Top Twenty Most Anticipated Novels of January 2013

As our regular readers have come to expect from last year, The Ranting Dragon will be serving you a list of the most anticipated fantasy and science fiction releases for every month of 2013. This year, though, we’ll be doing things a little differently! While previously we simply copied the blurbs publishers provided, from now on our staff will work together and provide you with our own information. That way, we can give you more information and share some of our own enthusiasm for the titles we look forward to. Additionally, these lists will be composed by democratic vote among our staff members.

This month’s list—which is a little (or a lot!) late due to all those end of year lists we did, sorry for that!—has been composed by Ashik, Dan, Garrett, Janea, Rebecca, 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 January 2013 according to The Ranting Dragon:

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1. A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson
Twenty-three years, two authors, eleven thousand pages, and over forty-four million copies in the making, A Memory of Light is not only the most anticipated fantasy novel of the year, it may be the most anticipated fantasy novel of all time. Brandon Sanderson concludes The Wheel of Time in this, the 14th book of Robert Jordan’s epic series. The Last Battle is upon us, and the outcome is still a mystery. Will Rand and his friends overcome the Dark One and banish him forever? Or will Shai’tan break the fabric of the pattern, and plunge the world into darkness forever? The Wheel weaves as the Wheel wills, January 8th!
Published by Tor on Jan 8.
Blurb written by Dan.
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2. Shadow Ops: Fortress Frontier by Myke Cole
While A Memory of Light is our most anticipated book of the month for sheer impact of its release, Fortress Frontier is a great number two because it doesn’t yet bear that weight of stardom. Myke Cole’s second novel merits high anticipation on its own. His debut novel, Control Point, first in the Shadow Ops series, was amazing… except for that horrible protagonist who sucked a lot of the fun out of reading. Well, let me tell you, I’ve read Fortress Frontier and there’s an awesome new protagonist. On top of that, the story is even more amazing than that of Control Point. Thus, I can only tell you: anticipate this military fantasy novel, and read Control Point if you haven’t yet!
Published by Ace on Jan 29.
Blurb written by Stephan.
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3. Star Wars: Scoundrels by Timothy Zahn
I openly admit that I’m a Star Wars fangirl, and especially a Timothy Zahn fangirl; I’ve read Star Wars books I didn’t love, but never by Zahn. And despite its groan-worthy pun of a tagline (“Even [Han] can’t do this job solo”), Star Wars: Scoundrels promises to be another fantastic entry into the Expanded Universe by the mastermind who gave us Grand Admiral Thrawn, Mara Jade, and the noghri. Actually, this may be the first Star Wars book by Zahn that doesn’t feature Thrawn, Mara, or both. Between the events of Star Wars: A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back, Han must infiltrate a Black Sun stronghold with his crew, including Chewbacca and Lando Calrissian, and pull off the heist of the century. (And if “Black Sun” doesn’t mean anything to you, might I recommend that you also read Shadows of the Empire by Steve Perry?)
Published by LucasBooks on Jan 1.
Blurb written by Rebecca.
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4. The Kassa Gambit by M.C. Planck
The Kassa Gambit is set in a far distant future, when humanity has spread across the stars without a sign of other intelligent life. That changes when the small farming planet Kassa is destroyed by a mysterious force, and in the aftermath Lt. Kyle Daspar and Prudence Falling find evidence that all is not quite as it seems. With duel pressures of an impending alien invasion and an all-powerful government, this debut promises to be an intriguing space action adventure.
Published by Tor on Jan 8.
Blurb written by Janea.
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5. Six-Gun Snow White by Catherynne M. Valente
New twists on old tales are still popular, thanks to continuing mainstream attention for shows like Wicked and Once Upon a Time, and Six-Gun Snow White promises to be a real treat. Catherynne M. Valente has put Snow White in the American Old West, where being a half-White, half-Crow girl is more curse than blessing. Of course, we all know how the tale is going to end, but with a master like Valente at the helm the journey will be amazing. However, don’t sit on your hands with this one; it’s only available as a limited edition signed and numbered hardcover from specialty press Subterranean.
Published by Subterranean on Jan 31.
Blurb written by Janea.
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6. The Red Knight by Miles Cameron
The plot synopsis claims that leading a mercenary company takes “all the advantages of birth, training, and the luck of the devil to do it,” and that “the Red Knight has all three.” So, too, does The Red Knight have three elements of a good fantasy novel: an interesting plot, engaging characters, and fantastical aspects that are plot-relevant. Miles Cameron’s The Red Knight is a promising historical fantasy debut featuring an expansive cast, an engaging plot, and a detailed eye for combat. Fans of Glen Cook’s The Black Company and Daniel Abraham’s The Dagger and Coin series will find an enjoyable read.
Published by Orbit on Jan 22.
Blurb written by Rebecca.
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7. Paper Valentine by Brenna Yovanoff
Brenna Yovanoff is one of those authors who knows their prose. Paper Valentine follows Hannah Wagner, a girl who’s mourning her best friend who died six months ago—but moving on is hard when Lillian is literally haunting her. When a serial murderer starts targeting young girls in Hannah’s town, her skills as a medium are put to the test as she races to solve the crimes. Now, this sounds a little trite and simplistic, but in the hands of Yovanoff it will be subtle, unexpected, haunting, and simply stunning.
Published by Razorbill on Jan 8.
Blurb written by Janea.
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8. Ice Forged by Gail Z. Martin
Ice Forged is the first book in the new The Ascendant Kingdoms series by Gail Z. Martin, author of The Chronicles of the Necromancer. It tells the story of Blaine “Mick” McFadden, a convicted criminal sentenced to a harsh life in the frozen north. When some sort of cataclysm strikes the world, plunging it into chaos, it comes down to Mick and his fellow criminals and exiles to fight for their survival.
Published by Orbit on Jan 8.
Blurb written by Dan.
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9. Eye of the World: The Graphic Novel, Volume Three
The previously released volumes of the graphic adaptation of Robert Jordan’s The Eye of the World, first in the Wheel of Time series, have been incredibly beautiful, and this third volume of the epic adaptation should be no different. Made from a classic in epic fantasy, this graphic novel will be another masterpiece, from the dark, vivid art to the faithfulness to the book. We certainly expect Volume Three to continue to do The Eye of the World justice, as Volume One and Two certainly did.
Published by Tor on Jan 29.
Blurb written by Rebecca.
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10. She Returns From War by Lee Collins
In this second installment of a series described as “True Grit meets True Blood,” a series of events is set in motion by a woman from England that will lead the protagonist, Cora, on an adventure out into the New Mexico desert. There, she must hunt a Navajo witch intent on revenge for atrocities committed against the Navajo people.
Published by Angry Robot on Jan 29.
Blurb written by Garrett.
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11. Future Games ed. by Paula Guran
This science fiction anthology features the republication of the work of many well-known and well-loved authors, from Orson Scott Card and Cory Doctorow to Scott Westerfeld and even George R. R. Martin. These short stories focus on games and sports as we’ve never seen them before. With aliens, politics, and high stakes, this collection promises great adventures in both near and distant visions of our future.
Published by Prime on Jan 1.
Blurb written by Rebecca.
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12. The Mad Scientist’s Daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke
The Mad Scientist’s Daughter is Cassandra Rose Clark’s second book, and while her 2012 debut slipped by us here at The Ranting Dragon, this one looks promising. The synopsis and advanced reviews show this to be literary science fiction, and there aren’t too many of those running around! Finn is an android originally purchased to tutor Cat, the daughter of two scientists, and the two bond in unexpected ways. More than simply a dystopian novel that explores the line between artificial intelligence and the human mind, this is also a deeply moving love story and one we can’t wait to read.
Published by Angry Robot on Jan 29.
Blurb written by Janea.
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13. Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi
In this sequel to Under the Never Sky, Veronica Rossi continues the story of Aria and Perry, now Blood Lord of the Tides, and their perilous love. The two are finally reunited, but the Tides don’t take kindly to Aria, and with worsening storms threatening their tribe’s very existence, Aria fears she may have to leave Perry behind to save them both. Through the Ever Night is the second book in a spellbinding dystopian trilogy for young adults.
Published by HarperCollins on Jan 8.
Blurb written by Rebecca.
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14. Between by Kerry Schafer
With a job as an ER doctor and having just met the man of her dreams (literally!), Vivian is pretty happy with her life. However, when she discovers that she is the last of a race of beings known as dreamshifters, Vivian’s life begins experiencing complications. As a dreamshifter, it is Vivian’s duty to protect the portals between the waking and dreaming worlds—which have already begun to unravel. As Vivian sets out to fix this inherited mess, she must confront dragons and a sorceress bent on eternal life and power—not to mention Vivian’s own dark family history. Vivian must find a way to succeed against all of these things, else reality itself be forever altered.
Published by Ace on Jan 29.
Blurb written by Garrett.
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15. The Explorer by James Smythe
When Cormac Easton, journalist, is selected to document humanity’s first manned deep-space mission, dreams of becoming one of the great explorers in history go through his head. However, things don’t go according to plan. When the captain is found down after everyone wakes from hypersleep, ground control forces the mission to continue on as planned. But the body count continues to rise, and soon, Cormac is alone and spiraling toward that inevitable oblivion of death—unless he finds a way to prevent it.
Published by Harper Voyager on Jan 2.
Blurb written by Garrett.
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16. Imager’s Battalion by L.E. Modesitt Jr.
The sixth installment in New York Times bestselling series, The Imager Portfolio, Imager’s Battalion follows history’s first Imager combat force, with hero Quaeryt in command. Having been given rank by his wife’s brother, Quaeryt joins the army as they invade the hostile land of Bovaria. It is his hope that, by demonstrating the value of Imagers as heroes by leading them into one costly battle after another, Imagers will be legitimized in the hearts and minds of men. However, enemies of the Imagers plot against him and a series of intrigues forces Quaeryt to the front lines of the conflict.
Published by Tor on Jan 22.
Blurb written by Garrett.
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17. Revolution 19 by Gregg Rosenblum
A young adult novel, Revolution 19 is set in a world where humans are hunted by robotic overlords. Twenty years ago, in 2071, only a handful escaped the purge. Kevin, Nick, and Cass are descendants of the generation that survived, and when a strike wipes out their secret community, the teens risk everything to save possible survivors.
Published by Harper Teen on Jan 8.
Blurb written by Garrett.
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18. The Six-Gun Tarot by R.S. Belcher
Another debut, The Six-Gun Tarot promises to be Weird West at its best. The year is 1869, and Golgatha, Nevada is a place littered with strange characters. When the abandoned silver mine outside of town begins to leak pure evil, it’s up to the sheriff (is he dead or alive?) and the other townsfolk (also not what they seem) to save both themselves and the world. It’s been described as “Buffy meets Deadwood,” and that’s a hard thing to pass up.
Published by Tor on Jan 22.
Blurb written by Janea.
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19. Splintered by A.G. Howard
A young adult novel, Splintered is Howard’s debut novel. It centers around Alyssa Gardner, a descendant of Alice Liddell (the inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s classic novel). Alyssa can hear the whispers of insects and flowers—an ability that landed her mother in a mental hospital many years before. Alyssa has managed to keep herself together in the past, but when her mother’s health slackens, she learns that things thought fiction are sometimes based in a terrible reality. The Wonderland she discovers is not the light and bubbly place Lewis Carroll made out; instead, it is a dark and twisted place where Alyssa must fix all of Alice’s screw-ups to save her family. There is also the issue of whom to trust: Jeb, her best friend and crush, or the sexy and suspicious Morpheous, Alyssa’s guide through Wonderland? What will happen in this mad and mystical under-land? Only time may tell.
Published by Amulet on Jan 1.
Blurb written by Garrett.
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20. Shades of Earth by Beth Revis
This is the third installment in a young adult science fiction trilogy which began with Across the Universe. Beth Revis’s series has a lot of depth to it, from the hard science that drives its technology to the complex social issues main characters Amy and Elder confront. They are part of a colonization expedition upon the ship Godspeed, which has been in transit for hundreds of years. As one would expect, there were some major bumps along the way during that time. At the end of A Million Suns, it seems like things have been ironed out enough for the expedition to make one last try for success and survival. But what does their new planet have in store for them?
Published by Razorbill on Jan 15.
Blurb written by Janea.
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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!

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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