Top Twenty Most Anticipated Science Fiction and Fantasy Releases of August 2012 and a Competition!

As July—a great month for fans of speculative fiction—draws to an end, August is already attempting to beat it in greatness. It should come as no surprise (especially if you’ve read our early review of the book) that Mark Lawrence’s King of Thorns is our most anticipated novel of the month. There are plenty of surprises to make up the other nineteen books in our top twenty list, though.

One interesting thing to mention is that, while last month seemed to be Orbit’s month, this month is definitely an Angry Robot month. Perhaps the publishers sit down at the start of a year and each mark a month they wish to conquer? If that’s the case, Angry Robot is definitely doing a good job, with no less than three books in our top ten.

So, without further ado, I present the twenty novels coming out in August that we anticipate most. And be sure to take a look beneath the list for a chance to win some free books!


1. King of Thorns by Mark Lawrence
The Broken Empire burns with the fires of a hundred battles as lords and petty kings battle for the all-throne. The long road to avenge the slaughter of his mother and brother has shown Prince Honorous Jorg Ancrath the hidden hands behind this endless war. He saw the game and vowed to sweep the board. First, though, he must gather his own pieces, learn the rules of play, and discover how to break them.

A six-nation army, twenty-thousand strong, marches toward Jorg’s gates, led by a champion beloved of the people. Every decent man prays this shining hero will unite the empire and heal its wounds. Every omen says he will. Every good king knows to bend the knee in the face of overwhelming odds, if only to save their people and their lands. But King Jorg is not a good king.

Faced by an enemy many times his strength, Jorg knows that he cannot win a fair fight. But playing fair was never part of Jorg’s game plan.
Published by Ace on August 7. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads
2. Black Bottle by Anthony Huso
Tabloids sold in the Duchy of Stonehold claim that the High King, Caliph Howl, has been raised from the dead. His consort, Sena Iilool, both blamed and celebrated for this act, finds that a macabre cult has sprung up around her.

As this news spreads, Stonehold—long considered unimportant—comes to the attention of the emperors in the southern countries. They have learned that the seed of Sena’s immense power lies in an occult book, and they are eager to claim it for their own.

Desperate to protect his people from the southern threat, Caliph is drawn into a summit of the world’s leaders despite the knowledge that it is a trap. As Sena’s bizarre actions threaten to unravel the summit, Caliph watches her slip through his fingers into madness.

But is it really madness? Sena is playing a dangerous game of strategy and deceit as she attempts to outwit a force that has spent millennia preparing for this day. Caliph is the only connection left to her former life, but it’s his blood that Sena needs to see her plans through to their explosive finish.

Dark and rich, epic in scope, Anthony Huso has crafted a fantasy like no other, teeming with unthinkable horrors and stylish wonders.
Published by Tor on August 21. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads
3. The Black Mausoleum by Stephen Deas
Two years have passed since the events of the Order of the Scales. Across the realms, dragons are still hatching. Hatching, and hatching free. Skorl is an Ember, a soldier trained from birth to fight dragons. He is a living weapon, one-shot only, saturated with enough dragon-poison to bring down a monster all on his own. He’s a misanthrope, violent and a drunk, but to fulfill his purpose and slay a dragon means to be eaten.

Now Skorl has a choice: he can hang for his crimes, or he can go with the last of the Adamantine Men, fighting against an enemy he was born to face. Rat is an Outsider. He’s on the run and he’s stumbled onto something that’s going to make him rich beyond all his dreams. It’s just a shame that the end of the world has started without him. Kataros is an alchemist, one of the order responsible for keeping the dragons in check. One of the order that has just failed, and disastrously so. Two men, one woman. One chance to save the world from a storm of dragons…
Published by Gollancz on August 16. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads
4. Mockingbird by Chuck Wendig
Miriam is trying. Really, she is.

But this whole “settling down thing” that Louis has going for her just isn’t working out. She lives on Long Beach Island all year around. Her home is a run-down double-wide trailer. She works at a grocery store as a check-out girl. And her relationship with Louis—who’s on the road half the time in his truck—is subject to the piss and vinegar Miriam brings to everything she does.

It just isn’t going well. Still, she’s keeping her psychic ability—to see when and how someone is going to die just by touching them—in check. But even that feels wrong somehow. Like she’s keeping a tornado stoppered up in a tiny bottle.

Then comes one bad day that turns it all on her ear.
Published by Angry Robot on August 28. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads
5. Seven Wonders by Adam Christopher
Tony Prosdocimi lives in the bustling Metropolis of San Ventura—a city gripped in fear, a city under siege by the hooded supervillain, The Cowl.

When Tony develops super-powers and acts to take down The Cowl, however, he finds that the local superhero team Seven Wonders aren’t as grateful as he assumed they’d be…
Published by Angry Robot on August 28. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads
6. Seawitch by Kat Richardson
A quarter century ago, the Seawitch cruised away from her dock and disappeared with everyone on board. Now, the boat has mysteriously returned to her old berth in Seattle and the insurance company has hired Harper to find out what happened. But Harper is not the only one investigating. Seattle Police Detective Rey Solis is a good cop, albeit one who isn’t comfortable with the creepy cases that always seem to end up in Harper’s lap. As Solis focuses on the possible murder of a passenger’s wife, Harper’s investigation leads her to a powerful being who may be responsible for the disappearance of the Seawitch’s passengers and crew.
Published by Roc on August 7. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads
7. The Air War by Adrian Tchaikovsky
All is in turmoil as the world moves towards war. In Solarno, the spies watch each other and ready their knives, while Myna sees the troops muster at its border and emotions run high as it vows never to be enslaved again. In Collegium, the students argue politics, too late to turn the tide. In the heart of the Empire, new pilots have completed their secretive training, generals are being recalled to service and armies are ready to march. Their Empress, the heir to two worlds, intends to claim her birthright. And nothing—either within the Empire or beyond it—will stand in her way. A conflict is coming, the like of which the insect-kinden have never seen.
Published by Tor UK on August 2. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads
8. The Corpse-Rat King by Lee Battersby
Marius dos Hellespont and his apprentice, Gerd, are professional looters of battlefields. When they stumble upon the corpse of the King of Scorby and Gerd is killed, Marius is mistaken for the monarch by one of the dead soldiers and transported down to the Kingdom of the Dead. The dead need a King—the King is God’s representative, and someone needs to remind God where they are.

Marius is banished to the surface with one message: if he wants to recover his life, he must find the dead a King. Which he fully intends to do. Just as soon as he stops running.
Published by Angry Robot on August 28. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads
9. Blades of Winter by G.T. Almasi
In one of the most exciting debuts in years, G. T. Almasi has fused the intricate cat-and-mouse games of a John le Carre novel with the brash style of comic book superheroes to create a kick-ass alternate history that reimagines the Cold War as a clash of spies with biological, chemical, and technological enhancements.

Nineteen-year-old Alix Nico, a self-described “million-dollar murder machine,” is a rising star in ExOps, a covert-action agency that aggressively shields the United States from its three great enemies: the Soviet Union, Greater Germany, and the Nationalist Republic of China. Rather than risk another all-out war, the four superpowers have poured their resources into creating superspies known as Levels.

Alix is one of the hottest young American Levels. That’s no surprise: Her dad was America’s top Level before he was captured and killed eight years ago. But when an impulsive decision explodes–literally–in her face, Alix uncovers a conspiracy that pushes her to her limits and could upset the global balance of power forever.
Published by Del Rey on August 28. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads
10. A Guile of Dragons by James Enge
It’s dwarves versus dragons in this origin story for Enge’s signature character, Morlock Ambrosius!

Before history began, the dwarves of Thrymhaiam fought against the dragons as the Longest War raged in the deep roads beneath the Northhold. Now the dragons have returned, allied with the dead kings of Cor and backed by the masked gods of Fate and Chaos.

The dwarves are cut off from the Graith of Guardians in the south. Their defenders are taken prisoner or corrupted by dragonspells. The weight of guarding the Northhold now rests on the crooked shoulders of a traitor’s son, Morlock syr Theorn (also called Ambrosius).

But his wounded mind has learned a dark secret in the hidden ways under the mountains. Regin and Fafnir were brothers, and the Longest War can never be over…
Published by Pyr on August 24. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads
11. The Far West by Patricia C. Wrede
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Patricia C. Wrede, the fantastic conclusion to her tale of magic on the western frontier.

Eff is an unlucky thirteenth child…but also the seventh daughter in her family. Her twin brother, Lan, is a powerful double seventh son. Her life at the edge of the Great Barrier Spell is different from anyone else’s that she knows. When the government forms an expedition to map the Far West, Eff has the opportunity to travel farther than anyone in the world. With Lan, William, Professor Torgeson, Wash, and Professor Ochiba, Eff finds that nothing on the wild frontier is as they expected. There are strange findings in their research, a long prairie winter spent in too-close quarters, and more new species, magical and otherwise, dangerous and benign, than they ever expected to find. And then spring comes, and the explorers realize how tenuous life near the Great Barrier Spell may be if they don’t find a way to stop a magical flood in a hurry. Eff’s unique way of viewing magic has saved the settlers time and again, but this time all of Columbia is at stake if she should fail.
Published by Scholastic Press on August 1. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads
12. The Last Victim by Karen Robards
Dr. Charlotte Stone sees what others do not.

A sought-after expert in criminal pathology, Charlie regularly sits face-to-face with madmen. Obsessed with learning what makes human monsters commit terrible crimes, Charlie desires little else from life—no doubt because when she was sixteen, she herself survived a serial killer’s bloodbath: A man butchered the family of Charlie’s best friend, Holly, then left the girl’s body on a seaside boardwalk one week later.

Because of the information Charlie gave police, the Boardwalk Killer went underground. She kept to herself her eerie postmortem visions of Holly and her mother. And even years later, knowing her contact with ghosts might undermine her credibility as a psychological expert, Charlie tells no one about the visits she gets from the spirit world.

Now all-too-handsome FBI agent Tony Bartoli is telling Charlie that a teenage girl is missing, her family slaughtered. Bartoli suspects that after fifteen years, the Boardwalk Killer—or a sick copycat with his M.O.—is back. Time is running short for an innocent, kidnapped girl, and Bartoli pleads for Charlie’s help.
Published by Ballantine on August 7. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads
13. The Traitor Queen by Trudi Canavan
Discover the magic of Trudi Canavan with her brand new novel in the Traitor Spy trilogy…

Events are building to a climax in Sachaka as Lorkin returns from his exile with the Traitor rebels. The Traitor Queen has given Lorkin the huge task of brokering an alliance between his people and the Traitors. Lorkin has also had to become a feared black magician in order to harness the power of an entirely new kind of gemstone magic. This knowledge could transform the Guild of Magicians—or make Lorkin an outcast forever.

The Traitor Spy trilogy, which began with The Ambassador’s Mission and The Rogue, is the new series set in the world of the international bestselling Black Magician trilogy.
Published by Orbit on August 14. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads
14. Hidden Things by Doyce Testerman
A phone call from a soon-to-be-deceased ex-boyfriend launches a young woman on a bizarre road trip to a dark supernatural world hidden beneath America’s heartland in this remarkably imaginative debut novel from an electrifying new voice in contemporary fantasy. With Hidden Things, author Doyce Testerman immediately takes his place alongside Neil Gaiman, Kim Harrison, and Melissa Marr by viewing modern-day America through a glass darkly and transforming our mundane world into a place where unseen monsters and paranormal beings have long inhabited the shadows. Among the Hidden Things in Testerman’s exceptional first novel are goblins, dragons, a road-weary clown, and creatures that have never been categorized, joining a smart, tough, courageous female protagonist on a wild cross-country thrill ride that readers will never forget.
Published by Harper Voyager on August 21. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads
15. Bullettime by Nick Mamatas
David Holbrook is a scrawny kid, the victim of bullies, and the neglected son of insane parents. David Holbrook is the Kallis Episkipos, a vicious murderer turned imprisoned leader of a death cult dedicated to Eris, the Hellenic goddess of discord. David Holbrook never killed anyone, and lives a lonely and luckless existence with his aging mother in a tumbledown New Jersey town. Caught between finger and trigger, David is given three chances to decide his fate as he is compelled to live and relive all his potential existences, guided only by the dark wisdom found in a bottle of cough syrup. From the author of the instant cult classic Move Under Ground comes a fantasy of blood, lust, destiny, school shootings, and the chance to change your future.
Published by ChiZine on August 14. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads
16. A Wolf at the Door by K.A. Stewart
Jesse James Dawson was once an ordinary man until he discovered that demons were real, and fighting them meant putting his own soul on the line. His new case is a beauty: Gretchen Keene, a Hollywood starlet who’s become an unwitting catalyst in an all-out demon war. It’s not her soul Jesse needs to protect, but the two-hundred-and-seventy-six others she’s carting around—all the souls sold to spend just one night with the blonde bombshell. That’s a lot of baggage, although it might explain her meteoric rise to fame. And it’s all up for grabs by the demon world.

All Jesse has to do is keep her safe until the New Year. Sounds easy. But darkness is casting a nasty shadow in the California sun—a new unseen enemy is closing in and leaving Jesse to wonder, how do you fight something you can’t see coming?
Published by Roc on August 7. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads
17. Endgame by Ann Aguirre
Sirantha Jax has the J-gene, which permits her to “jump” faster-than-light ships through grimspace. She loves nothing more than that rush, but the star roads have to wait…

Her final mission takes her to La’heng, a planet subjugated during first contact. Since then, the La’hengrin homeworld has been occupied by foreign conquerors.

All that’s about to change.

Now, as part of a grass-roots resistance, Jax means to liberate the La’hengrin. Political intrigue and guerrilla warfare are new to her; this will be the most dangerous game she’s ever played—spies and conspiracies, a war of weapons and hearts, and everyone might not make it out alive…
Published by Ace on August 28. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads
18. Wrayth by Philippa Ballantine
In the Empire of Arkaym, the Order of Deacons protects and shelters the citizens from the attacks of the unliving. All are sworn to fight the evil forces of the geists – and to keep the world safe from the power of the Otherside…

Although she is one of the most powerful Deacons in the Order, Sorcha Faris is still unable to move or speak after her last battle. Even her partner, Merrick Chambers, cannot reach her through their shared Bond. Yet there are those who still fear Sorcha and the mystery of her hidden past.

Meanwhile, Merrick has been asked to investigate a new member of the Emperor’s Court. But when Sorcha is abducted by men seeking Raed Rossin, the shapeshifting rival to the throne, Merrick must choose where his loyalties lie.
Published by Ace on August 28. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads
19. Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines
Isaac Vainio is a Libriomancer, a member of the secret organization founded five centuries ago by Johannes Gutenberg. Libriomancers are gifted with the ability to magically “reach” into books and draw forth objects. When Isaac is attacked by vampires that “leaked “from the pages of books into our world, he barely manages to escape. To his horror he discovers that vampires have been attacking other magic-users as well, and Gutenberg has been kidnapped.

With the help of a motorcycle-riding dryad who packs a pair of oak cudgels, Isaac finds himself hunting the unknown dark power that has been manipulating humans and vampires alike. And his search will uncover dangerous secrets about Libriomancy, Gutenberg, and the history of magic…
Published by DAW on August 7. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads
20. Yesterday’s Hero by Jonathan Wood
Another day. Another zombie T-Rex to put down. All part of the routine for Arthur Wallace and MI37—the government department devoted to defending Britain from threats magical, supernatural, extraterrestrial, and generally odd. Except a zombie T-Rex is only the first of the problems about to trample, slavering and roaring, through Arthur’s life. Before he can say, “But didn’t I save the world yesterday?” a new co-director at MI37 is threatening his job, middle-aged Russian cyborg wizards are threatening his life, and his coworkers are threatening his sanity.

As Arthur struggles to unravel a plot to re-enact the Chernobyl disaster in England’s capital, he must not only battle foreign occult science but also struggle to keep the trust of his team. Events spiral out of control, friendships fray, and loyalties are tested to their breaking point.
Self-published on August 14. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads


Your Caption Here?

Your Caption Here?

Because we’re always particularly proud of our cover mash-up banners, we’d like to try something new. This month’s banner combines Jason Chan‘s art for King of Thorns, James Paick‘s art for Black Bottle, and Stephen Youll‘s art for The Black Mausoleum. In it, Jorg seems pretty underwhelmed by the dragon—is it Snow? What the hell is going on there? Perhaps Jorg has some kind of surprise up his sleeve, or perhaps he’s simply unaware of impending doom. Whatever the case is, we’d like to invite you to come up with a cool caption for the image!

The rules are simple: Come up with a great caption and post it in the comments below. We will pick the best caption, and send the person who came up with it paperback editions of The Adamantine Palace by Stephen Deas and Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence. You can submit captions until Saturday, August 4 at 23:59 EST. This contest is open internationally.


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!

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.


  1. Jorg: “That sneaking dragon is about to find out about the oiled floor in 3…2…1…”

  2. “I’ve faced far more fearsome foes in my sleep.” 

  3. “I have no time to play as dragon bait. I have an army to topple.”

  4. Dragons are surprisingly bad at Musical Chairs. 

  5. “I know I forgot something… oven on? No… Locked the dragon cage……oh…oh no..”

  6. Game of Thrones, Skyim, or Assasin’s Creed. Pick one. 

    “Gary, please. The King of Thorns is watching Mad Men. Shut up.”

  8. No CHARON’S CLAW by R.A Salvatore?!?!?  I’m anticipating it.

  9. Little did the dragon know that Jorg used “I Can’t Believe It’s Dragon Proof Spray” (TM) to clean the keep’s windows.  Let’s watch as the action unfolds…

  10. Whatever happened to this competition? Still waiting eagerly to find out!

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