New Releases: Elementals, Time Travel, and Fallen Stars

It’s a huge week for fantasy, with the arrival of five sequels and two brand-new sagas to obsess over. Sci-fi lovers will devour Arwen Elys Dayton’s short story collection set in a freaksome future, and rounding out the list are a two emotionally resonant and hard-hitting contemporary novels that provide a double dose of romance, family drama, and mystery.

Queen of Air and Darkness, by Cassandra Clare
The third and final book in the Dark Artifices trilogy takes place immediately following the shocking death that occurred in Lord of Shadows. A deadly illness targeting warlocks and a mission to Faerie are just some of the challenges our Shadowhunters face. And that’s before a devastating secret is revealed that has the power to alter the Shadow World for good.

Stronger, Faster, and More Beautiful, by Arwen Elys Dayton
Following the success of her Seeker trilogy, Dayton is back with a sci-fi short story collection centered on the theme of body modification in pursuit of perfection. Within the six tales presented here, you’ll find cautionary stories about organ harvesting, genetic enhancement, frozen limbs, animal-people hybrids, and cyborgs. A futuristic thrill-fest that takes on issues of class warfare, sibling relationships, and what it means to live if living equals taking from others, Stronger is perfect for fans of Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro, and Black Mirror.

Dare to Fall, by Estelle Maskame
A teen herself when her first series (Did I Mention I Love You) was written, Maskame proves once again she has a knack for realistic, thoughtful YA romance. Ever since twins Jaden and Danielle lost their parents in a car crash, MacKenzie has avoided the siblings. She knows how painful it is to lose a family member, and how devastating it feels for those left behind. But avoiding Danielle and Jaden (who also happens to be MacKenzie’s crush) hasn’t helped any of them. Maybe it’s time for MacKenzie to come clean about her fears and give love and friendship a chance to help heal everyone’s wounds.

Realm of Ruins, by Hannah West
Set many decades after the events of Kingdom of Ash and BriarsRealm introduces readers to Valory Baroisa, an immortal, magical elicromancer learning to use her powers and fearing she’ll never be able to control them.  A familiar, ancient evil from previous entries in the Nissera Chronicles has been awakened and summoned. Allusions to classic fairy tales such as “Beauty and the Beast” will keep readers enthralled.

Once a King, by Erin Summerhill
The latest in the Clash of Kingdoms series focuses on King Aodren and his attempts to bring peace to the disparate factions of Malam. His subjects remain divided by a hatred and fear of magic, made all the more complicated because only females (called channelers) possess magical abilities. In the past (see Ever the Hunted and Ever the Brave), channelers have used their powers for good and evil, and it’s up to Aodren to figure out if rumors about a new channeler weapon are true. Pair it with The Knife of Never Letting Go, by Patrick Ness, for another look at what happens when girls are perceived as dangerous.

What You Hide, by Natalie D. Richards
Part mystery, part family drama, and part romance, Hide delivers on all three fronts. Mallory has left home, where life has become untenable, and spends most days in the library. Spencer works at the library to make amends for breaking a window in the building and to escape the overwhelming pressure he feels from his parents to succeed. But when a dead body and a series of sinister messages turn up, the teens’ mutual sanctuary turns into a place of dread.

Fire & Heist, by Sarah Beth Durst
Wyverns are were-dragon celebutantes (with the status and fame of a Kardashian) in this original urban fantasy by acclaimed writer Durst (The Queen of BloodDrink, Slay, Love). No stranger to scandal, California wyvern Sky Hawkins is still reeling from her mother’s abrupt disappearance and her own painful breakup when she’s tasked with her society’s coming-of-age ritual: pulling off a heist. If she can steal a particularly coveted jewel, maybe she can halt the gossip about her family and win back those she has lost.

Strange Days, by Constantine Singer
A fascinating debut combining extraterrestrials, time travel, and technology, this sci-fi/fantasy tale kicks off with skater boy Alex Mata’s discovery that his parents have been killed by aliens. Knowing the authorities will neither believe nor help him, he flees to the Pacific Northwest, where he joins up with Sabazios, a tech guru who claims to know a clandestine, mind-bending way to save the world from the coming alien invasion.  

All the Wandering Light, by Heather Fawcett
In the first book of this fantasy duology, Kamzin and her sister, Lusha, competed to climb deadly mount Raksha in near-impossible conditions in search of a talisman for the Emperor.  This time, having suffered a betrayal of great magnitude, Kamzin teams up with Lusha on a new, even more precarious journey to locate a powerful fallen star. Without its magic, they risk losing the Empire to the witches who’ve come to destroy everything the villagers hold dear. Fawcett sets magic, monsters, and romance against a Himalayan backdrop to breathless affect.

Legacy of Light, by Sarah Raughley
The conclusion to the Effigies trilogy will excite fans of the series who’ve been eager to find out more about Saul, the Phantoms, Blackwell, and the Effigies themselves, four teenage girls with elemental powers. As the past and present collide, Maia is framed for the horrific actions of her resurrected twin. Meanwhile, Belle, Chae Rin, and Lake have been scattered to the four winds, separated emotionally if not physically from one another, but it will take the full team to defeat their enemies for good.

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