The Best New Fantasy Books of July 2023

Books Lists fantasy
The Best New Fantasy Books of July 2023

If you’re a fantasy fan, you probably noticed that the bulk of the titles on the majority of the big most anticipated lists for the summer—including ours!—were July releases. While there are plenty of great genre books arriving throughout the hottest days of the year, this month is something special indeed, with buzzy debuts from new voices and new titles from established favorites.

 From doorstopper adventures to historical reimaginings and political intrigues and fairytale poems, truly what isn’t coming to bookstores this month?

Here are our picks for the best fantasy books hitting shelves this June.


The Saint of Bright Doors cover summer fantasy release

The Saint of Bright Doors by Vajra Chandrasekera

Release Date: July 11 from Tordotcom

Why You’ll Love It: This postcolonial fantasy reportedly pits divine revolutionaries and transcendent cults against the mundane disappointments of modern life and I don’t know about y’all but that is…uncomfortably timely? (Also that cover basically lives rent-free in my head.)

Publisher’s Description: Fetter was raised to kill, honed as a knife to cut down his sainted father. This gave him plenty to talk about in therapy.

He walked among invisible devils and anti-gods that mock the mortal form. He learned a lethal catechism, lost his shadow, and gained a habit for secrecy. After a blood-soaked childhood, Fetter escaped his rural hometown for the big city, and fell into a broader world where divine destinies are a dime a dozen.

Everything in Luriat is more than it seems. Group therapy is recruitment for a revolutionary cadre. Junk email hints at the arrival of a god. Every door is laden with potential, and once closed may never open again. The city is scattered with Bright Doors, looming portals through which a cold wind blows. In this unknowable metropolis, Fetter will discover what kind of man he is, and his discovery will rewrite the world.


A Warning About Swans cover Summer Fantasy 2023

A Warning About Swans by R.M. Romero

Release Date: July 11 from Peachtree Teen

Why You’ll Love It: From its unique narrative style—a fairytale in written in verse—to its necessary, forthright depiction and exploration of identity, gender, and love, this dreamy story of self-discovery about a girl who leads the souls of dying creatures to the afterlife is both original and timely. 

Publisher’s Description: Bavaria. 1880. Hilde was dreamed into existence by the god Odin and, along with her five sisters, granted cloaks that transform them into swans. Each sister’s cloak is imbued with a unique gift, but Hilde rejects her gift which allows her to lead the souls of dying creatures to the afterlife.

While guiding the soul of a hawk, Hilde meets the handsome Baron Maximilian von Richter, whose father left him no inheritance. Hilde is intrigued by Richter’s longing for a greater life and strikes a deal with him: She will manifest his dreams of riches, and in return, he will take her to the human world, where the song of souls can’t reach her.

But at the court of King Ludwig II in Munich, Hilde struggles to fit in. After learning that fashionable ladies are sitting for portraits, she hires non-binary Jewish artist Franz Mendelson, and is stunned when Franz renders her with swan wings. The more time she spends with Franz, the more she feels drawn to the artist’s warm, understanding nature, and the more controlling Richter becomes. When Hilde’s swan cloak suddenly goes missing, only Franz’s ability to paint the true nature of souls can help Hilde escape her newfound prison.

Dark Water Daughter cover Summer Fantasy 2023 release

Dark Water Daughter by H.M. Long

Release Date: July 11 from Titan Books

Why You’ll Love It: A nautical fantasy set in a world inspired by Jacobian England where witches known as Stormsingers can control the weather through song, Dark Water Daughter has everything from pirates and dark supernatural creatures to hidden identities and betrayal.

Publisher’s Description: Mary Firth is a Stormsinger: a woman whose voice can still hurricanes and shatter armadas. Faced with servitude to pirate lord Silvanus Lirr, Mary offers her skills to his arch-rival in exchange for protection – and, more importantly, his help sending Lirr to a watery grave. But her new ally has a vendetta of his own, and Mary’s dreams are dark and full of ghistings, spectral creatures who inhabit the ancient forests of her homeland and the figureheads of ships.

Samuel Rosser is a disgraced naval officer serving aboard The Hart, an infamous privateer commissioned to bring Lirr to justice. He will stop at nothing to capture Lirr, restore his good name and reclaim the only thing that stands between himself and madness: a talisman stolen by Mary.

Finally, driven into the eternal ice at the limits of their world, Mary and Samuel must choose their loyalties and battle forces older and more powerful than the pirates who would make them slaves.


The Judas Blossom cover Summer Fantasy 2023

The Judas Blossom by Stephen Aryan

Release Date: July 11 from Angry Robot

Why You’ll Love It: A historical fantasy that reimagines the Mongol Empire’s invasion of Persia, The Judas Blossom’s complex array of POV characters and competing loyalties would be compelling enough without the slow-burn hints of magic involved.

Publisher’s Description: Due to the efforts of the great Genghis Khan, the Mongol Empire covers a vast portion of the known world. In the shadow of his grandfather, Hulagu Khan, ruler of the Ilkhanate, is determined to create a single empire that covers the entire world. His method? Violence.

His youngest son, Temujin Khan, struggles to find his place in his father’s bloody rule. After another failure, Temujin is given one last chance to prove himself to Hulagu, who is sure there is a great warrior buried deep inside. But there’s something else rippling under the surface… something far more powerful and dangerous than they could ever imagine…

Reduced to the position of one of Hulagu’s many wives, the famed Blue Princess Kokochin is the last of her tribe. Alone and forgotten in a foreign land, Kokochin is unwilling to spend her days seeking out trivial pursuits. Seeking purpose, she finds herself wandering down a path that grants her more power than a wife of the Khan may be allowed.

Kaivon, the Persian rebel who despises the Mongols for the massacre of his people, thirsts for revenge. Howeer, he knows alone he cannot destroy the empire. When given the opportunity to train under the tutelage of Hulagu, Kaivon must put aside his feelings and risk his life for a chance to destroy the empire that aims to conquer the world.


Ebony Gate cover Summer Fantasy 2023

Ebony Gate by Julie Vee and Ken Bebell

Release Date: July 11 from Tor Books

Why You’ll Love It: Maybe you aren’t a person who immediately gets psyched about a book that’s described as “a female John Wick story with dragon magic” and if that’s true, I’m sorry.

Publisher’s Description: Emiko Soong belongs to one of the eight premier magical families of the world. But Emiko never needed any magic. Because she is the Blade of the Soong Clan. Or was. Until she’s drenched in blood in the middle of a market in China, surrounded by bodies and the scent of blood and human waste as a lethal perfume.

The Butcher of Beijing now lives a quiet life in San Francisco, importing antiques. But when a shinigami, a god of death itself, calls in a family blood debt, Emiko must recover the Ebony Gate that holds back the hungry ghosts of the Yomi underworld. Or forfeit her soul as the anchor.

What’s a retired assassin to do but save the City By The Bay from an army of the dead?


The Jasad Heir cover Summer 2023 fantasy release

The Jasad Heir by Sara Hashem

Release Date: July 18 from Orbit

Why You’ll Love It: A compelling debut fantasy that’s one part political treatise, one part slow-burn enemies-to-lovers romance, and one part survival competition, The Jasad Heir still manages to ask thoughtful, difficult questions about loyalty and belonging, and what we owe to the people and places that claim us.

Publisher’s Description: In this Egyptian-inspired debut fantasy, a fugitive queen strikes a deadly bargain with her greatest enemy and finds herself embroiled in a complex game that could resurrect her scorched kingdom or leave it in ashes forever.

Ten years ago, the kingdom of Jasad burned. Its magic outlawed; its royal family murdered down to the last child. At least, that’s what Sylvia wants people to believe.

The lost Heir of Jasad, Sylvia never wants to be found. She can’t think about how Nizahl’s armies laid waste to her kingdom and continue to hunt its people—not if she wants to stay alive. But when Arin, the Nizahl Heir, tracks a group of Jasadi rebels to her village, staying one step ahead of death gets trickier.

In a moment of anger Sylvia’s magic is exposed, capturing Arin’s attention. Now, to save her life, Sylvia will have to make a deal with her greatest enemy. If she helps him lure the rebels, she’ll escape persecution.

A deadly game begins. Sylvia can’t let Arin discover her identity even as hatred shifts into something more. Soon, Sylvia will have to choose between the life she wants and the one she left behind. The scorched kingdom is rising, and it needs a queen.


The Third Daughter cover Summer Fantasy 2023

The Third Daughter by Adrienne Tooley

Release Date: July 18 from Christy Ottaviano Books

Why You’ll Love It: The latest book from Adrienne Tooley, known for satisfying standalone fantasy stories like Sofi and the Bone Song and Sweet & Bitter Magic, The Third Daughter is a story of political intrigue, familial expectations, prophecy, and a pair of take-charge heroines. (Bonus: It’s the rare summer fantasy release that’s not pushing 500 pages. You’ll tear through it.)

Publisher’s Description: For centuries, the citizens of Velle have waited for their New Maiden to return. The prophecy states she will appear as the third daughter of a third daughter. When the fabled child is finally born to Velle’s reigning queen all rejoice except for Elodie, the queen’s eldest child, who has lost her claim to the crown. The only way for Elodie to protect Velle is to retake the throne. To do so, she must debilitate the Third Daughter—her youngest sister, Brianne.

Desperate, Elodie purchases a sleeping potion from Sabine, who sells sadness. But the apothecary mistakenly sends the princess away with a vial of tears instead of a harmless sleeping brew. Sabine’s sadness is dangerously powerful, and Brianne slips into a slumber from which she will not wake. With the fates of their families and country hanging in the balance, Sabine and Elodie hurry to revive the Third Daughter while a slow-burning attraction between the two girls erupts in full force.


Immortal Longings cover Summer Fantasy 2023

Immortal Longings by Chloe Gong

Release Date: July 25 from Gallery/Saga Press

Why You’ll Love It: 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 about the fact that she’s dipping her toe into the world of adult fantasy 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.


The Weaver and the Witch Queen Summer Fantasy 2023

The Weaver and the Witch Queen by Genevieve Gornichec

Release Date: July 25 from Ace

Why You’ll Love It: After her extremely underrated (and excellent) debut The Witch’s Heart, I’ll read anything Genevieve Gornichec writes, but this tale of pagan Norway and the Viking witch destined to become its queen sure does make that vow an easy one to keep. A slightly magical spin on the origins of the woman who would come to be known in the Norse sagas as Gunnhild, Mother of Kings, The Weaver and the Witch Queen turns her story into a rich and magical tale of sisterhood and survival.

Publisher’s Description: Oddny and Gunnhild meet as children in tenth-century Norway, and they could not be more different: Oddny hopes for a quiet life, while Gunnhild burns for power and longs to escape her cruel mother. But after a visiting wisewoman makes an ominous prophecy that involves Oddny, her sister Signy, and Gunnhild, the three girls take a blood oath to help one another always.

When Oddny’s farm is destroyed and Signy is kidnapped by Viking raiders, Oddny is set adrift from the life she imagined—but she’s determined to save her sister no matter the cost, even as she finds herself irresistibly drawn to one of the raiders who participated in the attack. And in the far north, Gunnhild, who fled her home years ago to learn the ways of a witch, is surprised to find her destiny seems to be linked with that of the formidable King Eirik, heir apparent to the ruler of all Norway.

But the bonds—both enchanted and emotional—that hold the two women together are strong, and when they find their way back to each other, these bonds will be tested in ways they never could have foreseen in this deeply moving novel of magic, history, and sworn sisterhood.


The Sun and the Void Summer Fantasy 2023

The Sun and the Void by Gabriela Romero Lacruz

Release Date: July 25 from Orbit

Why You’ll Love It: Adult fantasy based on South American folklore is always going to be a yes from me, particularly because we so rarely see it in our current publishing landscape. But this story’s incredibly rich world-building, forthright explorations of prejudice and colonization, and strong premise—a young noblewoman and a servant girl who aren’t quite human to start with become vessels of ancient gods to save their nation—means this story is destined to be a summer banger.

Publisher’s Description: Reina is desperate.

Stuck living on the edges of society, her only salvation lies in an invitation from a grandmother she’s never known. But the journey is dangerous, and prayer can’t always avert disaster.

Attacked by creatures that stalk the region, Reina is on the verge of death until her grandmother, a dark sorceress, intervenes. Now dependent on the Doña’s magic for her life, Reina will do anything to earn—and keep—her favor. Even the bidding of an ancient god who whispers to her at night.

Eva Kesare is unwanted.

Illegitimate and of mixed heritage, Eva is her family’s shame. She tries her best to be perfect and to hide her oddities. But Eva is hiding a secret: magic calls to her.

Eva knows she should fight the temptation. Magic is the sign of the dark god, and using it is punishable by death. Yet, it’s hard to deny power when it has always been denied to you. Eva is walking a dangerous path, one that gets stranger every day. And, in the end, she’ll become something she never imagined.


House of Roots and Ruin Summer 2023 Fantasy

House of Roots and Ruin by Erin A. Craig

Release Date: July 25 from Delacorte Press

Why You’ll Love It: The next installment in Erin A. Craig’s Sisters of the Salt series, this follow-up to House of Salt and Sorrow follows youngest sister Verity Thaumas to the kingdom of Bloem on a journey that features everything from lush greenery and gorgeous flowers to dark family secrets and spooky, Gothic-style threats. 

Publisher’s Description: In a manor by the sea, one sister is still cursed.

Despite dreams of adventures far beyond the Salann shores, seventeen-year-old Verity Thaumas has remained at her family’s estate, Highmoor, with her older sister Camille, while their sisters have scattered across Arcannia.

When their sister Mercy sends word that the Duchess of Bloem—wife of a celebrated botanist—is interested in having Verity paint a portrait of her son, Alexander, Verity jumps at the chance, but Camille won’t allow it. Forced to reveal the secret she’s kept for years, Camille tells Verity the truth one day: Verity is still seeing ghosts, she just doesn’t know it.

Stunned, Verity flees Highmoor that night and—with nowhere else to turn—makes her way to Bloem. At first, she is captivated by the lush, luxurious landscape and is quickly drawn to charming, witty, and impossibly handsome Alexander Laurent. And soon, to her surprise, a romance . . . blossoms.

But it’s not long before Verity is plagued with nightmares, and the darker side of Bloem begins to show through its sickly-sweet façade…


Light Bringer cover Summer Fantasy 2023

Light Bringer by Pierce Brown

Release Date: July 25 from Del Ray Books

Why You’ll Love It: Pierce Brown is releasing another Red Rising book, I’m pretty sure that’s enough for most of us.

Publisher’s Description: ​​The Reaper is a legend, more myth than man: the savior of worlds, the leader of the Rising, the breaker of chains.

But the Reaper is also Darrow, born of the red soil of Mars: a husband, a father, a friend.

The worlds once needed the Reaper. But now they need Darrow. Because after the dark age will come a new age: of light, of victory, of hope.


Bonesmith cover Summer Fantasy 2023

Bonesmith by Nicki Pau Preto

Release Date: July 25 from Margaret K. McElderry Books

Why You’ll Love It: A YA fantasy that positions itself as a sort of Goth-style mix of Game of Thrones and Gideon the Ninth with a dollop of The Walking Dead on top is an entertainingly creepy diversion for summer.

Publisher’s Description: In the Dominions, the dead linger, violent and unpredictable, unless a bonesmith severs the ghost from its earthly remains. For bonesmith Wren, becoming a valkyr—a ghost-fighting warrior—is a chance to solidify her place in the noble House of Bone and impress her frequently absent father. But when sabotage causes Wren to fail her qualifying trial, she is banished to the Border Wall, the last line of defense against a wasteland called the Breach where the vicious dead roam unchecked.

Determined to reclaim her family’s respect, Wren gets her chance when a House of Gold prince is kidnapped and taken beyond the Wall. To prove she has what it takes to be a valkyr, Wren vows to cross the Breach and rescue the prince. But to do so, she’s forced into an uneasy alliance with one of the kidnappers—a fierce ironsmith called Julian from the exiled House of Iron, the very people who caused the Breach in the first place…and the House of Bone’s sworn enemy.

As they travel, Wren and Julian spend as much time fighting each other as they do the undead, but when they discover there’s more behind the kidnapping than either of them knew, they’ll need to work together to combat the real a dark alliance that is brewing between the living and the undead.

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

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