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8 sci-fi and fantasy books to help you through the January chill

Contributed by
Jan 8, 2019

While it's easy to joke about making and breaking New Year's resolutions, the ability to start fresh in January really is a gift. I love the idea of starting with a clean slate and evaluating what has been working and trying to fix what hasn't. It's an opportunity I try to take at the beginning of every year.

But January also means the beginning of a new year's worth of books. Publishers usually start the year with a bang, and it shows on this list. There are so many excellent titles coming out this month, I don't know how I'm going to find time to read all of them. Whether you're in the mood for a Korean-inspired space opera or an angry feminist revenge fantasy, there is something you'll enjoy on this list.

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The Winter of the Witch - Katherine Arden (January 8)

I’ve heard so many incredible things about Katherine Arden’s Winternight Trilogy, which started with The Bear and the Nightingale. These have been described as gorgeously written fairy-tale type books about a girl who is fighting the mortal and immortal in order to save her home. I’ve been waiting until the last in the trilogy is released to pick these up, and now it’s finally here with The Winter of the Witch. These seem perfect for a cold night by the fire.

water-cure

The Water Cure - Sophie Mackintosh (January 8)

It’s hard to live up to a comparison to The Handmaid’s Tale, but Sophie Mackintosh’s book has been praised by Margaret Atwood herself. It’s described as a “feminist revenge fantasy,” which means it should be obvious why it seems to be a perfect FANGRRLS title. The book is set on an isolated island and features three sisters who have been raised to fear men by the father. But when he disappears, and then two men and a boy wash ashore, things get out of hand incredibly quickly.
 

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Star Trek: Discovery — The Way to the Stars - Una McCormack (January 8)

The Star Trek: Discovery books have been releasing at a regular pace since the premiere of the first season. Now, as the second season approaches, we have another new release. Each book has focused on a different character, and I’m really excited to finally discover more about Cadet Sylvia Telly, played so well by Mary Wiseman. This novel focuses on her teenage years and how she became the person we know and love on screen.

gilded-wolves

The Gilded Wolves - Roshani Chokshi (January 15)

This latest novel from Roshani Chokshi departs from her Indian mythology-based YA to instead write a novel that’s been described as National Treasure with magic. Needless to say, I am here for it. The Gilded Wolves is set in glamorous Paris in 1889 and features a treasure hunter who receives the most interesting job of all: the chance to reclaim his family’s lost inheritance.

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Dragon Pearl - Yoon Ha Lee (January 15)

Middle-grade books are aimed at a middle-school audience, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be enjoyed by adults. After all, I’ll read anything by celebrated author Yoon Ha Lee. This book, part of Rick Riordan’s new imprint at Disney Books, is a space opera based on Korean mythology that combines elements of folklore with technology. It features 13-year-old Min who’s counting down the days until she can join the Space Forces like her brother, Jun. But when she receives word that he’s deserted to search for the legendary Dragon Pearl, she decides to go after him because she knows he’d never shirk his duty.
 

dreamers

The Dreamers - Karen Thompson Walker (January 15)

When one girl falls asleep and can’t be woken, people are perplexed. When others start falling prey to the same sickness, there’s panic. As a college campus is locked down due to this unexplained illness, which is spreading like wildfire, those that are still healthy try to protect themselves and their loved ones. It’s not clear what this illness is doing to those who are suffering — nor why their brain wave patterns are so active. Are they living some sort of alternate life in a dream world?

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Kingdom of Copper - S.A. Chakraborty (January 22)

It’s a little strange when one of your most eagerly anticipated books of the new year comes out in January, but I’m always happy for some instant gratification. It’s no surprise that I adored The City of Brass, one of my favorite reads of 2017. Now the sequel is here, and it promises to be just as lush, intricate, and gripping as the first, as con artist Nahri finds herself dealing with the aftermath of a complicated situation and trying to survive in a brutal new world.
 

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Here and Now and Then - Mike Chen (January 29)

Kin Stewart used to be an agent who traveled through time, but when he got stuck in the 1990s, he settled down and created a life for himself. Now, years later, he’s married with a teenage daughter. But when a team from his past (which is far into the future) finally comes to get him back, it threatens the existence of his daughter, and he must fight through time to ensure her safety.

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