The start of a new year can mean many different things, with some people viewing it as a chance for a new start. Personally I love the start of a new year because it brings with it a year of new books to get excited for. With so many books coming out this year, from sequels to series finales and literary debuts there is a lot to look forward to (despite this year having a rather terrible start). And after last year don’t we all need a bit of fantasy to sink our teeth into?
Here are some of the most highly-anticipated fantasy releases coming to bookshops within the first three months of 2021.
Cast in Firelight by Dana Swift – 19th January
Described as perfect for fans of Sabaa Tahir, Hafsah Faizal and Renee Ahdieh, Swift’s debut novel Cast in Firelight is set to be a hit among fans of YA fantasy. Adraa, the royal heir of Belwar and Jatin the royal heir of Naupure are set to be married, despite their rivalry, when a greater enemy threatens their world and the two must unite. Swift’s tale of magic, secret identities and dark threats may just end up being an unmissable release.
The Mask Falling by Samantha Shannon – 26th January
Bestselling author Samantha Shannon returns to the world of Scion in the fourth instalment in The Bone Season series. Picking up where the previous books left off, dreamwalker Paige Mahoney now finds herself confined to a safehouse in the Scion Citadel of Paris. Described by Shannon herself as her “favourite of the series so far” and with the majority of early reviews of The Mask Falling being extremely positive it seems as if those who have been waiting for this novel are not going to be disappointed.
Unchosen by Katharyn Blair – 26th January (US) 14th March (UK)
Plenty of stories have focused on ‘The Chosen One’ trope. Blair’s Unchosen looks at this trope from another angle, that of the chosen one’s older sister. With a curse turning the majority of humans into flesh eating monsters and raiders searching for the chosen one, who is believed to be able to put an end to this curse, Charlotte Holloway takes the place of her younger sister Vanessa. Eventually Charlotte’s lies begin to unravel putting her life, her family and the world in danger. Blair’s novel is sure to be an original spin on the chosen one prophecy trope.
Wings of Ebony by J. Elle – 26th January (US) 18th March (UK)
Billed as being perfect for fans of Angie Thomas, Tomi Adeyemi and The Hunger Games, and described by New York Times bestselling author Sabaa Tahir as “very difficult to put down.” Rue, a black teenage girl from Houston, has her life thrown into turmoil following the death of her other and the revelation of her own Godly ancestry. Taken by her father to an island for magic wielders and forbidden to leave, Rue aims to return to her sister on the anniversary of their mother’s death only to discover the evil in her Houston neighbourhood appears to be the same evil faced by the magic wielders on their island. Elle’s debut novel Wings of Ebony sounds like it’s set to be a hit among fantasy fans.
The Gilded Ones by Namina Forna – 4th February
The first book in Forna’s West-African inspired Deathless series. In Otera a woman’s purity is tied to their blood. But when Deka bleeds gold, the colour of demons, she is left to a fate worse than death. A mysterious woman appears and offers Deka a choice: join others like her and fight for the Emperor or be destroyed. With a 4.27 rating on goodreads it’s clear that so far early reviews have been pretty positive. Although that’s maybe not too surprising with a plot this interesting.
A Court of Silver Flames by Sarah J. Maas – 16th February
The next installment in Maas’s highly acclaimed A Court of Thorns and Roses series. A Court of Silver Flames will follow on from the previous four books, although with a change in protagonist. The story will be following Nesta and Cassian as they adapt to their newfound roles, deal with their complicated feelings for one another and withstand threats from both with Prythian and outside. A Court of Silver Flames is set to be a steamy and exciting addition to this well-loved series.
Chain of Iron by Cassandra Clare – 2nd March
The second book in Clare’s The Last Hours trilogy, the newest addition to her much loved Shadowhunters world. Cordelia, James, Lucie, and their friends are on the hunt for a serial killer who has been targeting shadowhunters, all the while each of them is keeping a dark secret from each other. Lucie plans to help Grace Blackthorn resurrect her dead brother, Cordelia has sworn an oath of loyalty to a mysterious unknown power and James is being drawn further and further into the dark world of his grandfather, a prince of hell. Chain of Iron sounds as if it’s going to a great addition to the best-selling world of The Shadowhunter Chronicles.
Sing Me Forgotten by Jessica S. Olson – 9th March
A gender-swapped Phantom of the Opera set in a fantasy world, Olson’s debut novel follows the character Isda, who remains hidden within an opera house after being cast in a well at birth due to her magical powers. Despite the rules that she must remain hidden, Isda meets and begins to fall for a boy named Emeric Rodin who may in fact be the key to her freedom. Having mostly positive early reviews, this retelling of a much-loved classic is set to fly off the shelves upon release.
Lost in the Neverwoods by Aiden Thomas – 23rd March
New York Times bestselling author Aiden Thomas returns with Lost in the Neverwoods. When the children of Astoria start going missing, residents turn to Wendy for answers. Five years after Wendy and her brothers disappeared in the woods she once again meets Peter, the boy she thought lived only in her stories, who tells her if they don’t do something the missing children will meet the same fate as Wendy’s brother. Last year Thomas’s debut Cemetery Boys hit the bestseller list and by the sounds of things he has another great story with Lost in the Neverwoods.
Rule of Wolves by Leigh Bardugo – 30th March
Bardugo says she wrote this as ‘the grand finale of the Grishaverse’ and while she may someday return to the world for a third installment to the Six of Crows series it is the end for now. Like King of Scars the story will be told through the points of view of Nikolai, Zoya, and Nina as they cope with the aftermath of the events of the previous book and deal with that cliffhanger. Set to be one of the most exciting releases of the year Rule of Wolves sounds as if it will not disappoint.
Words by Isobel Pankhurst
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