It’s December, which means that it’s officially time to think about all the amazing new books coming out in 2021. This is, of course, nowhere near every single thing that’s coming out (that would be an incredible undertaking!), but just a taste of what’s to come. Without further ado, here are 10 of the books I’m looking forward to in the new year:
Remote Control by Nnedi Okorafor
In Remote Control, a strange artifact from the sky turns a young girl into a bringer of death. She travels Ghana alone, her mere touch deadly, and the people she meets both fear and worship her. But what is her purpose now that everyone she loves is gone?
Nnedi Okorafor is a prolific Nigerian-American author of over a dozen works of Africanfuturism and Africanjujuism. She’s an incredibly talented writer, and I’m always impressed by her ability to blend African culture with futuristic technology.
On Fragile Waves by E Lily Yu
Early reviews claim that this 2021 book will break your heart. On Fragile Waves centers on a young girl named Firuzeh fleeing war-torn Afghanistan with her family for a new life in Australia. The journey is difficult, but Firuzeh’s parents tell their children fairy tales to distract them and ease their fears. These stories stick with Firuzeh, as do the ghosts she carries with her.
E Lily Yu is known for her award-winning short stories and her ability to cover heavy concepts using beautiful prose, and her first novel is bound to be no exception.
Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell
We already have a full review of this fanfic turned full-length novel here, but here are the basics: Everina Maxwell’s debut features arranged marriages, murder plots and high-level diplomacy, all set against a massive, space-empire backdrop. The main characters are intriguing and lovable, and you won’t want to miss their journey.
The Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey
Sarah Gailey can do it all. From alternate US history to teen witch drama to queer pulp Western, they’re clearly an incredibly talented writer. The 2021 book The Echo Wife is their foray into the domestic thriller – sort of. The novel follows famous scientist Evelyn Caldwell, her cloned and pregnant replica, and the murder of the husband they didn’t know they shared.
Gailey’s newest novel is trippy, realistic and transportive, and will stay with you long after you’ve reached the final page.
The Unbroken by CL Clark
Touraine is a conscripted soldier, stolen as a child and raised to die for her empire. Her loyalties are tested when the empire sends her to put down in a rebellion in the former home she barely remembers. Luca, the heir to the throne, needs someone to sway the rebels toward peace so that she can assume her rightful place and power.
I’m always looking for my next favorite epic fantasy series, and I have high hopes for The Unbroken. The characters give me strong Gideon the Ninth vibes, especially after seeing this tweet from CL Clark. Besides, their chosen hashtag for The Unbroken is #TourainesArms. Enough said?
Victories Greater Than Death by Charlie Jane Anders
Tina is an alien clone living on Earth and waiting for the day she’s summoned back to space. But, when her moment arrives, she narrowly escapes the monster hunting her down. While Tina slowly regains the memories of the celebrated captain she was cloned from, she accrues enemies and allies and discovers how far she’s willing to go to save the galaxy.
It’s time for Charlie Jane Anders’ YA debut! I will happily read anything she writes, and I recommend checking out All the Birds in the Sky while you wait for this one.
The Chosen and the Beautiful by Nghi Vo
Literature fans may be aware that 2021 is the year The Great Gatsby (among other classics including Animal Farm and Edgar Rice Burroughs’ Tarzan) enters into the public domain. This means its copyright will expire, and so no intellectual property rights apply. Basically, people can do whatever they want with it.
Nghi Vo, who is quickly becoming one of my favorite writers, is taking advantage of this with her upcoming novel The Chosen and the Beautiful. It focuses on Jordan Baker, still wealthy and talented like the original, but also queer, Asian, adopted and treated as exotic by her 1920s peers. This is Vo’s first full-length novel, and I’m so excited to see where it goes.
The All-Consuming World by Cassandra Khaw
There isn’t a whole lot of information available about this book, aside from the official description from the publisher, Erewhon Books:
“A diverse team of broken, diminished former criminals get back together to solve the mystery of their last, disastrous mission and to rescue a missing and much-changed comrade… but they’re not the only ones in pursuit of the secret at the heart of the planet.”
The All-Consuming World has so many elements that interest me: a crew of queer women criminals, sentient spaceships, a treasure hunt and an incredible cover. I’m looking forward to learning more about this one as June approaches.
She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan
Destined for a fate of nothingness while her brother will achieve greatness, a young girl takes his place when he unexpectedly dies. She uses his identity to enter a monastery where she will do whatever it takes, no matter how cold or calculating, to avoid her fate.
Macmillan describes this reimagining of the Ming Dynasty as “Mulan meets The Song of Achilles”, and early reviews call it elegant, heartrending and exhilarating.
No Gods, No Monsters by Cadwell Turnbull
Cadwell Turnbull’s newest novel is far enough away that there aren’t any reviews yet, but it’s clearly going to be gripping and important. It features Laina, a woman who gets the news that the police shot and killed her brother. What looks like a case of police brutality turns out to be something stranger; monsters are real, and they’re done hiding. At the center of everything lies the question of why they’ve chosen now to come out of the dark.
Cadwell Turnbull’s debut The Lesson was well received, and he brings a unique perspective and style to his work that will definitely come forward in No Gods, No Monsters.
Each of these 2021 books is available for preorder now, both at Bookshop.org and through your local independent bookseller.
How many of these new books are already on your TBR list? What did we miss? And what do you want to hear more about? Sound off below!