The best part about entering a brand new year is all the debut novels that are coming out! Throughout the year there are a number of authors who are releasing their first novels and I am so excited to read them because they all sound amazing. Of course, there are so many to choose from but these are the 10 that have made me the most excited.
I follow every single one of these authors on Twitter, so I have seen them posting a lot about their characters and the story, which just makes me wish I could read them now (and some of them I can read now). There is a lot of hype for some of these books, which can sometimes be a bad thing, but from what I’ve read and seen I have a feeling I’m going to enjoy them all.
1. Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan
I was lucky enough to be asked to take part in the Blog Tour for Wicked Saints, so I already have this book on my Kindle ready to read. I have seen so many amazing things said about this book online, especially on Twitter (along with some incredible fan art). I love that this book has been inspired by Russia and Poland, which is something I have been enjoying in other books I have read recently. If you aren’t aware of what this book is about, it follows three main characters. A girl has the ability to speak to the Gods, a prince has been put in danger and a boy carries a monstrous secret, and together they have to stop a war by assassinating the king. It sounds amazing.
A lot of people have been saying that if you love the Grishaverse, you should enjoy this, which is the best comparison because I love Leigh Bardugo’s books. I also have to mention how amazing that cover looks as well, which is kind of tempting me to buy it as well if I end up loving the ARC.
2. The Devouring Gray by Christine Lynn Herman
Another author who I have been following on Twitter and another book with a lot of hype surrounding it. Already there are some amazing reviews out there in the world, which makes me even more excited to finally read this. The story follows Violet, who has moved to a town her family helped found and ends up meeting Justin, May, Isaac, and Harper, who are all children of founder families. The townspeople treat her with fear and Violet realises the other children have otherworldly abilities, abilities they’ll have to use to figure out why bodies are showing up in the woods.
It was marketed as ‘Stranger Things meets The Raven Cycle’, so if you are a fan of those two things you might enjoy this book. Everything about this debut seems to have all the things I love in a good story and I cannot wait to read it.
3. The Storm Crow by Kalyn Josephson
I’m going to start by saying this is one of the best covers I have seen in a debut for this year. Everything about it is perfect and so mysterious. This book is about magical elemental crows that used to be in the Kingdom of Rhodaire, until the Illucian empire invaded them. Anthia is a fallen princess who has been depressed since that night, but she is spurred into action when she is forced to marry the Illucian prince. She ends up finding a secret Crow egg and devises a plan to hatch it in secret.
This was basically described as being ‘Eragon meets And I Darken’, with the crows supposedly being similar to dragons, so as soon as I heard that I was hooked. This book isn’t out until halfway through the year, but I have a feeling it’ll be worth the wait.
4. Wilder Girls by Rory Power
When the Tox hit, Raxter School for girls was put under quarantine and Hetty’s life changed. It’s been eighteen months since it happened and there is still no cure. The woods outside the school are dangerous thanks to the Tox and so they must stay within the confines of the school, but when Hetty’s friend goes missing she decides she will do anything to find them. It is then that she discovers more about the school and what is happening. Wilder Girls sounds dark and creepy, but it also reminded me of The Forest of Hands and Teeth, which is a book I read years ago.
There are a lot of five-star reviews already for this book, which describes it as a feminist horror and is something I didn’t realise I needed in my life until now. I cannot wait to read this when it is released in July.
5. Descendant of the Crane by Joan He
I’m lucky enough to have a copy of this Chinese-inspired tale already sitting on my Kindle, just waiting for me to dive in. Princess Hesina of Yan is thrust into power after her father dies and is determined to find out who responsible for his death. To do this she enlists the help of a soothsayer, but she risks her own life doing so as magic is outlawed in Yan. It isn’t enough and she turns to Akira, an investigator who has his own criminal secrets, but will the cost to find her father’s killer be too much? Honestly, everything about this book sounds incredible.
There are a lot more own-voices books going out into the world and it’s so exciting to read these books inspired by their heritage. The author has said it is like a Chinese drama with complex relationships, betrayal and sprawling families, which are all the things I love in a book.
6. Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte
This standalone novel has the following description ‘A divided nation. Four Queens. A ruthless pickpocket. A noble messenger. And the murders that unite them.’ This was enough to grab my attention straight away, as well as that gorgeous cover! Quadara is divided into four sections, with each part of the nation specialising in something, such as Toria being the intellectual quarter and Eonia the futuristic quarter. Everything about this story sounds so unique and interesting, and I cannot wait to find out more when it is released at the end of next month.
It’s got some great reviews online and following the author on social media means I am always seeing little bits of information that make me more excited for its release.
7. Enchantee by Gita Trelease
Paris is one of my all-time favourite cities, a place I have visited on multiple occasions, so of course, I would want to read a book set there! It is based at the time of the French Revolution in 1789, where Camille must rely on petty magic to make a living since her parents passed away. She turns metal into coins, but when it doesn’t work she must go to the glittering court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette by transforming herself using dark magic. Everything about this debut sounds so magical and intriguing, especially with Camille going to the palace and gambling with cards for money.
I already have a copy of this on my Kindle to read before it is released at the beginning of February. Here’s hoping I love it as much as I adore the cover and description.
8. Serpent & Dove by Shelby Mahurin
A cover hasn’t been released yet, but this is an aesthetic that Shelby created and posted on Twitter. This French-inspired book about witches instantly caught my attention and has me extremely excited for its release date at the beginning of September. The story is a dual perspective that follows two characters, Lou and Reid. Lou was supposed to be sacrificed on her 16th birthday, but instead, she forsakes her coven and escapes to Cesarine. There, she must hide her magic as Huntsmen roam the city, burning witches without a trial. Reid is one of these Huntsmen, who has devoted his life to eradicating the occult. Their paths cross when Lou stops him from capturing a witch and ensnares him in a public scandal that forces them to marry. For Lou, it means protection against the witches that are trying to kill her, but she has to convince Reid that she isn’t a witch herself.
Every single one of my mutuals on Twitter who has read this book absolutely loves it and I have a feeling I will too. I’ve been following Shelby for a while now and every time she posts a snippet or aesthetic, I get that much more excited for its release.
9. We Hunt the Flame by Hafsah Faizal
This debut fantasy novel is inspired by ancient Arabia, where Zafira is a hunter. She has disguised herself as a man to help feed her people by going into the cursed forest of the Arz. Then there is Nasir, known as the Prince of Death, who assassinates the people who threaten his father, the king. Neither of them wants to be the legends they have become, but with war brewing Zafira must find an artefact and restore magic. But, at the same time, Nasir is sent to retrieve the artefact and kill the Hunter. This story is all about ‘discovery, conquering fear, and taking identity into your own hands,’
I don’t think I’ve read a book before inspired by Arabia and it makes me so excited to read this one as the description sounds amazing. As with all the books on this list, there are already some incredible reviews out there in the world, so keep an eye out for when this book is released in May.
10. Blood Heir by Amélie Wen Zhao
From what I’ve heard, this book is inspired by the story of Anastasia and Russia, which are two things that are very intriguing to me. Anastacya believes she is a monster, having been born with an affinity for blood, but when an accident happens that kills her father, the Emperor of Cyrilia, she is sentenced for his death. However, she knows who killed him and decides to make a bargain with an underground crime lord, Ramson Quicktongue, while on the run. In return for his help to clear her name, she will offer him an alliance, and so they set out on a dangerous journey to discover the truth.
This book seems to have everything I love, as well as a gorgeous cover! This fantasy world sounds extremely unique with ‘frozen tundras and ancient, snow-capped forests, where ice spirits roam.’ Who wouldn’t want to read this?
I could have added even more books to this list, but these are my most anticipated ones. If you haven’t heard of any on this list, make sure to head over to Goodreads to check out the full synopsis. I can guarantee you will want to add them to your TBR and pre-order them.
What debut novel are you looking forward to the most?