Summer is just around the corner, and that means it’s time to get your Summer reading list together. Here, I have some nerdy suggestions.
Something about Summer, even when you’re older, just feels like the time to catch up on reading. Whether you’re looking to knock down your to-be-read pile or hoping to add something new, there’s no shortage of great Science Fiction and Fantasy stories for you to pick up. I’ve had the good fortune to read a number of them (both that have already released and some on the horizon), so I thought it’d be fun to put together my own Summer Reading List that might help you out as well.
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The Warden by Daniel M. Ford (April 18th)
New fantasy books can be a tough sell sometimes, especially one kicking off a new series. That said, The Warden does a whole bunch of things right that managed to make me interested right away. For one, it’s a TIGHT story, coming in right around 300 pages. Too often, fantasy stories kick off with these daunting 600-800 page tomes. Don’t get me wrong, there’s plenty of those I enjoy, but can certainly be off-putting.
Even with a shorter page count, The Warden doesn’t skimp on the world-building and great character moments. Combine that with some interesting lore and plenty of action and I’m more than ready to see what comes next for Aelis and this world.
Official Synopsis: She had the money, the connections, even the brains. It was simple: become one of the only female necromancers, pass as many certifications as she could, get a post near the capital, then… profit. The funny thing about plans is that they are seldom under your control.
Now Aelis, a daughter of a noble house and a trained Magister of the Lyceum, finds herself in the far-removed village of Lone Pine. Mending fences and delivering baby goats, serving people who want nothing to do with her. But, not all is well in Lone Pine, and as the villagers Aelis is reluctantly getting to know start to behave strangely, Aelis begins to suspect that there is far greater need for a warden of her talents than she previously thought.
Old magics are restless, and an insignificant village on the farthest border of the kingdom might hold secrets far beyond what anyone expected. Aelis might be the only person standing between one of the greatest evils ever known and the rest of the free world.
The Archive Undying, by Emma Candon (June 27th)
Emma Candon’s original debut arrives this June and brings the goods. Between mecha action, moral questions regarding faith, creation, and the meaning of life, it unfolds like some of the best anime, just in written form.
If you’re familiar with her Star Wars book, Ronin, you already know you’re in for one hell of a time (in both action and emotional character work). Seriously, Ronin remains one of my favorite Star Wars books of all time and her follow-up here has me excited to see where her career takes her.
Official Synopsis: When the robotic god of Khuon Mo went mad, it destroyed everything it touched. It killed its priests, its city, and all its wondrous works. But in its final death throes, the god brought one thing back to life: its favorite child, Sunai. For the seventeen years since, Sunai has walked the land like a ghost, unable to die, unable to age, and unable to forget the horrors he’s seen. He’s run as far as he can from the wreckage of his faith, drowning himself in drink, drugs, and men. But when Sunai wakes up in the bed of the one man he never should have slept with, he finds himself on a path straight back into the world of gods and machines.
Star Wars The High Republic: Path of Vengeance by Cavan Scott (May 2nd)
The second phase of The High Republic story initiative ends things with a dynamic bang. On top of wrapping up the character story from Path of Deceit (also excellent book) while expertly tying into the Cataclysm novel. It all works together for a brilliant story, yet still manages to feel engaging and satisfying on its own merits, separate from the interconnected story.
Summer is a great time to catch up on all things The High Republic before the third, and final phase, drops in the Fall.
Official Synopsis: Marda and Yana belong to the Path of the Open Hand, a group led by a charismatic woman called the Mother, which believes the Force must not be used by anyone. While Marda joins a perilous expedition to Planet X in search of more mysterious creatures to use against the Jedi, Yana finds herself forming an unexpected alliance with the father of her dead lover in attempt to wrest the Path from the Mother’s control. These two young women will face a crossroads, forced to choose not only their own fates, but that of the galaxy itself.
To Shape a Dragon’s Breath by Moniquill Blackgoose (May 9th)
When the people at Penguin Random House reached out to see if I’d be interested in a book written by a Native American, about an indigenous woman dealing with colonizers in a fantasy setting complete with dragons…I couldn’t get it in my hands fast enough. I mean, it feels like something specifically written for me, and the result is highly engaging.
Between the social commentary (couched in the fantasy world setting), the action, and detailed world-building, there’s a lot to love. It’s an engrossing story/world, and having the Indigenous perspective makes it hit all the harder while still bringing all the appeal for a wide variety of readers.
Official Synopsis: A young Indigenous woman enters a colonizer-run dragon academy—and quickly finds herself at odds with the “approved” way of doing things—in the first book of this brilliant new fantasy series.
The remote island of Masquapaug has not seen a dragon in many generations—until fifteen-year-old Anequs finds a dragon’s egg and bonds with its hatchling. Her people are delighted, for all remember the tales of the days when dragons lived among them and danced away the storms of autumn, enabling the people to thrive. To them, Anequs is revered as Nampeshiweisit—a person in a unique relationship with a dragon.
Unfortunately for Anequs, the Anglish conquerors of her land have different opinions. They have a very specific idea of how a dragon should be raised, and who should be doing the raising—and Anequs does not meet any of their requirements. Only with great reluctance do they allow Anequs to enroll in a proper Anglish dragon school on the mainland. If she cannot succeed there, her dragon will be killed.
For a girl with no formal schooling, a non-Anglish upbringing, and a very different understanding of the history of her land, challenges abound—both socially and academically. But Anequs is smart, determined, and resolved to learn what she needs to help her dragon, even if it means teaching herself. The one thing she refuses to do, however, is become the meek Anglish miss that everyone expects.
Anequs and her dragon may be coming of age, but they’re also coming to power, and that brings an important realization: the world needs changing—and they might just be the ones to do it.
Dragons of Fate – Dragonlance Destinies: Volume 2 by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman (August 1st)
Okay, I’m full on cheating with this one, considering I haven’t actually had the chance to get my hands on this one just yet. Even so, I feel pretty confident in listing this one on here. Over the past year or so, I’ve been back on a Dragonlance kick; re-reading the older books (which originally got me into the fantasy genre) and checking out some that I’ve missed.
Then the authors behind the whole franchise made a return last year with Dragons of Deceit, and it ruled. While kicking off a new trilogy, it manages to bring together some familiar favorites with a fast-paced story that reminded everyone why we fell in love with the series in the first place. With Deceit essentially ending on a cliffhanger and promising the chance to revisit some classic lore, I think nerds in general should keep their calendars open when this drops.
Official Synopsis: A clash of powerful magical forces sets off the Graygem of Gargath, sending Destina Rosethorn and her companions deeper into the past than she intended—to the age of Huma Dragonsbane and the Third Dragon War. Now, with the Device of Time Journeying shattered, they must find another way back to their own era before the Graygem irrevocably alters history and the Third Dragon War ends in defeat for the forces of good.
While the battle rages on, Destina tries desperately to make amends and prevent disaster. Raistlin and Sturm encounter their heroes Huma and Magius, and must reconcile the myths with the men. And Tasslehoff, shocked that the Knights of Solamnia have never heard of dragonlances, sets out to find the famed weapons.
But as the forces of the Dark Queen close in on the High Clerist’s Tower, Destina’s party must return to their own timeline together—or not at all.
There are, of course, many other novels coming up during the Summer months that are well worth keeping an eye out for. Considering I haven’t read them, or anything in their related series (like Dragonlance), I won’t go into detail on them. Even so, might be worth penciling in on your TBR pile!
Star Wars Inquisitor: Rise of the Red Blade by Delilah S. Dawson
The Ferryman by Justin Cronin
Ebony Gate by Julia Vee and Ken Bebelle
Thornhedge by T. Kingfisher
The Surviving Sky by Kritika H. Rao
What books are you most looking forward to catching up on this Summer?