Here are some of the fantasy novels due out in the remainder of 2012, in order of their release dates:
Home from the Sea (An Elemental Masters Novel), by Mercedes Lackey. Lackey’s Elemental Masters novels set retold fairy tales in Edwardian/post-WWI England, where wielders of elemental magic live and work secretly within the mundane world. The magical premise, the setting, and Lackey’s imaginative use of fairy tales combine to make this an engaging series on the whole. According to Lackey’s website, “This story combines East of the Sun and West of the Moon, as well as Tam Lin, with the Selkie of Sul Skerry. We’ll see Nan and Sarah (from Wizard of London) as adults, coming into their own–and Grey and Neville, of course!” (June 5, 2012)
Dead Reckoning, by Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill. Billed as a zombie-Western mashup and featuring not one but two intrepid young female characters, this book will probably appeal to diehard Lackey fans and zombie fans alike. Since I’m not personally fond of zombie novels, I’ll probably pass on this one. (June 5, 2012) (no cover image available)
Sky Dragons (Dragonriders of Pern), by Anne McCaffrey and Todd McCaffrey. The publisher is billing this as the final installment in the Dragonsblood series-within-a-series. I doubt it will be the last Pern novel; son Todd has written several books, including Dragonsblood, without his mother Anne, and it’s clear that she has officially passed the mantle on to him. I was saddened by the news of Ms. McCaffrey’s death last November. Her novels were among the first grown-up fantasy novels I read, other than Tolkien; I loved them then, and I love them still. Iadmit that I haven’t loved the newer books in the Pern series in the same way as I did those early novels. There is a difference in style and tone between the novels written by Anne alone and those in whose writing Todd has been involved, and sometimes the difference extends to “facts” about Pern and its people, which is disconcerting at best. But Todd’s books have been growing on me, or perhaps he’s getting better at matching his vision to his mother’s. I may not buy this one as soon as it comes out, but it’s definitely going on my library hold list. (June 26, 2012)
Shadow of Night, by Deborah Harkness. The sequel to A Discovery of Witches; I blogged about it here. I’m terrifically excited to read this! I’m not sure I can wait for the library copy, so I may have to break down and buy the hardcover. I plan to reread Discovery before Shadow comes out. (July 11, 2012)
Bitterblue, by Kristin Cashore, takes place eight years after the events in Graceling. Bitterblue is now queen of Monsea. To heal the country and its people from the wounds left by 35 years of her psychopathic father’s rule, she must revisit the past. The key to the truth is held by two thieves. (YA; May 1, 2012)
Princess Academy: Palace of Stone, by Shannon Hale. A sequel to Hale’s enchanting The Princess Academy. No official word on the plot or which characters from The Princess Academy will be featured in the sequel, but Hale’s YA fantasy is always original and enjoyable, so I’m definitely looking forward to it. (YA; August 21, 2012)
Redoubt: Book 4 of the Collegium Chronicles (A Valdemar Novel), by Mercedes Lackey. The Collegium Chronicles take place shortly after the Vanyel trilogy, when the Heralds’, Healers’, and Bardic Collegia are moving from apprenticeship-style education to a more organized classroom-and-curricula-based system. The main character, Mags, is an orphan of unknown and probably foreign parentage, which is only one of the mysteries in the series. Lackey usually writes trilogies, so I and (I suspect) other fans were surprised and even a little indignant when last fall’s Changes didn’t conclude the series. It’s not clear whether Redoubt will be the last of the Collegium Chronicles; there are still several questions left unanswered, including that of Mags’ origins. Lackey’s work in recent years hasn’t been consistently up to the quality of most of her earlier work (in a few cases, neither has the editing and copyediting, which is annoying.) Nonetheless, she can still weave an engaging story, and I’m anxious to see how this one turns out. (I haven’t provided a link to the title, because no information other than publication date is yet available.) (Oct. 2, 2012)
Princess of the Silver Woods, by Jessica Day George. Third in George’s series of fairy-tale retellings that began with Princess of the Midnight Ball. The only plot information I can find is in a post on George’s blog, where she states that the book is based on Red Riding Hood and features Princess Petunia. George is a wonderful writer, and I can’t wait to read this one! (YA;
Nov. 13, 2012 Publication date moved to Dec. 11, 2012)
Crown of Vengeance, by Mercedes Lackey and James Mallory. This begins a third series set in the same world as the Obsidian Mountain trilogy (The Outstretched Shadow, To Light a Candle; When Darkness Falls.) The first trilogy was quite good; I haven’t yet read the second. (Nov. 13, 2012)
Other titles and authors:
The ever-prolific Mercedes Lackey has several other books coming out this year, including World Divided, the second in the Secret Worlds Chronicles, with Steve Libby, Dennis Lee, and Cody Martin; and a compilation of two previously published books in the Bedlam’s Bard series she wrote with Rosemary Edghill, to be called A Host of Furious Fancies (Sept. 4, 2012).
According to her website, Tamora Pierce plans to release a new book in the Circle of Magic series in 2012, this one featuring Briar, Rosethorn, and Evvy in Yanjing, but I haven’t been able to find any definite publication information on it.
Last fall, Robin McKinley put aside the sequel(s) to Pegasus temporarily for a YA book with the working title of Shadows. The writing has involved research in chaos theory, high-level math, and Japanese vocabulary, according to her blog, but other than that, I know little about it including the publication date. I’ll read it whenever it comes out; it’s McKinley!