Top new fantasy books in July 2021

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Fantasy novels offer escape, new perspectives, and some of the most inventive and diverse works taking place in genre spaces today. Check out what’s in store for July 2021…

She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan

Type: Novel
Publisher: Tor Books
Publication date: July 20

Den of Geek says: Combining a bit of magic with historical intrigue, this novel has garnered praise from the likes of Samantha Shannon (The priority of the orange tree) and A.K. Larkwood (The unspoken name). If it’s anything like that, it’ll be a hefty but easy-to-read epic.

Publishers summary: “I refuse to be nothing…”

In a famine-ravaged village on a dusty yellow plain, two children are given two destinies. A boy, greatness. A girl, nothing…

In 1345 China is under harsh Mongol rule. For the starving farmers of the Central Plains, greatness is something that can only be found in stories. When the eighth son of the Zhu family, Zhu Chongba, suffers a grand fate, everyone is stunned at how it will happen. In contrast, the fate of nothingness that the smart and capable second daughter of the family receives is only as expected.

However, when a bandit attacks the two children, it is Zhu Chongba who succumbs to despair and dies. Desperate to escape her own fateful death, the girl uses her brother’s identity to enter a monastery as a young male novice. There, propelled by her burning desire to survive, Zhu learns that she is capable of doing whatever it takes, no matter how insensitive, to remain hidden from her fate.

After her shrine is destroyed for supporting the uprising against Mongol rule, Zhu seizes the opportunity to claim another future: her brother’s forsaken greatness.

Buy She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan.

Half Sick of Shadows by Laura Sebastian

Type: Novel
Publisher: Ace
Publication date: 6th of July

Den of Geek says: Fans of adaptations and retellings could do worse than this lush looking Arthurian tale. Elaine, a half sister of Arthur in the legends, adds a new perspective on the old heroes and villains.

Publisher’s summary: Everyone knows the legend. From Arthur, destined to become a king. Of the beautiful Guinevere, who will betray him with his most loyal knight, Lancelot. Of the bitter sorceress, Morgana, who will turn against them all. But only Elaine bears the burden of knowing what’s to come – for Elaine of Shalott is cursed to see the future.

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On the mystical island of Avalon, Elaine walks free and learns about the ancient prophecies that surround her and her friends – countless possibilities, almost all of them tragic.

When their future comes to claim them, Elaine, Guinevere, Lancelot and Morgana join Arthur to take his throne in the suffocating Camelot, where magic is forbidden, the rules of society chain them and enemies are everywhere. Yet the most dangerous threats can come from within themselves.

As visions are fulfilled and an inevitable fate approaches, Elaine must decide how far she will go to change fate – and what she is willing to sacrifice along the way.

Buy Half Sick of Shadows from Laura Sebastian.

The Ruin of the Empire by Brian Staveley

Type: Novel
Publisher: Tor Books
Publication date: 6th of July

Den of Geek says: Popular epic fantasy writer Staveley begins a new series in his established Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne universe. There are “giant war hawks”!!!

Publishers summary: The Annurian Empire is falling apart. The benefits it used for millennia are ruined. The ranks of the Kettral have been decimated from within, and the Kenta Gates, which allow instant travel across the vast lands of the empire, can no longer be used.

To save the Empire, one of the surviving Kettral must travel beyond the edge of the known world through a land that warps and poisons all living things to find the breeding ground of the giant warhawks. Meanwhile, a monk turned con man can keep the secret of the Kenta gates.

But time is running out. Deep in the southern reaches of the realm, the ancient divine race begins to stir.

What they discover will change them and the Annurian realm forever. If they can survive.

Buy Brian Staveley’s The Empire’s Gelding.

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