It’s the end of the year, which means it’s time to GET REALLY EXCITED about all the amazing books coming out in 2019. There are a million and more I could list and never stop listing, and quite a few of those are from debut authors. You can see a whole long list of those over at Debut Authors 19, but for my own selfish purposes, I’ve decided to single out those debuts in the fantasy and science fiction bracket.
Read on for a taste of what 2019 has to offer:
| Fate Forged by B. P. Donigan
December 18, 2018 by Red Adept Publishing
Maeve O’Neill grew a hard shell while growing up on the streets of Boston. Just as she’s on the cusp of getting her life on a better track, she starts having agonizing visions of torture. Desperate to rid her mind of the awful scenes, she follows her visions to the scene of a murder. Instead of answers, she gets an unexpected gift from the victim: Magic.
Maeve’s newfound abilities soon make her the target of two powerful and dangerous groups, the Council and the Brotherhood, both of which will stop at nothing to gain the magic locked inside her. In an attempt to stay alive, Maeve strikes a deal with the Council’s disillusioned enforcer, Silas Valeron. His motives are suspect, and his arrogance is frustrating, but his plan might work.
With more visions sending Maeve deep into a world of magic with enemies all around her, she must learn to control her powers long enough to get rid of them. If she can’t, all of Earth’s magic could fall into the wrong hands.
| Here and Now and Then by Mike Chen
January 29, 2019 by Mira Books
To save his daughter, he’ll go anywhere—and any-when…
Kin Stewart is an everyday family man: working in I.T., trying to keep the spark in his marriage, struggling to connect with his teenage daughter, Miranda. But his current life is a far cry from his previous career…as a time-traveling secret agent from 2142.
Stranded in suburban San Francisco since the 1990s after a botched mission, Kin has kept his past hidden from everyone around him, despite the increasing blackouts and memory loss affecting his time-traveler’s brain. Until one afternoon, his “rescue” team arrives—eighteen years too late.
Their mission: return Kin to 2142 where he’s only been gone weeks, not years, and where another family is waiting for him. A family he can’t remember.
Torn between two lives, Kin is desperate for a way to stay connected to both. But when his best efforts threaten to destroy the agency and even history itself, his daughter’s very existence is at risk. It’ll take one final trip across time to save Miranda—even if it means breaking all the rules of time travel in the process.
| Empire of Light by Alex Harrow
February 25, 2019 by NineStar Press
Damian is the Empire’s go-to gun. Until a suave revolutionary in need of an assassin kicks his ass and demands his help.To survive and protect the guy Damian loves, he has to make this revolution work. Even if he has to take on the entire Empire and get way too close to the guy who blackmailed Damian into this in the first place. To save those he loves, he’ll set the world on fire.
|The Fever King by Victoria Lee
March 1, 2019 by Skyscape
In the former United States, sixteen-year-old Noam Álvaro wakes up in a hospital bed, the sole survivor of the viral magic that killed his family and made him a technopath. His ability to control technology attracts the attention of the minister of defense and thrusts him into the magical elite of the nation of Carolinia.
The son of undocumented immigrants, Noam has spent his life fighting for the rights of refugees fleeing magical outbreaks—refugees Carolinia routinely deports with vicious efficiency. Sensing a way to make change, Noam accepts the minister’s offer to teach him the science behind his magic, secretly planning to use it against the government. But then he meets the minister’s son—cruel, dangerous, and achingly beautiful—and the way forward becomes less clear.
Caught between his purpose and his heart, Noam must decide who he can trust and how far he’s willing to go in pursuit of the greater good.
|Famous Men Who Never Lived by K Chess
March 5, 2019 by Tin House
Wherever Hel looks, New York City is both reassuringly familiar and terribly wrong. As one of the thousands who fled the outbreak of nuclear war in an alternate United States—an alternate timeline—she finds herself living as a refugee in our own not-so-parallel New York. The slang and technology are foreign to her, the politics and art unrecognizable. While others, like her partner Vikram, attempt to assimilate, Hel refuses to reclaim her former career or create a new life. Instead, she obsessively rereads Vikram’s copy of The Pyronauts—a science fiction masterwork in her world that now only exists as a single flimsy paperback—and becomes determined to create a museum dedicated to preserving the remaining artifacts and memories of her vanished culture.
But the refugees are unwelcome and Hel’s efforts are met with either indifference or hostility. And when the only copy of The Pyronauts goes missing, Hel must decide how far she is willing to go to recover it and finally face her own anger, guilt, and grief over what she has truly lost.
|Titanshade by Dan Stout
March 12, 2019 by DAW
Carter’s a homicide cop in Titanshade, an oil boomtown where 8-tracks are state of the art, disco rules the radio, and all the best sorcerers wear designer labels. It’s also a metropolis teetering on the edge of disaster. As its oil reserves run dry, the city’s future hangs on a possible investment from the reclusive amphibians known as Squibs.
But now negotiations have been derailed by the horrific murder of a Squib diplomat. The pressure’s never been higher to make a quick arrest, even as Carter’s investigation leads him into conflict with the city’s elite. Undermined by corrupt coworkers and falsified evidence, and with a suspect list that includes power-hungry politicians, oil magnates, and mad scientists, Carter must find the killer before the investigation turns into a witch-hunt and those closest to him pay the ultimate price on the filthy streets of Titanshade.
|The Widening Gyre by Michael R. Johnston
March 14, 2019 by Flame Tree Press
Eight hundred years ago, the Zhen Empire discovered a broken human colony ship drifting in the fringes of their space. The Zhen gave the humans a place to live and folded them into their Empire as a client state. But it hasn’t been easy. Not all Zhen were eager to welcome another species into their Empire, and humans have faced persecution. For hundreds of years, human languages and history were outlawed subjects, as the Zhen tried to mold humans into their image. Earth and the cultures it nourished for millennia are forgotten, little more than legends.
One of the first humans to be allowed to serve in the Zhen military, Tajen Hunt became a war hero at the Battle of Elkari, the only human to be named an official Hero of the Empire. He was given command of a task force, and sent to do the Empire’s bidding in their war with the enigmatic Tabrans. But when he failed in a crucial mission, causing the deaths of millions of people, he resigned in disgrace and faded into life on the fringes as a lone independent pilot.
When Tajen discovers his brother, Daav, has been killed by agents of the Empire, he, his niece, and their newly-hired crew set out to finish his brother’s quest: to find Earth, the legendary homeworld of humanity. What they discover will shatter 800 years of peace in the Empire, and start a war that could be the end of the human race.
|The Perfect Assassin by K.A. Doore
March 19, 2019 by Tor
Divine justice is written in blood.
Or so Amastan has been taught. As a new assassin in the Basbowen family, he’s already having second thoughts about taking a life. A scarcity of contracts ends up being just what he needs.
Until, unexpectedly, Amastan finds the body of a very important drum chief. Until, impossibly, Basbowen’s finest start showing up dead, with their murderous jaan running wild in the dusty streets of Ghadid. Until, inevitably, Amastan is ordered to solve these murders, before the family gets blamed.
Every life has its price, but when the tables are turned, Amastan must find this perfect assassin or be the next target.
| The Luminous Dead by Caitlin Starling
April 2, 2019 by Harper Voyager
When Gyre Price lied her way into this expedition, she thought she’d be mapping mineral deposits, and that her biggest problems would be cave collapses and gear malfunctions. She also thought that the fat paycheck—enough to get her off-planet and on the trail of her mother—meant she’d get a skilled surface team, monitoring her suit and environment, keeping her safe. Keeping her sane.
Instead, she got Em.
Em sees nothing wrong with controlling Gyre’s body with drugs or withholding critical information to “ensure the smooth operation” of her expedition. Em knows all about Gyre’s falsified credentials, and has no qualms using them as a leash—and a lash. And Em has secrets, too . . .
As Gyre descends, little inconsistencies—missing supplies, unexpected changes in the route, and, worst of all, shifts in Em’s motivations—drive her out of her depths. Lost and disoriented, her control giving way to paranoia and anger, Gyre severs her connection with Em and the outside world. On her own in this mysterious, deadly place, surrounded by darkness and the unknown, Gyre must overcome more than just the dangerous terrain and the Tunneler which calls underground its home if she wants to make it out alive—she must confront the ghosts in her own head.
But how come she can’t shake the feeling she’s being followed?
| Kingdom of Exiles by Maxym M. Martineau
June 25, 2019 by Sourcebooks
FANTASTIC BEASTS meets ASSASSIN’S CREED, in which an alluring charmer with a bounty on her head boldly strikes a deal with the dark, intoxicating leader of the assassins guild — powerful beasts in exchange for the contract on her life — only to find that the past returns with a vengeance, fate can be twisted in a curse, and ensnared hearts are harder to tame than any magical creature.
| Lord of Secrets by Breanna Teintze
July 25, 2019 by Jo Fletcher Books
Outlaw wizard Corcoran Gray has enough problems. He’s friendless, penniless and on the run from the tyrannical Mages’ Guild – and with the search for his imprisoned grandfather looking hopeless, his situation can’t get much worse.
So when a fugitive drops into his lap – literally – and gets them both arrested, it’s the last straw – until Gray realises that runaway slave Brix could be the key to his grandfather’s release. All he has to do is break out of prison, break into an ancient underground temple and avoid killing himself with his own magic in the process.
In theory, it’s simple enough. But as secrets unfold and loyalties shift, Gray discovers something with the power to change the nature of life and death itself.
Now Gray must find a way to protect the people he loves, but it could cost him everything, even his soul.
| The Resurrectionist of Caligo by Wendy Trimboli and Alicia Zaloga
August 6, 2019 by Angry Robot Books
“Man of Science” Roger Weathersby scrapes out a risky living digging up corpses for medical schools. When he’s framed for the murder of one of his cadavers, he’s forced to trust in the superstitions he’s always rejected: his former friend, princess Sibylla, offers to commute Roger’s execution in a blood magic ritual which will bind him to her forever.
With little choice, he finds himself indentured to Sibylla and propelled into an investigation. There’s a murderer loose in the city of Caligo, and the duo must navigate science and sorcery, palace intrigue and dank boneyards to catch the butcher before the killings tear their whole country apart.
| Double-Crossing the Bridge by Sarah J. Sover
September 2019 by The Parliament House
Rent in New Metta is through the cavern ceiling. When Granu barely survives her first gig teaching students who attempt to fillet her for lunch, the baby-eating troll ends up unemployed and facing eviction. Granu’s only prospect for income is grueling work in the tar pits. That is, until her playboy best friend devises a perfect, if suicidal, scheme—a heist!
The Covered Bridge, the largest source of income for the city, has New Metta well under hoof. In a week, TCB Corporation pulls in enough cash to buy a small country. It’s the ideal target, but security is top-notch. Granu needs three things to survive this heist: a crew of specialists, impenetrable sun protection, and gallons of grog.
There’s just one thing Granu doesn’t plan for—those damn meddling billy goats.
| The Nightmare Detective by Kristy Childs
September 2019 by Filles Vertes Publishing
London. 1920.His Majesty’s All Seeing Eye is dead and world-weary detective Rose Beaumont has been thrown the case to find the killer. London’s Dreamscape is under attack from alien threats. Rose has little time to investigate and babysit the Duke Montagu who comes with this volatile case. Something ancient and altogether dangerous has set itself on taking Montagu while he sleeps. Monsters creep in the spaces between worlds and waking dreams, both human and ageless, sleepless evils. Rose must save Duke Montagu if she wants to catch the killer.
|The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix Harrow
September 2019 by Orbit/Redhook
Mesmerizing and affecting, THE TEN THOUSAND DOORS OF JANUARY follows a young woman’s search for her missing father, her place in the world, and the mystery behind an unexpected door.
| The Sin Soldiers by Tracy Auerbach
October 2019 by Parliament House Press
Red compound makes them angry. Yellow exhausts them. Blue drives them into a state of ravenous addiction. The thief Kai knows about the chemically controlled soldiers of the Eastern forces and their savage, deadly nature. When a robbery attempt at Club Seven goes wrong, Kai is captured by a handler and his bestial soldier-boy. She wakes up inside the military base with no idea what happened to her twin brother, Dex.
Things go from bad to worse when Kai is started on a drug and training regimen, and forced to take injections of blue compound. The scientists in charge plan to make her into a working soldier who will mine the mysterious power crystals beneath the desert. Kai becomes a victim of the bully Finn, a handsome but nasty soldier whose years on red compound seem to have erased his humanity. Still, she begins to pity the Seven Soldiers, including the monstrous boy who tried to rip her to shreds at the club. They appear to be nothing more than genetically enhanced, drug-controlled teenagers.
On the outside, Dex and his tech-savvy boyfriend try to crack the soldiers’ chemical code to find a weakness that will break the system. But Kai has already been drawn deep into her new world. Strong feelings for the soldiers she’s come to know have started to cloud her judgment. Can she escape and find Dex without becoming a monster herself?
| The Library of the Unwritten by A.J. Hackwith
The Library of the Unwritten is a contemporary adult fantasy in which a librarian of the afterlife’s library of all unwritten books is assigned to track down a missing codex, a dangerous hunt which will take her across realms accompanied by her ex-muse assistant, a rogue book, and a handful of Hell’s most unlikely escorts, with only her knowledge of books and stories as her weapons.
|The Kingdom of Liars by Nick Martell
In a city where magic costs memories to use, a disgraced noble must decieve all to determine whether or not his father murdered the child prince.
|Speak The Ocean by Rebecca Enzor
Pitched as THE LITTLE MERMAID meets BLACKFISH, in which a trainer at the world’s first mermaid theme park has to risk his life and turn his back on the people he cares about, to let the world know that the park’s ill-treated mermaids are just as human as we are.