The Best New Fantasy Books of June 2024

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The Best New Fantasy Books of June 2024

Summer has officially arrived with a bang. It’s scorching outside in most of America—so what better time could there possibly be to escape (both literally and figuratively) with a good book? And, as usual, the fantasy genre is offering plenty of fictional getaway opportunities for readers this month, thanks to highly anticipated sequels, series conclusions, and intriguing new stories from both established favorites and thrilling new voices.

Whether you’re reading poolside, posted up in the shadiest spot you can find, or camped out in the house with the air conditioning blasting, ‘tis the season to transport yourself to a magical realm where things like “stifling humidity” don’t exist.

Here are our picks for the best fantasy books of June. 

The Ashes and hte Star Cursed King June 2024 Fantasy

The Ashes & the Star-Cursed King by Carissa Broadbent

Release Date: June 4 from Bramble

Why You’ll Love It: The highly anticipated second installment in Carissa Broadbent’s megapopular Crowns of Nyaxia series picks up where its predecessor’s devastating cliffhanger left off. Now essentially a captive queen, Oraya must decide whether she can trust the promise of a secret alliance with vampire warrior Raihn, even as she attempts to unravel her father’s legacy and learn more about her own power in the hopes of getting revenge.

Publisher’s Description: Love is a sacrifice at the altar of power.

In the wake of the Kejari, everything Oraya once thought to be true has been destroyed. A prisoner in her own kingdom, grieving the only family she ever had, and reeling from a gutting betrayal, she no longer even knows the truth of her own blood. She’s left only with one she cannot trust anyone, least of all Raihn.

The House of Night, too, is surrounded by enemies. Raihn’s own nobles are none too eager to accept a Turned king, especially one who was once a slave. And the House of Blood digs their claws into the kingdom, threatening to tear it apart from the inside.

When Raihn offers Oraya a secret alliance, taking the deal is her only chance at reclaiming her kingdom–and gaining her vengeance against the lover who betrayed her. But to do so, she’ll need to harness a devastating ancient power, intertwined with her father’s greatest secrets.

But with enemies closing in on all sides, nothing is as it seems. As she unravels her past and faces her future, Oraya finds herself forced to choose between the bloody reality of seizing power – and the devastating love that could be her downfall.

Daughter of the Merciful Deep Most Anticipated Summer Fantasy 2024

Daughter of the Merciful Deep by Leslye Penelope

Release Date: June 4 from Redhook

Why You’ll Love It: A historical fantasy that mixes folklore, African American history and magical realism this second novel from the author of The Monsters We Defy is lyrical and haunting. Penelope uses an underwater realm of gods and ancestral magic to explore and reflect the all-too-real stories of drowned Black towns of the American South, and the end result is fascinating. 

Publisher’s Description: Jane Edwards hasn’t spoken since she was eleven years old, when armed riders expelled her family from their hometown along with every other Black resident. Now, twelve years later, she’s found a haven in the all-Black town of Awenasa. But the construction of a damn promises to wash her home under the waters of the new lake.

Jane will do anything to save the community that sheltered her. So, when a man with uncanny abilities arrives in town asking strange questions, she wonders if he’s might be the key. But as the stranger hints at gods and ancestral magic, Jane is captivated by a bigger mystery. She knows this man. Only the last time she saw him, he was dead. His body laid to rest in a rushing river.

Who is the stranger and what is he really doing in Awenasa? To find those answers, Jane will journey into a sunken world, a land of capricious gods and unsung myths, of salvation and dreams made real. But the flood waters are rising. To gain the miracle she desires, Jane will have to find her voice again and finally face the trauma of the past.

The Wren in the Holly Library June Fantasy 2024

The Wren in the Holly Library by K.A. Linde

Release Date: June 4 from Red Tower Books

Why You’ll Love It: This steamy high-stakes fantasy heist features a richly imagined monster-filled New York and is almost compulsively readable. (You can read about how author K.A. Linde came up with the world of her novel right here at Paste.)

Publisher’s Description: Some things aren’t supposed to exist outside of our imagination.

Thirteen years ago, monsters emerged from the shadows and plunged Kierse’s world into a cataclysmic war of near-total destruction. The New York City she knew so well collapsed practically overnight.

In the wake of that carnage, the Monster Treaty was created. A truce…of sorts.

But tonight, Kierse—a gifted and fearless thief—will break that treaty. She’ll enter the Holly Library…not knowing it’s the home of a monster.

He’s charming. Quietly alluring. Terrifying. But he knows talent when he sees it; it’s just a matter of finding her price.

Now she’s locked into a dangerous bargain with a creature unlike any other. She’ll sacrifice her freedom. She’ll offer her skills. Together, they’ll put their own futures at risk.

But he’s been playing a game across centuries—and once she joins in, there will be no escape…

Mirrored Heavens Fantasy 2024

Mirrored Heavens by Rebecca Roanhorse

Release Date: June 4 from S&S/Saga Press

Why You’ll Love It: This final installment in Rebecca Roanhorse’s Between Earth and Sky trilogy is nothing like you expect it to be—in the best ways possible. Satisfying, surprising, and likely destined to be one of the best fantasy books of the year

Publisher’s Description: Serapio, avatar of the Crow God Reborn and the newly crowned Carrion King, rules Tova. But his enemies gather both on distant shores and within his own city as the matrons of the clans scheme to destroy him. And deep in the alleys of the Maw, a new prophecy is whispered, this one from the Coyote God. It promises Serapio certain doom if its terrible dictates are not fulfilled.

Meanwhile, Xiala is thrust back amongst her people as war comes first to the island of Teek. With their way of life and their magic under threat, she is their last best hope. But the sea won’t talk to her the way it used to, and doubts riddle her mind. She will have to sacrifice the things that matter most to unleash her powers and become the queen they were promised.

And in the far northern wastelands, Naranpa, avatar of the Sun God, seeks a way to save Tova from the visions of fire that engulf her dreams. But another presence has begun stalking her nightmares, and the Jaguar God is on the hunt.

Running Close to the Wind Most Anticipated Summer Fantasy 2024

Running Close to the Wind by Alexandra Rowland

Release Date: June 11 from Tordotcom

Why You’ll Love It: A queer pirate fantasy from the author of the (excellent) A Taste of Gold and Iron is bursting with humor and will delight everyone still mourning Our Flag Means Death

Publisher’s Description: Avra Helvaçi, former field agent of the Arasti Ministry of Intelligence, has accidentally stolen the single most expensive secret in the world―and the only place to flee with a secret that big is the open sea.To find a buyer with deep enough pockets, Avra must ask for help from his on-again, off-again ex, the pirate Captain Teveri az-Haffar. They are far from happy to see him, but together, they hatch a take the information to the isolated pirate republic of the Isles of Lost Souls, fence it, profit. The only things in their way? A calculating new Arasti ambassador to the Isles of Lost Souls who’s got his eyes on Avra’s every move; Brother Julian, a beautiful, mysterious new member of the crew with secrets of his own and a frankly inconvenient vow of celibacy; the fact that they’re sailing straight into sea serpent breeding season and almost certain doom.But if they can find a way to survive and sell the secret on the black market, they’ll all be as wealthy as kings―and, more importantly, they’ll be legends

The Cautious Traveller's Guide to the Wasteland Fantasy June 2024

The Cautious Traveller’s Guide to the Wastelands by Sarah Brooks

Release Date: June 18 from Flatiron Books

Why You’ll Love It: This debut historical fantasy set in an alternate universe at the end of the 19th century follows a version of the Trans-Siberian Express that carries passengers on a dangerous journey from Beijing to Mosco through a magical landscape known only as the Wastelands.

Publisher’s Description: It is said there is a price that every passenger must pay. A price beyond the cost of a ticket.

There is only one way to travel across the Wastelands: on the Trans-Siberian Express, a train as famous for its luxury as for its danger. The train is never short of passengers, eager to catch sight of Wastelands creatures more miraculous and terrifying than anything they could imagine. But on the train’s last journey, something went horribly wrong, though no one seems to remember what exactly happened. Not even Zhang Weiwei, who has spent her life onboard and thought she knew all of the train’s secrets.

Now, the train is about to embark again, with a new set of passengers. Among them are Marya Petrovna, a grieving woman with a borrowed name; Henry Grey, a disgraced naturalist looking for redemption; and Elena, a beguiling stowaway with a powerful connection to the Wastelands itself. Weiwei knows she should report Elena, but she can’t help but be drawn to her. As the girls begin a forbidden friendship, there are warning signs that the rules of the Wastelands are changing and the train might once again be imperiled. Can the passengers trust each other, as the wildness outside threatens to consume them all?

Rakesfall Most Anticipated Summer Fantasy 2024

Rakesfall by Vajra Chandrasekera

Release Date: June 18 from Tordotcom 

Why You’ll Love it: The second novel from the author of The Saint of Bright Doors features a genuinely original premise involving two souls bound together throughout time—and a story that will stay with you well after its last page. 

Publisher’s Description: Some stories take more than one lifetime to tell. There are wrongs that echo through the ages, friendships that outpace the claws of death, loves that leave their mark on civilization, and promises that nothing can break. This is one such story.

Annelid and Leveret met after the war, but before the peace. They found each other in a torn-up nation, peering through propaganda to grasp a deeper truth. And in a demon-haunted wood, another act of violence linked them and propelled their souls on a journey throughout the ages. No world can hold them, no life can bind them, and they’ll never leave each other behind. But their journey will not be easy. In every lifetime, oppressors narrow the walls of possibility, shaping reality to fit their own needs. And behind the walls of history, the witches of the red web swear that every throne will fall.

Of Jade and Dragons June 2024 Fantasy

Of Jade and Dragons by Amber Chen

Release Date: June 18 from Viking Books for Young Readers

Why You’ll Love It: Rich and complex worldbuilding and plenty of twists help this Chinese-inspired “silkpunk” fantasy—which a young woman pretends to be a boy in order to enter the trials to join the prestigious Engineers Giuld and avenge her father’s murder—-stand out from the pack. 

Publisher’s Description: Eighteen-year-old Aihui Ying dreams of becoming a world-class engineer like her father, but after his sudden murder, her life falls apart. Left with only a journal of her father’s engineering secrets and a jade pendant snatched from the assassin, a heartbroken Ying follows the trail to the capital and the prestigious Engineers Guild—a place that harbors her father’s hidden past—determined to discover why anyone would threaten a man who ultimately chose a quiet life over fame and fortune.

Disguised as her brother, Ying manages to infiltrate the guild’s male-only apprenticeship trial with the help of an unlikely ally—Aogiya Ye-yang, the taciturn eighth prince of the High Command. With her father’s renown placing a target firmly on her back, Ying must stay one step ahead of her fellow competitors, the jealous guild masters, and the killer still hunting for her father’s journal. Complicating everything is her increasingly tangled relationship with the prince, who may have mysterious plans of his own.

The secrets concealed within the guild can be as deadly as the weapons they build—and with her life and the future of her homeland at stake, Ying doesn’t know who to trust. Can she avenge her father even if it means going against everything he stood for, or will she be next in the mastermind’s line of fire?

Foul Days Most Anticipated Summer Fantasy 2024

Foul Days by Genoveva Dimova

Release Date: June 25 from Tor Books

Why Yiu’ll Love It: A gritty, atmospheric story rooted in Slavic folklore that’s described as a mix between The Witcher and the novels of Naomi Novik certainly checks a lot of boxes for me, is all I’m saying. 

Publisher’s Description: As a witch in the walled city of Chernograd, Kosara has plenty of practice taming rusalkas, fighting kikimoras, and brewing lycanthrope repellent. There’s only one monster Kosara can’t defeat: her ex the Zmey, known as the Tsar of Monsters. She’s defied him one too many times, and now he’s hunting her. Betrayed to him by someone close to her, Kosara’s only hope is to trade her shadow―the source of her powers―for illegal passage across the Wall to Belograd, where monsters can’t follow.

Life in Belograd should be sweet, but Kosara soon develops a fast-acting version of the deadly wasting sickness that stalks shadowless witches―and only reclaiming her magic can cure her. To trace her shadow, she’ll have to team up with the suspiciously honorable detective investigating the death of the smuggler who brought her across the Wall.

Even worse than working with the cops is that all the clues point in a single direction: one of the Zmey’s monsters has found a crack in the Wall, and Kosara’s magic is now in the Zmey’s hands.

The clock is ticking, the hunt is on, and Kosara’s priorities should be clear―but is she the hunter or the hunted? And in a city where everyone is out for themselves, who can Kosara trust to assist her in outwitting the man―the Monster―she’s never been able to escape alone?

The Daughter's War Best Fantasy Books June 2024

The Daughter’s War by Christopher Buehlman

Release date: June 25 from Tor Books

Why You’ll Love It: This prequel to The Blacktongue Thief serves as an origin story for Galva dom Braga and follows her years fighting in the goblin wars. This experience forged her into a badass warrior, but also cost her much along the way. It’s a grimmer, less overtly funny story than its predecessor, but all the more impactful for it. 

Publisher’s Description: The goblins have killed all of our horses and most of our men.

They have enslaved our cities, burned our fields, and still they wage war.

Now, our daughters take up arms.

Galva ― Galvicha to her three brothers, two of whom the goblins will kill ― has defied her family’s wishes and joined the army’s untested new unit, the Raven Knights. They march toward a once-beautiful city overrun by the goblin horde, accompanied by scores of giant war corvids. Made with the darkest magics, these fearsome black birds may hold the key to stopping the goblins in their war to make cattle of mankind.

The road to victory is bloody, and goblins are clever and merciless. The Raven Knights can take nothing for granted ― not the bonds of family, nor the wisdom of their leaders, nor their own safety against the dangerous war birds at their side. But some hopes are worth any risk.

Children of Anguish and Anarchy Fantasy 2024

Children of Anguish and Anarchy by Tomi Adeyemi

Release Date: June 25 from Henry Holt and Co.

Why You’ll Love It: The long-awaited and much-anticipated finale to Tomi Adeyemi’s Legacy of Orïsha series, it feels like this book has been on my must-read list for literal years. Though the book features a plot that can occasionally seem disconnected from the events of the previous novels, the rage that powers the story is all too familiar. 

Publisher’s Description: When Zelie seized the royal palace that fateful night, she thought her battles had come to an end. The monarchy had finally fallen. The maji had risen again. Zélie never expected to find herself locked in a cage and trapped on a foreign ship. Now warriors with iron skulls traffic her and her people across the seas, far from their homeland.

Then everything changes when Zélie meets King Baldyr, her true captor, the ruler of the Skulls, and the man who has ravaged entire civilizations to find her. Baldyr’s quest to harness Zélie’s strength sends Zélie, Amari, and Tzain searching for allies in unknown lands.

But as Baldyr closes in, catastrophe charges Orïsha’s shores. It will take everything Zélie has to face her final enemy and save her people before the Skulls annihilate them for good.

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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