12 Most Anticipated Releases 2021 (Jan-June)

12 Most Anticipated 2021 Releases. The All-Consuming World. Star Eater. The Unbroken.

When I set out to make the list I didn’t realise how difficult it would be to choose between all the amazing books releasing soon. I wish I could include so much more, and I definitely will be talking about some of the books I couldn’t fit in later on. In the goal of not just having loads of sequels on this list I’ve decided to miss them off, but do know that A Desolation Called Peace has my heart. I’m trying to keep a good mix between more well-known books and those that are underhyped, hopefully you find something interesting!

January

The Forever Sea by Joshua Phillip Johnson

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Adult Fantasy

On the never-ending, miles-high expanse of prairie grasses known as the Forever Sea, Kindred Greyreach, hearthfire keeper and sailor aboard harvesting vessel The Errant, is just beginning to fit in with the crew of her new ship when she receives devastating news. Her grandmother–The Marchess, legendary captain and hearthfire keeper–has stepped from her vessel and disappeared into the sea.

But the note she leaves Kindred suggests this was not an act of suicide. Something waits in the depths, and the Marchess has set out to find it.

To follow in her grandmother’s footsteps, Kindred must embroil herself in conflicts bigger than she could imagine: a water war simmering below the surface of two cultures; the politics of a mythic pirate city floating beyond the edges of safe seas; battles against beasts of the deep, driven to the brink of madness; and the elusive promise of a world below the waves.

Kindred finds that she will sacrifice almost everything–ship, crew, and a life sailing in the sun–to discover the truth of the darkness that waits below the Forever Sea.

The idea of an environmental fantasy where ships are kept afloat by magic hearth-fires on a grass sea is amazing. I’ve been craving more books about pirates and this brilliant new take is just so exciting. Mythic pirate cities? Battles against sea beasts? A sapphic main character? I’m so excited!

A Dowry of Blood by S.T. Gibson

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Adult Horror

A lyrical and dreamy reimagining of Dracula’s brides, A DOWRY OF BLOOD is a story of desire, obsession, and emancipation.

Saved from the brink of death by a mysterious stranger, Constanta is transformed from a medieval peasant into a bride fit for an undying king. But when Dracula draws a cunning aristocrat and a starving artist into his web of passion and deceit, Constanta realizes that her beloved is capable of terrible things. Finding comfort in the arms of her rival consorts, she begins to unravel their husband’s dark secrets.

With the lives of everyone she loves on the line, Constanta will have to choose between her own freedom and her love for her husband. But bonds forged by blood can only be broken by death.

I need this retelling of Dracula’s Brides more than anything. All four characters are bisexual! A m/f/f/m polycule! It’s been described as ‘sapphic yearning at the opera’ and I need it. Dark gothic books are so much my thing, and the premise of this just raises up a desperate need.

February

A Dark and Hollow Star by Ashley Shuttleworth

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Young Adult Fantasy

Choose your player.

The “ironborn” half-fae outcast of her royal fae family.
A tempestuous Fury, exiled to earth from the Immortal Realm and hellbent on revenge.
A dutiful fae prince, determined to earn his place on the throne.
The prince’s brooding guardian, burdened with a terrible secret.

For centuries, the Eight Courts of Folk have lived among us, concealed by magic and bound by law to do no harm to humans. This arrangement has long kept peace in the Courts—until a series of gruesome and ritualistic murders rocks the city of Toronto and threatens to expose faeries to the human world.

Four queer teens, each who hold a key piece of the truth behind these murders, must form a tenuous alliance in their effort to track down the mysterious killer behind these crimes. If they fail, they risk the destruction of the faerie and human worlds alike. If that’s not bad enough, there’s a war brewing between the Mortal and Immortal Realms, and one of these teens is destined to tip the scales. The only question is: which way?

Wish them luck. They’re going to need it.

I’ve always loved books that feature Fae; I’ll always add them to my TBR. What I’ve longed for are more Fae books that are also queer, and that’s why I’m so excited about A Dark and Hollow Star. Mix in mlm and wlw solidarity and an amazing book cover, how could I possibly resist?

March

The Unbroken by C.L. Clarke

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Adult Fantasy

Touraine is a soldier. Stolen as a child and raised to kill and die for the empire, her only loyalty is to her fellow conscripts. But now, her company has been sent back to her homeland to stop a rebellion, and the ties of blood may be stronger than she thought.

Luca needs a turncoat. Someone desperate enough to tiptoe the bayonet’s edge between treason and orders. Someone who can sway the rebels toward peace, while Luca focuses on what really matters: getting her uncle off her throne.

Through assassinations and massacres, in bedrooms and war rooms, Touraine and Luca will haggle over the price of a nation. But some things aren’t for sale.

I’m so hyped for The Unbroken. Filled with political intrigue, rebellion, and assassinations in a North-African inspired fantasy setting, it sounds amazing. It’s also been described as ‘real gay’ by the author and big arm sword wielding sapphics are all I need in life. A cranky princess AND a cranky solider? I can’t explain how excited I am.

The Mirror Season by Anna-Marie McLemore

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Young Adult Magical Realism

Graciela Cristales’ whole world changes after she and a boy she barely knows are assaulted at the same party. She loses her gift for making enchanted pan dulce. Neighborhood trees vanish overnight, while mirrored glass appears, bringing reckless magic with it. And Ciela is haunted by what happened to her, and what happened to the boy whose name she never learned.

But when the boy, Lock, shows up at Ciela’s school, he has no memory of that night, and no clue that a single piece of mirrored glass is taking his life apart. Ciela decides to help him, which means hiding the truth about that night. Because Ciela knows who assaulted her, and him. And she knows that her survival, and his, depend on no one finding out what really happened.

I am fully expecting to be destroyed by this book. Anna-Marie McLemore really knows how to tackle hard hitting topics in a sensitive way. I know this is going to be a difficult one to read, but it’ll also be beautiful and wonderful like all of their work.

The Councillor by E.J. Beaton

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Adult Fantasy

This Machiavellian fantasy follows a scholar’s quest to choose the next ruler of her kingdom amidst lies, conspiracy, and assassination

When the death of Iron Queen Sarelin Brey fractures the realm of Elira, Lysande Prior, the palace scholar and the queen’s closest friend, is appointed Councillor. Publically, Lysande must choose the next monarch from amongst the city-rulers vying for the throne. Privately, she seeks to discover which ruler murdered the queen, suspecting the use of magic.

Resourceful, analytical, and quiet, Lysande appears to embody the motto she was raised with: everything in its place. Yet while she hides her drug addiction from her new associates, she cannot hide her growing interest in power. She becomes locked in a game of strategy with the city-rulers – especially the erudite prince Luca Fontaine, who seems to shift between ally and rival.

Further from home, an old enemy is stirring: the magic-wielding White Queen is on the move again, and her alliance with a traitor among the royal milieu poses a danger not just to the peace of the realm, but to the survival of everything that Lysande cares about.

In a world where the low-born keep their heads down, Lysande must learn to fight an enemy who wears many guises… even as she wages her own battle between ambition and restraint.

I haven’t heard many people talking about this book, a Machiavellian fantasy with a bisexual main character, a scholar who must choose the new ruler for the kingdom. I’m so excited. I always want more political intrigue, morally grey characters, assassinations, and mystery. It seems like it’ll be tackling some pretty dark themes and I’m very here for it.

May

Sorrowland by Rivers Solomon

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Adult Horror

Vern – seven months pregnant and desperate to escape the strict religious compound where she was raised – flees for the shelter of the woods. There, she gives birth to twins, and plans to raise them far from the influence of the outside world.

But even in the forest, Vern is a hunted woman. Forced to fight back against the community that refuses to let her go, she unleashes incredible brutality far beyond what a person should be capable of, her body wracked by inexplicable and uncanny changes.

To understand her metamorphosis and to protect her small family, Vern has to face the past, and more troublingly, the future – outside the woods. Finding the truth will mean uncovering the secrets of the compound she fled but also the violent history in America that produced it.

Rivers Solomon’s Sorrowland is a genre-bending work of Gothic fiction. Here, monsters aren’t just individuals, but entire nations. It is a searing, seminal book that marks the arrival of a bold, unignorable voice in American fiction

Rivers Solomon is a brilliant writer. Their books are as horrible as they are important, in the best kind of way. I’m expecting a lot of passion in this book: love and anger and fear. Major themes focus on how Black bodies are used in unethical experimentation, and how racism is embedded into nations. It’s a strange feeling being both incredibly excited for a book, and scared of the brutal journey it’s going to take me on.

Meet Cute Diary by Emery Lee

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Young Adult Contemporary Romance

Noah Ramirez thinks he’s an expert on romance. He has to be for his popular blog, the Meet Cute Diary, a collection of trans happily ever afters. There’s just one problem—all the stories are fake. What started as the fantasies of a trans boy afraid to step out of the closet has grown into a beacon of hope for trans readers across the globe.

When a troll exposes the blog as fiction, Noah’s world unravels. The only way to save the Diary is to convince everyone that the stories are true, but he doesn’t have any proof. Then Drew walks into Noah’s life, and the pieces fall into place: Drew is willing to fake-date Noah to save the Diary. But when Noah’s feelings grow beyond their staged romance, he realizes that dating in real life isn’t quite the same as finding love on the page.

In this charming novel by Emery Lee, Noah will have to choose between following his own rules for love or discovering that the most romantic endings are the ones that go off script.

Me? Putting a YA Contemporary on my Most Anticipated list? Well maybe I’m not a complete sci-fi and fantasy gremlin, especially when it comes to premises like this! Trans first love! Fake dating! Pining! Trans joy! This is what I want in my life.

Son of the Storm by Suyi Davies

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Adult Fantasy

In the thriving city of Bassa, Danso is a clever but disillusioned scholar who longs for a life beyond the rigid family and political obligations expected of the city’s elite. A way out presents itself when Lilong, a skin-changing warrior, shows up wounded in his barn. She comes from the Nameless Islands–which, according to Bassa lore, don’t exist–and neither should the mythical magic of ibor she wields. Now swept into a conspiracy far beyond his understanding, Danso will have to set out on a journey that reveals histories violently suppressed and magic only found in lore

Son of the Storm’s cover is so beautiful! I love a book that starts us off with a disillusioned scholar, adding in violent conquest, buried histories, and forbidden magic makes it all the more exciting! This looks like it’s going to be an amazing new epic fantasy series!

June

The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri

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Adult Fantasy

Author of Empire of Sand and Realm of Ash Tasha Suri’s The Jasmine Throne, beginning a new trilogy set in a world inspired by the history and epics of India, in which a captive princess and a maidservant in possession of forbidden magic become unlikely allies on a dark journey to save their empire from the princess’s traitor brother.

Imprisoned by her dictator brother, Malini spends her days in isolation in the Hirana: an ancient temple that was once the source of the powerful, magical deathless waters — but is now little more than a decaying ruin.

Priya is a maidservant, one among several who make the treacherous journey to the top of the Hirana every night to clean Malini’s chambers. She is happy to be an anonymous drudge, so long as it keeps anyone from guessing the dangerous secret she hides.

But when Malini accidentally bears witness to Priya’s true nature, their destinies become irrevocably tangled. One is a vengeful princess seeking to depose her brother from his throne. The other is a priestess seeking to find her family. Together, they will change the fate of an empire.

An Indian-inspired adult fantasy featuring a wlw enemies to lovers romance? Sign me up! There’s going to be yearning, revenge, secret identities, anti-imperialism and so much more! I’m so excited! “Vengeful, morally grey lesbians who want to set an empire ablaze”? Give it to me!!

Star Eater by Kerstin Hall

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Adult Science Fiction

All martyrdoms are difficult.

Elfreda Raughn will avoid pregnancy if it kills her, and one way or another, it will kill her. Though she’s able to stomach her gruesome day-to-day duties, the reality of preserving the Sisterhood of Aytrium’s magical bloodline horrifies her. She wants out, whatever the cost.

So when a shadowy cabal approaches Elfreda with an offer of escape, she leaps at the opportunity. As their spy, she gains access to the highest reaches of the Sisterhood, and enters a glittering world of opulent parties, subtle deceptions, and unexpected bloodshed.

A phantasmagorical indictment of hereditary power, Star Eater takes readers deep into a perilous and uncanny world where even the most powerful women are forced to choose what sacrifices they will make, so that they might have any choice at all.

I’m not going to lie, I added this book to my TBR as soon as I heard it had cannibalistic bisexual nuns in it. I never realised that was a niche I was interested in but hey, it sounds pretty cool. Add in intrigue, deception, giant cats, sexually transmitted zombie-ism, and I can’t help but want to know what the hell is going on with this book.

The All-Consuming World by Cassandra Khaw

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Adult Science Fiction

A diverse team of broken, diminished former criminals get back together to solve the mystery of their last, disastrous mission and to rescue a missing and much-changed comrade… but they’re not the only ones in pursuit of the secret at the heart of the planet Dimmuborgir. The highly-evolved AI of the universe have their own agenda and will do whatever it takes to keep humans from ever controlling the universe again. This band of dangerous women, half-clone and half-machine, must battle their own traumas and a universe of sapient ageships who want them dead, in order to settle their affairs once and for all. 

I’m excited about this for a very simple reason, queer criminals in space on a last mission is a premise I could never ever get enough of. I’m excited by the idea of a universe run by AI, who don’t want humans to gain power again. Sapient spaceships? I’m so here for these fun new ideas in sci-fi and I can’t wait to read this book.

Are you excited for any of these? Found any books you hadn’t heard of? What’s your most anticipated read this half of the year?

9 thoughts on “12 Most Anticipated Releases 2021 (Jan-June)

  1. Some of these I have not seen on other rec lists yet and honestly, i was really pleasantly surprised! Cannibalistic nuns? SIGN ME UP.

    I cannot wait to get around to the mirror season! Thank you for the list ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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