Happy new year! I hope all of your dreams come true in 2018 and that all the books you choose to read turn out to be awesome.
Back in the day, when The Ranting Dragon published articles on a daily basis, I’d always start the year by writing up a list of the new year’s most anticipated book releases. This year, I contemplated reviving that tradition. Instead, I decided to do something different.
The list below does not contain all of the most anticipated releases for the new year; it is not a well-balanced list with various different authors and genres. Instead, it’s a list of books that I actually plan to read this year. A lot of them will be released in 2018, but some of them are older books I’m just now getting to. I’m hoping to review each of these books when I get to it, though frankly, I cannot predict whether or not I’ll find the time to do so.
My goal in writing for The Ranting Dragon has always been to help you, like-minded fans, to find the next book to read. This list was written with that goal in mind. I’m hoping that you’ll find cool new books and awesome old books you, like me, might have missed. Maybe there’s something here that you’ll enjoy! For more information about a book, click on its title to link through to Amazon.
So, without further ado, here are the 36 fantasy and science fiction books I plan to read in 2018:
First up are the books, already on my list, whose sequels will be coming out in 2018.
I’ve been meaning to pick up Mark Lawrence’s critically acclaimed Red Sister, which kicked off his new Book of the Ancestor series in 2017. The sequel, Grey Sister, will be released on April 19th. I absolutely loved Lawrence’s debut trilogy, The Broken Empire, and look forward to getting into this new series.
Likewise, I’ve been planning to read Saladin Ahmed’s Throne of the Crescent Moon ever since it came out in 2012. With its sequel, The Thousand and One, finally releasing in August, this is the perfect time to pick it up.
Helene Wecker’s The Golem and the Jinni has been on my list since it came out in 2013. It, too has a sequel coming out in 2018. The Iron Season will be released on October 15th. The sequel deals with World War I, a period that’s always intrigued me.
This year will also see new instalments released in series I already know I love.
The Iron Druid Chronicles, Kevin Hearne’s amazing, mythological urban fantasy series, will see its conclusion on April 3rd with the release of the ninth volume, Scourged. I’m a book behind in the series, so I will also be reading Staked.
Two popular epic fantasy authors, Brent Weeks and Brandon Sanderson, are also concluding their series. On August 28th, Weeks is releasing The Burning White, the fifth and final volume in his Lightbringer series. Sanderson has a lot of ongoing series at the moment, but his Legion series of novellas will end in September when the third volume, Lies of the Beholder, comes out.
This year will definitely be the year of my favorite science fiction author, John Scalzi. He’s publishing sequels to two of his books. Head On, the sequel to Lock In, will be published on April 17th. Then in October, the second book in The Interdependency Series, titled The Widening Gyre, comes out.
Likewise, Jim Butcher and Brian McClellan are releasing second volumes in their series. On March 6th, McClellan’s Wrath of Empire comes out. It’s the sequel to Sins of Empire in his new Gods of Blood and Powder series. Butcher’s The Olympian Affair is the second book in his steampunk Cinder Spires series. Its release date is currently unknown but is expected to be in the second half of this year.
Michael J. Sullivan’s Legends of the First Empire saw the first two books released in 2016 and 2017 respectively, and, to underscore his astonishing writing speed, the next two books in the series are both coming out in 2018. Age of War comes out on April 17th, and Age of Legends on June 30th. I absolutely loved the first book in this series, Age of Myth, but I’m a little behind, so I also plan to read Age of Swords this year.
Last in this category is Susan Dennard’s novella Sightwitch, a prequel to her epic Witchlands series. I’m currently reading the second book in the series, Windwitch, and absolutely love it, so I’m excited for this novella which features one of my favorite characters from this world. Sightwitch will be published on February 13th.
This third category contains five books (and a bonus) from authors I know I love.
Unsatisfied with The Apocalypse Guard, which would have launched a new series in the Reckoners universe, Brandon Sanderson is replacing it with Skyward, a young adult science fiction about
a boy and his dragon a girl and her sentient fighter plane. It currently doesn’t have a release date yet, but Sanderson is confident he’ll get it out this year, and he usually meets his own deadlines.
Myke Cole has written some amazing military fantasy, but he’s trying something new. The Armored Saint comes out on February 20th and opens his new epic fantasy series, The Sacred Throne. Oh, and if that isn’t enough, Cole is also releasing a non-fiction history book titled Legion versus Phalanx later this year. Sure, it isn’t speculative fiction, but I’m sneaking it onto this list anyway because it’ll be awesome and I need it in my life!
Mary Robinette Kowal is releasing a new series this year that sounds absolutely amazing. This alternate history series, Lady Astronaut, follows Elma York, who wishes to become the first Lady Astronaut. The first volume, The Calculating Stars, will come out on June 3rd, followed shortly after by the second book, The Fated Sky, on August 21st.
I’ve only ever read one of Adrian Tchaikovsky’s books, Empire in Black and Gold, but I loved it and have been planning to read more for quite some time. This year offers a great opportunity with the release of stand-alone Redemption’s Blade: After The War on July 26th.
Last in this category, also on July 26th, Ancestral Night by Elizabeth Bear comes out. This is the first volume in the new space opera duology White Space.
Next up are three books that I’m really interested in, from authors I’ve never read.
We start with Paolo Bacigalupi, about whom I’ve heard great things. He has co-authored a book with Tobias S. Buckell, titled The Tangled Lands. It comes out on February 27th and sounds both interesting and kind of weird. I’m excited to try it!
Next is Planetside, a military science fiction book by debut author Michael Mammay. It’s coming out on July 31st.
Finally, I’d like to add a book that came out long ago, in 2005. It’s a book I should have read already, but that I’ve always found very daunting to start. Every time I tried to start it, I’ve immediately been overwhelmed by all the information to take in. I recently got the advice to ignore the overwhelm and just soldier on, though, so 2018 might be the year I finally read Gardens of the Moon by Steven Erikson.
I’m ending this list with a very specific category of books. I’m a huge Star Wars fan, and though I didn’t like The Last Jedi quite as much as I’d hoped, I still intend to become and then stay completely caught up on the new canon of extended media like comics and novels. I’m a little behind, but that shouldn’t be a problem. Disney’s strategy seems to be to release these books slowly, so that fans actually have time to read them—as opposed to the old Expanded Universe (now called Legends), where so many books came out that it was impossible to read them all.
The following Star Wars books are on my schedule to read this year:
Older books include Kevin Hearne’s Heir to the Jedi, set after A New Hope, and James Luceno’s Catalyst, a prequel to Rogue One. There is also Lost Stars, a young adult prelude to The Force Awakens by Claudia Gray, whose Star Wars book Bloodline was really, really good.
Last year saw the release of several Star Wars books in preparation for The Last Jedi. I’m very eager to read Leia, Princess of Alderaan, again by Claudia Gray, who captured Leia’s voice perfectly in Bloodlines. Leia, Princess of Alderaan is a young adult novel featuring a sixteen-year-old Leia prior to A New Hope. Also released in 2017 were Canto Bight, a multi-author anthology of stories set on the titular casino planet, and Phasma, written by Delilah S. Dawson.
Last, but not least, the only Star Wars novel currently slated for release in 2018: Timothy Zahn’s Thrawn: Alliances. Coming on June 28th, Alliances is the second novel in the rebooted Thrawn series. Zahn is probably the best-known Star Wars author out there, and all of his Legends novels featuring Thrawn have been outstanding. I quite enjoyed the first new canon Thrawn novel as well. It’s great to see Zahn reincarnating one of my favorite Star Wars characters into the new canon.