Billingsley, Franny: The Robber Girl
(Candlewick Press 978-0-7636-6956-0, $18.99, 416pp, formats: hardcover, ebook, audio, September 14, 2021)
Middle-grade fantasy/mystery novel about a girl who relies on her knife, but needs her wits when magical dolls give her three tasks.
Boyle, T.C.: Talk to Me
(HarperCollins/Ecco 978-0-06-305285-7, $27.99, 352pp, formats: hardcover, ebook, audio, September 14, 2021)
An animal behaviorist, his young chimp who speaks sign language, and enthusiastic undergraduate Aimee end up in an interspecies love triangle.
(Tor Nightfire 978-1-250-62200-6, $29.99, 320pp, formats: hardcover, ebook, audio, September 14, 2021)
Historical horror novel about a mysterious presence in 17th-century Connecticut that helps a widowed woman save her farm, opposed by dark spirits, powerful men, and Puritanical attitudes. Includes illustrations by the author.
Byrne, Monica: The Actual Star
(Harper Voyager US 978-0-06-300289-0, $27.99, 624pp, formats: hardcover, ebook, audio, large print paperback, September 14, 2021)
Science fantasy novel in three interwoven sections involving linked reincarnated souls across time, from the collapse of ancient Mayan civilization to a far-future utopia.
Byrne reinforces the idea that, despite the tendency for history to be forgotten or become folklore, we always remain connected to our ancestors, even if we are not conscious of it. This sentiment is beautifully rendered in the final quarter of the book, as the three timelines converge in ways both figurative and literal, providing a moving end to a terrific novel.
—Ian Mond, Locus, September 2021
Chenault, Kayla: These Bones
(Lanternfish Press 978-1-941360-55-2, $17, 112pp, formats: trade paperback, ebook, September 14, 2021)
Magical realism novella told through various documents and accounts of the history of a city’s Black section, a deteriorating community fed on by a demon.
Doyle, Marissa: What Lies Beneath
(Book View Café 978-1-63632-003-8, $13.99, 336pp, formats: hardcover, trade paperback, ebook, September 14, 2021)
Young-adult fantasy romance novel. Teen Emma Verlaine is stuck on an island off Cape Cod during WWI in 1917, but finds solace in watching the seals that keep following her, and hanging out with local boy Malcolm.
Grassman, Preston, ed.: Out of the Ruins
(Titan Books US 978-1789097399, $15.95, 320pp, formats: trade paperback, ebook, audio, September 7, 2021)
Anthology of apocalyptic stories by authors including Charlie Jane Anders, Clive Barker, Ramsey Campbell, China Mieville, and more. Some new stories, some reprints.
Hartl, Sonia: The Lost Girls
(Page Street 978-1-63567-314-9, $17.99, 256pp, formats: hardcover, ebook, audio, September 14, 2021)
YA fantasy novel. Teen vampire girls team up to exact revenge on the ex-boyfriend who turned them all.
Hernandez, Alex, Goodwin, Matthew David, et al., eds.: Speculative Fiction for Dreamers
(Ohio State University Press/Mad Creek Books 978-0-8142-5797-5, $24.95, 430pp, formats: trade paperback, ebook, September 8, 2021)
Original anthology of 38 speculative stories by Latinx writers. Preface by Frederick Luis Aldama. Authors include William Alexander, Lisa M. Bradley, Pedro Cabiya, Ernest Hogan, and Sabrina Vourvoulias.
Hollowell, Sarah: A Dark and Starless Forest
(HarperCollins/Clarion 978-0-358-42441-3, $17.99, 368pp, formats: hardcover, ebook, audio, September 14, 2021)
Young-adult horror novel. Foster siblings with magic abilities witness something unspeakable, and then start to disappear one by one.
Kemmerer, Brigid: Defy the Night
(Bloomsbury USA 978-1-5476-0466-1, $18.99, 486pp, formats: hardcover, ebook, audio, September 14, 2021)
Young-adult high fantasy novel, the first in a series about a kingdom divided by corruption, the prince desperately holding it together, and the girl who will risk everything to bring it crashing down.
Kennedy, James: Dare to Know
(Quirk Books 978-1683692607, $22.99, 304pp, formats: hardcover, ebook, audio, September 14, 2021)
SF thriller about Dare to Know, an enigmatic company that has developed the technology to predict anyone’s death down to the second.
Kristoff, Jay: Empire of the Vampire
(St. Martin’s 978-1-250-24528-1, $29.99, 752pp, formats: hardcover, ebook, audio, September 14, 2021)
Dark fantasy/vampire horror novel, the first in the Nevernight Chronicle series about a world where the sun hasn’t risen for decades, and vampires will soon take over — unless Gabriel can find the Holy Grail.
Lem, Stanislaw: The Truth and Other Stories
(MIT Press 978-0-262-04608-4, $39.95, 344pp, formats: hardcover, ebook, September 14, 2021)
Collection of twelve science fiction stories, nine translated into English for the first time. Foreword by Kim Stanley Robinson.
McGuire, Seanan: When Sorrows Come
(DAW 978-0-7564-1509-9, $27, 384pp, formats: hardcover, ebook, audio, September 14, 2021)
Urban fantasy novel. 15th in the October Daye series. Toby is scheduled to get married to her long-time suitor, Tybalt, San Francisco’s King of Cats, but plots may interfere.
Szewczak, Calder: The Offset
(Angry Robot US 978-0-85766-918-6, $14.99, 240pp, formats: trade paperback, ebook, audio, September 14, 2021)
For every birth, one parent must die. Which parent that will be is chosen by the child when they turn 18.
Whiteley, Aliya: From the Neck Up and Other Stories
(Titan Books US 978-1789094756, $15.95, 320pp, formats: trade paperback, ebook, September 14, 2021)
Collection of 16 stories, covering subjects like future of farming in a new Ice Age, or the artist bringing life to glass; the many-eyed monsters we carry and the secret cities inside our bodies; the alien invasion through our language to the Chantress and her twists on the fairy tale.
Williams, Joy: Harrow
(Penguin Random House/Knopf 978-0-525-65756-9, $26, 224pp, formats: hardcover, ebook, audio, September 14, 2021)
Near-future SF novel of environmental disaster. Khristen’s boarding school in the desertified American West shuts down, and she ends up in a remote hotel inhabited by odd characters.
Wilson, JJ Amaworo: Nazaré
(PM Press 978-1-62963-908-6, $16.95, 320pp, formats: trade paperback, ebook, September 14, 2021)
Fantasy novel/parable of a peasants’ revolt involving fishermen, shopkeepers, lapsed nuns, anarchist bats, and an itinerant camel, while the legend of a coming giant wave threatens the entire city.