was Jamie Schultz’s Premonitions, the opening novel in the Arcane Underworld series, featuring a team of thieves with supernatural abilities. The follow-up, Splintered, was released in paperback by Roc on July 7.

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One of the titles I found most interesting in our March feature on the Best New Fantasy was Carrie Patel’s debut novel The Buried Life, the first in a new series set in the fantastical gaslit underground city of Recoletta, a place of dark, forbidden knowledge, secretive foreign powers, professional spy rings… and murder. Cities and Thrones, the second in the series, was published in paperback by Angry Robot on July 7.

Stina Leicht’s previous novels include And Blue Skies From Pain and Of Blood and Honey (reviewed by Sean Stiennon for us here). Her latest is Cold Iron, Book One of The Malorum Gates, about two fraternal twins who leave their royal family to fight military invaders. It was published in hardcover by Saga Press on July 14, 2015. Read an excerpt here.

D.B. Jackson’s Dead Man’s Reach is the fourth novel in his historical fantasy series, following Thieftaker, Thieves’ Quarry, and A Plunder of Souls, about a crime-solving conjurer in pre-revolutionary Boston. It was published in hardcover by Tor on July 21.

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Yasmine Galenorn is the author of the popular Otherworld novels. Flight From Death is the first installment in a new series that shares a setting with those novels, but features a shape-shifting dragon who works for an investigation agency run by a vampire. It was published in paperback by Berkley on July 7.

Black Gate blogger Joseph McCullough has edited an ambitious new anthology, Frozen City, containing ten original stories telling the tale of wizards and other adventurers as they venture into the ruins of a frozen city. It was published in trade paperback by Osprey Publishing on July 20.

Iron & Blood, by Gail Z. Martin and Larry N. Martin, kicks off an exciting new steampunk fantasy series set in fictional New Pittsburgh in 1898. It was published in paperback by Solaris on July 7.

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I’ve waited a long time for Nnedi Okorafor’s novel of alien invasion, Lagoon, to finally reach American shores. It was published in hardcover by Saga Press on July 14, and it joins her award-winning novels Who Fears Death and The Book of Phoenix on the shelves.

Anthony Ryan’s fat fantasy novel Queen of Fire, third in the Raven’s Shadow trilogy following Blood Song and Tower Lord, was published in hardcover by Ace on July 7, to the relief of many impatient fans.

Shower of Stones by Zachary Jernigan is the sequel to No Return, and continues the tale of a dark world watched over by an orbiting god called Adrash. It was published in trade paperback by Night Shade Books on July 14.

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Spider’s Trap is the latest installment in Jennifer Estep’s New York Times bestselling Elemental Assassin series. Gin Blanco (a.k.a. the Spider) is now queen of Ashland’s underworld… but that doesn’t stop someone from trying to murder her during a secret underworld meeting. It will be published in paperback by Pocket Books on July 28.

Elizabeth Bear’s epic fantasy trilogy The Eternal Sky concluded with Steles of the Sky last year, and the closing volume was reprinted in trade paperback by Tor on July 7. That means the entire series in now in paperback — if, like me, you don’t have space for more hardcovers on your shelves, but still want to keep up with the best in new fantasy.

The Dark Arts of Blood by Freda Warrington is the fourth in a series (following A Taste of Blood Wine, A Dance in Blood Velvet, and The Dark Blood of Poppies), featuring a vampire ballerina. It was published in trade paper by Titan Books on July 21.

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The Floating City by Craif Cormick is the second in a new series (after The Shadow Master). It’s the tale of two rival families, followers of Leonardo and Galileo, who vie for control of a Walled City. It’s a paperback original from Angry Robot, published on July 7.

The House of Four Winds is the opening novel in One Dozen Daughters, a new romantic series by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory. Tiny, impoverished Swansgaard has twelve royal daughters and one prince. The prince will ascend to the throne, but his dozen sisters must make their own way in the world. The first novel follows Princess Clarice, who disguises herself as a sailor named Clarence… until the crew mutinies, and Clarence, an expert with rapier and dagger, kills the cruel captain and sides with the handsome navigator, Dominick. Originally published in hardcover last August, The House of Four Winds arrived in paperback from Tor on June 30. Read an excerpt at Tor.com.

Robert Brockway’s The Unnoticeables is a new fantasy novel about angels who meddle in human affairs, a punk in 1977 New York City, and a stunt woman in 2013 Hollywood. It was published in hardcover by Tor Books on July 7.

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The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley is another strong fantasy debut. Set in 1883, it’s about a magical pocket watch and a London man’s search for its maker. It was published in hardcover by Bloomsbury on July 14.

The Captive Condition by Kevin P. Keating, the author of The Natural Order of Things, is a deliciously dark novel about an idyllic Midwestern college town that turns out to be a nexus of horror. It was published by Pantheon on July 7, 2015.

Black Gate readers need no introduction to Chris Willrich. The Chart of Tomorrows is the third in his popular Gaunt and Bone series, following The Scroll of Years and The Silk Map. This installment finds Persimmon Gaunt and Imago Bone, a poet and a thief, fleeing assassins. It arrived from Pyr on July 7.

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No one can accuse Victor Milán of poor timing. His novel The Dinosaur Lords, which George R. R. Martin calls “A cross between Jurassic Park and Game of Thrones,” arrives in bookstores the week that the biggest film of the year, Jurassic World, passed The Avengers in worldwide grosses. It’s a good time to have a dinosaur book on the shelves. It will be published by Tor Books on July 28.

Melinda Snodgrass’s Edge of Reason trilogy kicked off with the publication of The Edge of Reason in trade paperback on April 21. The Edge of Ruin, the second volume, arrives in trade paper on July 28, and it will be followed by the concluding volume, The Edge of Dawn, which arrives in hardcover on August 4. All three are published by Tor.

In a stellar review at Tor.com, Liz Bourke called Rhonda Mason’s The Empress Game an “old-fashioned pulp space opera.” That’s all I need to hear; I’m sold. It was published by Titan Books on July 14.

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Mary E. Pearson’s first fantasy novel, The Kiss of Deception, was published last year, and Booklist called it “a wonderfully full-bodied story: harrowing, romantic, and full of myth and memory.” The sequel, The Heart of Betrayal, the second volume in The Remnant Chronicles, continues the tale of 17-year-old princess Lia. It was published by Henry Holt and Co. on July 7.

We haven’t had too many anthologies on this list so far — but fear not, short fiction lovers. The Mammoth Book of Dieselpunk, edited by Sean Wallace, comes packed with stories by Genevieve Valentine, Carrie Vaughn, E. Catherine Tobler, Nick Mamatas, Jeremiah Tolbert, and many others. It was published by Running Press on July 14.

Lou Anders’s first novel, the middle-grade fantasy Thrones & Bones: Frostborn, was a breakout success.  The second volume, Nightborn, finally arrived this month. It was published in hardcover by Crown Books for Young Readers on July 14, 2015.

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Wesley Chu is one of the hottest new writers on the scene, and his new novel Time Salvager, about a time traveler making desperate trips into Earth’s past to steal precious resources, has already been optioned by Michael Bay as a feature film. It was published in hardcover by Tor Books on July 7.

I’m a pretty big Barry N. Malzberg fan. Not just his fiction, but his tireless scholarship of the field — as so ably demonstrated in books like The Engines of the Night and Breakfast in the Ruins. So I was delighted to see Stark House Press bring his neglected comic masterpiece, Underlay, back into print in trade paperback on July 1.

And finally, if all this serious epic fantasy tires you out, why not relax with Witches Be Crazy, the debut fantasy novel by Logan J. Hunder, which features a masquerading princess, pirates, cultists, crazy hobos, and a heroic innkeeper? It was released in trade paper by Night Shade Books on July 14.

That wraps it up for the upcoming fantasy releases that have grabbed our attention for July. Be sure to check back here a few times a week as we report on the most intriguing New Treasures.

See our report on the very best Fantasy Releases in June here, and all our Future Treasures here.

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