Top Twenty Most Anticipated Novels of July 2013

This month, The Ranting Dragon again brings you a list of the twenty most anticipated science fiction and fantasy novels coming out. Composed by our team with blurbs written by Rebecca, Janea, Garrett, and myself, this list aims to aid you in finding your next book to read.

It goes to show what a wonderful year 2013 really is for speculative fiction when one of the least impressive months so far is still pretty dang awesome. I mean, just look at the list: from the epic debut of Django Wexler to another great novel by veteran author Terry Brooks, and from military science fiction to urban fantasy. This list has it all!

With this many great books, the question isn’t whether you will find something that’s up your alley, but rather where you will possibly start.

Here are the twenty most anticipated novels of July 2013, according to The Ranting Dragon:

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1. The Thousand Names by Django Wexler
It would seem that 2013 is an awesome year for debuts. First on this list is another great debut: Django Wexler’s The Thousand Names. It definitely looks interesting, with an epic cover and an equally epic premise. This work of high fantasy with military influences will be the first novel in Wexler’s new series, The Shadow Campaigns. This is the story of two soldiers who have put their hearts and souls into the war and their new commander. The odds are against them, however, as they battle superior numbers and an enemy with dark magic at its disposal.
Published by Roc on Jul 2.
Blurb written by Stephan.
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2. Thieves’ Quarry by D.B. Jackson
Magic. A shadowy plot. Mystery. A bustling city. All of the elements of a pretty standard urban fantasy fare. However, the thing that really sets this series apart from the rest of the subgenre is the date: Pre-Revolution America. In this second installment, thieftaker Ethan Kaille is once again tasked with a high profile case—something his primary competition sorely dislikes—and once again, conjuring seems to be at the heart of it. However, magic isn’t the only threat: political tensions ride high, with British loyalists on one side and key Revolutionary players such as Samuel Adams and John Hancock on the other—and it’s not readily apparent which poses the more dire threat to Ethan’s health. The second novel in D.B. Jackson’s historical urban fantasy series, the Thieftaker Chronicles, Thieve’s Quarry promises all of the good things from the first book, and then some.
Published by Tor on Jul 2.
Blurb written by Garrett.
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3. The Darwin Elevator by Jason M. Hough
At first glance, Jason M. Hough’s debut novel seems like most any other futuristic genre fiction out there: bad stuff has happened to Earth. However, whereas most disasters are human-made in origin, The Darwin Elevator features a plague that turns everyone into mindless and savage beasts—except for an area around the city of Darwin, Australia, where the architects of this apocalypse planted the only hope for humanity’s survival: a space elevator which exudes a plague-suppressing aura. Enter Skyler Luiken, one of a small percentage of humans immune to the plague. When the alien technology of the elevator begins failing, Skyler and his team of immunes is called upon to solve the mystery surrounding Darwin and its elevator and save humanity. No pressure, right? With a conceit that seems equal parts Joss Whedon and John Scalzi, Jason M. Hugh’s debut seems on track to be one of the year’s best science-fiction novels.
Published by Del Rey on Jul 30.
Blurb written by Garrett.
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4. Witch Wraith by Terry Brooks
The concluding volume in Terry Brooks’ Dark Legacy of Shannara trilogy and in the larger, epic Shannara series as a whole, Witch Wraith is already receiving rave advance reviews. It will be the 30th published Shannara book, though in Brooks’ recommended reading order, it is number 27. The Dark Legacy of Shannara, set a century after High Druid of Shannara, tells of Khyber Elessedil’s quest to recover the lost Elfstones. In Witch Wraith specifically, we read of the sisters Arling and Aphen Elessedil, who must prevent a breach in the Forbidding. While this is clearly not a book for readers new to the Shannara series, fans of this epic fantasy will be very excited to read the new second volume this year!
Published by Del Rey on Jul 16.
Blurb written by Rebecca.
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5. Elisha Barber by E.C. Ambrose
Elisha Barber is the title protagonist in E.C. Ambrose’s debut novel. England in the fourteenth century is not a happy place to live. Historically, you have the Great Famine, the Black Death, and the start of the Hundred Years War, not to mention the wars in Scotland, a peasant revolt in London… just not fun. Elisha is a barber and surgeon in the middle of these wars when he’s drawn into sorcery by a beautiful witch. In dangerous situations while struggling to learn and control his powers, Elisha must unravel conspiracies that may spell his death. Out from DAW (one of my go-to publishers), and written by a huge history buff, this books lands firmly on my must-read list.
Published by DAW on Jul 2.
Blurb written by Janea.
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6. Broken Homes by Ben Aaronovitch
Peter Grant is an unusual type of police officer. After an encounter with a ghost, he was recruited into the small branch of the force that deals with magic and the supernatural. Now, in the fourth book of the Peter Grant series, the young officer has several cases on his plate. There’s another killer on the loose, another unexplained death, and a robbery—nothing too unusual. But something very strange starts happening on a housing estate south of the river, and there might be a connection.
Published by Gollancz (UK) on Jul 25.
Blurb written by Rebecca.
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7. Neptune’s Brood by Charles Stross
Charles Stross is a modern master of science fiction, and his newest release holds tons of promise. In AD 7000, humanity is gone but robotic metahumans remain. Metahuman Krina is on a journey across the galaxy to find her sister, Ana, when she’s captured by the pirate Count Rudi. Rudi suspects that Krina and Ana each have half of the fabled Atlantis Carnet, an artifact capable of bringing down civilization. And he’s not the only one: an assassin is hot on Krina’s trail. Set in the same universe as 2008’s Saturn’s Children, Neptune’s Brood is a companion book, not a direct sequel.
Published by Ace on Jul 2.
Blurb written by Janea.
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8. Replica by Jenna Black
Yes, dystopian young adult speculative fiction is still a hot commodity, and Jenna Black’s debut is one of the genre’s latest offerings. The United States is no more, having been taken over by the Corporate States. Nadia is a sixteen-year-old with a bright future ahead of her as the fiance of the heir of Paxco, the company that pioneered human regeneration. When her fiance Nate turns up dead, Nadia is allegedly the last person to see him alive. Once regenerated, Nate has only the memories from the last brain backup he created, several hours before his death. Together, Nadia and Nate need to solve the question of who killed Nate without uncovering secrets even more deadly. Replica is the first in a trilogy, with the sequel expected out in 2014.
Published by Tor Teen on Jul 16.
Blurb written by Janea.
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9. Cold Copper by Devon Monk
One of my favorite time periods of American history is the age of the expanding frontier in the mid-1800s. Devon Monk takes that era and makes me enjoy it even more in her Age of Steam series—a historical steampunk fantasy. A true mashup of subgenres, Cold Copper is the third installment in the series and again centers around bounty hunter and werewolf Cedar Hunt on his mission to accumulate all of the pieces of the Holder, a device capable of gratuitous amounts of destruction. Accompanying him is a witch, a trio of gearhead brothers, and the rest of his crew from the first two novels. Cedar and company find themselves sidetracked in this novel in the town of Des Moines when a glacial storm freezes (heh) their progress. However, it turns out that Des Moines is rife with troubles itself: a corrupt mayor, cataclysmic generators deep beneath the town, and to top it all off, strange mechanical creatures not of this world. With a gorgeous cover, an intriguing premise, and a highly entertaining and captivating cast of characters, Cold Copper looks to be one of the summer’s most fun reads.
Published by Roc on Jul 2.
Blurb written by Garrett.
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10. The Detainee by Peter Liney
The Island is a place of punishment, hopelessness, and death. The elderly and infirm, scapegoats blamed for the collapse of society, are shipped to the Island where their new prison, the punishment satellites that strike instantly for any crime, and the demons that appear on the nights of satellite-blinding fog are all inescapable. When Island inhabitant “Big Guy” Clancy discovers a hidden tunnel network, the Island becomes a place of hope—hope for escape and hope for life, but also hope for revenge.
Published by Jo Fletcher (UK) on Jul 4.
Blurb written by Rebecca.
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11. Playing Tyler by T.L. Costa
T.L. Costa’s debut novel follows Tyler MacCandless, a troubled kid with ADHD. With a deceased father, a mentally absent mother, and an older brother in rehab for drug use, the only person Tyler can really rely on is Rick, his Civilian Air Patrol Mentor. When Rick offers him an opportunity to test a video game and possibly earn a place in flight school, it seems like the opportunity of a lifetime. But Tyler and his new crush, legendary game designer Ani, discover that things aren’t what they seem, and they’re running out of time to save Tyler’s brother.
Published by Strange Chemistry on Jul 2.
Blurb written by Rebecca.
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12. Viral Nation by Shaunta Grimes
In this post-apocalyptic dystopian novel by Shaunta Grimes, a virus has wiped out nearly the entire population of earth. All that are left of the United States are fifty walled cities where survivors cluster together. The purportedly benevolent Company, which brought the vaccine from the future, controls everything now. When autistic teenager Clover Donovan, a time-travelling Company operative, discovers that her brother’s life is in danger, their understanding of the world they live in changes irrevocably. Now Clover must incite a rebellion with her faithful service dog at her side.
Published by Berkley on Jul 2.
Blurb written by Rebecca.
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13. Helen & Troy’s Epic Road Quest by A. Lee Martinez
This humorous fantasy will be A. Lee Martinez’s eighth published novel. Helen and Troy are on the road, and every exit leads to adventure! To reach the end of their journey, this unusual duo of minotaur girl and all-American boy must evade the orc assassins reluctantly pursuing them and survive the curse from an ancient god, all while (hopefully) not destroying the world. If you like zany humor in your fantasy, this new stand-alone book may be worth picking up.
Published by Orbit on Jul 16.
Blurb written by Rebecca.
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14. White Trash Zombie Apocalypse by Diana Rowland
Yes, you read that title right. White Trash Zombie Apocalypse (saying that is never going to get old) is the third installment in Diana Rowland’s highly entertaining zombie series featuring one Angel Crawford where even zombies are looking out for number one, love, and survival. This time around, Angel has to deal with family issues, relationship (kinda) troubles, espionage, and corporate evil. Oh, and the zombie mafia. No biggie, right? On top of all of that, there’s a new movie in town—one that rubs Angel the wrong way. Soon enough she’s wading through bullets, blood, intrigue, and zombies both real and fake to fit all the pieces (and body parts because, irony) together and save herself before it’s too late. I suppose we can throw saving humanity in there, too. Because more irony. From DAW Books, White Trash Zombie Apocalypse promises that odd and quirky bit of fun tempered with a healthy dose of adrenaline and plot lines.
Published by DAW on Jul 2.
Blurb written by Garrett.
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15. The Arrivals by Melissa Marr
One of my favorite concepts for a book, and one I like to play with in my own writing, is the idea of people from different times and places suddenly finding themselves in the same place at the same time. That’s what happens in The Arrivals. Chloe wakes up in an unfamiliar world after her first alcohol-fueled bender in five years. With new friends from across a span of two hundred years (the Wild West to genuine hippie), Chloe sets out to explore The Wasteland and discover if they can find a way home. While Marr is known more for her young adult series, The Arrivals is marketed as a solidly adult book.
Published by William Morrow on Jul 2.
Blurb written by Janea.
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16. Starglass by Phoebe North
In Starglass, Phoebe North introduces a new young adult series. For Terra’s whole life, all sixteen years, she has lived on the spaceship-city Asherah, which left Earth five hundred years ago. Their long-promised arrival on a new planet is mere months away when Terra witnesses a murder and is drawn into a secret rebellion. Her choices now could mean life or death—not only for her, but for all her people.
Published by Simon&Schuster on Jul 23.
Blurb written by Rebecca.
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17. Pile of Bones by Bailey Cunningham
The first in a new urban fantasy series that sounds like it has more than a bit of sword and sorcery thrown in, Pile of Bones follows a group of college students who hang out in a park role playing after dark. But this park is more than ordinary, and their role playing turns real as they are transported to a magic city every night. Sounds fun right? But what happens when the magic starts to follow them home? Only they know what’s going on, meaning only this group of geeks can stop the bleed-over.
Published by Ace on Jul 30.
Blurb written by Janea.
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18. New Earth by Ben Bova
The world is electrified by the discovery of a new planet with liquid oceans and a breathable, oxygen atmosphere. A team of explorers—chosen not for their skill but for their expendability—are sent to explore this planet, nicknamed “New Earth.” Thanks to cryonic suspension, they will age little on their 80 year-long the journey. When the explorers arrive at New Earth, they discover the planet is already inhabited by a small group of unusually friendly creatures—who look a lot like humans. Soon, the scientists realize that the planet could not be natural. Now they must question not only the motives of the natives, but the very origin of the planet itself.
Published by Tor on Jul 16.
Blurb written by Rebecca.
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19. This Strange and Familiar Place by Rachel Carter
Lydia has learned that the conspiracy theorists were right all along: the Montauk Project has been experimenting with time travel. Several of Lydia’s family members have already disappeared, and her love, Wes, is one of their subjects, too. Now, the Project is coming for Lydia. The second book of Rachel Carter’s mind-blowing young adult time travel trilogy promises great things as Lydia struggles to stop the Montauk Project.
Published by HarperTeen on Jul 2.
Blurb written by Rebecca.
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20. Magic Rises by Ilona Andrews
In a post-apocalyptic world where magic is the rise and fall of chaos (and schedule!) throughout the day, very little seems to go according to plan. However, life for mercenary Kate Daniels and her Beast Lord mate, Curran, is rapidly going downhill. Shapeshifter children, unable to control their beasts, often do not make it to adulthood. There is medicine to help with this, but is hard to come by, even for Kate and Curran. Its secret lies with the European shapeshifter packs—packs that conveniently wish Curran to come mediate a dispute in return for payment in the form of medicine. Kate and Curran therefore have no choice—to save the pack, they must walk into what is almost definitely a trap. The sixth installment in Ilona Andrew’s acclaimed Kate Daniels series, Magic Rises may end up being the end of Kate’s happy days, should they not succeed in their mission—and the world, as usual, seems dead set against them.
Published by Ace on Jul 30.
Blurb written by Garrett.
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What do you think? Any books you are particularly looking forward to? Which are your favorites? Did we miss a book? Let us know in the comments below!

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The feature image is a mashup of the cover of Thieves’ Quarry (art by Chris McGrath) and the British cover of The Thousand Names (art by Steve Stone).

About Stephan van Velzen

Stephan van Velzen
A 29 year-old Communications student, Stephan loves publicity and design, particularly web design. When he’s not designing websites, he’s busy being a total geek for fantasy. In The Ranting Dragon, he has found a way to combine these passions and discover a new love for writing too. Most of all, though, Stephan is just a crazy Dutch guy who enjoys doing things that people don’t expect.

View all articles written by Stephan van Velzen.

18 comments

  1. I got an eARC of The Darwin Elevator thanks to NetGalley, and will absolutely be buying it on release. ‘Tis awesome. :D (Planning to review it, hopefully very soon)

  2. Surprisingly there are very few books coming out in July that I really have my eyes on. Some that look interesting, of course, but nearly all of those are part of a series that I haven’t read the rest of yet.

    Guess that means July will be a good month to catch up on reviews for books published months ago. :p

    • Stephan van Velzen

      Yeah, behind the scenes, our team always votes on twenty books from a huge list of the month’s releases. Usually, that list is about 60 to 70 books long. This month’s list was only 40 books. I think July, like December, is a month in which most publishers hold back.

      • Maybe they figure it’s a good time for people to kick back and enjoy all the releases from the first half of the year, what with people taking lots of vacations and breaks in July.

  3. I’m looking forward to “Last Blood” by Kristen Painter. I can’t wait to see how she wraps up the House of Comarre Series. Not to mention the artwork is stunning.

    • VampireLovingDork

      I agree!!! Last Blood is top of my list too!! V””V

    • VampireLovingDork

      Definitely top of my list!! Can’t wait to read this!!! V””V

    • Me too! The cover work alone is enough to draw people in, especially if they’re skeptical of the genre, but it’s such a fresh take on a supernatural series (because we can’t just call it a vamp-novel with all the other lovable species) that everyone should give it a go. Needless to say, I have been counting down the days and was ecstatic when her new series release date was pushed forward!

    • Cant wait for this book myself, such a great series!

    • Me too me too! I can’t wait to read this book! it is one of my fav vampire series!

  4. I read some paranormal fantasy and I’ve been waiting for Last Blood by Kristen Painter. The Melissa Marr looks like its up my alley.

  5. Thanks for the mention! And some titles I’ll have to look up myself.
    I read the first of the Thieftaker novels last year, so the new one is a must-have.

  6. It has to be Ilona Andrews’Magic Rises

  7. Last Blood by Kristen Painter! It’scthe last in what has to be one of the best vampire series ever. Can. Not. Wait.

  8. There are some fabulous books coming out in July. I have 7 coming out next week alone. The ones I’m most looking forward to are Last Blood by Kristen Painter, The Arrivals by Melissa Marr, and Night Vision by Yasmine Galenorn.

  9. I can’t wait for Last Blood by Kristen Painter. It’s the fifth and final book in her House of Comarre series. I’ve been waiting, not so patiently for this book for what seems like forever. I have it on pre order by amazon and should have it by 30 June woohoo

  10. I am also looking forward to enders by lissa price! book 2 in the starters series!

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