2014 has the potential to be a landmark year for science fiction/fantasy, with highly anticipated installments of elite series scheduled to drop as well as a handful of remarkable debut novels and first installments of brand spanking new sagas. There’s also the glimmer of hope that some blockbuster novels that are as of yet unscheduled for publication—like The Doors of Stone, by Patrick Rothfuss, and The Winds of Winter, by George R. R. Martin—might miraculously be released in 2014. (But don’t hold your breath!)
Whether you’re a fan of epic fantasy, science fiction, or paranormal fantasy, 2014 should be an extraordinary year. Here are my 12 most anticipated releases:
Dirty Magic by Jaye Wells (January 21)
The Sabina Kane saga was one of the biggest series during paranormal fantasy’s high-water mark a few years back, and now Wells is beginning an exciting new series: Prospero’s War, featuring patrol cop Kate Prospero. In the Sabina Kane saga, Wells’ writing got exponentially stronger with each novel, so I’ve got really high expectations for this new series.
The Southern Reach trilogy, by Jeff VanderMeer (February 4, May 6, September 3)
Ever since I began reading him way back in 2003 (Veniss Underground), VanderMeer has kept me in a state of awe. His writing is courageously imaginative, fiercely unformulaic, and utterly immersive. You don’t read Jeff VanderMeer, you experience him. This trilogy (Annihilation, Authority, and Acceptance) has gotten some remarkable reviews—I will definitely be visiting Area X, where the story largely takes place, this year!
Red Rising, by Pierce Brown (February 18)
I’ve been hearing chatter about this debut novel from from 25-year-old Brown (the first volume of a dystopic trilogy that has drawn comparisons to The Hunger Games) for almost a year now, and judging by the buzz, it’s going to be one of the BIG books of the year.
The Undead Pool, by Kim Harrison (February 25)
After Rachel Morgan barely saved the demonic realm of the ever-after, strange magic has been seeping into The Hollows, straining the peace between supernaturals and humans. The penultimate installment of a fantastic paranormal fantasy series, The Undead Pool is an absolute must read. I’ve talked with a few reviewers who’ve read it, and they’ve confirmed that it’s filled with jaw-dropping plot twists.
Words of Radiance, by Brandon Sanderson (March 4)
The second installment of Sanderson’s The Stormlight Archive, this projected 10-volume series has the potential to go down as one of the best epic fantasy sagas of all time—start reading the first volume, The Way of Kings, now. Sanderson is a superstar in the genre, and this ambitious, grand-scale story—which is set in the richly historied and war-torn realm of Roshar, and ultimately revolves around the quest for the understanding of a long-lost magic—could very well be his magnum opus.
Midnight Crossroad, by Charlaine Harris (May 6)
The first novel in this supernaturally nuanced trilogy has me curious to see what Charlaine Harris is immersing herself in now that Sookie has ridden off into the sunset. Not much information on Charlaine’s website, just that it’s set in a “mysterious Texas town.”
Skin Game, by Jim Butcher (May 27)
After the bombshell revelations in the previous novels, this upcoming Dresden Files installment—the 15th in the series—should be unforgettable. Anyone who’s a fan of Chicago’s first—and only—wizard, Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden, will be circling May 27 on their calendar!
Veil of the Deserters, by Jeff Salyards (June 3)
One of my favorite fantasy novels of 2012 was Salyards’ debut novel, Scourge of the Betrayer, a vastly underappreciated novel that reminded me of classic works by genre legends like Glen Cook and Fritz Leiber. The second installment of the Bloodsounder’s Arc series got caught in the messy Night Shade Books implosion last year, and I was wondering if it would ever see the light of day. It is—this June! Fantasy fans looking for stellar storytelling and a decidedly unconventional narrative should definitely seek out and experience this kickass military fantasy-powered series!
Armada, by Ernest Cline (July 3)
Cline wowed the world with Ready Player One in 2011, a brilliant debut that was pure geek gold: a glorious fusion of near future science fiction, epic fantasy quest, and unlikely love story, that above all else is an homage to the 1980s. Millions of readers worldwide have been anxiously awaiting his second novel, which evidently chronicles the adventures of a video game geek named Zack, who is conscripted into a top-secret government program and must save the world from an alien invasion.
Magic Breaks, by Ilona Andrews (July 29)
The first hardcover release in the paranormal fantasy series featuring sword-wielding heroine Kate Daniels, this is a landmark novel for the husband-and-wife writing team known as Ilona Andrews, and solidifies this saga as one of the truly elite paranormal fantasy series on the shelves.
Revenant, by Kat Richardson (August 5)
The ninth installment of Richardson’s Greywalker saga, featuring private investigator Harper Blaine, should be a blockbuster of a novel. I absolutely loved this series, which blends hardboiled mystery with supernatural fiction and is comparable to the work of classic writers including Raymond Chandler and Algernon Blackwood. With the conclusion of this series looming, I’m curious to see where Richardson takes her iconic protagonist.
The Broken Eye, by Brent Weeks (August 26)
This is the third volume in top-notch fantasy saga the Lightbringer series, featuring the unforgettable character of Gavin Guile, a high priest and emperor who is tasked with saving a world on the brink of chaos…in the few years that he has left to live.