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Dude makes a list of 13 books that demonstrate why 2014 is going to be a banner year for fantasy novels. List contains 12 books by men and a book by a lady which has been pushed back to 2015. Okay then.

Adam Hill, presenter of the last leg sits at a news desk and says Four simple words people...don't be a dick

Rather than re-hash arguments about why creating public SFF recs lists that largely feature male authors is kind of dickish, I decided to fight books with books. Here's a list of 15 SFF books1 by women that I'm excited to see published in 2014. Token guys need not apply.

"Lagoon" — Nnedi Okorafor

cover of Lagoon

When a massive object crashes into the ocean off the coast of Lagos, Nigeria’s most populous and legendary city, three people wandering along Bar Beach (Adaora, the marine biologist- Anthony, the rapper famous throughout Africa- Agu, the troubled soldier) find themselves running a race against time to save the country they love and the world itself… from itself. Lagoon expertly juggles multiple points of view and crisscrossing narratives with prose that is at once propulsive and poetic, combining everything from superhero comics to Nigerian mythology to tie together a story about a city consuming itself.

"Bird, Boy, Snow" — Helen Oyeyemi

cover of Bird, Boy, Snow

A wicked stepmother is a creature Boy never imagined she’d become, but elements of the familiar tale of aesthetic obsession begin to play themselves out when the birth of Boy’s daughter, Bird, who is dark-skinned, exposes the Whitmans as light-skinned African Americans passing for white. Among them, Boy, Snow, and Bird confront the tyranny of the mirror to ask how much power surfaces really hold.

"Poisoned Apples" — Christine Hepperman

cover of Poisoned Apples

A powerful and provocative collection of fifty free-verse poems juxtaposing fairy tales with the life of a modern teenage girl. Inspired by the stories we grow up on, but presented with the piercing truth of Laurie Halse Anderson and Ellen Hopkins, this is a book for every young woman.

"The Mirror Empire" — Kameron Hurley


On the eve of a recurring catastrophic event known to extinguish nations and reshape continents, a troubled orphan evades death and slavery to uncover her own bloody past… while a world goes to war with itself.

In the frozen kingdom of Saiduan, invaders from another realm are decimating whole cities, leaving behind nothing but ash and ruin. At the heart of this war lie the pacifistic Dhai people, once enslaved by the Saiduan and now courted by their former masters to provide aid against the encroaching enemy.

Stretching from desolate tundra to steamy, semi-tropical climes seething with sentient plant life, this is an epic tale of blood mages and mercenaries, emperors and priestly assassins who must unite to save a world on the brink of collapse. As the dark star of the cataclysm rises, an illegitimate ruler struggles to unite a country fractured by civil war; a precocious young fighter is asked to betray his family to save his skin; and a half-Dhai general must choose between the eradication of her father’s people or loyalty to her alien Empress.

"The Goblin Emperor" — Katherine Addison

cover of The Goblin Emperor

The youngest, half-goblin son of the Emperor has lived his entire life in exile, distant from the Imperial Court and the deadly intrigue that suffuses it. But when his father and three sons in line for the throne are killed in an "accident," he has no choice but to take his place as the only surviving rightful heir.

Entirely unschooled in the art of court politics, he has no friends, no advisors, and the sure knowledge that whoever assassinated his father and brothers could make an attempt on his life at any moment.

"Dirty Wings — Sarah McCarry

cover of Dirty Wings

Maia is a teenage piano prodigy and dutiful daughter, imprisoned in the oppressive silence of her adoptive parents' house like a princess in an ivory tower. Cass is a street rat, witch, and runaway, scraping by with her wits and her knack for a five-fingered discount. When a chance encounter brings the two girls together, an unlikely friendship blossoms that will soon change the course of both their lives. Cass springs Maia from the jail of the only world she's ever known, and Maia's only too happy to make a break for it. But Cass didn't reckon on Jason, the hypnotic blue-eyed rocker who'd capture Maia's heart as soon as Cass set her free—and Cass isn't the only one who's noticed Maia's extraordinary gifts. Is Cass strong enough to battle the ancient evil she's unwittingly awakened--or has she walked into a trap that will destroy everything she cares about? In this time, like in any time, love is a dangerous game.

"Starbreak" — Phoebe North

cover of Starbreak

The Asherah has finally reached Zehava, the long-promised planet. There, Terra finds harsh conditions and a familiar foe—Aleksandra Wolff, leader of her ship’s rebel forces. Terra and Aleksandra first lock horns with each other...but soon realize they face a much more dangerous enemy in violent alien beasts—and alien hunters.

Then Terra finally discovers Vadix. The boy who has haunted her dreams may be their key to survival—but his own dark past has yet to be revealed. And when Aleksandra gets humanity expelled from the planet, it’s up to Terra, with Vadix by her side, to unite her people—and to forge an alliance with the alien hosts, who want nothing more than to see humanity gone forever.

"The Galaxy Game" — Karen Lord

cover of The Galaxy Game

For years, Rafi Delarua saw his family suffer under his father’s unethical use of psionic power. Now the government has Rafi under close watch but, hating their crude attempts to analyse his brain, he escapes to the planet Punartam, where his abilities are the norm, not the exception. Punartam is also the centre for his favourite sport, wallrunning — and thanks to his best friend, he has found a way to train with the elite.

But Rafi soon realises he’s playing quite a different game, for the galaxy is changing; unrest is spreading and the Zhinuvian cartels are plotting, making the stars a far more dangerous place to aim. There may yet be one solution — involving interstellar travel, galactic power and the love of a beautiful game.

"Lumberjanes — Noelle Stevenson, Grace Ellis (art by Brooke Allen)

cover of Lumberjanes

Jo, April, Mal, Molly and Ripley are five best pals determined to have an awesome summer together...and they're not gonna let any insane quest or an array of supernatural critters get in their way!

"The Gospel of Loki — Joanne Harris

cover of The Gospel of Loki

Loki, that’s me.

Loki, the Light-Bringer, the misunderstood, the elusive, the handsome and modest hero of this particular tissue of lies. Take it with a pinch of salt, but it’s at least as true as the official version, and, dare I say it, more entertaining.

So far, history, such as it is, has cast me in a rather unflattering role.

Now it’s my turn to take the stage.

With his notorious reputation for trickery and deception, and an ability to cause as many problems as he solves, Loki is a Norse god like no other. Demon-born, he is viewed with deepest suspicion by his fellow gods who will never accept him as one of their own and for this he vows to take his revenge.

From his recruitment by Odin from the realm of Chaos, through his years as the go-to man of Asgard, to his fall from grace in the build-up to Ragnarok, this is the unofficial history of the world’s ultimate trickster.

"Alpha Goddess" — Amalie Howard

cover of Alpha Goddess

In Serjana Caelum’s world, gods exist. So do goddesses. Sera knows this because she is one of them. A secret long concealed by her parents, Sera is Lakshmi reborn, the human avatar of an immortal Indian goddess rumored to control all the planes of existence—Illysia (the Light Realm), Earth (the Mortal Realm), and Xibalba (the Dark Realm). Marked by the sigils of both heaven and hell, Sera’s avatar is meant to bring balance to the mortal world, but all she creates is chaos. A chaos that Azrath, the Asura Lord of Death, hopes to use to unleash hell on earth.

Torn between reconciling her past and present, Sera must figure out how to stop Azrath before the Mortal Realm is destroyed. But trust doesn’t come easy in a world fissured by lies and betrayal. Her best friend, Kyle, is hiding his own dark secrets, and her mysterious new neighbor, Devendra, seems to know a lot more than he’s telling. Struggling between her opposing halves and her attraction to the boys tied to each of them, Sera must become the goddess she was meant to be, or risk failing, which means sacrificing the world she was born to protect.

Rebel Belle - Rachel Hawkins

cover of Rebel Belle

Harper Price, peerless Southern belle, was born ready for a Homecoming tiara. But after a strange run-in at the dance imbues her with incredible abilities, Harper's destiny takes a turn for the seriously weird. She becomes a Paladin, one of an ancient line of guardians with agility, super strength and lethal fighting instincts.

Just when life can't get any more disastrously crazy, Harper finds out who she's charged to protect: David Stark, school reporter, subject of a mysterious prophecy and possibly Harper's least favorite person. But things get complicated when Harper starts falling for him--and discovers that David's own fate could very well be to destroy Earth.

"Ancillary Sword" - Ann Leckie

cover of Ancillary Sword

The Lord of the Radch has given Breq command of the ship Mercy of Kalr and sent her to the only place she would have agreed to go -- to Athoek Station, where Lieutenant Awn's sister works in Horticulture.

Athoek was annexed some six hundred years ago, and by now everyone is fully civilized -- or should be. But everything is not as tranquil as it appears. Old divisions are still troublesome, Athoek Station's AI is unhappy with the situation, and it looks like the alien Presger might have taken an interest in what's going on. With no guarantees that interest is benevolent.

"Stolen Songbird" - Danielle Jensen

cover of Stolen Songbird

For five centuries, a witch’s curse has bound the trolls to their city beneath the ruins of Forsaken Mountain. Time enough for their dark and nefarious magic to fade from human memory and into myth. But a prophesy has been spoken of a union with the power to set the trolls free, and when Cécile de Troyes is kidnapped and taken beneath the mountain, she learns there is far more to the myth of the trolls than she could have imagined.

Cécile has only one thing on her mind after she is brought to Trollus: escape. Only the trolls are clever, fast, and inhumanly strong. She will have to bide her time, wait for the perfect opportunity.

But something unexpected happens while she’s waiting – she begins to fall for the enigmatic troll prince to whom she has been bonded and married. She begins to make friends. And she begins to see that she may be the only hope for the half-bloods – part troll, part human creatures who are slaves to the full-blooded trolls. There is a rebellion brewing. And her prince, Tristan, the future king, is its secret leader.

"The Tropic of Serpents" - Marie Brennan

cover of The Tropic of Serpents

Three years after her fateful journeys through the forbidding mountains of Vystrana, Mrs. Camherst defies family and convention to embark on an expedition to the war-torn continent of Eriga, home of such exotic draconian species as the grass-dwelling snakes of the savannah, arboreal tree snakes, and, most elusive of all, the legendary swamp-wyrms of the tropics.

The expedition is not an easy one. Accompanied by both an old associate and a runaway heiress, Isabella must brave oppressive heat, merciless fevers, palace intrigues, gossip, and other hazards in order to satisfy her boundless fascination with all things draconian, even if it means venturing deep into the forbidden jungle known as the Green Hell . . . where her courage, resourcefulness, and scientific curiosity will be tested as never before.

Honorary mention:

"The Fifth Season" - N. K. Jemisin

cover of The Fifth Season

The Fifth Season is set in a world which has suffered frequent, repeated Extinction Level Events for millions of years, and all life (and magic) in this world has adapted to it. Hundreds of years might pass between these events—easy, plentiful years in which great cities rise, and people have the leisure for art and science and rapid advancement—but then, again and again, the cities fall. The world is littered with the detritus of these times of plenty, and this cover hints at them: past ages of decadence, now decaying; stone that endures beneath flaking gilt.

N. K. Jemisin's fantasy novel has been set back a year to make sure it's as awesome as it can be, but I just couldn't leave it of this list because I was so excited about it last year when I thought it was coming out in 2014. Please be amazing little book.

So those are just some of the SFF books written by women that I'm looking forward to in 2014. I could easily have included more. Which ones are you excited about and which books have I missed? If you'd like to share your recommendations in the comments I'd love to hear them.


1 Sean McCarrick's list concentrates on fantasy and text novels whereas I've included science fiction novels, as well as a comic and a volume of poetry. This is my list and I will do what I like.

Date: 2014-04-24 06:27 pm (UTC)
renay: artist rendition of the center of a nebula (Default)
From: [personal profile] renay
Here's some that I'm looking forward to!

Artemis Awakening by Jane Lindskold
The Falcon Throne by Karen Miller
Peacemaker by Marianne de Pierres

I'm sure there are more but I don't have my reading spreadsheet open.
Edited Date: 2014-04-24 06:27 pm (UTC)

Date: 2014-04-24 06:49 pm (UTC)
jazzfish: Owly, reading (Owly)
From: [personal profile] jazzfish
Ooh, new NK Jemisin!

I'd add Elizabeth Bear's Steles of the Sky, which I am technically no longer looking forward to on account of having finished it two days ago. Epic conclusion to an epic fantasy trilogy (Range of Ghosts and The Shattered Pillars) set in a fictitious Asia Minor a couple of generations after not-Genghis-Khan. SO MUCH AWESOME.

Date: 2014-04-24 10:45 pm (UTC)
hawkwing_lb: (Liara doing)
From: [personal profile] hawkwing_lb

Also, Karen Healey's WHILE WE RUN.

Date: 2014-04-25 12:16 am (UTC)
hawkwing_lb: (Default)
From: [personal profile] hawkwing_lb
It is the epic fantasy of my heart.

I think Healey's THE SHATTERING is a good place to start - but honestly, all of her stuff is good.

Date: 2014-04-24 07:02 pm (UTC)
nymeth: (Default)
From: [personal profile] nymeth
Cuckoo Song by Frances Hardinge. It's brilliant. :)

Date: 2014-04-25 06:35 am (UTC)
nymeth: (Default)
From: [personal profile] nymeth
Um, yes. Not going to lie, the first third or so is seriously unsettling. BUT IN A GOOD WAY :P

Date: 2014-04-24 07:37 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
So many exciting books by women! I would add Fool's Assassin by Robin Hobb. Nothing like one of your favourite authors deciding to continue one of your favourite series again.

Meghan @ Medieval Bookworm

Date: 2014-04-25 05:54 pm (UTC)
jazzfish: Owly, reading (Owly)
From: [personal profile] jazzfish
Best place to start is probably the Assassin's Apprentice / Royal Assassin / Assassin's Quest trilogy: they were written first and I'm pretty sure they're also chronologically first. Not sure where's best to go after that; Hobb dropped off my radar about a decade ago, for no very good reason.

Date: 2014-04-30 05:55 am (UTC)
eltanin_draco: (Default)
From: [personal profile] eltanin_draco
I actually found her assassin books to be very painful to read - nothing good ever seemed to happen to the main character. Are there other books to recommend so I can give her another chance?

another to add

Date: 2014-04-24 09:26 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Due out in october 2014 - first book in an amazing new series by Alma Alexander - "Random", published as YA but like all good YA books an excellent read for the grown-ups, too...

Re: another to add

Date: 2014-04-24 11:08 pm (UTC)
renay: artist rendition of the center of a nebula (Default)
From: [personal profile] renay
Thanks for this rec! :D

Taking this chance to leave a link to [ profile] jennygadget's MG/YA recs, too: thirteen more from the middle grade and young adult categories.

Date: 2014-04-25 01:20 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Cosigned. Please do not be a dick, list-makers of the world.

In non-dick listmakers of the world, you have created a wonderful list! I didn't know Jemisin had a new book coming out; this means I can catch myself up on her current books without worrying that I will have none left in front of me. I also need to real quick read Karen Lord's two existing books in preparation for her new one.

Date: 2014-04-27 06:08 pm (UTC)
renay: artist rendition of the center of a nebula (Default)
From: [personal profile] renay
Have you read The Killing Moon yet? I LOVE THE KILLING MOON.

one quibble

Date: 2014-04-25 01:46 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
"In the frozen kingdom of Saiduan, invaders from another realm are decimating whole cities, leaving behind nothing but ash and ruin. "
I'm pretty sure they were obliterating (not decimating) since nothing was left but ash and ruin.
okay, throw rotten tomatoes at me .. it's just one of my pet peeves. (Decimate would be to destroy one-tenth)
Otherwise, a couple of the titles intrigue me. Thank you for making this list. (I was directed here by a link on Kate Elliott's blog.)
-> Judee St.Clair

Re: one quibble

Date: 2014-04-27 06:11 pm (UTC)
renay: artist rendition of the center of a nebula (Default)
From: [personal profile] renay
Language is so weird! I see this usage all the time in book blurbs and beyond; it makes me wonder if the word is going to fold the new usage into its definition.

Thank you

Date: 2014-04-25 05:59 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I will put all of these books on my wishlist!

Best regards,
Linda van der Pal
From: [personal profile] scarletnatalia321
I'm currently anxiously awaiting Rachel Bach's "Heaven's Queen" from the library. There are two new books from Sarah Beth Durst "The Lost" and "Chasing Power". I really enjoyed "The Goblin Emperor". Also Ramona Wheeler's alternative history "The Three Princes" was an interesting read. I want to get my hands on Sophia McDougall's "Mars Evacuees". And those are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the speculative fiction being written by women this year.
renay: artist rendition of the center of a nebula (Default)
From: [personal profile] renay
Heaven's Queen is worth the wait! :D

Date: 2014-04-30 08:06 am (UTC)
eltanin_draco: (Default)
From: [personal profile] eltanin_draco
A great list, many thanks!

Date: 2014-05-06 01:53 am (UTC)
carolinarose: Belle 'with her nose stuck in a book' (beauty's books)
From: [personal profile] carolinarose
I bought Rebel Belle the day it came out because the cover was pretty and I love that it's about a girly girl who gets some super ninja powers (like Buffy), but haven't read it yet (although the first chapter or so that I read in the bookstore was awesome). I've been considering getting Boy Snow Boy too, but I'm curious as to what made you include it on the list. Is it considered fantasy because of its connection to fairy tales? Lumberjanes looks interesting too.

Date: 2014-05-09 03:33 am (UTC)
renay: artist rendition of the center of a nebula (Default)
From: [personal profile] renay
I can highly recommend Lumberjanes. The first issue was super cute!

Date: 2014-05-12 02:09 pm (UTC)
cythraul: (Default)
From: [personal profile] cythraul
Hells yes, "Ancillary Sword". That's due out this year? Excellent, excellent. I found "Ancillary Justice" a really slow burn - it took about half of its page-count to make me really *excited* to be reading, rather than merely curious. But once it did, it didn't let go. I can't wait to read the sequel.

I am about a quarter of the way through "The Goblin Emperor", and it is *wonderful*. It's been a long time since I've actually sat and read while at home, but this book calls to me when I'm not reading it.

I read the first issue of "Lumberjanes", and while I didn't find myself hooked, I rather suspect a lot of people will be.

Date: 2014-05-25 08:32 pm (UTC)
cythraul: (Default)
From: [personal profile] cythraul
The Goblin Emperor was *wonderful*. I can't remember the last time I enjoyed a book so much. When I finished it, I was immediately seized by the desire to read it again.


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