Sure things don’t exist in this universe—or do they? When it comes to speculative fiction, every year does feature at least a few examples of them—we’re talking, of course, about sequels. Whether it’s the second or 20th book in a series, chances are, if you loved the previous volume, you’ll read the next one—but then again, we’ve been spoiled by some incredible series over the years. 2017 is no exception; looking out over the publishing calendar, we see plenty of old favorites returning, familiar universes expanding, new stories featuring characters we love. Here are 25 sequels we can’t wait to read this year. (Not included on this list: The Winds of Winter and The Doors of Stone. They’ll come when they come.)
The Stone Sky (Broken Earth #3), by N.K. Jemisin (August 15)
If the first book in Jemisin’s Broken Earth series, Hugo winner The Fifth Season, was an explosion of ideas, twisting plot points, and clever point-of-view puzzles, and the second, The Obelisk Gate was a masterwork of world-building that clarified the history and culture of the Stillness while setting up the clash between mother and daughter that will define a new age, then The Stone Sky promises to be one of the most satisfying concluding novels in the history of the genre. Essun has inherited Alabaster’s power to bend and intends to create a world where Orogenes are safe and free. Her daughter Nassun, however, sees what her mother cannot: the power she wields cannot be pure and free from corruption, no matter the intent behind it. We’ve cleared our calendars in August to read this one cover-to-cover ASAP, and we suggest you do the same.
Raven Stratagem (Machineries of Empire #2), by Yoon Ha Lee (June 13)
Lee dropped one of the densest and most interesting new space operas of recent years in Ninefox Gambit, in which a desperate General Kel Cheris allows herself to be possessed by the insane, brilliant mind of the hexarchate’s greatest tactician and traitor, Shuos Jedao, in order to put down a rebellion that threatened the very existence of civilization. Lee’s world-building is challenging and exciting, filled with concepts that make you think hard, set against a story that crackles with tension. We’re panting to find out how Cheris deals with Jedao, who will take control of her and the fleet in order to defend the hexarchate from invading Hafn. Since we know Jedao is a sociopath with a habit of immolating his own forces, we’re guessing it might not go well. The fact that we get to dive back into this beautifully designed universe is a definite bonus.
Phantom Pains (Arcadia Project #2), by Mishell Baker (March 21)
Borderline, the first book in The Arcadia Project series, was such an unexpected delight for fans of urban fantasy, we can’t help but be super excited for the sequel. The first book took heroine Millie Roper out of her own personal hell (not literally—this is fantasy, we know) and into the field, dealing with the fae as part of The Arcadia Project, an organization that monitors the exchanges between Hollywood and the magical, largely hidden reality of the faerie. The ending of Borderline is devastating to both Millie and the reader, but it whetted our appetite for more of Baker’s wonderfully engaging writing, and left us aching to know how Millie makes out—does she go back to working with the Arcadia Project? Does she descend back into her personal problems? It’s rare for an urban fantasy to make us care so much about the main character; we’re invested, and March seems like a long way off.
Seven Surrenders (Terra Ignota #2), by Ada Palmer (March 7)
Palmer’s first book in the Terra Ignota series, Too Like the Lightning, is a triumph that mixes a cutting-edge approach to worldbuilding, gender, sexuality, and spirituality with an almost old-fashioned prose style and storytelling sensibility. All this is brought into focus by the characters of Mycroft Canner, convict sentenced to serve all he meets; Carlyle Foster, a man who can see possible futures; and Bridger, a young boy with the incredible power to bring inanimate objects to life. Set against a world where technology rules, wars are forgotten, and the conspiratorial leaders of the Hives—mobile nations not moored to geography—apply murder and other crimes judiciously, according to mathematical formula, to ensure stability; Palmer has created a world unlike any other in science fiction. The order of the world can’t hold, of course, not with Mycroft and Bridger running around, but how it all unravels, and what the consequences will be, are fascinating questions we’re dying to see answered.
Waking Gods (Themis Files #2), by Sylvain Neuvel (April 4)
Sleeping Giants was a revelation: brainy sci-fi accessible to anyone, fan of the genre or not. A young girl discovers the buried hand of a gigantic robot of alien design, and grows up to be one of the scientists studying the huge robot as more pieces are discovered and assembled. Neuvel expertly adds immense tension when the robot’s existence is revealed to the world and international politics step in (always a bad thing). The sequel promises to pay off on the rule that if you introduce a giant robot in book one, you have to have giant robot fights in book two (we may have just made that up, but it sounds legit); the description informs us that the race to unlock the technological secrets of the robot becomes crucial when larger, more powerful robots appear and start tearing things up. Aside from those promised robot fights, we’re champing at the bit to find out all the Whys—why was the robot buried? Why is the Earth under attack? We’re going to be very hard to get in touch with in April, we suspect.
Iron Gold (Red Rising #4), by Pierce Brown (August 22)
When Brown announced an all-new series set in the Red Rising universe, we may have passed out briefly from excitement. Red Rising is, after all, one of the hands-down most entertaining space operas of recent years, set in the color-coded solar system of a far future empire based on Ancient Rome and ruled by the cold, brutally powerful Golds. Lowly Red Darrow first impersonated a Gold, then led a violent, desperate rebellion against the ruling order that culminated in a messy, bloody triumph. The new series is set a few years after the climax of Morning Star; the solar system is in a state of careful balance. Brown has stated that he plans to explore whether Darrow and his fellow rebels have sparked a new renaissance—or a new Dark Age. Those are the kind of stakes we expect, and we’re mega-excited to find out where this universe is headed.
City of Miracles (The Divine Cities #3), by Robert Jackson Bennett (May 2)
Gods, geopolitics, colonialism, murder and mystery—Bennett combined all of these elements in the first two books of his excellent Divine Cities Series, set in a world where gods once helped the city of Bulikov dominate The Continent and the country of Saypur but saw the tables turned when technology-driven Saypur killed the gods and took power. The disorder of the world and the cynicism of Bennett’s characters combine alchemically to produce human-scale stories of revenge, espionage, and desperation that ground everything in a realism the fantasy setting shouldn’t support—but somehow does. In the newest, Bennett tells the story of the cursed, powerful man pursuing justice for the murderers of former Prime Minister Shara Komayd—a justice whose cost might be beyond him, as it leads him into a secret war and in conflict with a young god. Just those words are enough to have us eager to start reading, but then Bennett promises the “last mysteries of Bulikov, the city of miracles itself” and suddenly we’re already camped out in line waiting for City of Miracles.
The House of Binding Thorns (Dominion of the Fallen #2), by Aliette de Bodard (April 4)
De Bodard’s The House of Shattered Wings is a perfect concept welded to perfect worldbuilding. In a Paris devastated by a war between Fallen Angels in 1914, the political struggles underlying the fragile peace between the various Houses is complicated by the frailties and desires of mortals, including addict Madeleine and former immortal-turned-hunted criminal Philippe, caught red-handed brutalizing a newly fallen angel for its magic-infused bones and blood. The first book works well as a standalone, but as with any great universe, there are things we want to know, and we can’t wait to find out. De Bodard has built a world that feels real, and filled it with wonder and mystery. Can Lucifer’s own House, Silverspires, survive? Will Paris undergo a second convulsion of angelic war? There’s so much left to explore.
Binti: Home (Binti #2), by Nnedi Okorafor (January 31)
The story of Binti Ekeopara Zuzu Dambu Kaipka of Namib is fascinating, filled with ideas and concepts that go beyond typical sci-fi trappings. Okorafor used Binti to explore concepts of what it means to be Other, personal identity, and struggle, set against a colorful world of living ships and a galactic civilization that feels anchored and comprehensible because we view it through the lens of a single girl. Binti was much changed by the end of the first book, and in the second, she will no doubt struggle with those changes as she returns to Earth, hoping to take part in a traditional pilgrimage of her people—but finds her home much changed when she arrives. That sort of shifting, evolving scenario is part of what made Binti so compelling, and makes the sequel so anticipated.
Luna: Wolf Moon (Luna #2), by Ian McDonald (March 28)
McDonald’s Luna: New Moon was one of the most assured sci-fi books of 2015, offering a realistic near-future in which the Moon and its immense resources are ruled by five powerful, family-owned corporations. At the end of that book, the Cortas had fallen, their company Corta Helios divided up among its enemies, its heirs scattered and seemingly powerless. But McDonald’s skills with characters give us confidence that there’s plenty more twists and turns in the offing, because Lucas Corta is still in play, and even his triumphant enemies have to imagine he’s plotting away—or that the downfall of his house was part of his plans all along. These sorts of possibilities are what have made the last two years almost intolerable for those of us who loved the first book—but we’re finally going to find out what the Moon looks like in the wake of seismic change.
The Harbors of the Sun (Books of the Raksura #5), by Martha Wells (July 4)
Wells’ ever-deepening Raksura universe is always a pleasure to return to; she writes without a single worry about genre conventions, resulting in a series that remains refreshingly original and unpredictable even after four novels and two volumes ofnovellas and short stories. What do we know about The Harbors of the Sun? We know that betrayal sees many Raksura kidnapped and their allies endangered, and Moon and Stone are sent ahead to scout the trail. And we know something even more dangerous than the Fell comes into play—something magical that might destroy the Reaches entirely. Now, when you’re a fan of the Raksura and you hear about something worse than the Fell, you get interested mighty fast, which in this case means our already outsize anticipation for the new book becomes something closer to pathological. July seems awfully far away, but as with all of Wells’ novels, the wait will most certainly be worth it. The only downside? She’s promised this is the end of the story for Moos and Jade, two of the most endearing characters the genre has given us in the last decade.
A Tyranny of Queens (Book 2 of the Manifold Worlds), by Foz Meadows (May 2)
The women of Kena (and our own world) are set to return this May. An Accident of Stars was a masterwork of worldbuilding, a debut novel offering up a universe that felt huge, populated by characters who felt real. In the sequel, Australian teen Saffron is back in her home universe, where her experiences in the complex (and magical) politics of Kena threaten to see her committed to a psychiatric facility, unless she turns her back on the events and relationships of the first book. Meanwhile, things in Kena will get even more complicated, and what we really want to know is how Meadows is going to braid these two narratives together. Based on the brilliance of the first book, we have high confidence she’ll do so in a way that feels natural and smart.
Within the Sanctuary of Wings (The Memoirs of Lady Trent #5), by Marie Brennan (April 25)
Over the course of Brennan’s terrific series, Lady Isabella Trent has grown into one of the most interesting and enjoyable characters in modern fantasy. For 50 years of narrative time, we’ve seen her embark on adventures, capturing hearts and minds while simultaneously enriching the field of dragon science with her discoveries. In fact, it’s been so much fun reading about Lady Trent, it’s heartbreaking to think that Within the Sanctuary of Wings will be the final entry of her Memoirs—but, if marketing copy is to be believed, we can be comforted by the fact that some of the most enduring mysteries of her story, including what she discovered in the titular Sanctuary of Wings, will finally be explained. That’s well worth the price of admission, we think.
Dark Sky (Keiko #2), by Mike Brooks (July 11)
Combining the caper spirit of an Oceans 11 movie with an epic setting in space, Brooks’ return to the universe of Captain Ichabod Drift and the crew of the Keiko is as layered and complex as ever. When Drift takes on a smuggling contract to a mining planet, he’s dismayed to find the ship mired in a rebellion. The political situation is messy, Drift and crew try to play both sides and maintain their freedom—but the loyalties within Drift’s crew are just as divided. That’s a setup we can all get behind, considering how much fun Ichabod Drift and his people are—and we expect nothing less than the twists and turns that Brooks provided in Dark Run.
Devil’s Due (Destroyermen #12), by Taylor Anderson (June 13)
Through 11 books, we’ve followed the crew of the USS Walker, swept from the Pacific Ocean during World War II to an alien environment where Captain Reddy and his crew have struggled to make sense of the complex political and military situation—and how their presence continues to warp and change the world around them. Having kept the tension and surprise going for so long, there’s no reason to doubt that Anderson can do it again—especially when the plot summary tells us that Reddy’s family is in the clutches of the insane Kurokawa, once again forcing the captain to put his personal worries over the war effort, even as the conflict grows more complicated and desperate.
The Bronze Skies (Skolian Empire #22), by Catherine Asaro (September 5)
Asaro’s Skolian Empire series has been one of the most reliably entertaining in sci-fi over the last few decades, and we have no doubt the next installment will be no exception. It’s all down to the wonderful character of Major Bhaajan, of course; a woman who rose up from the ashes of poverty to become an officer with Imperial Space Command—and, now retired, the sort of woman who receives summonses from the Ruby Pharaoh herself. In the new book, Bhaajan is called upon to investigate the murder of Assembly Councilor Benton—a murder that should have been impossible, as it was committed, according to the Pharaoh herself, by a Jagernaut, one of the elite warriors who are wholly controlled by a spinal implant. That’s an exciting setup, and we’re stoked to see how Bhaajan gets to the bottom of it—literally, as she’s heading back to the Undercity, and thank goodness.
Convergence (Foreigner #18), by C.J. Cherryh (April 4)
Cherryh was named a Grand Master by the SFWA last year, and with very good reason—as if just any writer can maintain a series as complex and interesting as her Foreigner Universe over the course of 17 books. With each new installment, the setting gets deeper and more detailed, and even better, Convergence is the conclusion of the most recent sub-trilogy, which began with Tracker and continued with Visitor, meaning we expect some serious fireworks in the fallout from the appearance of the Kyo at Alpha Station. Then again, we’re ready to read anything Cherryh publishes at this point.
Thunderbird (Miriam Black #4), by Chuck Wendig (February 28)
We’d follow Miriam Black and her expletive-laden attitude just about anywhere. Wendig’s long-awaited fourth book in the series comes just in time to thaw us out after winter, and finds Miriam trying to see the bright side of her ability to touch a person and know how they’ll die. She knows it’s a curse, and she goes looking for a psychic who can help her—and instead finds a group of “domestic terrorists”—and her biggest vision of death yet. But of course, Miriam is starting to like her visions, isn’t she? We can’t wait to catch up with one of our all-time favorite characters from one of our all-time favorite writers, set in a world that’s disturbingly similar to our own—leading us to wonder if there’s a real Miriam Black out there.
Etched in Bone (The Others #5), by Anne Bishop (March 7)
The Others series featured a pretty explosive moment in the last book (Marked in Flesh), as the Humans First and Last movement rose up, forcing the Others to deal with them. Where does Bishop go after totally upsetting the status quo? That’s what we’re excited to find out—especially considering this is the last book in the current arc of the series, though a sequel series set in the same world is in the works. The Others are understandably dubious about allowing human into their realm after all that trouble, and are watching the folks living in The Courtyard—especially Meg Corbyn and her human friends. Bishop knows how to set things up only to introduce delightful chaos, and when a mysterious and powerful man arrives on the scene, everyone knows the Others are watching to see how Meg and Simon Wolfgard deal with things. We vote for teeth and claws, but maybe cooler heads will prevail—we’ll find out in March.
The Witchwood Crown (Last King of Osten Ard #1), by Tad Williams (April 4)
All those who love epic fantasy owe it to themselves to read Williams’ seminal Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn series. The classic trilogy introduced the universe of Osten Ard, one of the most detailed and best-realized fantasy worlds in the classic vein, complete with ancient evils, dark magicians, and power struggles between princes. The books inspired many of the biggest names in the genre today (including George R.R. Martin), so Williams’ return to Osten Ard—after tying off some loose ends in the short standalone novel The Heart of What Was Lost—is one of those rare new books we’ll happily buy sight unseen. The new series will focus on Morgan, son of King Simon (once the scullery boy caught up in events far above his paygrade) and the Norns, who become ever more interesting as Williams teases out their secrets.
The Unholy Consult (The Aspect-Emperor #4), by R. Scott Bakker (July 4)
The long-awaited final volume of Bakker’s intricate The Aspect-Emperor quartet finishes off a story cycle that began in The Darkness That Comes Before, the first book of the Prince of Nothing trilogy.Each volume of this sequel series has grown in complexity, both on a basic plot level (countless characters and political intrigue up the wazoo) and thematically (the moral questions these books grapple with make A Song of Ice and Fire look like Spy vs. Spy in comparison; Bakker has a background in philosophy, and it shows). It would be difficult to summarize even a sliver of them here, but know this: if you haven’t read Bakker yet, he’s among the most challenging and rewarding authors of epic fantasy currently writing, and we’re hoping he sticks the landing with this climactic volume.
The Core (The Demon Cycle #5), by Peter V. Brett (August 15)
Another series closer, The Core is the fifth and final installment of Brett’s Demon Cycle, which takes place in a world where humanity is hunted at night by the corelings, demonic beasts that only emerge after dark. The only defense against these creatures are warriors who cover their skin in holy symbols that keep the evil at bay. Of course, it isn’t that simple: the wards are weakening, and the demons are growing stronger, and things have gone from bad to worse over the course of the four novels published to date. Come August, we’ll finally get to see how it all shakes out. Who is the true Deliverer, and will they be able to save humanity from the darkness? Ask us again on August 16, because this is a book we’ll be reading in one day.
Oathbringer (The Stormlight Archives #3), by Brandon Sanderson (Fall)
While other fantasy authors make us wait and wait for their next books, Brandon Sanderson keeps cranking them out. Nevertheless, though he’s released multiple books over the past two years, it’s been a minute since the last installment of The Stormlight Archive, 2014’s Words of Radiance. We don’t begrudge him the time; not only has he had a lot of other stuff on his plate (a new Mistborn trilogy, wrapping up The Wheel of Time), but this is also the series that he considers to be his magnum opus, and his own attempt at gifting the world a long-running saga like Robert Jordan’s. That said, we’re champing at the bit to sink back into this storm-wracked setting and further explore the intricacies of Sanderson’s world—because no one builds ’em like Brandon.
The Thorn of Emberlain (Gentlemen Bastards #4), by Scott Lynch (No date yet)
We don’t even have a date for the fourth installment of the Gentleman Bastards series, but that’s just a testament to how anticipated it is (it was originally scheduled for September 2016, but Lynch announced that life, in the form of a move, a new mortgage, and an upcoming wedding, got in the way). Lynch discussed the status of The Thorn of Emberlain on his Tumblr page back in December, saying “Thorn needs an ending written (the ending is outlined in depth, just not yet written) and some targeted rewrites in three or four specific areas, based on vexing but extremely astute criticism from my agent, my genius wife, and a trusted friend. This is my primary job for December.” Does this mean we can expect it in 2017? We certainly hope so—so we’re tempting fate by including it here.
Persepolis Rising (The Expanse #7), by James S.A. Corey (No date yet)
Another sequel without a firm release date, the seventh novel in Corey’s Expanse series was booted from its June 2017 berth when 2016’s Babylon’s Ashes was delayed from summer to December. There’s still reason to believe this one’s hitting shelves in 2017, though, and we are willing to stop by Daniel and Ty’s houses to do some chores if that helps speed things up. After all, Babylon’s Ashes exploded the universe, with the Free Navy sowing destruction and colony ships desperately trying to run that gauntlet to escape to new worlds. Things seem somewhat more stable after the explosive ending of that book—but huge mysteries and challenges remain, and one thing we know from previous novels in the series: when things seem calm, that’s the precise moment you should gird your loins for some another universe-shattering event. Persepolis Rising can’t come soon enough.
What sequels are you salivating for in 2017?