Upcoming Fantasy Books Getting Rave Reviews on NetGalley

A collage of the covers included in this article

It can be difficult to narrow the selection down with so many buzzy books hitting shelves every week, which is why I’ve turned to NetGalley member reviews for recommendations. Here’s a list of upcoming books from the Fantasy category that are already exciting me and NetGalley members alike! I predict you’ll be adding quite a few of these to your next indie bookstore order.

Legends & Lattes by Travis Baldree

Readers looking for a slice-of-life fantasy won’t want to miss this one set at a coffee shop run by an orc barbarian who craved a quieter life. Legends & Lattes is an absolutely charming, terrifically delightful entry in the cozy fantasy genre: the stakes are low, and the coziness is high,” writes bookseller Austin C. “It’s perfect for readers looking for a relaxing, deeply kind book that offers an escape from the terror and slog of the real world.”

Rust in the Root by Justina Ireland

YA author Justina Ireland returns this September with a work of historical fantasy set in 1937. America is rebuilding after a catastrophe known as the Great Rust and Laura is on her way out of Pennsylvania toward New York City to earn her mage’s license—only to end up on a dangerous journey into the heart of the country. In a shining review, bookseller Steph Z writes: “Exciting, dynamic, and original, Rust in the Root is fun yet deep, and another excellent work by a brilliant writer.”

The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy by Megan Bannen, narrated by Michael Gallagher and Rachanee Lumayno

An undertaker and zombie hunter clash in real life, but form a surprising connection via anonymous letters in this blend of romance and fantasy from Megan Bannen. Reviewer Cassidee L had nothing but praise for both the story and the audiobook performances: “Charming, funny, whimsical, and cute. This was just such a lovely novel… Michael Gallagher and Rachanee Lumayno did a fantastic job of bringing Hart and Mercy to life. I found myself smiling to myself while listening, they did the most amazing job at portraying the humor and the yearning within this novel.”

Tread of Angels by Rebecca Roanhorse

Tread of Angels takes readers to a mining town in 1883 to tell the story of a card sharp trying to clear her sister’s name. “Rebecca Roanhorse has created a stark fantasy world in the weird west of her powerful novella,” writes reviewer John F. “Roanhorse adds great depth to a story that could feel like a morality play in lesser hands. She packs this novella with fascinating detail that is just enough to keep you moving swiftly through the action and yet stays in your mind because of its elemental force. I’m glad the novella as a form has been making such a comeback… Rebecca Roanhorse shows herself in Tread of Angels to be a master of the form.”

Unseelie by Ivelisse Housman

Ivelisse Housman’s YA debut follows Seelie, an autistic changeling on a journey to uncover the secrets of the fae with her twin sister. “It was hard to put the book down because I was excited to see how Seelie came into her own power,” says educator Lyndsay S. “Overall, I can’t wait to share this story with my students. So many will be excited to see someone who struggles with the same things they do—all while going on an adventure that involves magic and dragons!”

A Restless Truth by Freya Marske

Bookseller Hannah C has nothing but praise for the second book in Freya Marske’s queer historical fantasy series: “This series is spectacular, the magic system is so creative and every single detail is so well thought out. The descriptions, characters, and actions leap right off the page. I can’t wait to read the next book in the trilogy even though I never want it to end and want to read about Maud, Violet, Edwin, and Robin forever!”

The Empress of Time by Kylie Lee Baker

Is there any higher praise than this from reviewer Amanda B: “I read Empress of Time twice, back-to-back because the first time wasn’t enough.” The glowing review confirms that this sequel to Kylie Lee Baker’s YA fantasy The Keeper of Night is sure to satisfy readers. “Be prepared to fall even more in love with Baker’s world. Still gritty, still dark, but rays of hope peel through. Your heart is going to hurt and you are going to enjoy every second of Ren’s journey to becoming the Goddess of Death. Joined by new allies and old nemeses, you will be on the edge of your seat for the entire book.”

Thistlefoot by GennaRose Nethercott

Inspired by Eastern European folklore and the tale of Baba Yaga, GennaRose Nethercott’s novel explores generational trauma through the lens of siblings who inherit a strange house. Educator Megan M called it “at turns delightful and magical… [and] heartbreaking” going on to say, “If this is GennaRose Nethercott’s debut novel, I am spellbound and can’t wait for what comes next. This book will stay with me for a long time.”

Flowerheart by Catherine Bakewell

If you’ve found yourself in love with the cottagecore aesthetic, you’ll want this YA book on your shelves. Flowerheart is a lovely novel that shows you the power of your own heart,” says bookseller Jason L. “This novel is about love, and strength, and mental health, and I loved it. The prose is elegant, the setting is intricate, and the characters are delightfully portrayed… Clara’s quest to be stronger than her inner demons is inspiring, and I found myself cheering her on every step of the way. I loved this novel!”

Heart of the Sun Warrior by Sue Lynn Tan

The sequel to Daughter of the Moon Goddess hits shelves this November and picks up with Xingyin journeying to the Immortal Realm as danger threatens the Celestial Kingdom. Librarian Camila R called it “a fantastic sequel to such a rich and intricate fantasy world… [Sue Lynn Tan] has an amazing skill in not only creating a complex and enticing world, but also giving each character their own unique voice. The magical and political systems of the world she has created are done so fluidly that you can easily immerse yourself in the story. I highly recommend this book to any fantasy lover!”

Afterlove by Tanya Byrne

Tanya Byrne’s latest YA novel takes place in the aftermath of Ash Persaud’s death. She must become a reaper in the afterlife, but Ash is struggling to let go of the girl she loves in the land of the living: Poppy Morgan. “This exceeded every expectation I had set,” writes reviewer Sarah F. “I started reading and didn’t stop until the acknowledgments. Afterlove is the perfect blend of moments that were absolutely heartbreaking and moments that were incredibly sweet and had me grinning to myself like an idiot… I couldn’t have asked for a better reading experience.”

Bindle Punk Bruja by Desideria Mesa, narrated by Frankie Corzo

“A magical read,” writes reviewer Mandy W of the audiobook for Bindle Punk Bruja, Desideria Mesa’s fantasy novel set during the 1920s about a bruja club owner, that draws inspiration from Mexican folktales. Librarian Migdalia J praised Frankie Corzo’s performance, noting that “the narration was even, engaging and it was noticeable that the narrator speaks Spanish since their pronunciation was spot-on.”

In Nightfall by Suzanne Young

“This book sucks. Sucks you in that is.” We see what you did there librarian Morgan G and we like it! This review offered an instant hook for Suzanne Young’s latest YA book. In Nightfall is a thrilling vampire novel that you won’t be able to put down… From page one, author Suzanne Young establishes an eerie tone. As the reader, you know what everything is building to the vampire tropes the characters don’t quite pick up on, but that won’t stop you from being HUNGRY to keep reading. The best horror isn’t revolutionary—it’s in the execution of the vibe. And Young is an executioner.”

One Dark Window by Rachel Gillig

Rachel Gillig’s gothic fantasy debut follows Elspeth Spindle, who realizes that the monster trapped in her head is slowly taking over her mind. One Dark Window was incredible. Phenomenal. A true five-star book. The story, the characters, the writing, the pacing, the magic, the world-building, the intrigue, all of it,” reviewer Alyshia B raves. “Everything was perfectly executed and has left me practically panting for more. I feasted on this book like it was my last meal. I’ll be thinking of One Dark Window for weeks to come and it will absolutely be one that I re-read and recommend to fans of fantasy and magic.”

Soul of the Deep by Natasha Bowen

Is there any better feeling than a sequel living up to its predecessor? Reviewer Elizabeth H experienced the joy of that reading experience when diving into this YA sequel about a mermaid who gave up everything to protect those she loved. “I was so excited to read this ARC after devouring Skin of the Sea at the start of this year. I was so enamored with the multilayered world that Natasha Bowen reveals to us through the course of Skin of the Sea, and Soul of the Deep did not disappoint! Bowen has an incredible ability to weave in figures of the Yoruba pantheon of Orisha, legendary locations, and mythological/cryptozoological creatures and peoples in a way that feels welcoming and familiar,” Elizabeth H writes, adding, “This would make a great back-to-back read if you want a 650-page single story experience instead of reading it as a duology.”

Big Bad by Lily Anderson

Take a trip to Demondale, California this autumn! Lily Anderson turns the familiar upside down in this novel that casts the iconic Buffy the Vampire Slayer into the role of a villain. “Lily Anderson’s Big Bad is an absolute love letter to the Buffyverse,” reviewer Kevin P writes. “The story is so much fun… Not only does [Anderson] totally nail the feel of most of the characters, she pulls in an incredible number of them [and] includes a number of obscure references. As I said, Big Bad is a love letter to longtime fans. Spike would claim it was effulgent!”

Forestfall by Lyndall Clipstone

Lyndall Clipstone returns this fall with the sequel to her YA debut, Lakesedge. Forestfall picks up where the duology opener left off with the curse on the estate broken yet coming at the cost of Leta’s freedom.  “I almost needed a breather after this one, it’s so lush and dark!” writes librarian Miranda W, adding that it is perfect for “fans of dark fairytales, the gothic, monsters, and stories that emotionally wring you out before putting you back together.” Book trade professional Rachel G clearly agrees, calling Forestfall “a dark fever dream of a finale.”

The Daughters of Izdihar by Hadeer Elsbai

Hadeer Elsbai’s debut novel is a duology opener that draws inspiration from Egyptian history and transports readers to a world of elemental magic where two women must use their combined abilities to fight for their rights. Reviewer Bridget K writes that the book was “everything I wanted and more” and Reese G agreed in a five-star review saying, “I’m obsessed with everything about it. I need the next book asap. The Daughters of Izdihar is beautifully written and so, so powerful.”

The Wicked Remain by Laura Pohl

Laura Pohl captured the attention of YA readers with The Grimrose Girls, and according to NetGalley reviewers, the sequel is even better. The Wicked Remain managed to surpass the brilliance of The Grimrose Girls, often in ways I couldn’t expect,” says educator Jennie-James S. “This book takes all the pieces from the predecessor and focuses in on their emotional weight and their thematic significance. All four protagonists are compelling and manage to develop in ways that feel deeply human, and the supporting cast is perfect too… [It’s] a deeply intersectional duology that truly brings fairytales into the modern world in a way other texts sometimes only partly manage.”

Archangel’s Resurrection by Nalini Singh

Readers craving romance with their fantasy can’t go wrong with Nalini Singh. This is the fifteenth installment in the Guild Hunter series—featuring Alexander, Archangel of Persia, and Zanaya, Queen of the Nile. “Nalini Singh has written characters that come to life on the page, larger than life and with understandable flaws, and love that can’t not exist in the world. They grow and they change, and they’re utterly compulsively readable,” writes reviewer Louisa P. “I loved reading this book, and I can’t wait for the next!”

Please note that some reviews have been edited and condensed for clarity.

Kelly Gallucci

Kelly Gallucci is the Executive Editor of We Are Bookish, where she oversees the editorial content, offers book recommendations, and interviews authors and NetGalley members. When she's not working, Kelly can be found color coordinating her bookshelves, eating Chipotle, and watching way too many baking shows.

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