Obsession-Worthy YA Fantasy Out In 2017

by Kerri Jarema

We all have our favorite YA fantasy series and authors, those writers who have become auto-buys and instant reads the minute they release anything new. Lucky for us, 2017 is seeing new releases from many of them, some series continuations, others entirely new stories. We've got new books coming from Sarah J. Maas, Renee Ahdieh, Victoria Aveyard, Marie Lu and even more fan favorites. And while the hype surrounding them is real, and we're beyond excited to read them, we're also looking forward to dipping into new fantasy worlds from less established fantasy authors. These writers are bringing their A-Game with new plots, new worlds, incredible new magic systems and even more diversity than ever before.

These 13 upcoming releases include everything from sci-fi fantasy to those inspired by legendary myths, and many represent diverse casts of characters that include people of color, gender fluid people, and LGBT people. Though fantasy novels are the ultimate way to spend some time outside of our own world, we also know that it’s beyond important to see real world representation in everything that we read. If you’re looking to fall in love with some new obsession-worthy reads, we’ve got you more than covered.


'Empress of a Thousand Skies' by Rhoda Belleza (February 7, 2017)

This recent sci-fi fantasy release from Rhoda Belleza has been billed as Game of Thrones in space and we are so on board. This diverse read tells the story of Empress Rhee, also known as Crown Princess Rhiannon Ta’an, the sole surviving heir to a powerful dynasty and a fugitive named Aly who has risen above his war refugee origins to find fame as the dashing star of a DroneVision show. But when he’s falsely accused of killing Rhee, he's forced to prove his innocence to save his reputation – and his life. With planets on the brink of war, Rhee and Aly are thrown together to confront a ruthless evil that threatens the fate of the entire galaxy. This diverse tale is a saga of vengeance, warfare, and the true meaning of legacy.

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'The Traitor's Kiss' by Erin Beaty (May 9, 2017)

The first in a new fantasy trilogy, The Traitor's Kiss follows Sage Fowler, a sharp tongued girl with and an unruly temper, who is not what they’d call a lady―which is perfectly fine with her. Deemed unfit for marriage, Sage is apprenticed to a matchmaker and tasked with wrangling other young ladies to be married off for political alliances. She spies on the girls―and on the soldiers escorting them. As the girls' military escort senses a political uprising, Sage is recruited by a handsome soldier to infiltrate the enemy ranks. The more she discovers as a spy, the less certain she becomes about whom to trust―and Sage becomes caught in a dangerous balancing act that will determine the fate of her kingdom. An obsession-worthy tempestuous romance and secret identities make this Jane Austen with an espionage twist.

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'Daughter of the Pirate King' by Tricia Levenseller (February 28, 2017)

Another first book in a series, Daughter of the Pirate King introduces us to a YA female Captain Jack Sparrow, and if that's not enough to hook you, we don't know what will. Sent on a mission to retrieve an ancient hidden map—the key to a legendary treasure trove—seventeen-year-old pirate captain Alosa deliberately allows herself to be captured by her enemies, giving her the perfect opportunity to search their ship. More than a match for the ruthless pirate crew, Alosa has only one thing standing between her and the map: her captor, the unexpectedly clever and unfairly attractive first mate, Riden. But not to worry, for Alosa has a few tricks up her sleeve, and no lone pirate can stop the Daughter of the Pirate King. This blend of action, adventure, romance, and a little bit of magic makes for one thrilling YA pirate tale.

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'Poison's Kiss' by Breeana Shields (January 10, 2017)

This recently released tale of a teenage assassin will definitely appeal to fans of Sarah J. Maas who are looking for a little something new in their reading life. Poison's Kiss is about a girl named Marinda who has kissed dozens of boys. They all die afterward. It's a miserable life, but being a visha kanya, a poison maiden, is what she was created to do. Marinda serves the Raja by dispatching his enemies with only her lips as a weapon. Until now, the men she was ordered to kiss have been strangers, enemies of the kingdom. Then she receives orders to kiss Deven, a boy she knows too well to be convinced he needs to die. She begins to question who she s really working for. And that is a thread that, once pulled, will unravel more than she can afford to lose. This rich debut is based in Indian folklore and will keep readers on the edge of their seats.

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'Long May She Reign' by Rhiannon Thomas (February 21, 2017)

Being billed as The Girls of Fire and Thorns meets Queen of the Tearling this new fantasy from Rhiannon Thomas is sure to become many a fantasy reader's new obsession. This standalone novel follows Freya, a girl who was never meant to be queen. Twenty-third in line to the throne, she never dreamed of a life in the palace, and would much rather research in her laboratory than participate in the intrigues of court. When an extravagant banquet turns deadly and the king and those closest to him are poisoned, Freya suddenly finds herself on the throne. The nobles don’t respect her, her councillors want to control her, and with the mystery of who killed the king still unsolved, Freya knows that a single mistake could cost her the kingdom – and her life. Freya is determined to survive, and that means uncovering the murderers herself. Until then, she can’t trust anyone. Not her advisors. Not the king’s dashing and enigmatic illegitimate son. Not even her own father. As Freya’s enemies close in and her loyalties are tested, she must decide if she is ready to rule and, if so, how far she is willing to go to keep the crown.

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'Toward A Secret Sky' by Heather Maclean (April 4, 2017)

Heather Maclean's fantasy follows 17-year-old orphan Maren Hamilton, sent to live with grandparents she’s never met in Scotland. There she receives an encrypted journal from her dead mother that confirms that her parents were employed by a secret, international organization that’s now intent on recruiting her. As Maren works to unravel the clues left behind by her mother, a murderous madness sweeps through the local population, terrorizing her small town. Maren must decide if she’ll continue her parents’ fight or stay behind to save her friends. With the help of Gavin, an otherworldly mercenary she’s not supposed to fall in love with, and Graham, a charming aristocrat who is entranced with her, Maren races against the clock and around the country from palatial estates with twisted labyrinths to famous cathedrals with booby-trapped subterranean crypts to stay ahead of the enemy and find a cure. Along the way, she discovers the great truth of love: that laying down your life for another isn’t as hard as watching them sacrifice everything for you.

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'Royal Bastards' by Andrew Shvarts (June 6, 2017)

Being a bastard blows. Tilla, the protagonist of Andrew Shvarts's Royal Bastards, would know. Her father, Lord Kent of the Western Province, loved her as a child, but cast her aside as soon as he had true born children. Now sixteen, Tilla secretly longs to sit by her father’s side, resplendent in a sparkling gown, enjoying feasts with the rest of the family. Instead, she sits with the other bastards, like Miles of House Hampstedt, an awkward scholar who’s been in love with Tilla since they were children. Then, at a feast honoring the visiting princess Lyriana, the royal shocks everyone by choosing to sit at the Bastards’ Table. Before she knows it, Tilla is leading the sheltered princess on a late-night escapade where they stumble upon a crime they were never meant to witness. Rebellion is brewing in the west, and a brutal coup leaves Lyriana’s uncle dead and Lyriana is next on the list. The group of bastards flees for their lives, relentlessly pursued by murderous mercenaries; their own parents have put a price on their heads to prevent the king and his powerful Royal Mages from discovering their treachery. The bastards band together, realizing they alone have the power to prevent a civil war that will tear their kingdom apart — if they can warn the king in time. And if they can survive the journey. We cannot wait for this high-stakes, edge of your seat fantasy.

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'Shimmer and Burn' by Mary Taranta (August 8, 2017)

This exciting and dangerous duology takes fairytale elements into a new world that follows Faris, who grew up fighting to survive in the slums of Brindaigel while caring for her sister, Cadence. But when Cadence is caught trying to flee the kingdom and is sold into slavery, Faris reluctantly agrees to a lucrative scheme to buy her back, inadvertently binding herself to the power-hungry Princess Bryn, who wants to steal her father’s throne. Now Faris must smuggle stolen magic into neighboring Avinea to incite its prince to alliance—magic that addicts in the war-torn country can sense in her blood and can steal with a touch. She and Bryn turn to a handsome traveling magician, North, who offers protection from Avinea’s many dangers. But he cannot save Faris from Bryn’s cruelty as she leverages Cadence’s freedom to force Faris to do anything — or kill anyone — she asks. Yet Faris is as fierce as Bryn, and even as she finds herself falling for North, she develops schemes of her own. With the fate of kingdoms at stake, Faris, Bryn, and North maneuver through a dangerous game of magical and political machinations, where lives can be destroyed — or saved — with only a touch.

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'The Library of Fates' by Aditi Khorana (July 18, 2017)

This romantic coming-of-age fantasy is steeped in Indian folklore, and if its insanely gorgeous cover is anything to go by, this book is going to be incredible. As the story opens, no one is entirely certain what brings the Emperor Sikander to Shalingar. Until now, the idyllic kingdom has been immune to his many violent conquests. To keep the visit friendly, Princess Amrita has offered herself as his bride, sacrificing everything — family, her childhood love, and her freedom — to save her people. But her offer isn't enough. The unthinkable happens, and Amrita finds herself a fugitive, utterly alone but for an oracle named Thala, who was kept by Sikander as a slave and managed to escape amid the chaos of a palace under siege. With nothing and no one else to turn to, Amrita and Thala are forced to rely on each other. But while Amrita feels responsible for her kingdom and sets out to warn her people, the newly free Thala has no such ties. She encourages Amrita to go on a quest to find the fabled Library of All Things, where it is possible for each of them to reverse their fates. To go back to before Sikander took everything from them. Stripped of all that she loves, caught between her rosy past and an unknown future, will Amrita be able to restore what was lost, or does another life — and another love — await?

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'Mask of Shadows' by Linsey Miller (September 5, 2017)

This duology featuring a gender fluid main character Sallot Leon. Sallot is a thief, and a good one at that but Sal wants nothing more than to escape the drudgery of life as a highway robber and get closer to the upper-class ― and the nobles who destroyed their home. When Sal steals a flyer for an audition to become a member of The Left Hand ― the Queen's personal assassins, named after the rings she wears ― Sal jumps at the chance to infiltrate the court and get revenge. But the audition is a fight to the death filled with clever circus acrobats, lethal apothecaries, and vicious ex-soldiers. A childhood as a common criminal hardly prepared Sal for the trials. And as Sal succeeds in the competition, and wins the heart of Elise, an intriguing scribe at court, they start to dream of a new life and a different future, but one that Sal can have only if they survive. These compelling new characters and fantasy world is sure to make a splash come September.

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'27 Hours' by Tristina Wright (October 3, 2017)

27 Hours features an all LGBTQIAP+ cast-including trans, bisexual, and asexual representation, a deaf main character, and POC representation. Rumor Mora fears two things: hellhounds too strong for him to kill, and failure. Jude Welton has two dreams: for humans to stop killing monsters, and for his strange abilities to vanish. But in no reality should a boy raised to love monsters fall for a boy raised to kill them. Nyx Llorca keeps two secrets: the moon speaks to her, and she’s in love with Dahlia, her best friend. Braeden Tennant wants two things: to get out from his mother's shadow, and to unlearn Epsilon's darkest secret. They’ll both have to commit treason to find the truth. During one twenty-seven-hour night, if they can’t stop the war between the colonies and the monsters from becoming a war of extinction, the things they wish for will never come true, and the things they fear will be all that’s left. This group of queer teenagers battling to save their homes and possibly every human on Sahara, will definitely become some of your new favorite fantasy characters.

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'Forest of a Thousand Lanterns' by Julie C. Dao (October 10, 2017)

The Wrath and the Dawn meets Snow White and the Huntsman with a dark and mystical East Asian fantasy re-imagining of The Evil Queen legend about one peasant girl's quest to become Empress — and the darkness she must unleash to achieve her destiny. Forest of a Thousand Lanterns follows eighteen-year-old Xifeng. The stars say she is destined for greatness, that she is meant to be Empress of Feng Lu. But only if she embraces the darkness within her. Xifeng longs to fulfill the destiny promised to her by her cruel aunt, the witch Guma, who has read the cards and seen glimmers of Xifeng's majestic future. But in order to achieve greatness, she must spurn the young man who loves her and exploit the callous magic that runs through her veins — sorcery fueled by eating the hearts of the recently killed. For the god who has sent her on this journey will not be satisfied until his power is absolute. Set in an East Asian-inspired fantasy world filled with both breathtaking pain and beauty, Forest of a Thousand Lanterns contains dazzling magic, heartbreaking romance, and a world that hangs in the balance.

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'Mirage' by Somaiya Daud (November 6, 2017)

We can't even describe how excited we are for Somaiya Daud's Mirage. This first in a trilogy is inspired by the author's Moroccan background, this book features a poor girl from an isolated moon who must become the body double to the cruel imperial princess. We might not have many details about this one, but it already sounds beyond incredible and we cannot to dig into this when it finally hits shelves in November.

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