Monday, January 20, 2014

2014 Most Anticipated Books: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Urban Fantasy

This year my list of anticipated reads in the science fiction, fantasy and urban fantasy categories is extensive. A few of the authors I'm gloaming at the moment (see Seanan McGuire and Kelley Armstrong) have more than one book releasing in 2014, either because they already have multiple series published, or because they are launching a new series. Or, as in the case of Jeff VanderMeer, all three volumes of his latest work, a trilogy, are releasing in 2014.

Most of the books I'm looking forward to reading are from already favorite authors, but a few are from new-to-me writers such as David Edison whose book was added to my list because I loved the summary, and Weston Osche who was added immediately because I'm always looking for a good military science fiction series to follow.

JEFF VANDERMEER: Southern Reach Trilogy

Annihilation by (Southern Reach Trilogy #1) -- Releasing February 4, 2014 by FSG Originals
Authority (Southern Reach #2) - Releasing June, 2014
Acceptance (Southern Reach #3) - Releasing September, 2014
Area X has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; all the members of the second expedition committed suicide; the third expedition died in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another; the members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within months of their return, all had died of aggressive cancer.

This is the twelfth expedition.

Their group is made up of four women: an anthropologist; a surveyor; a psychologist, the de facto leader; and our narrator, a biologist. Their mission is to map the terrain and collect specimens; to record all their observations, scientific and otherwise, of their surroundings and of one another; and, above all, to avoid being contaminated by Area X itself.

They arrive expecting the unexpected, and Area X delivers—they discover a massive topographic anomaly and life forms that surpass understanding—but it’s the surprises that came across the border with them, and the secrets the expedition members are keeping from one another, that change everything.


The Waking Engine -- Releasing February 11, 2014 by Tor Books
Welcome to the City Unspoken, where Gods and Mortals come to die.

Contrary to popular wisdom, death is not the end, nor is it a passage to some transcendent afterlife. Those who die merely awake as themselves on one of a million worlds, where they are fated to live until they die again, and wake up somewhere new. All are born only once, but die many times . . . until they come at last to the City Unspoken, where the gateway to True Death can be found.

Wayfarers and pilgrims are drawn to the City, which is home to murderous aristocrats, disguised gods and goddesses, a sadistic faerie princess, immortal prostitutes and queens, a captive angel, gangs of feral Death Boys and Charnel Girls . . . and one very confused New Yorker.

Late of Manhattan, Cooper finds himself in a City that is not what it once was. The gateway to True Death is failing, so that the City is becoming overrun by the Dying, who clot its byzantine streets and alleys . . . and a spreading madness threatens to engulf the entire metaverse.


Murder of Crows (The Others #2) -- Releasing March 4, 2014 by Roc
After winning the trust of the terra indigene residing in the Lakeside Courtyard, Meg Corbyn has had trouble figuring out what it means to live among them. As a human, Meg should be barely tolerated prey, but her abilities as a cassandra sangue make her something more.

The appearance of two addictive drugs has sparked violence between the humans and the Others, resulting in the murder of both species in nearby cities. So when Meg has a dream about blood and black feathers in the snow, Simon Wolfgard—Lakeside’s shape-shifting leader—wonders if their blood prophet dreamed of a past attack or a future threat.

As the urge to speak prophecies strikes Meg more frequently, trouble finds its way inside the Courtyard. Now, the Others and the handful of humans residing there must work together to stop the man bent on reclaiming their blood prophet—and stop the danger that threatens to destroy them all.

SEANAN MCGUIRE: InCryptid Series, Ghost Stories Series #1, October Daye Series

Half-Off Raganoff (InCryptid #3) -- Releasing in March 4, 2014 by DAW
When Alex Price agreed to go to Ohio to oversee a basilisk breeding program and assist in the recovery of his psychic cousin, he didn't expect people to start dropping dead. But bodies are cropping up at the zoo where he works, and his girlfriend--Shelby Tanner, an Australian zoologist with a fondness for big cats--is starting to get suspicious.

Worse yet, the bodies have all been turned partially to stone…

The third book in the InCryptid series takes us to a new location and a new member of the family, as Alex tries to balance life, work, and the strong desire not to become a piece of garden statuary. Old friends and new are on the scene, and danger lurks around every corner.

Of course, so do the talking mice.
Also by Seanan McGuire:

Sparrow Hill Road (Ghost Stories #1) -- Releasing in May 6, 2014 by DAW
Rose Marshall died in 1952 in Buckley Township, Michigan, run off the road by a man named Bobby Cross—a man who had sold his soul to live forever, and intended to use her death to pay the price of his immortality. Trouble was, he didn’t ask Rose what she thought of the idea.

It’s been more than sixty years since that night, and she’s still sixteen, and she’s still running.

They have names for her all over the country: the Girl in the Diner. The Phantom Prom Date. The Girl in the Green Silk Gown. Mostly she just goes by “Rose,” a hitchhiking ghost girl with her thumb out and her eyes fixed on the horizon, trying to outrace a man who never sleeps, never stops, and never gives up on the idea of claiming what’s his. She’s the angel of the overpass, she’s the darling of the truck stops, and she’s going to figure out a way to win her freedom. After all, it’s not like it can kill her.

You can’t kill what’s already dead.
And, last but not least:

The Winter Long (October Daye #8) -- Releasing in September, 2014 by

The cover and summary are not yet available for the next installment in the Toby Daye series by McGuire. But, I will keep my eye out for it and will definitely read it when it releases in September. :)


The Goblin Emperor -- Releasing April 1, 2014 by Tor Books
A vividly imagined fantasy of court intrigue and dark magics in a steampunk-inflected world, by a brilliant young talent.

The youngest, half-goblin son of the Emperor has lived his entire life in exile, distant from the Imperial Court and the deadly intrigue that suffuses it. But when his father and three sons in line for the throne are killed in an "accident," he has no choice but to take his place as the only surviving rightful heir.

Entirely unschooled in the art of court politics, he has no friends, no advisors, and the sure knowledge that whoever assassinated his father and brothers could make an attempt on his life at any moment.

Surrounded by sycophants eager to curry favor with the naïve new emperor, and overwhelmed by the burdens of his new life, he can trust nobody. Amid the swirl of plots to depose him, offers of arranged marriages, and the specter of the unknown conspirators who lurk in the shadows, he must quickly adjust to life as the Goblin Emperor. All the while, he is alone, and trying to find even a single friend... and hoping for the possibility of romance, yet also vigilant against the unseen enemies that threaten him, lest he lose his throne – or his life.

KELLEY ARMSTRONG: Age of Legends Series #1, Cainsville Series

Sea of Shadows: Age of Legends -- Releasing April 8, 2014 by Harper Collins
Kelley Armstrong, #1 New York Times bestselling author, takes an exciting new direction with this big, breathtaking blend of fantasy, romance, horror, and pulse-pounding action, perfect for fans of Graceling and Game of Thrones.

Twin sisters Moria and Ashyn were marked at birth to become the Keeper and the Seeker of Edgewood, beginning with their sixteenth birthday. Trained in fighting and in the secret rites of the spirits, they lead an annual trip into the Forest of the Dead. There, the veil between the living world and the beyond is thinnest, and the girls pay respect to the spirits who have passed.

But this year, their trip goes dreadfully wrong.

And I cannot wait to read:

Visions (Cainsville #2) -- Releasing August 14, 2014 by Dauton Adult
Omens, the first installment in Kelley Armstrong’s exciting new series, introduced Olivia Taylor-Jones, daughter of notorious serial killers, and Gabriel Walsh, the self-serving, morally ambiguous lawyer who became her unlikely ally. Together, they chased down a devious killer and partially cleared her parents of their horrifying crimes.

Their success, however, is short-lived. While Olivia takes refuge in the old, secluded town of Cainsville, Gabriel’s past mistakes have come to light, creating a rift between the pair just when she needs his help the most.

Olivia finds a dead woman in her car, dressed to look like her, but the body vanishes before anyone else sees it. Olivia’s convinced it’s another omen, a sign of impending danger. But then she learns that a troubled young woman went missing just days ago—the same woman Olivia found dead in her car. Someone has gone to great lengths to kill and leave this young woman as a warning. But why? And what role has her new home played in this disturbing murder?

Olivia’s effort to uncover the truth places her in the crosshairs of old and powerful forces, forces that have their own agenda, and closely guarded secrets they don’t want revealed.

ELIZABETH BEAR: Eternal Sky Trilogy

Steles of the Sky (Eternal Sky Trilogy #3) -- Releasing in April 8, 2014 by Tor Books
Elizabeth Bear concludes her award-winning epic fantasy Eternal Sky trilogy in Steles of the Sky.

Re Temur, legitimate heir to his grandfather’s Khaganate, has finally raised his banner and declared himself at war with his usurping uncle. With his companions—the Wizard Samarkar, the Cho-tse Hrahima, and the silent monk Brother Hsiung—he must make his way to Dragon Lake to gather in his army of followers. But Temur’s enemies are not idle; the leader of the Nameless Assassins, who has shattered the peace of the Steppe, has struck at Temur’s uncle already. To the south, in the Rasan empire, plague rages. To the east, the great city of Asmaracanda has burned, and the Uthman Caliph is deposed. All the world seems to be on fire, and who knows if even the beloved son of the Eternal Sky can save it?

WESTON OCHSE: Task Force Ombra Series #1

Grunt Life -- Releasing April 29, 2014 by Solaris
This is a brand new Military SF series from Weston Ochse, an experienced military man and author.

Earth has been invaded and the insect-like aliens have established secret hives across the world. The only thing standing between Earth and domination by these creatures are the Grunts, men whose business is soldiering. But this time they must learn how to defeat a very different kind of enemy to any human foe.

NALINI SINGH: Psy/Changeling Series

Shield of Winter (Psy/Changeling #13) - Releasing June 4, 2014 by Berkeley
Assassin. Soldier. Arrow. That is who Vasic is, who he will always be. His soul drenched in blood, his conscience heavy with the weight of all he’s done, he exists in the shadows, far from the hope his people can almost touch—if only they do not first drown in the murderous insanity of a lethal contagion. To stop the wave of death, Vasic must complete the simplest and most difficult mission of his life.

For if the Psy race is to survive, the empaths must wake…

Having rebuilt her life after medical “treatment” that violated her mind and sought to suffocate her abilities, Ivy should have run from the black-clad Arrow with eyes of winter frost. But Ivy Jane has never done what she should. Now, she’ll fight for her people, and for this Arrow who stands as her living shield, yet believes he is beyond redemption. But as the world turns to screaming crimson, even Ivy’s fierce will may not be enough to save Vasic from the cold darkness…

JAMES S.A. COREY: The Expanse Series

Cibola Burn (The Expanse #4) -- Releases June 17, 2014 by Orbit
The gates have opened the way to thousands of habitable planets, and the land rush has begun. Settlers stream out from humanity's home planets in a vast, poorly controlled flood, landing on a new world. Among them, the Rocinante, haunted by the vast, posthuman network of the protomolecule as they investigate what destroyed the great intergalactic society that built the gates and the protomolecule.

But Holden and his crew must also contend with the growing tensions between the settlers and the company which owns the official claim to the planet. Both sides will stop at nothing to defend what's theirs, but soon a terrible disease strikes and only Holden - with help from the ghostly Detective Miller - can find the cure.

ILONA ANDREWS: Kate Daniels Series

Magic Breaks (Kate Daniels #7) -- Releasing July 29, 2014 by Ace
As the mate of the Beast Lord, Curran, former mercenary Kate Daniels has more responsibilities than it seems possible to juggle. Not only is she still struggling to keep her investigative business afloat, she must now deal with the affairs of the pack, including preparing her people for attack from Roland, a cruel ancient being with god-like powers. Since Kate’s connection to Roland has come out into the open, no one is safe—especially those closest to Kate.

As Roland’s long shadow looms ever nearer, Kate is called to attend the Conclave, a gathering of the leaders from the various supernatural factions in Atlanta. When one of the Masters of the Dead is found murdered there, apparently at the hands of a shapeshifter, Kate is given only twenty-four hours to hunt down the killer. And this time, if she fails, she’ll find herself embroiled in a war which could destroy everything she holds dear…

MELJEAN BROOK: Iron Seas Series

The Kraken King -- All I know about this book is that it will first release in serialized format between April &  June with the complete ebook and trade paperback releasing around August or so -- all to be confirmed. It's all hush hush. I don't have a summary or a cover either, but I love this series and won't miss the book! There be a Kraken!

ANN LECKIE: Imperial Radch Series

Ancillary Sword (2014, Orbit) - I just read Ancillary Justice, the first book in Leckie's Imperial Radch space opera trilogy, and now I'm anxiously waiting for the second book Ancillary Sword. I don't have a release date, but I'm guessing it will be during the last quarter of the year. I also believe that Ancillary Mercy, the last book of this trilogy, could be ready for 2015. But for now, I have high hopes for the second book!


Lock In -- Releasing August 26, 2014 - I can't find a cover or a summary for this book either, but this is another standalone by Scalzi. I won't miss it. I became a Scalzi fan a few years ago, but last year I talked my husband into reading Old Man's War and that was it. He has become a John Scalzi fan-a-tic. The man is reading all of Scalzi's works back-to-back and is already ahead of me (and bugging me to catch up so we can discuss). I will be getting this book for both of us!

These are the books I had in my "must read" list, but there are more out there that I have slated as possible (probable) reads. There are too many to mention, particularly in the SFF (and spec fic) categories. So those will be a surprise to you and me along the way. :) How about you? What SFF/UF books are you looking forward to reading in 2014?

The 2014 Sci-Fi Experience


  1. Great list of books! I too am really looking forward to Cibola Burn. Scalzi's new book will be a must-read even though the story setting/type isn't something I usually seek out.

    1. Carl, if anyone can spin a successful deadly virus, sci-fi yarn, it is Scalzi. I'm looking forward to this story. :)

      I did not read Abbadon's Gate yet, and saved it for this year so I can read it right before Cibola Burns hits. Those are my most anticipated sci-fi opera reads this year, along with Ancillary Sword by Leckie.

  2. Hilcia, interesting things to wait for...I share some of your picks! In particular the romances of course.
    Have fun!

    1. Sonia, this list is basically SF/Fantasy and UF, but there's lots of hidden romance in there, besides the obvious. LOL! There's romance in 9 of the books up there! I'm still pulling together my list of straight romances. :)

  3. That's a great list, Hils! I have many books I'm looking forward to and wanted to make a list, but got lazy :P In any case, I have the monthly new releases posts at BT, so it's fine :)

    I'm totally looking forward to the Anne Bishop, Nalini Singh and Ilona Andrews books. Can't wait!! Although apparently, the Ilona Andrews is HC. Not going to stop me from getting it, but I hate mid-way format change, sigh.

    The Kelley Armstrong I'll definitively get, if only to have the books LOL. I need to read Omens sometime this year.

    Looking forward to the new Incryptid installment. It'll be interesting to have new main characters. I'm curious about her new series as well :)

    The Waking Engine and Goblin Emperor sound good, although perhaps depressing LOL. Death and solitude...

    1. Oh, I will check out your great list at Breezing Through! I always find new romance reads there. :)

      The new fantasy/romance series by Kelley Armstrong looks good! And you know I really liked Omens, so I'm a bit anxious about reading Visions, particularly since it involves getting to know more about Gabriel! RE: McGuire. I'm hoping that I like Alex's voice in the new InCryptid book because I've been really curious about him.

      The Goblin Emperor looks interesting, right? It's a fantasy piece and I'm hoping it's not depressing. And I don't know if The Waking Engine is depressing, but the story sounds fascinating to me!

      PS: You KNOW I'm not missing Magic Breaks, HC or not! LOL!

  4. Ah - so many good books!

    Seanan McGuire is a such a prolific writer - no idea how she manages, but I'm not complaining! I didn't realise the Meljean Brook was going to be serialised - interesting...

    I saw the Scalzi cover/info somewhere... one sec - here you go:

    I generally like his writing, but not sure this will be quite my thing.


    1. Li, thanks for the link to the Scalzi, Lock In cover. I got it. It sounds good to me. I like this type of sci-fi too (more on the speculative side), so that along with his writing makes this a must read for me.

      I'm really psyched about all those books by McGuire! I'm hoping the new series will work for me. I really like the blurb. :) And yeah… I was really surprised about Meljean Brook's serializing The Kraken King too! I don't know if I will read the serial or wait for the book yet. I may just wait since I haven't had much success following serials in the past.

  5. I have been hanging out for The Goblin Emperor ever since I heard of it. I fell in love with this author's writing when I read The Doctrine of Labyrinths! Going to suggest it to my library now!

    And I must catch up with Kate Daniels so I'm ready for the new one :)

    1. Orannia, I now have the whole Doctrine of Labyrinths series by Sarah Monette in my TBR and hope to read it. But, frankly, I'm hoping to begin fresh with her Katherine Addison, The Goblin Emperor series to see if I can get into it from the beginning.

      Oh, and catch up with Kate Daniels! It only gets better. *g*


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