The year of our Lord 2022 was truly an embarrassment of riches for fantasy fans but it looks as though 2023 may well surpass it. Highly anticipated sequels? Check. Long awaited series conclusions? Yup. Brand new stories from favorite authors? Got those too. This year will see favorite writers return to familiar territory and strike out on their own, crossing genres and marketing categories to create thrilling new stories for us to lose ourselves in.
In fact, there are so many incredible titles already marked for release in 2023, there was no way we were fitting them on a single list, so if we left off something you’re hyped about, we’re sorry and we’ll get back to it later in the year. (There is a lot is what I’m saying.)
Here are just a few of the epic upcoming fantasy books we’re most excited to read in 2023.
The Stolen Heir by Holly Black
Release Date: January 3, 2023 from Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Why We’re Excited: The Holly Black returns to the world of her bestselling Folk of the Air trilogy with a story about Jude’s younger brother Oak and the young queen of the Court of Teeth and honestly what’s not to be excited about?
Publisher’s Description: Eight years have passed since the Battle of the Serpent. But in the icy north, Lady Nore of the Court of Teeth has reclaimed the Ice Needle Citadel. There, she is using an ancient relic to create monsters of stick and snow who will do her bidding and exact her revenge.
Suren, child queen of the Court of Teeth, and the one person with power over her mother, fled to the human world. There, she lives feral in the woods. Lonely, and still haunted by the merciless torments she endured in the Court of Teeth, she bides her time by releasing mortals from foolish bargains. She believes herself forgotten until the storm hag, Bogdana chases her through the night streets. Suren is saved by none other than Prince Oak, heir to Elfhame, to whom she was once promised in marriage and who she has resented for years.
Now seventeen, Oak is charming, beautiful, and manipulative. He’s on a mission that will lead him into the north, and he wants Suren’s help. But if she agrees, it will mean guarding her heart against the boy she once knew and a prince she cannot trust, as well as confronting all the horrors she thought she left behind.
Song of Silver, Flame Like Night by Amelie Wen Zhao
Release Date: January 3, 2023 from Delacorte Press
Why We’re Excited: A brand new fantasy series from the author of the (criminally underrated) Blood Heir trilogy, Song of Silver Flame Like Night incorporates elements of Chinese mythology, philosophy, and xianxia writing to tell a lush, magical tale of a conquered kingdom and the oppressed peoples attempting to liberate their homeland.
Publisher’s Description:Once, Lan had a different name. Now she goes by the one the Elantian colonizers gave her when they invaded her kingdom, killed her mother, and outlawed her people’s magic. She spends her nights as a songgirl in Haak’gong, a city transformed by the conquerors, and her days scavenging for what she can find of the past. Anything to understand the strange mark burned into her arm by her mother in her last act before she died.
The mark is mysterious—an untranslatable Hin character—and no one but Lan can see it. Until the night a boy appears at her teahouse and saves her life. Zen is a practitioner—one of the fabled magicians of the Last Kingdom. Their magic was rumored to have been drawn from the demons they communed with. Magic believed to be long lost. Now it must be hidden from the Elantians at all costs.
When Zen comes across Lan, he recognizes what she is: a practitioner with a powerful ability hidden in the mark on her arm. He’s never seen anything like it—but he knows that if there are answers, they lie deep in the pine forests and misty mountains of the Last Kingdom, with an order of practitioning masters planning to overthrow the Elantian regime.
Both Lan and Zen have secrets buried deep within—secrets they must hide from others, and secrets that they themselves have yet to discover. Fate has connected them, but their destiny remains unwritten. Both hold the power to liberate their land. And both hold the power to destroy the world.
Now the battle for the Last Kingdom begins.
Hell Bent by Leigh Bardugo
Release Date: January 10 from Flatiron Books
Why We’re Excited: The highly anticipated second installment in Leigh Bardugo’s debut adult paranormal fantasy series, Hell Bent continues the adventures of Alex Stern, a Yale scholarship student who can see and control ghosts, as she becomes the Virgil of mysterious Lethe House and attempts to find a way to open a portal to Hell in order to bring back her former mentor. Ninth House was an excellent series opener, so let’s see what Bardugo can do here with a little more narrative room to run.
Publisher’s Description: Find a gateway to the underworld. Steal a soul out of hell. A simple plan, except people who make this particular journey rarely come back. But Galaxy “Alex” Stern is determined to break Darlington out of purgatory?even if it costs her a future at Lethe and at Yale.
Forbidden from attempting a rescue, Alex and Dawes can’t call on the Ninth House for help, so they assemble a team of dubious allies to save the gentleman of Lethe. Together, they will have to navigate a maze of arcane texts and bizarre artifacts to uncover the societies’ most closely guarded secrets, and break every rule doing it. But when faculty members begin to die off, Alex knows these aren’t just accidents. Something deadly is at work in New Haven, and if she is going to survive, she’ll have to reckon with the monsters of her past and a darkness built into the university’s very walls.
Chain of Thorns by Cassandra Clare
Release Date: January 31 from Margaret K. McElderry Books
Why We’re Excited: The highly anticipated conclusion to Cassandra Clare’s Last Hours trilogy, Chain of Thorns will see Cordelia Carstairs, James Herondale, and Matthew Fairchild confront family secrets and work out relationship drama as the Shadowhunters of London prepare to face off with a literal Prince of Hell.
Publisher’s Description: Cordelia Carstairs has lost everything that matters to her. In only a few short weeks, she has seen her father murdered, her plans to become parabatai with her best friend, Lucie, destroyed, and her marriage to James Herondale crumble before her eyes. Even worse, she is now bound to an ancient demon, Lilith, stripping her of her power as a Shadowhunter.
After fleeing to Paris with Matthew Fairchild, Cordelia hopes to forget her sorrows in the city’s glittering nightlife. But reality intrudes when shocking news comes from home: Tatiana Blackthorn has escaped the Adamant Citadel, and London is under new threat by the Prince of Hell, Belial.
Cordelia returns to a London riven by chaos and dissent. The long-kept secret that Belial is James and Lucie’s grandfather has been revealed by an unexpected enemy, and the Herondales find themselves under suspicion of dealings with demons. Cordelia longs to protect James but is torn between a love for James she has long believed hopeless, and the possibility of a new life with Matthew. Nor can her friends help—ripped apart by their own secrets, they seem destined to face what is coming alone.
For time is short, and Belial’s plan is about to crash into the Shadowhunters of London like a deadly wave, one that will separate Cordelia, Lucie, and the Merry Thieves from help of any kind. Left alone in a shadowy London, they must face Belial’s deadly army. If Cordelia and her friends are going to save their city—and their families—they will have to muster their courage, swallow their pride, and trust one another again. For if they fail, they may lose everything—even their souls.
These Infinite Threads by Tahereh Mafi
Releaes Date: February 7 from Harper Collins
Why We’re Excited: The next installment in Tahereh Mafi’s lush Persian-inspired fantasy epic of star-crossed lovers and competing kingdoms will not only have to deal with all the cliffhangers from the first book but the ways that all the disparate threads of the story have collided together at last. Where it all goes next is anyone’s guess.
Publisher’s Description: Alizeh is the heir to the Jinn throne and fulfills a long-foretold prophecy of a Jinn sovereign destined to free her people from the half-lives they’ve been forced to live under the rule of humans.
Kamran is the heir to the human throne, and he’s being pressured to marry before he becomes king. When he falls in love with Alizeh and subsequently learns her true identity, he must question everything he’s been taught about Jinn and their future in his kingdom.
A Day of Fallen Night by Samantha Shannon
Release Date: February 28 from Bloomsbury Publishing
Why We’re Excited: Any story set in Samantha Shannon’s expansive Priory of the Orange Tree universe is an automatic must-read, but the idea of a prequel that will detail the story of the Great Sorrow, when dragons last terrorized the world, is especially exciting.
Publisher’s Description: Tunuva Melim is a sister of the Priory. For fifty years, she has trained to slay wyrms – but none have appeared since the Nameless One, and the younger generation is starting to question the Priory’s purpose.
To the north, in the Queendom of Inys, Sabran the Ambitious has married the new King of Hróth, narrowly saving both realms from ruin. Their daughter, Glorian, trails in their shadow – exactly where she wants to be.
The dragons of the East have slept for centuries. Dumai has spent her life in a Seiikinese mountain temple, trying to wake the gods from their long slumber. Now someone from her mother’s past is coming to upend her fate.
When the Dreadmount erupts, bringing with it an age of terror and violence, these women must find the strength to protect humankind from a devastating threat.
The Foxglove King by Hannah Whitten
Release Date: March 7 from Orbit
Why We’re Excited: After her incredible Wilderwood duology, Hannah Whitten is an automatic must-read around here, but The Foxglove King’s premise— a young woman who can use death magic to reanimate those who are no longer living and the warrior monks who force her to use those abilities for the benefit of their king—sounds so good that it might well be her best yet.
Publisher’s Description: When Lore was thirteen, she escaped a cult in the catacombs beneath the city of Dellaire. And in the ten years since, she’s lived by one rule: don’t let them find you. Easier said than done, when her death magic ties her to the city.
Mortem, the magic born from death, is a high-priced and illicit commodity in Dellaire, and Lore’s job running poisons keeps her in food, shelter, and relative security. But when a run goes wrong and Lore’s power is revealed, she’s taken by the Presque Mort, a group of warrior-monks sanctioned to use Mortem working for the Sainted King. Lore fully expects a pyre, but King August has a different plan. Entire villages on the outskirts of the country have been dying overnight, seemingly at random. Lore can either use her magic to find out what’s happening and who in the King’s court is responsible, or die.
Lore is thrust into the Sainted King’s glittering court, where no one can be believed and even fewer can be trusted. Guarded by Gabriel, a duke-turned-monk, and continually running up against Bastian, August’s ne’er-do-well heir, Lore tangles in politics, religion, and forbidden romance as she attempts to navigate a debauched and opulent society.
But the life she left behind in the catacombs is catching up with her. And even as Lore makes her way through the Sainted court above, they might be drawing closer than she thinks.
The Adventures of Amina Al-Sirafi by Shannon Chakraborty
Release Date: March 7 from Harper Voyager
Why We’re Excited: The adult fantasy debut from the author behind the incredible City of Brass trilogy? Say no more.
Publisher’s Description: Amina al-Sirafi should be content. After a storied and scandalous career as one of the Indian Ocean’s most notorious pirates, she’s survived backstabbing rogues, vengeful merchant princes, several husbands, and one actual demon to retire peacefully with her family to a life of piety, motherhood, and absolutely nothing that hints of the supernatural.
But when she’s tracked down by the obscenely wealthy mother of a former crewman, she’s offered a job no bandit could refuse: retrieve her comrade’s kidnapped daughter for a kingly sum. The chance to have one last adventure with her crew, do right by an old friend, and win a fortune that will secure her family’s future forever? It seems like such an obvious choice that it must be God’s will.
Yet the deeper Amina dives, the more it becomes alarmingly clear there’s more to this job, and the girl’s disappearance, than she was led to believe. For there’s always risk in wanting to become a legend, to seize one last chance at glory, to savor just a bit more power…and the price might be your very soul.
Arca by G.R. McAllister
Release Date: March 7 from Gallery/Saga Press
Why We’re Excited: Too many people slept on Scorpica, the first installment in G.R. McAllister’s sweeping Five Queendoms series, an epic tale about a matriarchal society in which a decade passes without a single daughter being born. Time to fix your life with sequel Arca, which deals with the political fallout, as multiple powerful women scheme and maneuver against each other.
Publisher’s Description: The Drought of Girls has ended, but the rift it broke open between the Queendoms is not so easily healed. Political tensions roil the senate of Paxim, where Queen Heliane vows to make her son Paulus the nation’s first ruling King or die trying. Scorpican troops amass on the border of Arca, ready to attack. And within Arca itself, its young, unready queen finds her court a nest of vipers and her dreams besieged by a mysterious figure with unknown intentions.
Untethered Sky by Fonda Lee
Release Date: April 11 from Tordotcom
Why We’re Excited: Do I really need to say anything other than this novella is the first new fantasy from Fonda Lee since the conclusion of the Green Bone Saga??
Publisher’s Description: Ester’s family was torn apart when a manticore killed her mother and baby brother, leaving her with nothing but her father’s painful silence and a single, overwhelming need to kill the monsters that took her family.
Ester’s path leads her to the King’s Royal Mews, where the giant rocs of legend are flown to hunt manticores by their brave and dedicated ruhkers. Paired with a fledgling roc named Zahra, Ester finds purpose and acclaim by devoting herself to a calling that demands absolute sacrifice and a creature that will never return her love. The terrifying partnership between woman and roc leads Ester not only on the empire’s most dangerous manticore hunt, but on a journey of perseverance and acceptance.
In the Lives of Puppets by T.J. Klune
Release Date: April 25 from Tor Books
Why We’re Excited: After the one-two punch of The House in the Cerulean Sea and Under the Whispering Door in 2020 and 2021, who isn’t excited for whatever T.J. Klune does next? And a found story of misfit robots inspired by The Adventures of Pinocchio feels…perfectly on-brand.
Publisher’s Descripition: In a strange little home built into the branches of a grove of trees, live three robots—fatherly inventor android Giovanni Lawson, a pleasantly sadistic nurse machine, and a small vacuum desperate for love and attention. Victor Lawson, a human, lives there too. They’re a family, hidden and safe.
The day Vic salvages and repairs an unfamiliar android labelled “HAP,” he learns of a shared dark past between Hap and Gio-a past spent hunting humans.
When Hap unwittingly alerts robots from Gio’s former life to their whereabouts, the family is no longer hidden and safe. Gio is captured and taken back to his old laboratory in the City of Electric Dreams. So together, the rest of Vic’s assembled family must journey across an unforgiving and otherworldly country to rescue Gio from decommission, or worse, reprogramming.
Along the way to save Gio, amid conflicted feelings of betrayal and affection for Hap, Vic must decide for himself: Can he accept love with strings attached?
The Bone Shard War by Andrea Stewart
Release Date: April 18 from Orbit
Why We’re Excited: Andrea Stewart’s Drowning Empire trilogy is the kind of fantasy that’s so good you sort of never want it to actually end, but all signs point to series conclusion The Bone Shard War being Stewart’s best book yet.
Publisher’s Description: Lin Sukai has won her first victory as Emperor, but the future of the Phoenix Empire hangs in the balance – and Lin is dangerously short of allies.
As her own governors plot treason, the Shardless Few renew hostilities. Worse still, Lin discovers her old nemesis Nisong has joined forces with the rogue Alanga, Ragan. Both seek her death.
Yet hopes lies in history. Legend tells of seven mythic swords, forged in centuries past. If Lin can find them before her enemies, she may yet be able to turn the tide.
If she fails, the Sukai dynasty – and the entire empire – will fall.
In an Orchard Grown From Ash by Rory Power
Release Date: May 2 from Del Ray Books
Why We’re Excited: This sequel to Rory Power’s In a Garden Burning Gold will see the four Argyros siblings set at odds, picking up where the first installment’s bloody, shocking final third left off. Where the first book occasionally got bogged down in overly talky exposition, all the pieces are in now place for an action-packed, tumultuous finale, and Power’s proven ability to kill (or at least emotionally devastate) her own darlings means pretty much anything could happen.
Publisher’s Description: The Argyros siblings have lost everything. With their father dead and their family home captured, they’re no longer the rulers of their fractured kingdom—and no longer bound to each other.
In the frozen north, Rhea struggles to wield her newly inherited command over death and to find her place in an increasingly distrustful rebel group. Chrysanthi travels to a distant, war-torn land in search of her elusive brother Nitsos, certain that he is there on a dangerous mission to restore the family to its former glory, this time with himself at its head. And Lexos, now stripped of all his power and a political prisoner of the Domina family, is left to rot in a hauntingly desolate palace with nothing but thoughts of revenge.
Alone and farther apart than they’ve ever been, the siblings must reckon with the pain of their past and find a new path forward—or risk their own destruction.
A Shadow Crown by Melissa Blair
Release Date: May 9 from Union Square Co.
Why We’re Excited: The second installment in Melissa Blair’s Halfling Saga will undoubtedly take BookTok by storm all over again with its political intrigue and plotting, but I’m just here for more Keera and Riven.
Publishers’ Description: To the kingdom, Keera is the king’s Blade, his most feared and trusted spy and assassin. But in the shadows, she works with Prince Killian and his Shadow—the dark, brooding Fae, Riven, who sets her blood on fire. Together, they plot to topple the crown that sits upon the king’s head.
A secret can only survive as long as its conspirators, and when nothing is as it seems, all are in danger. Keera swore she would never open her heart again after a loss she barely survived. But she will soon find she has more to lose than she ever imagined . .
A Crown of Ivy and Glass by Claire Legrand
Release Date: May 9 from Sourcebooks Casablanca
Why We’re Excited: Claire Legrand is writing an adult high fantasy romance trilogy about a main character who struggles with crippling anxiety?? This is content that is specifically targeted at me (and I suspect a lot of other readers). Legrand’s YA Empirium trilogy featured a pair of fierce heroines and lots of great worldbuilding, so the prospect of what she’ll do in the freedom of the adult fantasy space is downright tantalizing.
Publisher’s Description: Lady Gemma Ashbourne seemingly has it all. She’s young, gorgeous, and rich. Her family was Anointed by the gods, blessed with incredible abilities. But underneath her glittering façade, Gemma is deeply sad. Years ago, her sister Mara was taken to the Middlemist to guard against treacherous magic. Her mother abandoned the family. Her father and eldest sister, Farrin—embroiled in a deadly blood feud with the mysterious Bask family—often forget Gemma exists.
Worst of all, Gemma is the only Ashbourne to possess no magic. Instead, her body fights it like poison. Constantly ill, aching with loneliness, Gemma craves love and yearns to belong.
Then she meets the devastatingly handsome Talan d’Astier. His family destroyed themselves, seduced by a demon, and Talan, the only survivor, is determined to redeem their honor. Intrigued and enchanted, Gemma proposes a bargain: She’ll help Talan navigate high society if he helps her destroy the Basks. According to popular legend, a demon called The Man With the Three-Eyed Crown is behind the families’ blood feud—slay the demon, end the feud.
But attacks on the Middlemist are increasing. The plot against the Basks quickly spirals out of control. And something immense and terrifying is awakening in Gemma, drawing her inexorably toward Talan and an all-consuming passion that could destroy her—or show her the true strength of her power at last.
Witch King by Martha Wells
Release Date: May 30 from Tordotcom
Why We’re Excited: The first new fantasy novel in over a decade from Murderbot author Martha Wells? Say no more.
Publisher’s Description: After being murdered, his consciousness dormant and unaware of the passing of time while confined in an elaborate water trap, Kai wakes to find a lesser mage attempting to harness Kai’s magic to his own advantage. That was never going to go well.
But why was Kai imprisoned in the first place? What has changed in the world since his assassination? And why does the Rising World Coalition appear to be growing in influence?
Kai will need to pull his allies close and draw on all his pain magic if he is to answer even the least of these questions.
He’s not going to like the answers.
Painted Devils by Margaret Owen
Release Date: May 16 from Henry Holt and Co.
Why We’re Excited: Margaret Owen’s been a personal favorite of mine since her debut fantasy, The Merciful Crow,and her stuff’s just been getting better ever since. Her Goose Girl retelling Little Thieves turned a classic fairytale into an high fantasy exploration of trauma, class, and power, and Painted Devils promises to be even better, as “reformed” jewel thief Vanja finds herself on another seemingly impossible quest after she accidentally starts a cult.
Publisher’s Description: When misfortune strikes, the “reformed” jewel thief Vanja manipulates a remote village for help and in turn, accidentally starts a cult around a Low God, the Scarlet Maiden. Soon after, her nemesis-turned-suitor Emeric and a supervising prefect arrive to investigate the claim of godhood, and she realizes how in over her head she must be. But the Scarlet Maiden does reveal herself . . . only to claim Emeric as her virgin sacrifice. Desperate to save the only man she’s ever cared for, Vanja decides to seek an alternative: bring the Scarlet Maiden a drop of blood from each of seven brothers for the midsummer feast.
While the thief and prefect-in-training still have feelings for one another, Emeric must determine whether Vanja has committed fraud as his final test for prefect-hood. And as they travel the Haarzlands, a harsh land far from the rules of the city, the past that Vanja barely remembers comes into full view and she fears a future that does not require her to keep running.
The First Bright Thing by J.R. Dawson
Release Date: June 13 from Tor Books
Why We’re Excited: A story about a World War I-era magical circus filled with misfits, outcasts, and members of other persecuted, marginalized groups that’s described as perfect for folks who loved The Night Circus and The Mysterious Life of Addie LaRue? Sign me up right now.
Publisher’s Description: Welcome to the Circus of the Fantasticals.
Ringmaster ? Rin, to those who know her best ? can jump to different moments in time as easily as her wife, Odette, soars from bar to bar on the trapeze. With the scars of World War I feeling more distant as the years pass, Rin is focusing on the brighter things in life. Like the circus she’s built and the magical misfits and outcasts ? known as Sparks ? who’ve made it their home. Every night, Rin and the Fantasticals enchant a Big Top packed full with audiences who need to see the impossible.
But while the present is bright, threats come at Rin from the past and the future. The future holds an impending war that the Sparks can see barrelling toward their Big Top and everyone in it. And Rin’s past creeps closer every day, a malevolent shadow Rin can’t fully escape. It takes the form of another Spark circus, with tents as black as midnight and a ringmaster who rules over his troupe with a dangerous power. Rin’s circus has something he wants, and he won’t stop until it’s his.
The Saint of Bright Doors by Vajra Chandrasekera
Release Date: July 11 from Tordotcom
Why We’re Excited: It’s possible that I would read anything that has a cover as gorgeous as this book does, but the premise of The Saint of Bright Doors sounds plenty intriguing in its own right, a postcolonial fantasy that reportedly pits divine revolutionaries and transcendent cults against the mundane disappointments of modern life. Um, yes please?
Publisher’s Description: Nestled at the head of a supercontinent, framed by sky and sea, lies Luriat, the city of bright doors. The doors are everywhere in the city, squatting in walls where they don’t belong, painted in vivid warning. They watch over a city of art and avarice, of plagues and pogroms, and silently refuse to open. No one knows what lies beyond them, but everyone has their own theory and their own relationship to the doors. Researchers perform tests and take samples, while supplicants offer fruit and flowers and hold prayer circles. Many fear the doors as the source of hauntings from unspeakable realms. To a rare unchosen few, though, the doors are both a calling and a bane. Fetter is one of those few.
When Fetter was born, his mother tore his shadow from him. She raised him as a weapon to kill his sainted father and destroy the religion rising up in his sacred footsteps. Now Fetter is unchosen, lapsed in his devotion to both his parents. He casts no shadow, is untethered by gravity, and sees devils and antigods everywhere he goes. With no path to follow, Fetter would like to be anything but himself. Does his answer wait on the other side of one of Luriat’s bright doors?
Immortal Longings by Chloe Gong
Release Date: July 23 from Gallery/Saga Press
Why We’re Excited: If you loved Chloe Gong’s These Violent Delights series—a dark Romeo & Juliet retelling about teens from rival gangs, monsters, and magic in 1920s Shanghai—then you’re likely already over the moon that she’s dipping her toe into the world of adult fantasy this summer with Immortal Longings. Inspired by Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra, it’s got politics, betrayal, and a dystopian competition where contestants fight to the death by swapping bodies.
Publisher’s Description: Every year, thousands in the kingdom of Talin will flock to its capital twin cities, San-Er, where the palace hosts a set of games. For those confident enough in their ability to jump between bodies, competitors across San-Er fight to the death to win unimaginable riches.
Princess Calla Tuoleimi lurks in hiding. Five years ago, a massacre killed her parents and left the palace of Er empty…and she was the one who did it. Before King Kasa’s forces in San can catch her, she plans to finish the job and bring down the monarchy. Her reclusive uncle always greets the victor of the games, so if she wins, she gets her opportunity at last to kill him.
Enter Anton Makusa, an exiled aristocrat. His childhood love has lain in a coma since they were both ousted from the palace, and he’s deep in debt trying to keep her alive. Thankfully, he’s one of the best jumpers in the kingdom, flitting from body to body at will. His last chance at saving her is entering the games and winning.
Calla finds both an unexpected alliance with Anton and help from King Kasa’s adopted son, August, who wants to mend Talin’s ills. But the three of them have very different goals, even as Calla and Anton’s partnership spirals into something all-consuming. Before the games close, Calla must decide what she’s playing for—her lover or her kingdom.
Lacy Baugher Milas is the Books Editor at Paste Magazine, but loves nerding out about all sorts of pop culture. You can find her on Twitter @LacyMB.