12 new sci-fi and fantasy books to look forward to in 2020
By Maddy Marshall
Posted on February 19, 2020 in Books, News, Science Fiction, Young Adult with tags Books, Fantasy and Science Fiction
It’s that time of year again for us to jump forward in time and take a look at all the shiny new books we’ll be publishing in 2020. We have an array of exciting debuts, new writing from much-loved authors and some long awaited sequels.
There is most certainly something for everyone, so have a look at our list and see what you fancy and tell us which books you’re most excited about – we’d love to hear from you!
The Deep by Rivers Solomon, 30th of January
This is a brilliantly imaginative novella inspired by the Hugo Award-nominated song “The Deep” from Daveed Diggs’s rap group clipping.
Yetu holds the memories for her people-water-dwelling descendants of pregnant African slave women thrown overboard by slave owners – who live idyllic lives in the deep. Their past, too traumatic to be remembered regularly, is forgotten by everyone, save one-the historian. This demanding role has been bestowed on Yetu.
Yetu remembers for everyone, and the memories, painful and wonderful, traumatic and terrible and miraculous, are destroying her. And so, she flees to the surface, escaping the memories, the expectations, and the responsibilities and discovers a world her people left behind long ago.
Yetu will learn more than she ever expected to about her own past and about the future of her people. If they are all to survive, they’ll need to reclaim the memories, reclaim their identity and own who they really are.
Read this book if you liked: An Unkindness of Ghosts by Rivers Solomon and The Deathless Girls by Kiran Millwood.
The Midnight Lie by Maria Rutkoski, 3rd of March
Set in the world of the NYT-bestselling Winner’s Trilogy – which has been praised for its ‘rich characterisation’ and ‘exquisite worldbuilding’ (Kirkus) – The Midnight Lie is an epic LGBTQ romantic fantasy about learning to free ourselves from the lies others tell us and the lies we tell ourselves.
Where Nirrim lives, crime abounds, a harsh tribunal rules, and society’s pleasures are reserved for the High Kith. Life in the Ward is grim and punishing. People of her low status are forbidden from sampling sweets or wearing colours. You either follow the rules, or pay a tithe and suffer the consequences.
Nirrim keeps her head down, and a dangerous secret close to her chest.
But then she encounters id, a rakish traveller from far away, who whispers rumours that the High Kith possess magic. Sid tempts Nirrim to seek that magic for herself. But to do that, Nirrim must surrender her old life. She must place her trust in this sly stranger who asks, above all, not to be trusted.
Read this book if you liked: Graceling by Kristin Cashore, Scavenge the Stars by Tara Sim and An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir.
The Last Human by Zack Jordan, 24th of March
Meet Sarya. Sarya is the galaxy’s worst nightmare: a Human.
But most days, she doesn’t feel like the most terrifying creature in the galaxy. No, most days, she’s got other things on her mind. Like hiding her identity among the hundreds of alien species roaming the corridors of Watertower Station. Or making sure her adoptive mother doesn’t casually eviscerate one of their neighbours. Again.
And most days, she can almost accept that she’ll never know the truth about why humanity was deemed too dangerous to exist, or whether she really is – impossibly – the lone survivors of a species destroyed a millennium ago. That is, until an encounter with a bounty hunter leaves her life and her perspective shattered.
Thrown into the universe at the helm of a stolen ship, Sarya begins to uncover an impossible truth. Humanity’s death and her own existence might simply be two moves in a demented cosmic game, one that might offer the thing she wants most in the universe – a second chance for herself, and one for humanity.
Read this book if you liked: Chilling Effect by Valerie Valdes.
Providence by Max Barry, 31st of March
Providence is a dazzling, inventive, and thought-provoking new novel from the author of Lexicon, Max Barry.
Once we approached the aliens in peace… and they annihilated us. Now mankind has developed the ultimate killing machine – the Providence class of spaceship.
With the ships’ frightening speed, intelligence and weaponry, it’s now the salamanders’ turn to be annihilated… in their millions.
The mismatched quartet of Talia, Gilly, Jolene and Anders are the crew on one of these destroyers. But with the ship’s computers designed to outperform human decision-making in practically all areas, they are virtual bystanders. The Providence will take them to where the enemy are and she will dictate the strategy in any battle.
The crew’s only job role is to publicise their glorious war to a sceptical Earth. Social media and video clips are their weapons in an endless charm offensive. Their chief enemy is not the space reptiles but each other, and boredom.
But then everything changes. A message comes from base: the Providence is going into the Violet Zone, where there are no beacons and no communications with Earth. It is the heart of the enemy empire – and now the crew are left to wonder whether this is a mission of ultimate destruction or, more sinisterly, of ultimate self-destruction…
Read this book if you liked: The Martian by Andy Weir and Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel.
Chosen Ones by Veronica Roth, 7th of April
Chosen Ones is subversive in its genre, by delineating from the “chosen one” trope whilst also exploring themes of trauma, grief and the sometimes thin line between heroism and villainy. This is Veronica Roth’s first novel written for an adult audience after having written the globally bestselling Divergent franchise.
Fifteen years ago, five ordinary teenagers were singled out by a prophecy to take down an impossibly powerful entity wreaking havoc across North America. He was known as the Dark One, and his weapon of choice – catastrophic events known as Drains – levelled cities and claimed thousands of lives. The Chosen Ones, as the teens were known, gave everything they had to defeat him.
After the Dark One fell, the world went back to normal . . . for everyone but them. After all, what do you do when you’re the most famous people on Earth, your only education was in magical destruction, and your purpose in life is now fulfilled?
Of all the five, Sloane has had the hardest time adjusting. Everyone else blames the PTSD – and her huge attitude problem – but really, she’s hiding secrets from everyone . . . secrets that keep her tied to the past and alienate her from the only four people in the world who understand her.
On the tenth anniversary of the Dark One’s defeat, something unthinkable happens: one of the Chosen Ones dies. When the others gather for the funeral, they discover the Dark One’s ultimate goal was much bigger than they, the government, or even prophecy could have foretold – bigger than the world itself.
And this time, fighting back might take more than Sloane has to give.
Read this book if you liked: House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas.
Incendiary by Zoraida Córdova, 28th of April
The first in a YA fantasy duology, Incendiary is loosely based on the Spain of the 15th century, re-imagining the Inquisition as a battle between a cruel, autocratic state and rebel magicians.
Renata was only a child when she was kidnapped by the crown. As a memory thief, the rarest and most feared of the magical Moria, she was used to carry out the King’s Wrath, a siege that resulted in the deaths of thousands of her own people.
Now Renata is one of the Whispers, a rebel spy working against the crown. When Dez, her commander – and the boy she’s grown to love – is taken captive by the notorious Principe Dorado, Renata must return to the palace and complete his top-secret mission herself. Can she keep her cover, even as she burns for vengeance against the brutal, enigmatic prince? Her life and the fate of the Moria depend on it.
But returning to the palace stirs memories long locked away. As Renata grows more deeply embedded in the royal court, she uncovers a secret that could change the fate of the entire kingdom – and end the war that has cost her everything.
Read this book if you liked: House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas and An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir.
The Mother Code by Carole Stivers, 5th of May
What it means to be human-and a mother-is put to the test in Carole Stivers’ debut novel set in a world that is more chilling and precarious than ever.
It’s 2049, and the survival of the human race is at risk. Earth’s inhabitants must turn to their last resort: a plan to place genetically engineered children inside the cocoons of large-scale robots-to be incubated, birthed, and raised by machines. But there is yet one hope of preserving the human order: an intelligence programmed into these machines that renders each unique in its own right; the Mother Code.
Kai is born in America’s desert southwest, his only companion is his robot Mother, Rho-Z. Equipped with the knowledge and motivations of a human mother, Rho-Z raises Kai and teaches him how to survive. But as children like Kai come of age, their Mothers transform too in ways that were never predicted. When government survivors decide that the Mothers must be destroyed, Kai must make a choice. Will he break the bond he shares with Rho-Z? Or will he fight to save the only parent he has ever known?
In a future that could be our own, The Mother Code explores what truly makes us human and the tenuous nature of the boundaries between us and the machines we create.
Read this book if you liked: The Atlas of Reds and Blues by Devi S Laskar and To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers.
Girl, Serpent, Thorn by Melissa Bashardoust, 12th of May
From the author of Girls Made of Snow and Glass, this captivating and utterly original Persian-inspired fairy tale is about a girl cursed to be poisonous to the touch.
There was and there was not, as all stories begin, a princess cursed to be poisonous to the touch. But for Soraya, who has lived her life hidden away, apart from her family, safe only in her gardens, it’s not just a story.
As the day of her twin brother’s wedding approaches, Soraya must decide if she’s willing to step outside of the shadows for the first time. Below in the dungeon is a demon who holds knowledge that she craves, the answer to her freedom. And above is a young man who isn’t afraid of her, whose eyes linger not with fear, but with an understanding of who she is beneath the poison.
Soraya thought she knew her place in the world, but when her choices lead to consequences she never imagined, she begins to question who she is and who she is becoming . . . human or demon. Princess or monster.
Read this book if you liked: Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan and Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik.
The Extraordinaries by T J Klune, 19th of May
TJ Klune’s YA debut is a queer coming-of-age story about a fanboy with ADHD and the heroes he loves is Rainbow Rowell’s Fangirl meets Brandon Sanderson’s Steelheart.
In Nova City, there are extraordinary people, capable of feats that defy the imagination. Shadow Star protects the city and manipulates darkness, and Pyro Storm is determined to bring the city to it’s knees using his power over fire.
And then there’s Nick who . . . well, being the most popular fanfiction writer in the Extraordinaries fandom is a superpower, right?
Instead of fighting crime, Nick must contend with a new year at school, a father who doesn’t trust him, and a best friend named Seth, who may or may not be the love of Nick’s short, uneventful life.
It should be enough. But after a chance encounter with Shadow Star, Nova City’s mightiest hero (and Nick’s biggest crush), Nick sets out to make himself extraordinary. And he’ll do it with or without the reluctant help of Seth’s help.
Read this book if you liked: The Gravity of Us by Phil Stamper and The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune.
The Damned by Renée Ahdieh, 9th of June
New York Times bestselling author Renée Ahdieh returns with the second instalment of her new sumptuous, sultry and romantic series, The Beautiful.
Following the events of The Beautiful, Sébastien Saint Germain is now cursed and forever changed. The treaty between the Fallen and the Brotherhood has been broken, and war between the immortals seems imminent. The price of loving Celine was costly.
But Celine has also paid a high price for loving Bastien. Still recovering from injuries sustained during a night she can’t quite remember, her dreams are troubled. And she doesn’t know she has inadvertently set into motion a chain of events that could lead to her demise and unveil a truth about herself she’s not quite ready to learn.
Forces hiding in the shadows have been patiently waiting for this moment for centuries. And just as Bastien and Celine begin to uncover the danger around them, they learn their love could tear them apart.
Read this book if you liked: The Boundless by Anna Bright and The Wrath and the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh.
The Constant Rabbit by Jasper Fforde, 2nd July
There are 1.2 million human-sized rabbits living in the UK.
They can walk, talk and drive cars, the result of an Inexplicable Anthropomorphising Event fifty-five years ago.
And a family of rabbits is about to move into Much Hemlock, a cosy little village where life revolves around summer fetes, jam-making, gossipy corner stores, and the oh-so-important Best Kept Village awards.
No sooner have the rabbits arrived than the villagers decide they must depart. But Mrs Constance Rabbit is made of sterner stuff, and her family are behind her. Unusually, so are their neighbours, long-time residents Peter Knox and his daughter Pippa, who soon find that you can be a friend to rabbits or humans, but not both.
With a blossoming romance, acute cultural differences, enforced rehoming to a MegaWarren in Wales, and the full power of the ruling United Kingdom Anti Rabbit Party against them, Peter and Pippa are about to question everything they’d ever thought about their friends, their nation, and their species.
It’ll take a rabbit to teach a human humanity . . .
Read this book if you liked: Terry Pratchett and George Orwell’s Animal Farm
The Space Between Worlds by Micaiah Johnson, 8th of August
The Space Between Worlds is a thrilling sci-fi with heart, intelligence and insight.
Of the 382 realities that have been unlocked, Cara is dead in all but eight. But when one of her remaining doppelgangers dies under mysterious circumstances, Cara is plunged into a new world with an old secret.
The multiverse business is booming, but there’s just one catch: no one can visit a world where their counterpart is still alive.
Enter Cara. Of the 382 realities that have been unlocked, Cara is dead in all but eight
But on this earth, she survived. Born in the wastelands where if a basic lack of resources didn’t kill you, violence would, Cara is happy to reap the benefits of a job and a safe place in the city to call home.
But when one of her eight remaining doppelgangers dies under mysterious circumstances, Cara is plunged into a new world with an old secret. What she discovers will connect her past and future in ways she never could have imagined – and reveal her own role in a plot that endangers not just her world, but the entire multiverse.
Read this book if you liked: Dark Matter by Blake Crouch and To Be Taught, If Fortunate by Becky Chambers
The First Sister by Linden Lewis, 8th of August
The First Sister is the first book in a new epic, gender-queer space opera.
She’s a priestess of the Sisterhood, travelling the stars alongside the soldiers of Earth who own the rights to her body and soul. When her former captain abandons her, First Sister’s hopes for freedom are dashed and she is forced to stay on her ship with no friends, no status, and a new captain she knows nothing about. When the Mother, leader of her order, asks her to spy on Captain Saito Ren, First Sister discovers that sacrificing for the war effort is so much harder to do when your loyalties are split.
Lito Val Lucious on the other hand, has no faith or loyalty. He climbed his way out of the slums to become an elite soldier of Venus, but now he’s haunted by his failures and the loss of his partner Hiro. But when Lito learns that Hiro is alive, but a traitor, and he’s assigned to hunt Hiro down, and kill them, Lito must decide what he is actually fighting for – the society that raised him, or himself.
As the battle to control Ceres reaches a head, Lito and First Sister must decide what – and whom – they are willing to sacrifice in the name of duty, or for love.
Read this book if you liked: The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood and The Expanse series by James S.A. Corey.