The Best New Fantasy Books of July 2024

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The Best New Fantasy Books of July 2024

Sorry if you’re not much of a summertime person. Because it is positively scorching out, with record-breaking temperatures being notched in almost every corner of the United States. As a result, pretty much everyone is rushing to their nearest air-conditioned location—or finding a friend with a pool they don’t mind sharing—in search of escape. And whether you’re holed up in your living room with all the curtains drawn or camped out at your local library, there’s no better time to escape into the rich, compelling world of a good fantasy story.

Fantasy fans are particularly spoiled for choice this July, as some of the genre’s biggest titles are coming to a bookstore near you. From Arthurian retellings to witchy sequels, to cozy cottagecore adventures and magical quests, there’s something for every kind of reader in this month’s jam-packed roster of new releases.

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

The Night Ends with Fire July 2024 Fantasy

The Night Ends with Fire by K.X. Song

Release Date: July 2 from Ace

Why You’ll Love It: The debut adult fantasy novel from K.X. Song, author of Echo in the City, The Night Ends with Fire is inspired by the traditional Chinese legend of Mulan and embraces popular tropes from wuxia drama even as it asks timely questions about female ambition, agency, and power.

Publisher’s Description: The Three Kingdoms are at war, but Meilin’s father refuses to answer the imperial draft. Trapped by his opium addiction, he plans to sell Meilin for her dowry. But when Meilin discovers her husband-to-be is another violent, ill-tempered man, she realizes that nothing will change for her unless she takes matters into her own hands.

The very next day, she disguises herself as a boy and enlists in her father’s place.

In the army, Meilin’s relentless hard work brings her recognition, friendship—and a growing closeness with Sky, a prince turned training partner. But has she simply exchanged one prison for another? As her kingdom barrels toward destruction, Meilin begins to have visions of a sea dragon spirit that offers her true power and freedom, but with a deadly price.

With the future of the Three Kingdoms hanging in the balance, Meilin will need to decide whom to trust—Sky, who inspires her loyalty and love; the sea dragon spirit, who has his own murky agenda; or an infuriating enemy prince who makes her question everything she once knew—about her kingdom and about her own heart.

Reckless Most Anticipated Summer Fantasy 2024

Reckless by Lauren Roberts

Release Date: July 2 from Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Why You’ll Love It: If you spend any time on BookTok or Book Twitter, you’ve probably come across Lauren Roberts’ megapopular Powerless, with its The Hunger Games vibes and much talked about cliffhanger ending. Its sequel, Reckless, arrives this summer, and while details are being kept under wraps, this is one you’ll probably see by the pool at many Fourth of July festivities. 

Publisher’s Description: The kingdom of Ilya is in turmoil… 

After surviving the Purging Trials, Ordinary-born Paedyn Gray has killed the King, and kickstarted a Resistance throughout the land. Now she’s running from the one person she had wanted to run to. 

Kai Azer is now Ilya’s Enforcer, loyal to his brother Kitt, the new King. He has vowed to find Paedyn and bring her to justice. 

Across the deadly Scorches, and deep into the hostile city of Dor, Kai pursues the one person he wishes he didn’t have to. But in a city without Elites, the balance between the hunter and hunted shifts – and the battle between duty and desire is deadly.

The Blood Dimmed Tide Most Anticipated Summer Fantasy 2024

The Blood Dimmed Tide by Stephen Aryan

Release Date: July 9 from Angry Robot

Why You’ll Love It: The Judas Blossom was one of last year’s most underrated historical fantasies, so none of us should sleep on the sequel The Blood Dimmed Tide. The first book in Stephen Aryan’s Nightingale and the Falcon series took its time introducing a magical element into its slow-burn reimagining of the Mongol invasion of Persia, but this second installment certainly doesn’t have that problem. 

Publisher’s Description: Kaivon, the last Persian General, is celebrating as Hulagu Khan’s dream of conquering the whole world lies in tatters. But the fight is not yet done, as Persia is still occupied by Mongol invaders.

Betrayed by his cousin in the north, Hulagu must strike back at the Golden Horde, weakening the Mongol Empire even further with another civil war.

Temujin, the youngest son of Hulagu, has developed abilities that can destroy a city’s walls in a heartbeat. Unwilling to trust his father with something so powerful, he abandons the Empire. Recruited by others like him, Temujin seeks to restore balance to the world, whilst learning more about what he has become.

Kokochin is the newest member of a secret society that protects Persia. She has found her purpose, but her double life has been exposed. Now, she must find a way to escape the clutches of Empress, who seeks to use Kokochin’s abilities to further their husband’s plans of conquest.

Deep within the Empire, a new threat is rising. One so dangerous that it could overshadow the legacy of Genghis Khan and change the world.

The Spellshop July 2024 Fantasy

The Spellshop by Sarah Beth Durst

Release Date: July 9 from Bramble

Why You’ll Love It: Described as a Hallmark rom-com fueled by cinnamon rolls and magic, The Spellshop is peak cottagecore fantasy. The light and whimsical story of a runaway librarian who uses rescued spellbooks to sell magical jams to those in need, it’s sweet, breezy, and utterly and utterly heartwarming.

Publisher’s Description: Kiela has always had trouble dealing with people. Thankfully, as a librarian at the Great Library of Alyssium, she and her assistant, Caz—a magically sentient spider plant—have spent the last decade sequestered among the empire’s most precious spellbooks, preserving their magic for the city’s elite.

When a revolution begins and the library goes up in flames, she and Caz flee with all the spellbooks they can carry and head to a remote island Kiela never thought she’d see again: her childhood home. Taking refuge there, Kiela discovers, much to her dismay, a nosy—and very handsome—neighbor who can’t take a hint and keeps showing up day after day to make sure she’s fed and to help fix up her new home.

In need of income, Kiela identifies something that even the bakery in town doesn’t have: jam. With the help of an old recipe book her parents left her and a bit of illegal magic, her cottage garden is soon covered in ripe berries.

But magic can do more than make life a little sweeter, so Kiela risks the consequences of using unsanctioned spells and opens the island’s first-ever and much-needed secret spellshop.

The Sky on Fire Most Anticipated Summer Fantasy 2024

The Sky on Fire by Jenn Lyons

Release Date: July 9 from Tor Books

Why You’ll Love It: A new standalone high fantasy adventure from the critically acclaimed author of the Chorus of Dragons series that features conniving dragons, lightning banter, and high-stakes intrigue. Yes, please. 

Publisher’s Description: Anahrod lives only for survival, preferring to thrive in the jungles of the Deep with the titan drake she keeps by her side. When an adventuring party saves her from capture by the local warlord, Sicaryon, she is eager to return to her solitary life, but this is no ordinary rescue. Anahrod’s past has caught up with her. And these cunning misfits intend to spirit her away to the cloud cities, where they need her help to steal from a dragon’s hoard.

There’s only one in the cloud cities, dragons rule, and the hoard in question belongs to the current regent, Neveranimas―and she wants Anahrod dead.

The Darkness Within Us by Tricia Levenseller

Release Date: July 9 from Feiwel & Friends

Why You’ll Love It: Tricia Levenseller takes us back to the world of her (excellent) novel The Shadows Between Us in this companion novel which follows the story of Chrysantha, an ambitious and wealthy duchess who is busy counting the days until the death of her elderly husband will leave her free to do as she pleases. But when a handsome man claiming to be her spouse’s long-lost heir arrives she’ll have to figure out how far she’s willing to go to claim the future she feels she’s earned. Featuring peak enemies-to-lovers vibes, The Darkness Within Us offers an intriguing parallel to her sister Alessandra’s story that will please fans of Levenseller’s larger worldbuilding.  

Publisher’s Description: Chrysantha Stathos has won.

By hiding her intelligence and ambition behind the mask of a beautiful air-headed girl, she has gathered important secrets, earned her father’s constant care, and become a wealthy duchess—all by age nineteen. Now, she is only one elderly, dying duke away from having all the freedom, money, and safety she’s ever wanted.

Or so she thought.

Turns out her little sister somehow snatched the true victory away from her: Alessandra is wedding the Shadow King, the most powerful man in the world. Meanwhile, after the death of Chrysantha’s no-good, lecherous husband, a man claiming to be the duke’s estranged grandson turns up to inherit everything that should be hers.

Chrysantha is enraged. There is no way that she’s going to let some man take everything from her. Never mind that he’s extremely handsome and secretive and alluring with mysterious powers… No, Chrysantha wants Eryx Demos dead, and in the end, a Stathos girl always gets what she wants.

Shadowstitch Most Anticipated Summer Fantasy 2024

Shadowstitch by Cari Thomas

Release Date: July 9 from HarperVoyager

Why You’ll Love It: This sequel to Cari Thomas’s Threadneedle will take us further into the magical underworld of London, and delve further into Anna’s unique magical abilities, as a deadly witch hunt looms around both her and her coven. 

Publisher’s Description: Anna survived the attempt to bind her magic, but Anna and her coven aren’t free from danger yet.

Haunted by her aunt’s death, living in fear of her curse, and fated to love the one man she can never have, the last thing Anna needs is a witch hunt. Now she must conceal her magic once more or risk losing everything.

But when deadly hysteria strikes across the capital, and in her own school, the coven are left dangerously exposed. Delving deeper into the magical underworld of London, Anna and her twin sister Effie must find a way to work together to protect the coven.

But as the witch hunt intensifies and the hysteria spirals out of control, can Effie and Anna truly trust each other?

These Deathless Shores Fantasy July 2024

These Deathless Shores by P.H. Low

Release Date: July 9 from Orbit

Why You’ll Love It: A disturbing and surprisingly grim Peter Pan retelling, These Deathless Shores fully leans into the more uncomfortable aspects of the original fairytale, from the infamous Captain Hook to its questions about what happens to the Lost Boys who grow up when the leader they follow never has to. A story that wrestles with addiction, misogyny, crime, and a not-at-all-subtle metaphor of the dangers of becoming the monster you once feared, this is a must-read for dark fairytale lovers. 

Publisher’s Description: Jordan has gotten good at pretending.

On an Island where boys fly and fight pirates, but girls can only be mothers, Jordan’s shaved head and false swagger are the only things keeping her adopted crew of Lost Boys from forcing her into a role she has never wanted. When she gets her first period, she’s exposed and thrown back Outside—into a world where grown-ups die slowly in offices, flight is a fantasy, and withdrawal from the Island’s magical Dust slowly strips its afflicted of their dignity.

To Jordan, it’s a fate worse than death.

Nine years later, when the drug she has been using to medicate her withdrawal begins to show its fatal final symptoms, Jordan persuades her best friend and fellow ex-Lost Boy to return with her to the Island. With the help of a temperamental pilot and her long-estranged sister, she sets in motion a plan to oust Peter from his throne and seize control of the Island’s Dust supply.

But Peter isn’t the only malevolent force moving against her. As Jordan confronts the nature of Dust, first love, and the violent legacy carved into the land itself, she realises the Island may have plans of its own…

Navola Most Anticipated Summer Fantasy 2024

Navola by Paolo Bacigalupi

Release Date: July 9 from Knopf

Why You’ll Love It: Lots of epic fantasies get compared to Game of Thrones these days. But this sweeping literary tale of the young heir of an influential banking family who faces rebellion as he ascends to power in a world inspired by 15th-century Florence might actually deserve it. 

Publisher’s Description: In Navola, a bustling city-state dominated by a handful of influential families, business is power, and power is everything. For generations, the di Regulai family—merchant bankers with a vast empire—has nurtured tendrils that stretch to the farthest reaches of the known world. And though they claim not to be political, their staggering wealth has bought cities and toppled kingdoms. Soon, Davico di Regulai will be expected to take the reins of power from his father and demonstrate his mastery of the games of Navolese knowing who to trust and who to doubt, and how to read what lies hidden behind a smile. But in Navola, strange and ancient undercurrents lurk behind the gilt and grandeur—like the fossilized dragon eye in the family’s possession, a potent symbol of their raw power and a talisman that seems to be summoning Davico to act.

As tensions rise and the events unfold, Davico will be tested to his limits. His fate depends on the eldritch dragon relic and on what lies buried in the heart of his adopted sister, Celia di Balcosi, whose own family was destroyed by Nalova’s twisted politics.  

The West Passage by Jared Pechacek

Release Date: July 16 from Tordotcom

Why You’ll Love It: Hands down the most bizarre book on this list, this charmingly weird tale is one part medieval allegory and one part high fantasy, full of strange creatures, fable-like episodic interludes, and vividly rendered world-building. Truly like nothing you’ve read in a very long time. 

Publisher’s Description: When the Guardian of the West Passage died in her bed, the women of Grey Tower fed her to the crows and went back to their chores. No successor was named as Guardian, no one took up the fallen blade; the West Passage went unguarded.

Now, snow blankets Grey in the height of summer. Rats erupt from beneath the earth, fleeing that which comes. Crops fail. Hunger looms. And none stand ready to face the Beast, stirring beneath the poisoned soil.

The fate of all who live in the palace hangs on narrow shoulders. The too-young Mother of Grey House sets out to fix the seasons. The unnamed apprentice of the deceased Grey Guardian goes to warn Black Tower. Both their paths cross the West Passage, the ancient byway of the Beast. On their journeys they will meet schoolteachers and beekeepers, miracles and monsters, and very, very big Ladies. None can say if they’ll reach their destinations, but one thing is for the world is about to change.

The Bright Sword Most Anticipated Summer Fantasy 2024

The Bright Sword by Lev Grossman

Release Date: July 16 from Viking

Why You’ll Love It: A doorstopper of an Arthurian retelling from the author of The Magicians trilogy, The Bright Sword offers a fresh take on the story by considering what comes after King Arthur. Here, the king is dead, many of his knights perished at the Battle of Camlann, and it is left up to Collum—a young freshly arrived at Camelot just as it’s too late—-to try and hold Arthur’s legacy together. It isn’t quite The Once and Future King come back to us….but it’s not far off either. 

Publisher’s Description: A gifted young knight named Collum arrives at Camelot to compete for a spot on the Round Table, only to find he’s too late. The king died two weeks ago at the Battle of Camlann, leaving no heir, and only a handful of the knights of the Round Table survive.

They aren’t the heroes of legend, like Lancelot or Gawain. They’re the oddballs of the Round Tables, from the edges of the stories, like Sir Palomides; the Saracen Knight; and Sir Dagonet, Arthur’s fool, who was knighted as a joke. They’re joined by Nimue, who was Merlin’s apprentice until she turned on him and buried him under a hill. Together this ragtag fellowship will set out to rebuild Camelot in a world that has lost its balance.

But Arthur’s death has revealed Britain’s fault lines. God has abandoned it, and the fairies and monsters and old gods are returning, led by Arthur’s half-sister Morgan le Fay. Kingdoms are turning on each other, warlords are laying siege to Camelot, and rival factions are forming around the disgraced Lancelot and the fallen Queen Guinevere. It is up to Collum and his companions to reclaim Excalibur, solve the mysteries of this ruined world and make it whole again. But before they can restore Camelot they’ll have to learn the truth of why the lonely, brilliant King Arthur fell and lay to rest the ghosts of his troubled family and of Britain’s dark past.

The Blackb Bird Oracle Most Anticipated Summer Fantasy 2024

The Black Bird Oracle by Deborah Harkness 

Release Date: July 16 from Ballantine Books

Why You’ll Love it:: The long-awaited fifth installment in Deborah Harkness’s All Souls series sees witch Diana Bishop explore the darkest places of her psyche—and her family’s history. 

Publisher’s Description: Deborah Harkness first introduced the world to Diana Bishop, an Oxford scholar and witch, and vampire geneticist Matthew de Clermont in A Discovery of Witches. Drawn to each other despite long-standing taboos, these two otherworldly beings found themselves at the center of a battle for a lost, enchanted manuscript known as Ashmole 782. Since then, they have fallen in love, traveled to Elizabethan England, dissolved the Covenant between the three species, and awoken the dark powers within Diana’s family line. 

Now, Diana and Matthew receive a formal demand from the Congregation: They must test the magic of their seven-year-old twins, Pip and Rebecca. Concerned with their safety and desperate to avoid the same fate that led her parents to spellbind her, Diana decides to forge a different path for her family’s future and answers a message from a great-aunt she never knew existed, Gwyneth Proctor, whose invitation simply reads: It’s time you came home, Diana

On the hallowed ground of Ravenswood, the Proctor family home, and under the tutelage of Gwyneth, a talented witch grounded in higher magic, a new era begins for Diana: a confrontation with her family’s dark past and a reckoning for her own desire for even greater power—if she can let go, finally, of her fear of wielding it.

Le Fay

Le Fay by Sophie Keetch

Release Date: July 16 from Random House Canada

Why You’ll Love It: The highly anticipated (at least by me) sequel to Sophie Keetch’s stunning King Arthur retelling Morgan is My Name, Le Fay picks up where its predecessor left off, following the story of the infamous sorceress who isn’t necessarily the monster that legend likes to remember her as. In Le Fay, Morgan arrives in Camelot to face choices and challenges that will ultimately come to define her and her legacy, for both good and ill. (Yes, this description is vague on purpose, sue me.) Keetch’s character work, particularly her deft and delicate handling of Morgan, who is intelligent, furious, and tragic by turns, remains top-notch. 

Publisher’s Description: Having escaped an unhappy marriage, Morgan finds herself in Camelot—the city of dreams and peace. Her brother, King Arthur, treats her as a valued advisor and Morgan finally has recognition befitting her intelligence within his trusted circle, despite a longstanding conflict with Queen Guinevere.

But Morgan’s life is not without complications. Between a vengeful husband determined to snatch their son away, the strict ideals of court life and a jealous rival for Arthur’s attentions in the sorcerer Merlin, gaining true power and freedom is a greater challenge than Morgan envisioned. And when a face from her past arrives at Camelot, bringing old memories and new desires, the future that she has planned becomes fraught with danger.

Morgan must break the shackles of expectation to seek true happiness. But at the risk of destroying everything she’s worked so hard to gain, what is she willing to sacrifice for control over her life?

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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