May 23, 2024


Science It Works

48 Fantasy & Sci-Fi Book Releases To Look Out For In 2021

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2021 is absolutely jam-packed with fantasy and science fiction books that readers around the world are going to devour! Between the months of January and June, readers can expect magic, warring kingdoms, witches, magic, post-apocalyptic worlds, and so, so much more!

Table of Contents

Read on to discover some of the January to June fantasy and sci-fi books we’re excited for and be sure to let us know in the comments what books you’re looking forward to!

Want more 2021 releases? Check out our lists for Most Anticipated 2021 Books, 2021 Queer Book Releases, 2021 Romance Book Releases, 2021 YA Book Releases, and 2021 Queer SFF Book Releases.


The Mask of Mirrors by M.A. Carrick
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Darkly magical and intricately imagined, The Mask of Mirrors is the unmissable start to the Rook & Rose trilogy, a rich and dazzling fantasy adventure in which a con artist, a vigilante, and a crime lord must unite to save their city.

The Frozen Crown by Greta Kelly
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A princess with a powerful and dangerous secret must find a way to save her country from ruthless invaders in this exciting debut fantasy, the first novel in a thrilling duology packed with heroism, treachery, magic, and war.

Hall of Smoke by H.M. Long
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Epic fantasy featuring warrior priestesses and fickle gods at war, for readers of Brian Staveley’s Chronicles of the Unhewn Throne.

The Stranger Times by C. K. McDonnell
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There are Dark Forces at work in our world (and in Manchester in particular) and so thank God The Stranger Times is on hand to report them. 

Blood Heir by Ilona Andrews
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From award-winning author, Ilona Andrews, an all-new novel set in the New York Times #1 bestselling Kate Daniels World and featuring Julie Lennart-Olsen, Kate and Curran’s ward.

The Forever Sea by Joshua Phillip Johnson
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The first book in a new environmental epic fantasy series set in a world where ships kept afloat by magical hearthfires sail an endless grass sea.

Brother Red by Adrian Selby
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From one of the most exciting new voices in dark epic fantasy comes an intensely brutal and brilliantly cinematic novel: the story of a soldier torn between loyalty to her family and her quest to preserve a kingdom’s future.

Knight’s Ransom by Jeff Wheeler
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From Jeff Wheeler, the Wall Street Journal bestselling author of the Kingfountain novels, comes an epic new series of warring kingdoms, deadly family rivalries, and fearless loyalty.


Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell
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Ancillary Justice meets Red, White & Royal Blue in Everina Maxwell’s exciting debut.

The Witch’s Heart by Genevieve Gornichec
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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.

The Black Coast by Mike Brooks
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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.

Fireheart Tiger by Aliette de Bodard
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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. 

Game Changer by Neal Shusterman
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This high-concept novel from the National Book Award-winning and New York Times-bestselling author of the Arc of a Scythe series tackles the most urgent themes of our time, making this a must-buy for readers who are starting to ask big questions about their own role in the universe.

Sun-Daughters, Sea-Daughters by Aimee Ogden
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Sun-Daughters, Sea-Daughters has all the wonder and romance of a classic sci-fi novel, with the timelessness of a beloved fairy tale. 

A History of What Comes Next by Sylvain Neuvel
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Showing that truth is stranger than fiction, Sylvain Neuvel weaves a sci-fi thriller reminiscent of Blake Crouch and Andy Weir, blending a fast moving, darkly satirical look at 1940s rocketry with an exploration of the amorality of progress and the nature of violence in A History of What Comes Next.

This Golden Flame by Emily Victoria
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An #ownvoices debut YA fantasy, This Golden Flame is an epic adventure full of magic, rebellion, and finding where you truly belong.


Dead Space by Kali Wallace
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An investigator must solve a brutal murder on a claustrophobic asteroid mine in this tense science fiction thriller from the author of Salvation Day

The Councillor by E.J. Beaton
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This Machiavellian fantasy follows a scholar’s quest to choose the next ruler of her kingdom amidst lies, conspiracy, and assassination

Skyward Inn by Aliya Whiteley
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Skyward Inn is Jamaica Inn by way of Ursula Le Guin, bringing the influences, too, of Angela Carter, Michel Faber and Jeff Vandermeer to create a fantastic story of love, belonging, and togetherness. Asking questions of ideas of the individual and the collective, of ownership and historical possession, and of the experience of being human, it is at once timeless and thoroughly of its time.

A Trial of Sorcerers by Elise Kova
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This is the first book in a young adult, epic fantasy that’s a tale of competition, coming of age, distant lands, elemental magic, and romance. It’s perfect for fans of the Legend of Korra, Truthwitch, and A Sorcery of Thorns.

Machinehood by S.B. Divya
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From the Hugo Award nominee S.B. Divya, Zero Dark Thirty meets The Social Network in this science fiction thriller about artificial intelligence, sentience, and labor rights in a near future dominated by the gig economy.

Sweet & Bitter Magic by Adrienne Tooley
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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.

Burning Girls and Other Stories by Veronica Schanoes
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In Burning Girls and Other Stories, Veronica Schanoes crosses borders and genres with stories of fierce women at the margins of society burning their way toward the center. This debut collection introduces readers to a fantasist in the vein of Karen Russell and Kelly Link, with a voice all her own.

We Shall Sing a Song Into the Deep by Andrew Kelly Stewart
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A Canticle for Leibowitz meets The Hunt for Red October in We Shall Sing a Song into the Deep, a lyrical and page-turning coming-of-age exploration of duty, belief, and the post-apocalypse from breakout newcomer Andrew Kelly Stewart.


The ​Crown of Gilded Bones by Jennifer L. Armentrout
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From #1 New York Times bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout comes book three in her Blood and Ash series.

The Helm of Midnight by Marina J. Lostetter
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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.

The Light of the Midnight Stars by Rena Rossner
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An evocative combination of fantasy, history, and Jewish folklore, The Light of the Midnight Stars is fairytale-inspired novel from the author of The Sisters of the Winter Wood.

The Last Watch by J.S. Dewes
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The Expanse meets Game of Thrones in J. S. Dewes’ fast-paced, sf adventure The Last Watch, where a handful of soldiers stand between humanity and annihilation.

The Infinity Courts by Akemi Dawn Bowman
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From award-winning author Akemi Dawn Bowman comes an incisive, action-packed tale that explores big questions about technology, grief, love, and humanity.

The End of Men by Christina Sweeney-Baird
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Set in a world where a virus stalks our male population, The End of Men is an electrifying and unforgettable debut from a remarkable new talent that asks: what would our world truly look like without men?

Fugitive Telemetry (The Murderbot Diaries, #6) by Martha Wells
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The New York Times bestselling security droid with a heart (though it wouldn’t admit it!) is back in Fugitive Telemetry, a new standalone adventure!

See also

The Girl in the White Van by April Henry Review
Unity by Elly Bangs
Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository

Evoking the grittiness of Mad Max and the idealism of Sense8, this absorbing sci-fi debut is a dynamic vision of the fluidity of identity. With Unity, breakout author Elly Bangs has created a prescient, moving, and unforgettable adventure that expands upon human consciousness and its possibilities.


Ariadne by Jennifer Saint
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Hypnotic, propulsive, and utterly transporting, Jennifer Saint’s Ariadne forges a new epic, outside the traditional narratives of heroism and glory that leave no room for women.

Black Water Sister by Zen Cho
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A reluctant medium discovers the ties that bind can unleash a dangerous power in this compelling Malaysian-set contemporary fantasy.

Blade of Secrets by Tricia Levenseller
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In Blade of Secrets, the first book in Tricia Levenseller’s exciting new YA fantasy duology, a teenage blacksmith with social anxiety is forced to go on the run to protect the world from the most powerful magical sword she’s ever made. 

How to Mars by David Ebenbach
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What happens when your dream mission to Mars is a reality television nightmare? This debut science-fiction romp with heart follows the tradition of Ray Bradbury’s Martian Chronicles, with a dash of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and a hint of The Real World.

Spells Trouble by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast
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Hunter and Mercy Goode are twin witches, direct descendants of the founder of their town of Goodeville. As their ancestors have done before them, it is now time for the twins to learn what it means to be Gatekeepers–the protectors of the Gates to different underworlds, ancient portals between their world and realms where mythology rules and nightmares come to life.

Sorrowland by Rivers Solomon
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Rivers Solomon’s Sorrowland is a genre-bending work of Gothic fiction. Here, monsters aren’t just individuals, but entire nations. It is a searing, seminal book that marks the arrival of a bold, unignorable voice in American fiction

The Blacktongue Thief by Christopher Buehlman
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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. 

The Kingdoms by Natasha Pulley
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For fans of The 7 ½ Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle and David Mitchell, a genre bending, time twisting alternative history that asks whether it’s worth changing the past to save the future, even if it costs you everyone you’ve ever loved. 


Star Eater by Kerstin Hall
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A phantasmagorical indictment of hereditary power, Star Eatertakes 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 Tangleroot Palace: Stories by Marjorie Liu
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New York Times bestseller and Hugo, British Fantasy, Romantic Times, and Eisner award-winning author of the graphic novel, Monstress, Marjorie Liu leads you deep into the heart of the tangled woods. In her long-awaited debut story collection, dark, lush, and spellbinding short fiction you will find unexpected detours, dangerous magic, and even more dangerous women.

The Nature of Witches by Rachel Griffin
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Practical Magic meets Twister in this debut contemporary fantasy standalone about heartbreaking power, the terror of our collapsing atmosphere, and the ways we unknowingly change our fate.

The All-Consuming World by Cassandra Khaw
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Cassandra Khaw’s debut novel is a page-turning exploration of humans and machines that is perfect for readers of Ann Leckie, Ursula Le Guin, and Kameron Hurley.

The Ninth Metal by Benjamin Percy
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From award-winning author Benjamin Percy comes an explosive, breakout speculative thriller in which a powerful new metal arrives on Earth in the wake of a meteor shower, triggering a massive new “gold rush” in the Midwest and turning life as we know it on its head. The first of a cycle of novels set in a shared universe.

The Coward by Stephen Aryan
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Who will take up the mantle and slay the evil in the Frozen North, saving all from death and destruction? Not Kell Kressia, he’s done his part…

Play of Shadows by Sebastien de Castell
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Swordplay, magic, intrigue and friendships stronger than iron: the first volume in the new swashbuckling fantasy series by the bestselling author of The Greatcoats.

Gearbreakers by Zoe Hana Mikuta
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Two girls on opposite sides of a war discover they’re fighting for a common purpose–and falling for each other–in Zoe Hana Mikuta’s high-octane debut Gearbreakers, perfect for fans of Pacific Rim, Pierce Brown’s Red Rising Saga, and Marie Lu’s Legend series.

What 2021 fantasy and sci-fi books are you looking forward to? Tell us in the comments below!