Top Twenty Most Anticipated Novels of February 2013

So far, 2013 is turning into quite the superstar year of speculative fiction. I know we’re still in the first month, but January had some pretty amazing books. There were A Memory of Light, Fortress Frontier, and Scoundrels—and February might even top that. This month has anything a Ranting Dragon reader could possibly want. If you like high fantasy, we have Peter V. Brett’s newest Demon Cycle novel for you. If you enjoy literary fantasy and dragons, we have Marie Brennan’s A Natural History of Dragons. If you would rather read a good science fiction novel, how about American Elsewhere or The Best of All Possible Worlds? And if you’re more of an urban fantasy junkie, February has Dead Things, Between Two Thorns, and more.

It suffices to say that, whichever speculative subgenre you enjoy reading, you are bound to find something exciting on this wonderful list of twenty books, compiled by democratic vote among our staff and with blurbs written by Janea, Rebecca, Dan, Cameron, and myself. We hope you’ll enjoy the list, and we hope it will provide you with awesome new books to read!

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

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1. The Daylight War by Peter V. Brett
Can you believe it’s been less than four years since Peter V. Brett’s debut novel, The Warded Man, was released? Since then, Brett’s star has risen ever higher, and with The Desert Spear, a breath-taking sequel, The Demon Cycle quickly became one of the more popular epic fantasy series. This month, the long wait for the third volume will finally be over. The Daylight War promises to be everything its predecessors were: a coming-of-age epic, huge in both scope and page-count, brimful of mind-blowing action, magic old and new, and demons. What’s more, the title, The Daylight War, indicates that we’ll finally see the war so heavily hinted at in The Desert Spear. Bring it on!
Published by Del Rey on Feb 12.
Blurb written by Stephan.
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2. A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan
Marie Brennan’s A Natural History of Dragons promises to give us something we haven’t read before. First in a new series, this is the memoir of Lady Trent, a naturalist and adventurer with a passion for dragons. Her search, told from her own perspective, promises an epic tale of a strong woman protagonist out in the world. And hopefully, there will be lots of dragons. I sure can’t wait to find out what direction this novel is going to take. If the prose is as gorgeous as its cover, A Natural History of Dragons will be a wondrous novel.
Published by Tor on Feb 5.
Blurb written by Stephan.
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3. American Elsewhere by Robert Jackson Bennett
From the author of the wonderful literary fantasy, The Troupe, comes a new stand-alone story that adds an alien invasion to the idealized image of the American dream. American Elsewhere promises to be a captivating novel full of morally ambiguous characters and horrific detail. This supernatural fantasy will definitely be one to watch, as it may well turn out to be another literary gem.
Published by Orbit on Feb 12.
Blurb written by Stephan.
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4. The Best of All Possible Worlds by Karen Lord
A few years ago, Karen Lord shocked the fantasy community with her beautifully Caribbean-inspired debut novel, Redemption in Indigo. This time, Lord has decided to take a different tack and venture into science fiction with her her novel, The Best of All Possible Worlds. Lord’s foray introduces its readers to a people whose homeland has been destroyed and who must now swallow their pride and ask for assistance from another species. Tension reaches a climactic point between the two cultures and a man and woman must find a way to bring them together before it is too late.
Published by Del Rey on Feb 12.
Blurb written by Cameron.
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5. Dreams and Shadows by C. Robert Cargill
If you like authors such as Neil Gaiman, Erin Morgenstern, Lev Grossman, and Kim Harrison, this debut will be to your discerning tastes. In Dreams and Shadows, a supernatural parallel universe lives just out of sight of mundane eyes. Old friends Ewan and Colby, however, know it’s there. They’re not from Texas, where they currently live, but from a world of fairies, genies, and wizards. Not quite a modern day fairy tale, with some very dark elements, this debut is sure to knock our socks off.
Published by Harper Voyager, Feb 26.
Blurb written by Janea.
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6. Fragments by Dan Wells
Fragments is the second installment in the young adult series that began with Partials. Humanity has nearly been wiped from the planet by a mysterious plague called RM. The survivors, huddled in a colony on Long Island, are immune to the disease, but for over a decade any infants born die within days. On the mainland, genetically engineered super-humans, called Partials, are also facing extinction while tensions between Partials and humans escalate. Kira, a Partial who was raised as a human, thinks she might be the key to both RM and the Partials’ extinction. She sets off with her old friend Marcus to see if she’s right.
Published by Balzer+Bray on Feb 26.
Blurb written by Janea.
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7. Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger
Finishing School, a new young adult series by steampunk favorite Gail Carriger, sounds far more readable to an adult audience than most young adult novels do. The series starts with Etiquette & Espionage, following the teenaged Sophronia, whose frazzled mother desperately enrolls her in finishing school—where she learns not only typical ladylike etiquette, but also the fine arts of espionage, weaponry, and deceit. Finishing School is set in the same universe as the Parasol Protectorate, twenty-five years earlier.
Published by Little Brown on Feb 5.
Blurb written by Rebecca.
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8. Dead Things by Stephen Blackmoore
Appreciated for his polished, assured writing and smooth prose, Stephen Blackmoore, author of City of the Lost, is a new star on the urban fantasy scene. With his second novel, Dead Things, he looks set to reinforce that fact once more. In this paranormal fantasy, protagonist Eric Carter is a necromancer: he sees ghosts and talks to the dead. Dead Things promises to incorporate a hard-boiled sense of urban despair into a paranormal plot, all topped with witty humor.
Published by DAW on Feb 5.
Blurb written by Stephan.
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9. Between Two Thorns by Emma Newman
Emma Newman, author of post-apocalyptic young adult novel 20 Years Later, has signed a three book deal with Angry Robot to publish her new series. The Split Worlds is an urban fantasy series with gritty noir, fantastical magic, evil faeries and people just trying to drink their tea in peace. The first novel in the series is Between Two Thorns and, if its gorgeous cover is any indication, it will be a wonderful new addition to the urban fantasy genre.
Published by Angry Robot on Feb 26.
Blurb written by Stephan.
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10. Fade to Black by Francis Knight
A dystopian urban fantasy in which magic derived from pain is outlawed, Fade to Black promises to be as much about the vertical city of Malaha as it is about the characters that live in it. According to publisher Orbit, this debut novel has the murky atmosphere of Sin City, with the action and breakneck pacing of Brent Weeks or Scott Lynch. Definitely a bold claim, and whether Fade to Black can live up to such high praise remains to be seen. The fact is, this dark novel looks very promising and may well prove a contender for best debut of the year. And did I mention a sequel, titled Before the Fall, is already planned for release later this year?
Published by Orbit on Feb 26.
Blurb written by Stephan.
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11. Gideon’s Angel by Clifford Beal
Alternative history is alive and well, and lately it’s been setting its sights on pre-Industrial England. Gideon’s Angel follows Richard Tradewell just after the English Civil War, and he’s not happy about losing his King, family, and fortune. Unfortunately, Tradewell needs to protect Cromwell in order to protect England from a Demonic overthrow. There’s a lot of history to play with here, and adding in magic to an already religiously fragmented era opens up realms of possibility. Another debut, this will hopefully be a wonderful surprise.
Published by Solaris on Feb 26.
Blurb written by Janea.
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12. Blood Oranges by Kathleen Tierney
Quinn has a reputation as the most notorious demon hunter in New England. If you ask her, it’s completely undeserved; she’s no kung fu wizard, she has no arsenal of medieval weapons, she’s just an ex-junkie with an unfortunate talent for being in the wrong place at the right time. Now she’s wanted for crimes against humanity that she claims she (mostly) didn’t commit. A werewolf and a vampire have both taken a chunk out of her. And things are only getting worse. This dark urban fantasy shows a lot of promise, especially for those who like unconventional and reluctant heroes.
Published by Roc on Feb 5.
Blurb written by Rebecca.
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13. Dualed by Elsie Chapman
Elsie Chapman’s debut is a young adult dystopian with a truly creepy premise. West Grayer lives in the city of Kersh, a safe haven with a high cost. She’s spent her whole life knowing that somewhere out there is her Alternate, a genetic twin who was raised by another family. Before her twentieth birthday, West must kill her Alt and prove her worth. I’ve heard this book compared to Divergent by Veronica Roth. I haven’t read either book yet, but it seems that those who loved Divergent may find themselves delighted with this book as well.
Published by Random House on Feb 26.
Blurb written by Rebecca.
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14. The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination ed. by John Joseph Adams
Who doesn’t love a good evil mastermind? Anyone? No? Good, because this newest anthology edited by the master of anthologies himself, John Joseph Adams, offers a collection of twenty-two short stories about evil geniuses and mad scientists … as seen from their perspective! This anthology features an all-star lineup, with authors like Naomi Novik, Carrie Vaughn, Mary Robinette Kowal, Seanan McGuire, L.E. Modesitt, and David Farland. With such an amazing premise and lineup, The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination simply has to be good.
Published by Tor on Feb 19.
Blurb written by Stephan.
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15. Age of Voodoo by James Lovegrove
This month, James Lovegrove brings us the next installment of his Pantheon series, Age of Voodoo. This newest story, set on a mysterious island with an old Cold War bunker full of mysteries and danger, is a nice departure from his usual choice of more ancient traditional religions as his focus. Sure to bring all of his usual action-packed battle sequences and great building of tension to the game, a little dark magic, and slumbering Gods stand to make this his best offering to date. He’ll do the voodoo that he does.
Published by Solaris on Feb 26.
Blurb written by Dan.
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16. Star Wars: The Last Jedi by Michael Reaves & Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff
In the aftermath of Emperor Palpatine’s Order 66, Jax Pavan has not gone into hiding or exile. He fights on as a guerilla, joining up with Whiplash, a secret resistance group on Coruscant. Now he faces his most critical mission yet, escorting a Whiplash leader to safety. Jax is prepared for nearly every Imperial threat—but Darth Vader is after him and will stop at nothing to kill The Last Jedi. Michael Reaves and Maya Kaathryn Bohnhoff, experienced Star Wars writers both individually and together, collaborate again in this upcoming stand-alone.
Published by LucasBooks on Feb 26.
Blurb written by Rebecca.
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17. Breaking Point by Kristen Simmons
For fans of The Hunger Games, February offers the treat of the second volume in a new young adult dystopian series. Breaking Point follows Article 5, which was released last year. Ember and Chase have finally reached the Resistance and escaped the Federal Bureau of Reformation, at least for now. But the FBR isn’t through with Ember, naming her its number one most wanted person with orders to shoot on sight. Can Ember and Chase survive when they can’t even go outside? Article 5 was well written, well thought out, and free from a number of annoying tropes populating today’s young adult literature (love triangles anyone?). If Breaking Point lives up to its predecessor, it will be a very worthwhile read.
Published by Tor Teen on Feb 12.
Blurb written by Janea.
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18. Pantomime by Laura Lam
The circus is back in town. This one stands at the edge of an ancient civilization filled with mysterious wonders. Iphigenia, known as Gene, is a noble girl who doesn’t wish to have a be all and end all of her life. Micah is a runaway living on the street. Both find refuge with the circus. Unfortunately, there’s not much more to tell about this young adult book without giving away the plot twists! But if you loved Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, this promises to be a slam dunk debut.
Published by Strange Chemistry, Feb 5
Blurb written by Janea.
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19. Trickster by Jeff Somers
With Trickster, Jeff Somers launches his new urban fantasy series. This novel promises to bring readers a dark and original urban setting in which mages operate under the radar of human society. Not just any mages either, but the kind that use blood, lots and lots of blood. This fact becomes very evident when looking at the book trailer for Trickster. It promises be a gripping urban novel in the vein of Chuck Wendig’s Miriam Black series.
Published by Pocket on Feb 26.
Blurb written by Stephan.
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20. City of a Thousand Dolls by Miriam Forster
Another debut, Miriam Forster’s City of a Thousand Dolls promises to be a well-crafted fantasy novel set in a magical imagined world. It is the tale of sixteen-year-old Nisha, an orphan on the streets of the City of a Thousand Dolls, who attempts to uncover the secrets behind a series of murders before she can become the next victim. According to the cover blurbs, City of a Thousand Dolls will be a fantastical murder mystery with a creative premise, heart-pounding pacing, amazing world building, and a wonderful heroine.
Published by HarperTeen on Feb 5.
Blurb written by Stephan.
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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 A Natural History of Dragons (art by Todd Lockwood) and the British cover of The Daylight War (art by Larry Rostant).

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.

3 comments

  1. A Natural History Of Dragons, Trickster and Between Two Thorns all look like worthy reads to me. *Looks at book pile* Darnit, you guys have done it again …

  2. I read ‘Pantomime’ recently and it was pretty good. Of those listed, I’ve got my eye on ‘American Elsewhere,’ as it looks really promising.

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