Ten Fantasy and Science-Fiction Novels Worth Reading in March 2014

One of The Ranting Dragon’s missions is to provide you, our readers, with some help in picking your next book to read. This is a mission we’ve always taken very seriously, trying to deliver informative reviews of recently released books. In the past, we also provided you with monthly lists of book releases to watch out for. Unfortunately, we’ve neglected publishing such lists for quite a while.

No longer.

Starting this month, our monthly anticipation lists are back!

It’s going to be a bit different than our past lists, though. Instead of giving you the twenty books we look forward to most, we will from now on provide you with a very balanced list of ten books worth reading. Instead of simply putting the month’s biggest releases on this list, we strive to provide something for everyone. On these lists, you will find some big releases, and some novels you might not have noticed otherwise. You’ll find the genre’s biggest authors alongside debuting authors. And you’ll find a good balance between traditional fantasy, urban fantasy, and science fiction.

So, without further ado, here are ten speculative fiction novels worth reading in March:


10. The Lascar’s Dagger by Glenda Larke
In Glenda Larke’s The Lascar’s Daggar, Saker—who appears to be a simple priest, but is in fact a spy—is wounded in the line of duty by a dagger that puts him on a journey to distant shores, on a path that will reveal terrible secrets about the empire, about the people he serves, and destroy the life he knows. The Lascar’s dagger demands a price, and that price will be paid in blood. If novels filled with scheming, spying, action, and adventure are your thing, consider giving this first novel in the Forsaken Lands epic fantasy trilogy a glance.
Published by Orbit on Mar 18. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads
9. Lockstep by Karl Schroeder
In Karl Schroeder’s Lockstep, Toby, a teenage boy, gets lost in space and awakens thousands of years into a future where cryosleep is the norm and his own family rules a thriving and prosperous empire. Lockstep promises to be a clever space opera that pits brother against brother in a fight for Toby’s inheritance.
Published by Tor on Mar 25. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads
8. Hyde by Daniel Levine
Hyde, Daniel Levine’s debut novel, is a dark literary re-imagining of the macabre tale of Dr. Jekyll and Mister Hyde. The original showed Dr. Jekyll’s story—but every story has two sides. This is Hyde’s. What happens when a villain becomes a hero? That’s the question Hyde asks. According to Kirkus Reviews, this cleverly-imagined, sophisticatedly-executed, fresh, thoughtful, and intelligent look at Stevenson’s classic will have you wanting to once again read the original on which it is based.
Published by HMH on Mar 18. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads
7. Night Broken by Patricia Briggs
In Patricia Briggs’s eighth Mercy Thompson novel, Night Broken, a phone call heralds a new challenge for Mercy: her husband’s ex-wife and the troubles she is running from. If you’re a fan of urban fantasy, you’re probably excited for Night Broken. If you haven’t read the previous books in the series yet, we very much recommend you do. Mercy Thompson is a smart, witty, and capable coyote shapeshifter who manages to beat up villains bigger and badder than she is. Night Broken promises to be another excellent read filled with twists and turns.
Published by Ace on May 11. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads
6. The Barrow by Mark Smylie
In The Barrow, Mark Smylie’s debut novel, a small crew of scoundrels, would-be heroes, deviants, and ruffians discover a map that they believe will lead them to a fabled sword buried in the barrow of a long-dead wizard. They think they’ve struck it rich, but the map turns out to be cursed and is then destroyed in a magical ritual. Set in the world of Smylie’s Artesia comics, The Barrow is an epic fantasy for fans of George R.R. Martin and Michael J. Sullivan, combining action, horror, politics, and sensuality.
Published by Pyr on Mar 4. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads
5. The Burning Dark by Adam Christopher
Adam Christopher wrote several awesome and awesomely weird fantasy and superhero novels for Angry Robot Books. This month, however, Tor will release something completely different from Christopher: a science-fiction novel, The Burning Dark. To quote James Lovegrove’s cover blurb: “With The Burning Dark, Christopher has produced a widescreen Hollywood spectacular in novel form, littered with wow-moments and a few sly in-jokes for hardcore comic book fans to catch. Not to be missed.” Who doesn’t love a good space mystery?
Published by Tor on Mar 25. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads
4. Above by Isla Morley
Isla Morley’s genre debut Above promises to be a riveting literary science-fiction novel of survival, resilience, and hope. According to its synopsis, Above compels us to imagine what we would do if everything we had ever known was taken away. In this novel, Blythe Hallowell is sixteen when she is abducted by a survivalist and locked away in an aban­doned missile silo in Eudora, Kansas. Fighting crushing loneliness and a mad captor, she carries the burden of raising a son in confinement. When their lives are ambushed by an event at once both promising and devastating, Blythe’s dream of going home hangs in the balance.  If you like your science-fiction less space opera and closer to home, check out this book.
Published by Simon & Schuster, Mar 4. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads
3. The Tropic of Serpents by Marie Brennan
One of 2013’s most pleasant surprises was Marie Brennan’s A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoire by Lady Trent. This wonderful adventure novel, written with an autobiographical voice reminiscent of The Name of the Wind, offers the rich and engaging story of a thoroughly believable character dealing with the problems and mysteries of a unique fantasy world with marvelous parallels of Victorian Europe. In March, Tor is releasing the sequel, The Tropic of Serpents. In this second volume, Lady Trent looks back at the next stage of her illustrious (and occasionally scandalous) career—this time taking place on the war-torn continent of Eriga.
Published by Tor on Mar 4. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads
2. Half-Off Ragnarok by Seanan McGuire
Half-Off Ragnarok is the third installment in Seanan McGuire’s contemporary fantasy InCryptid series. Instead of magic, this series is all about the creatures—the sheer amount and variety of creatures make InCryptid absolutely mindblowing and very much worth reading. In Half-Off Ragnarok, human bodies that have been turned to stone begin appearing at the zoo. Alex Price, who works there overseeing a basilisk breeding program, must investigate—and finds some unexpected surprises. If you’re into contemporary or urban fantasy, this fast-moving, fun series is absolutely worth checking out.
Published by DAW on Mar 4. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads
1. Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson
With its magnificent worldbuilding and captivating story, Sanderson’s The Way of Kings changed epic fantasy forever. Yet, it was very much a first part in a big series, setting up several mysterious plot elements. Unfortunately, Sanderson’s involvement with The Wheel of Time meant we have had a long wait to see some of those elements pay off in the next book. In March, though, we will finally get more of the epic world of Roshar. At 1088 pages, Words of Radiance promises to be another novel of epic proportions—and in all the right ways. If you haven’t read The Way of Kings yet, we very much recommend you do so immediately.
Published by Tor on Mar 4. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads


As always, we’d love to hear from you. What books are you particularly looking forward to?  Did we miss any?  Let us know in the comments or on our forums!

About Stephan van Velzen

Stephan van Velzen
A 31 year-old Communications student, Stephan loves publicity and design, particularly web design. When he’s not designing websites, he can be found in a comfy chair reading a fantasy book. In The Ranting Dragon, he has found a way to combine these passions and discover a new love for writing to boot. Stephan lives in a small town in The Netherlands with his wife Rebecca, an editor for The Ranting Dragon, and their two cats.

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  1. Lockstep is definitely on my list of books I know I’ll be reading and reviewing. I tried to start The Barrow but it turned out I wasn’t quite in the mood for it, so it will sadly have to get put aside until a later date. I desperately want to read Tropic of Serpents but don’t have an early copy so will have to wait until I can buy it. And Lascar’s Dagger is one that I very much want to read but am now sure I’ll have the time to get to this month. (Probably April, if I can’t fit it in for March, though.)

  2. Words of Radiance destroyed every book in this list. Best book I’ve ever read.

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