One of the most appealing aspects of fantasy is its capacity to transport us into different realms and allow us to experience things beyond our own. We’re immediately surrounded by everything from powerful magic and fickle fairy folk to vindictive gods and political schemers at the heart of large foreign courts when we open a book. And, considering what’s going on in the globe, there’s never been a better time for some serious, intentional escapism.
Thankfully, there’s plenty for everyone in this month’s collection of new fantasy titles, from mystical islands to bloodthirsty princesses and rebels fighting political oppressors. Here are our recommendations for the greatest fantasy books coming out in February.
This Woven Kingdom by Taherah Mafi
Fans of Tomi Adeyemi, Sabaa Tahir, and S. A. Chakraborty will like this first book of a lush and romantic trilogy based on the Persian epic poetry the Shahnameh. You’ll be counting down the days until the sequel, which is full of rich worldbuilding, lush prose, loads of surprising turns, and a heartbreaking primary romance.
Description provided by the publisher: Alizeh is a disposable servant to the rest of the world, not the long-lost heir to an ancient Jinn empire forced to hide in plain sight. Kamran, the crown prince, has heard the predictions of his king’s death. But he never dreamed that the strange-eyed servant girl, the girl he can’t get out of his head, would one day overturn his kingdom—and the world.
Castles in Their Bones by Laura Sebastian
Why You’ll Love It: Castles in Their Bones is the first book in a new series by Laura Sebastian, author of the bestselling Ash Princess trilogy. It follows three princesses who have spent their lives training to overthrow the monarchs they’ve been destined to marry into. The book’s split POV style allows us to dive into the distinct characters of each princess as well as the realms of their respective courts, which are each full of issues and dangers of their own. It’s a fast-paced environment that’s easy to get lost in.
Empress Margaraux has had plans for her daughters since they were born, according to the publisher. Sophronia, Daphne, and Beatriz will reign as queens. They must now leave their kingdom and marry their princes at the age of sixteen. The triplets look to be the ideal brides—beautiful, intelligent, and demure—because Margaraux knows one universal truth: everyone underestimates a female. This is a huge blunder. Sophronia, Daphne, and Beatriz are not helpless victims. Their marriages are merely the first stage of their mother’s grand vision: to one day reign over the entire continent of Vesteria. They have been trained since birth in the arts of deception, seduction, and violence with a single goal—to bring down monarchies—and their marriages are merely the first stage of their mother’s grand vision: to one day reign over the entire continent of Vesteria.
Crescent City: House of Sky and Breath by Sarah J. Maas
Why You’ll Like It: Sarah J. Maas is the queen of dense, female-focused fantasy. House of Sky and Breath, the sequel to her adult urban contemporary Crescent City series, attempts to amp up everything you liked about the first book, with more worldbuilding, more romance, and more complicated Midgardian politics. Bryce, turn it on.
Description provided by the publisher: Bryce Quinlan and Hunt Athalar are attempting to reclaim their lives? They may have saved Crescent City, but after so much turmoil in their lives recently, they are largely looking for a chance to unwind. Take it easy. Find out what the future has in store for you.
So far, the Asteri have stayed true to their word, leaving Bryce and Hunt alone. The threat the rulers pose is escalating as the rebels chip away at the Asteri’s power. As Bryce, Hunt, and their friends become entangled in the rebels’ schemes, the decision becomes clear: remain silent while others suffer, or fight for what is right. And they’ve never been particularly adept at remaining silent.
Age of Ash by Daniel Abraham
Why You’ll Like It: Age of Ash is the first volume in Daniel Abraham’s new “Kithamar” epic fantasy trilogy, and it’s the latest novel from one-half of the literary duo behind the space opera The Expanse. The novel is set in the city of Kithamar over the course of a single year and chronicles the lives and experiences of a number of characters from all classes and social backgrounds, all of whose lives and stories will eventually intertwine. A big, multi-faceted story that may veer off course at times, but is unmistakably heading toward something grand.
Kithamar is a hub of commerce and prosperity, a historic city with a long, terrible past where countless thousands live and their stories are told. It’s Alys’s turn. When her brother is killed, a petty thief from Longhill’s slums sets out to find out who did it and why. But as she learns more about him, she learns more about herself, and the realities she uncovers are far more dangerous than blades.
A River Enchanted by Rebecca Ross
Why You’ll Love It: A River Enchanted is Rebecca Ross’s first adult fantasy novel, and it capitalizes on what made her YA novels so appealing: her unique ability to take a story with bones you’ve heard before and make it feel entirely fresh. A prodigal son returns to a mystical island to assist in the search for a series of missing females, a mission that will bring him face to face with his erstwhile childhood foe. In this tale of political intrigue, betrayal, and thriller-style twists, a beautifully imagined Scottish-inspired setting takes center stage.
Description provided by the publisher: Jack Tamerlaine hasn’t visited Cadence in ten years, content to study music at a university on the mainland. When young girls begin to vanish from the isle, Jack is summoned home to assist in the search. Enchantments run deep on Cadence: gossip is carried by the wind, plaid shawls can be as strong as armor, and the smallest cut of a knife can instill fathomless fear. The spirits of fire, water, earth, and wind, who rule the isle by fire, water, earth, and wind, take joy in the lives of the people who reside there. Adaira, the heiress of the east and Jack’s childhood enemy, knows the spirits only answer to a bard’s music, and she hopes Jack can draw them forth by song, enticing them to return the missing girls.
As Jack and Adaira reluctantly work together, they find they make better allies than rivals as their partnership turns into something more. With each song, though, it becomes clear that the spirits’ problem is far more terrible than they first suspected, and an older, deeper mystery about Cadence lies beneath the surface, threatening to wreck everything.
The Thousand Eyes by A.K. Larkwood
Why You’ll Like It: The Thousand Eyes is the thrilling sequel to A.K. Larkwood’s fantasy debut The Unspoken Name, and it’s a tale of magic, gods, betrayal, and romance. This fast-paced tale with time leaps and surprises galore is suited for lovers of Ursula K. LeGuin and Jenn Lyons as the fragments of an undead goddess begin to stir once again – and reignite a long-ago conflict.
Csorwe and Shuthmili resisted the wizard Belthandros Sethennai and stole his gauntlets two years ago, according to the publisher’s description. Shuthmili’s gauntlets have given her incredible strength, but they’re starting to take a toll on her. Shuthmili is torn between clinging to her humanity and embracing eldritch power when she and Csorwe travel to a distant world to learn how to use the gauntlets safely. However, when an old enemy appears on the scene, Shuthmili finds herself torn between clinging to her humanity and embracing eldritch power.
In the meantime, Tal Charossa returns to Tlaanthothe to discover Sethennai has vanished. Sethennai is Tal’s old boss and former lover, as well as a magician of amazing power, and Tal wants nothing to do with him. When a magical catastrophe befalls the city, Tal tries to run rather than face his past but soon learns that something even worse may lurk in the future.