Most Anticipated 2023 Sci-Fi / Fantasy Releases
It's that time of year again - everyone is posting end-of-year reading wrap-ups and getting stoked about the next year of book releases. And this year, I decided I wanted to get in on the action!
I've put together a list of fifteen sci-fi and fantasy books I'm excited about in 2023. My criteria for adding a book to the list, besides my excitement for it, was that there had to be an actual release date listed (lookin' at you, Winds of Winter). That means that a lot of books coming out later in the year aren't even on here, so I'll have to either add to the list later or make another one partway through next year to scream about the rest of the books I can't wait to read!
The summary of this post is... my already out-of-control TBR is about to get even more out of control! Allow me to be a terrible influence on you all by getting you excited for all these books, too!
Barrow of Winter, H.M. Long
Release Date: 1/31/2023
Summary: Thray is the Last Daughter of Winter, haunted by the legacy of her blood. When offered a chance to visit the northern land of Duamel, where her father once ruled, she can’t refuse – even if it means lying to the priesthood she serves and the man she loves.
In Duamel, Thray’s demi-god siblings rule under the northern lights, worshipped by an arcane cult. An endless winter night cloaks the land, giving rise to strange beasts and terrible storms. The people of Duamel teeter on the edge of violence, and Thray’s siblings, powerful and deathless, stand with them on the brink.
To earn her siblings’ trust and find the answers she seeks, Thray will have to weather assassination attempts, conspiracies and icy wastelands. And as her siblings turn their gaze towards the warmer, brighter land she calls home, she must harness her own feral power and decide where her loyalties lie.
Because when the spring winds blow and the ice breaks up, the sons and daughters of Winter will bring her homeland to its knees.
Why I’m excited: I got to read the ARC, and it was incredible. I can’t wait to add it to my collection of books in the Hall of Smoke universe on my bookshelf!
The Terraformers, Annalee Newitz
Release Date: 1/31/2023
Summary: Destry's life is dedicated to terraforming Sask-E. As part of the Environmental Rescue Team, she cares for the planet and its burgeoning eco-systems as her parents and their parents did before her.
But the bright, clean future they're building comes under threat when Destry discovers a city full of people that shouldn’t exist, hidden inside a massive volcano.
As she uncovers more about their past, Destry begins to question the mission she's devoted her life to, and must make a choice that will reverberate through Sask-E's future for generations to come.
Why I’m excited: Autonomous, by Newitz, was my favorite read of 2022. I’m excited to read another book from this author, and this book sounds like it’s going to make me question my entire existence. I'm here for it.
Seven Faceless Saints, M.K. Lobb
Release Date: 2/7/2023
Summary: In the city of Ombrazia, saints and their disciples rule with terrifying and unjust power, playing favorites while the unfavored struggle to survive.
After her father’s murder at the hands of the Ombrazian military, Rossana Lacertosa is willing to do whatever it takes to dismantle the corrupt system—tapping into her powers as a disciple of Patience, joining the rebellion, and facing the boy who broke her heart. As the youngest captain in the history of Palazzo security, Damian Venturi is expected to be ruthless and strong, and to serve the saints with unquestioning devotion. But three years spent fighting in a never-ending war have left him with deeper scars than he wants to admit…and a fear of confronting the girl he left behind.
Now a murderer stalks Ombrazia’s citizens. As the body count climbs, the Palazzo is all too happy to look the other way—that is, until a disciple becomes the newest victim. With every lead turning into a dead end, Damian and Roz must team up to find the killer, even if it means digging up buried emotions. As they dive into the underbelly of Ombrazia, the pair will discover something more sinister—and far less holy. With darkness closing in and time running out, will they be able to save the city from an evil so powerful that it threatens to destroy everything in its path?
Why I’m excited: I love YA fantasy. I'm also a sucker for dark storylines and broken characters. This sounds like it has it all, and I’m stoked about it.
The Faithless, C.L. Clark
Release Date: 3/7/2023
Summary: The rebels have won, and the empire is withdrawing from Qazal. But undoing the tangled web that binds the two nations will not be easy, and Touraine and Luca will face their greatest challenge yet.
Luca needs to oust her uncle from the Balladairan throne once and for all and take her rightful place as Queen. But he won't let go of power so easily. When he calls for a "Trial of Competence" and Luca's allies start disappearing from her side, she will need to find a way to prove her might. And she knows someone who can help…
Touraine has found a home in the newly free country of Qazal. But she soon realizes that leading a country and leading a revolution are two very different tasks. And, even more importantly, if Luca's uncle doesn't ratify the treaty, the Qazali could end up right back where they started.
Together, the two women will have to come overcome their enemies, their history, and their heartbreak in order to find a way to secure Luca's power and Touraine's freedom.
Why I’m excited: I loved The Unbroken, and, come on, have you seen that cover art? My soul left my body.
Arca, G.R. Macallister
Release Date: 3/7/2023
Summary: The Drought of Girls has ended, but the rift it broke open between the Queendoms is not so easily healed. Political tensions roil the senate of Paxim, where Queen Heliane vows to make her son Paulus the nation’s first ruling King or die trying. Scorpican troops amass on the border of Arca, ready to attack. And within Arca itself, its young, unready queen finds her court a nest of vipers and her dreams besieged by a mysterious figure with unknown intentions.
As iron and magic clash on the battlefield and powerful women scheme behind the scenes, danger and violence abound. Can anyone stop chaos from ripping the Queendoms apart?
Why I’m excited: I really liked Scorpica, and, come on, this series is basically all the backstabbing fantasy goodness of A Song of Ice and Fire, but with ladies at the head of society? What’s not to love?
Rubicon, J.S. Dewes
Release Date: 3/28/2023
Summary: Sergeant Adriene Valero wants to die.
After enduring a traumatic resurrection for the ninety-sixth time, Valero is reassigned to a special forces unit and outfitted with a cutting-edge virtual intelligence aid. They could turn the tide in the war against intelligent machines dedicated to the assimilation, or destruction, of humanity.
When her VI suddenly achieves sentience, Valero is drawn into the machinations of an enigmatic major who’s hell-bent on ending the war—by any means necessary.
Why I’m excited: I love the Divide series, and I can’t wait to see what else J.S. Dewes has in store for us! I do have an ARC of this one too, but I haven't read it quite yet. I can't wait!
Fractal Noise, Christopher Paolini
Release Date: 5/16/2023
Summary: July 25th, 2234: The crew of the Adamura discovers the Anomaly.
On the seemingly uninhabited planet Talos VII:a circular pit, 50 kilometers wide. Its curve not of nature, but design.
Now, a small team must land and journey on foot across the surface to learn who built the hole and why.
But they all carry the burdens of lives carved out on disparate colonies in the cruel cold of space.
For some the mission is the dream of the lifetime, for others a risk not worth taking, and for one it is a desperate attempt to find meaning in an uncaring universe.
Each step they take toward the mysterious abyss is more punishing than the last.
And the ghosts of their past follow.
Why I’m excited: I haven’t yet read my copy of To Sleep in a Sea of Stars, but I’ve heard amazing things, and I was a huge fan of the Eragon series growing up, so Paolini is an auto-buy for me at this point.
City of Vicious Night, Claire Winn
Release Date: 5/23/2023
Summary: For the most hated crew on Requiem, the only way out is up.
It’s been four months since runaway heiress Asa crash-landed on the matriarchal outlaw colony Requiem, bringing a nasty AI and a host of deadly secrets with her. Now, she runs with her almost-girlfriend Riven’s smuggler crew, stealing kisses between gunfights and heists. But when a mysterious hacker sabotages their latest job, other gangs turn against them, blaming them for the destruction the rogue AI caused. Nowhere in the city is safe.
The only way to protect their crew is a series of trials for control of an underworld faction–and vying for a matriarch’s throne is a dream Riven can’t let go. But as the trials intensify, the saboteur hounds Asa and Riven’s every step, determined to kill Asa and right her father’s wrongs. When the saboteur reveals a horrific conspiracy threatening all of Requiem–one involving the crew member they thought they’d lost–the girls must decide whether to risk their own skins for a city that loathes them.
Why I’m excited: I loved City of Shattered Light. The series is YA, cyberpunk, queer, and full of fast-paced action. There are no downsides here.
Witch King, Martha Wells
Release Date: 5/30/2023
Summary: "I didn't know you were a... demon."
"You idiot. I'm the demon." Kai's having a long day in Martha Wells' WITCH KING....
After being murdered, his consciousness dormant and unaware of the passing of time while confined in an elaborate water trap, Kai wakes to find a lesser mage attempting to harness Kai’s magic to his own advantage. That was never going to go well.
But why was Kai imprisoned in the first place? What has changed in the world since his assassination? And why does the Rising World Coalition appear to be growing in influence?
Kai will need to pull his allies close and draw on all his pain magic if he is to answer even the least of these questions.
He’s not going to like the answers.
Why I’m excited: I’m stoked to read anything that came from the mind that brought us The Murderbot Diaries.
The Surviving Sky, Kritika H. Rao
Release Date: 6/13/2023
Summary: High above a jungle-planet float the last refuges of humanity—plant-made civilizations held together by tradition, technology, and arcane science. In these living cities, architects are revered above anyone else. If not for their ability to psychically manipulate the architecture, the cities would plunge into the devastating earthrage storms below.
Charismatic, powerful, mystical, Iravan is one such architect. In his city, his word is nearly law. His abilities are his identity, but to Ahilya, his wife, they are a way for survival to be reliant on the privileged few. Like most others, she cannot manipulate the plants. And she desperately seeks change.
Their marriage is already thorny—then Iravan is accused of pushing his abilities to forbidden limits. He needs Ahilya to help clear his name; she needs him to tip the balance of rule in their society. As their paths become increasingly intertwined, deadly truths emerge, challenging everything each of them believes. And as the earthrages become longer, and their floating city begins to plummet, Iravan and Ahilya’s discoveries might destroy their marriage, their culture, and their entire civilization.
Why I’m excited: I read an ARC of this book and, my friends, it is gorgeous. I’ve never read a book quite like it in terms of characterization, relationships, and worldbuilding.
Dark Water Daughter, H.M. Long
Release Date: 7/11/2023
Summary: Mary Firth is a Stormsinger: a woman whose voice can still hurricanes and shatter armadas. Faced with servitude to pirate lord Silvanus Lirr, Mary offers her skills to his arch-rival in exchange for protection – and, more importantly, his help sending Lirr to a watery grave. But her new ally has a vendetta of his own, and Mary’s dreams are dark and full of ghistings, spectral creatures who inhabit the ancient forests of her homeland and the figureheads of ships.
Samuel Rosser is a disgraced naval officer serving aboard The Hart, an infamous privateer commissioned to bring Lirr to justice. He will stop at nothing to capture Lirr, restore his good name and reclaim the only thing that stands between himself and madness: a talisman stolen by Mary.
Finally, driven into the eternal ice at the limits of their world, Mary and Samuel must choose their loyalties and battle forces older and more powerful than the pirates who would make them slaves.
Why I’m excited: I love H.M. Long’s Hall of Smoke series, and I’m a sucker for stories with pirates and rogues. This is checking an awful lot of my boxes.
Thick as Thieves, M.J. Kuhn (hey, that’s me!)
Release Date: 7/25/2023
Summary: Ryia Cautella, a.k.a. the Butcher of Carrowwick, and her motley crew have succeeded in the ultimate heist...with the most dire possible consequences. A terrifyingly powerful tool has fallen into the hands of Callum Clem, the criminal leader of the Saints, who was already one of the most dangerous men alive. With the newfound ability to force magic-wielding Adepts to his will, he is unstoppable.
With their group scattered throughout the five kingdoms of Thamorr—and not all on the same side of the fight—things seem hopeless. But can Ryia get the gang back together for one last job? Or will chess-worthy power plays and shifting loyalties change Thamorr as they know it?
Why I’m excited: It’s my book! It’s been a long journey to get this sequel into the world, and I can’t wait to share this story with everyone who wants to read it.
The Weaver and the Witch Queen, Genevieve Gornichec
Release Date: 7/25/2023
Summary: Oddny and Gunnhild meet as children in tenth century Norway, and they could not be more different: Oddny hopes for a quiet life, while Gunnhild burns for power and longs to escape her cruel mother. But after a visiting wise woman makes an ominous prophecy that involves Oddny, her sister Signy, and Gunnhild, the three girls take a blood oath to help each other always.
When Oddny’s farm is destroyed and Signy is kidnapped by Viking raiders, Oddny finds herself set adrift from the life she imagined. Gunnhild, who fled her home years ago to learn the ways of a witch in the far north, is on her way to her exalted destiny. But the bonds—both enchanted and emotional—that hold them together are strong, and when they find their way back to each other again, those bonds will be tested in ways they could never have imagined in this rich, searching novel of magic, history, and sworn sisterhood.
Why I’m excited: I was fortunate enough to read a very early draft of this project, and it was already incredible. I can’t wait to see how it’s blossomed into its final form.
The Sun and the Void, Gabriela Romero Lacruz
Release Date: 7/25/2023
Summary: Reina is desperate.
Stuck living on the edges of society, her only salvation lies in an invitation from a grandmother she’s never known. But the journey is dangerous, and prayer can’t always avert disaster.
Attacked by creatures that stalk the region, Reina is on the verge of death until her
grandmother, a dark sorceress, intervenes. Now dependent on the Doña’s magic for her life, Reina will do anything to earn—and keep—her favor. Even the bidding of an ancient god who whispers to her at night.
Eva Kesare is unwanted.
Illegitimate and of mixed heritage, Eva is her family’s shame. She tries her best to be perfect and to hide her oddities. But Eva is hiding a secret: magic calls to her.
Eva knows she should fight the temptation. Magic is the sign of the dark god, and using it is punishable by death. Yet, it’s hard to deny power when it has always been denied to you. Eva is walking a dangerous path, one that gets stranger every day. And, in the end, she’ll become something she never imagined.
Why I’m excited: This book is a fantasy debut inspired by South American folklore. Magic, self-discovery, and a high-stakes adventure… Need I say more?
Immortal Longings, Chloe Gong
Release Date: 7/25/2023
Summary: Every year, thousands in the kingdom of Talin will flock to its capital twin cities, San-Er, where the palace hosts a set of games. For those confident enough in their ability to jump between bodies, competitors across San-Er fight to the death to win unimaginable riches.
Princess Calla Tuoleimi lurks in hiding. Five years ago, a massacre killed her parents and left the palace of Er empty…and she was the one who did it. Before King Kasa’s forces in San can catch her, she plans to finish the job and bring down the monarchy. Her reclusive uncle always greets the victor of the games, so if she wins, she gets her opportunity at last to kill him.
Enter Anton Makusa, an exiled aristocrat. His childhood love has lain in a coma since they were both ousted from the palace, and he’s deep in debt trying to keep her alive. Thankfully, he’s one of the best jumpers in the kingdom, flitting from body to body at will. His last chance at saving her is entering the games and winning.
Calla finds both an unexpected alliance with Anton and help from King Kasa’s adopted son, August, who wants to mend Talin’s ills. But the three of them have very different goals, even as Calla and Anton’s partnership spirals into something all-consuming. Before the games close, Calla must decide what she’s playing for—her lover or her kingdom.
Why I’m excited: Embarrassing admission time: I’ve never read a Chloe Gong book before, but I have heard nothing but good things about her books, and this premise sounds incredible.
What are your most-anticipated books of 2023?
There you have it! Fifteen of the books I am most excited to pick up in the coming year.
What are your most-anticipated releases of 2023? Recommend them to me here or on any social media @mjkuhnbooks to make my TBR even more out of control!