Top 30 Most-Anticipated Science Fiction and Fantasy Novels Coming in 2014

While 2013 was an unfortunately quiet year for The Ranting Dragon, it sure wasn’t quiet for speculative fiction. There were so many great books last year that it seems near impossible for this list to top last year’s list—and yet I do expect 2014 will give 2013 a run for its money.

Just look at the marvelous gems this list is made up of! The top slot alone holds the book that, for me, beats last year’s entire lineup in sheer anticipation. And that’s only one of thirty spectacular releases.

Before I present you with the list that is sure to fill up several bookshelves this year, a note: While there are many books I’m hoping to get my hands on this year, I have limited this list to books that have been confirmed for 2014. That means you won’t see highly anticipated titles like Pat Rothfuss’s Doors of Stone, Peter V. Brett’s Skull Throne, George R.R. Martin’s Winds of Winter, or Jim Butcher’s new steampunk novel, The Aeronaut’s Windlass (because seriously, we all want that more than Skin Game. Right? Right?!), on this list. You never know, though… They still might come out this year.

Well, except Winds of Winter; I’m sure that one won’t come until 2017.

Now, without further ado, here are our thirty most-anticipated 2014 releases:


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. And if that wasn’t enough, Sanderson will be releasing two additional novels this year: the sequel to his superhero teen novel Steelheart, titled Firefight, and the fifth Mistborn book, Shadows of Self. What a great year for Sanderson fans this will be!
Published by Tor on Mar 6. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads
2. Breach Zone by Myke Cole
In last year’s list, the second-most anticipated book was Myke Cole’s Fortress Frontier. And boy, did that live up to expectations. In fact, it was probably the best book I read all year. Needless to say, Breach Zone, the third volume in this military fantasy trilogy, is again a highly anticipated novel. Whether you enjoy superpower stuff like X-Men, military fiction, or epic fantasy (or any other fantasy subgenre, really), if you haven’t checked the Shadow Ops trilogy out yet, you really should!
Published by Ace on Jan 28. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads
3. The Broken Eye by Brent Weeks
Brent Weeks gained plenty of fame for his Night Angel trilogy, but he truly hit the spotlight with his flintlock fantasy Lightbringer series. Not only that, Weeks put the flintlock subgenre on the map. The Black Prism was good; The Blinding Knife was amazing. Thus, I have high expectations of The Broken Eye. If it’s anything like the previous two books, it will have great battles, gorgeous magic, plenty of gunpowder, and a lot of intrigue. I, for one, can’t wait for August!
Published by Orbit on Aug 26. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads
4. Skin Game by Jim Butcher
Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden may very well be the most genre-defining character of urban fantasy—and this year he’s back for his fifteenth adventure (not counting all of his side jobs) in Skin Game. Butcher has become renowned for his ability to pull at his readers’ heartstrings all while continuing to keep the story fresh and tensions rising even over the course of fourteen novels. These trends are sure to continue in Skin Game, where Harry Dresden finds himself catapulted into a situation in which he must work alongside some of his sworn enemies. The backstabbery and snark levels promise to be epic, and we can’t wait for May!
Published by Roc on May 27. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads
5. The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
Fantasy in our generation isn’t just about familiar tropes anymore. It’s about exploring the unknown and using unfamiliar worlds to explore familiar real-world problems. No author embraces this mindset of our generation as thoroughly as N.K. Jemisin. Each of her previous five books were literary masterpieces, and this year’s The Fifth Season will probably be no different. The Fifth Season, first in a new series, is set in a world which has suffered frequent Extinction Level Events for millions of years, and all life (and magic) in this world has adapted to it. Knowing Jemisin, I expect this to be another wonderful novel filled with meaning.
Published by Orbit on Aug 5. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads
6. Prince of Fools by Mark Lawrence
Less than three years ago, Mark Lawrence took the world of fantasy by storm. His detailed, bloody, and violent first person narrative, coupled with his epic world filled with mysterious magic, brought something new to fantasy literature. In last year’s Emperor of Thorns, Lawrence’s first trilogy came to a glorious end, and thus, it’s time for something new, The Red Queen’s War. No Jorg (the protagonist of the first trilogy) anymore, but Prince of Fools won’t be entirely unfamiliar. It is set in the same world as The Broken Empire and will occur alongside the events of the first trilogy, albeit in a different part of the world. I’m sure intrigued, and I have high expectations of Lawrence, who’s already proven himself a masterful storyteller.
Published by Ace on Jun 5. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads
7. Sworn in Steel by Douglas Hulick
You may remember that Sworn in Steel was high on our list for last year. You may also remember we said that there were some issues with the book’s initial publication in 2012… Well, apparently it’s really going to happen this year. Really! Yeah, I’m having trouble believing it, but I’ll include the book in this list anyway, because I seriously want to read it right NOW. The first book in the Tales of the Kin series was marvelous, and though I hardly remember the plot by now, I remember that it was one of the best books I read in 2011. You’ve probably had enough time to read Among Thieves by now, but if you haven’t, I suggest you read it right now in preparation for Sworn in Steel‘s (hopeful) release in May.
Published by Roc on May 6. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads
8. The Thorn of Emberlain by Scott Lynch
It’s wonderful to mention Scott Lynch immediately after Douglas Hulick. Why? It shows that, while there may be dark valleys in speculative publishing, there’s always another lofty mountain to come. For personal reasons, Lynch’s Republic of Thieves remained unpublished year after year—it appeared on lists like this one for more consecutive years than Sworn in Steel—but last year, it finally came out. And fans loved it. After the success of Republic of Thieves, 2014 will be the year of Lynch. Not only will he publish The Thorn of Emberlain, the fourth book of the Gentleman Bastard series, he’ll also release a set of two prequel novellas compiled in one volume, titled The Bastards and the Knife. Oh, it will be a good year, indeed.
Published by Del Rey, Fall 2014. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads
9. The Revolutions by Felix Gilman
I liked Felix Gilman’s Wild West steampunk novel The Half-Made World, and I absolutely adored its weird sequel, The Rise of Ransom City. Therefore, I am extremely excited for Gilman’s next standalone novel, The Revolutions, introduced by the publisher as “a sweeping stand-alone tale of Victorian science fiction, space exploration, and planetary romance.”
Published by Tor on Apr 1. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads
10. The Shadow Throne by Django Wexler
In the blurb for Week’s The Blinding Eye, I said that the Lightbringer series put flintlock fantasy on the map. Arguably the best thing that came out of that is Django Wexler’s writing. One of last year’s best debut authors, Wexler released The Thousand Names to glowing reviews. The Shadow Throne will continue the story of The Shadow Campaigns, set in an Arabian-inspired colonial world filled with gunpowder, intrigue, and weird magic.
Published by Roc on Jul 1. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads
11. Half a King by Joe Abercrombie
Joe Abercrombie is known for writing dark and darkly humorous novels, all set in the same world. “Grimdark,” some people call it, a title he’s made his own. But what happens when this grimdark author starts writing for a teenage audience? We’ll know in July when Half a King, first in a new trilogy, comes out. No one can describe a book better than the author himself, so in his own words: “With this trilogy I’ve set out to do something a little different—shorter, tighter, and with a broad, page-turning appeal—while still giving readers the vivid characters, crunching action, twisting plots, and black humor that I’m known for.” This coming-of-age tale, set in an alternative historical world reminiscent of the Dark Ages with Viking overtones, is definitely one to check out!
Published by Del Rey on Jul 8. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads
12. Shattered by Kevin Hearne
It’s been two and a half years since Kevin Hearne’s Hounded took the world of urban fantasy by force. Since then, six books have been released in The Iron Druid Chronicles, each of which has received high ratings and glowing reviews here on The Ranting Dragon, as well as elsewhere around the blogosphere. This June, three years after Hearne’s debut, Shattered will mark the seventh release in the series, and like all books before it, Shattered promises to be a great installment. Hearne has promised he’ll slow down now—but that’s a promise we won’t keep him to. If you haven’t checked out Hounded yet (really? You haven’t?), you definitely should. The Iron Druid Chronicles does a surprisingly believable job of mishmashing world cultures and mythologies into one madcap, witty, intelligent adventure with a cast you’ll fall in love with.
Published by Del Rey on Jun 17. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads
13. Hollow World by Michael J. Sullivan
I added Michael J. Sullivan’s Hollow World to this list after being lucky enough to receive an ARC and being pleasantly surprised by it. I say I was surprised because, while I fully expected this to be a good speculative read, I had not expected it to be one of those rare literary gems that exceed the speculative genre to become worthy of any English literature class. Reminiscent of H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine, Hollow World tells the story of a dying man with one last wish: to see the future. He had not expected, however, to face a utopian world that challenges everything he believed in. Coming in April, Hollow World is already one of my favorite reads of the year. Highly recommended!
Published by Tachyon on Apr 14. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads
14. The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman
Another book that featured on both last year’s and this year’s list is Lev Grossman’s The Magician’s Land. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen last year, but it will most definitely happen in 2014. The third book in Grossman’s New York Times-bestselling series that started with The Magicians, The Magician’s Land will hopefully continue the poetic and often depressing tale of the world’s least fulfilled magician. According to Grossman himself, The Magician’s Land is “not like anything I’ve ever written before. But it’s not completely new either. There are a lot of old friends to visit, and a lot of loose ends to tie up. We may never come back here again.”
Published by Viking on Aug 5. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads
15. The Crimson Campaign by Brian McClellan
As I said, flintlock fantasy is big. It’s especially big in 2014 with not one (see #10 on this list), but two sequels from last year’s debuting authors. The Crimson Campaign is the sequel to Brian McClellan’s Promise of Blood, a book not only filled with gunpowder and rifles, but also with intriguing magic systems that remind the reader of Brandon Sanderson—who happened to be McClellan’s creative writing teacher. The best thing about Promise of Blood, however, are the wonderfully relateable characters. If The Crimson Campaign is half as good as its predecessor, it’s a book worth reading indeed.
Published by Orbit on May 6. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads
16. The Tropic of Serpents by Marie Brennan
One of the most pleasant surprises I had in 2013 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
17. The Burning Dark by Adam Christopher
Adam Christopher wrote several awesome and awesomely weird fantasy and superhero novels for Angry Robot Books. This year, 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.”
Published by Tor on Mar 25. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads
18. The Widow’s House by Daniel Abraham
I’ll admit I haven’t read Daniel Abraham’s The Dagger and the Coin series yet, though I’ve heard great things about it. What I have read is Abraham’s Long Price Quartet, and based on that alone, I know that Abraham is one of the best literary fantasy authors of our time. Thus, it stands to reason that the fourth and final installment in The Dagger and the Coin Quartet, The Widow’s House, will be a hit once again. More fantastical than any of his other works, The Dagger and the Coin, which started with The Dragon’s Path, is a story of an epic world of war, destruction, love, and conflict.
Published by Orbit on Aug 5. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads
19. The Emperor’s Blades by Brian Staveley
Every year, one or two titles will always jump out due to sheer hype. This year, The Emperor’s Blades, the debut novel of Brian Staveley may well be the most-hyped novel. And why not? With a wonderful cover, an intriguing premise, a big hole to fill after the conclusion of The Wheel of Time, and a publisher pushing The Emperor’s Blades to great heights, it already is a recipe for success. This story starts when the emperor of Annur is murdered and his children must fight to uncover the conspiracy—and the ancient enemy—that effected his death. The Emperor’s Blades, first in a new epic fantasy trilogy, promises to be a complex and fast-paced epic fantasy novel filled with conspiracy, politics, treachery, intrigue, and magic.
Published by Tor on Jan 14. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads
20. Tower Lord by Anthony Ryan
You’ve probably heard of Blood Song, Anthony Ryan’s debut novel described as “last summer’s epic fantasy blockbuster,” with “razor-sharp action, deadly intrigue and conflicted heroes—not to mention vivid, detailed worlds.” While originally self-published, the novel was soon picked up by Ace in the US and Orbit in the UK—for good reason, as Blood Song has been hailed as the best fantasy novel in years. Tower Lord, the sequel in this epic fantasy series filled with war, intrigue, and tested faith, will come out in July.
Published by Ace on Jul 1. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads
21. Radiance by Catherynne M. Valente
Radiance is Catherynne M. Valente’s first adult novel since the release of Deathless three years ago. This genre-shattering novel—it’s described as a decopunk pulp alternate history science fiction space opera mystery—from the bestselling author of the Fairyland books is set in a Hollywood (and solar system) very different from our own. To quote the book’s synopsis: “Aesthetically recalling A Trip to the Moon and House of Leaves, and told using techniques from reality TV, classic film, gossip magazines, and meta-fictional narrative, Radiance is a solar system-spanning story of love, exploration, family, loss, quantum physics, and silent film.”
Published by Tor on Aug 12. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads
22. The Winter Long by Seanan McGuire
While composing this list, I noticed not one, not two, but three Seanan McGuire novels coming out next year. So I sent an email to Garrett, Ranting Dragon’s resident McGuire fan, asking him which book he was most excited for. I imagine it was a tough choice! Sparrow Hill Road comes out in May as the first in a new series titled Ghost Stories, and Half-Off Ragnarok, the third InCryptid novel, in March. In the end, though, Garrett chose The Winter Long. Coming in September, The Winter Long is the eighth installment in the October Daye novels, an amazing urban fantasy series featuring a kickass changeling protagonist, engaging and twisty plotlines, and some of the most gorgeous worldbuilding ever.
Published by DAW in Sep 2014. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads
23. Assail by Ian C. Esslemont
Arguably one of the best epic fantasy series of all time is Steven Erikson’s Malazan Book of the Fallen. It took Erikson’s friend Ian Esslemont a little longer to get published, but his Malazan Empire series, set in the same world, have become incredibly popular in the last several years. This year will see the culmination of the Malazan Empire series when Assail, the sixth and final volume, is published in August. Any fan of epic fantasy will love the enthralling Malazan world, as introduced by Erikson and perfected by Esslemont.
Published by Tor on Aug 5. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads
24. Steles of the Sky by Elizabeth Bear
Whenever I see one of the books in Elizabeth Bear’s Eternal Sky trilogy pop up, I marvel at those beautiful covers and remember that I really need to read those books. I’ve heard it described as one of the best trilogies in fantasy, and it continues the recent emphasis on exploring new themes, worlds, and cultures in fantasy. The third and final volume in the brilliant Eternal Sky trilogy, Steles of the Sky, comes out in April and continues the story of Re Temur and the Wizard Samarkar, who fight against the Nameless Ones. One of my New Year’s resolutions is to read this trilogy. Who will join me?
Published by Tor on Apr 8. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads
25. Twelve Kings in Sharakhai by Bradley Beaulieu
One of the biggest revelations of recent years was Bradley Beaulieu, whose Eastern European-influenced epic fantasy trilogy, The Lays of Anuskaya, completely blew me away. After some troubles with his previous publisher, DAW Books will now publish Beaulieu’s next trilogy, titled The Song of the Shattered Sands. The first novel in the series is the exciting Arabian Nights inspired Twelve Kings in Sharakhai. Beaulieu is known for his comprehensive and original world building, and it looks like Twelve Kings in Sharakhai will be no different.
Published by DAW on Nov 1. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads
26. My Real Children by Jo Walton
We loved Jo Walton’s Among Others here at The Ranting Dragon, and looking at the cover for Walton’s latest fantasy novel, My Real Children, I can’t help but be reminded of that book. Like Among Others, My Real Children promises to be a literary jewel. To quote the author: “It’s an alternate history, in which a woman with dementia struggles to remember her two contradictory lives. Patricia made a choice in 1949 and thereafter not just her personal life but the worlds she lives in diverge. The chapters alternate between her life as Pat and her life as Tricia. It’s a book about life and love and choices and moonbases.”
Published by Tor on May 20. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads
27. Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer
Jeff VanderMeer is especially known for short fiction, but he’s quite the “long fiction” author, too—and the first novel in his new Southern Reach trilogy, Annihilation, is setting out to prove it. According to the cover blurb by Lauren Beukes, Annihilation is “a tense and chilling psychological thriller about an unraveling expedition and the strangeness within us. A little Kubrick, a lot Lovecraft, the novel builds with an unbearable tension and claustrophobic dread that lingers long afterward.” And while I have your attention, you should really check out this version of the book’s cover. It’s new and awesome, and I hope many more publishers will create similar artwork!
Published by FSG on Feb 4 Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads
28. Lock In by John Scalzi
The only John Scalzi novel I’ve read was the hilarious and refreshing, Hugo Award-winning Redshirts. If I judge the author on that book alone (and I shamelessly will), he’s most certainly my favorite science fiction author. This year, John Scalzi is releasing another standalone novel, Lock In. This near-future science fiction novel explores a virus that is running rampant. For the most part, its symptoms are manageable, but it turns some into virtually living statues. It sounds like a serious story, but I’m sure Scalzi will give it his trademark snarky spin, turning it into something gloriously amazing.
Published by Tor on Aug 26. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads
29. Three Princes by Ramona Wheeler
I’m always looking for novels with an interesting setting like nothing done before in speculative fiction. Ramona Wheeler’s debut novel, Three Princes, is just such a book. This alternate history is set in the year 1877 of Our Lord Julius Caesar, in an Egyptian Empire that could have been, where Pharaoh Djoser-George governs a sprawling realm that spans Europe, Africa, and much of Asia. Three Princes promises to be a book chock full of action, adventure, conspiracy, and richly imagined, cinematic alternate history world building.
Published by Tor on Feb 4. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads
30. The Waking Engine by David Edison
The last book on this list has a lot in common with the second-to-last book. Like Three Princes, David Edison’s The Waking Engine is a debut novel published by Tor in February, featuring some amazing cover art of a city. The Waking Engine has a spectacular new setting, too. To quote a cover blurb by Booklist, “Edison breaks some new ground here, and even when he’s in familiar territory, he finds his own way of exploring it.” Edison is definitely another debuting author I’m keeping a close eye on.
Published by Tor on Feb 11. Buy this book from Amazon Find this book on Goodreads


So there you have it; that’s our list of books we’re eagerly awaiting this year. What say you? Will 2014 be awesome or what?

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 and 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. One of my most anticipated novels is “A Plunder of Souls” (3rd book inThe Thieftaker Chronicles) – July 8, 2014 by D.B. Jackson.

    Theiftaker, the first book in the series is one of my favorite Historical Fantasies. Takes place in pre-revolution Boston. the author has a PhD in History and does a fantastic job of blending history with his fantasy story.

    If you haven’t checked out his books has a free short story set in his world.


  2. So many of these are books that I’m looking forward to!

  3. I would like to be excited about Words of Radiance, but as a blogger/podcaster, putting aside the time to read Way of Kings didn’t happen last year, and I’m running out of time this year to get WoR done by release. I tried ignoring new releases in Dec to read GRRM, and that lasted about two weeks.

    I’m currently reading Nameless, Mercedes Yardley’s debut novel. James Smythe put out another good one with The Echo, and Hugh Howey just released Sand. Those were all highly anticipated 2014 releases and they all release in January.

  4. A good list, and thank you so much for including Hollow World. I can’t wait until it is finally released to the general public.

  5. John WILL O WISPwell

    So many books I’m looking forward to, but favorite thing about these lists are the books I haven’t heard about yet. Wheeler’s Three Princes sounds very interesting! Looking it up in Tor’s catalog now.

    Splendid post – thanks!

  6. Yes, most definitely looking forward to Anthony Ryan’s next book! ‘Blood Song’ really was my favorite book I read in 2013.

  7. Dying_in_this_Crap_World

    How about a fantasy novel NOT ABOUT a king, prince, princess or throne.