Hello, readers, and welcome to another month filled with so many great books to read, your TBR will collapse. I am so excited to be discussing eight rad new SFF books out February 2024 because this month’s titles include three of my favorite books of the year, one of which was also my most anticipated book of 2024! There’s a good chance that it’s winter where you are right now as you read this. The winter season is a wonderful time to pick up one of these great SFF books and curl up with the magic, robots, supernatural creatures, fantasy, and more that you’ll find on these pages.
There’s a tale of Indigenous survivors of the apocalypse searching for a new home and resources; three dead teenagers who are returned to life to help fight in an epic magic battle; a book that gives its owner the ability to open a door anywhere in the world; a haunting story of real events during WWI with a supernatural twist; two fantastic collections of short stories, one fantasy and one science fiction; and more! If you love SFF, I guarantee at least one of these is already on your TBR, and you’ll end up putting a couple down as your favorite books at the end of the year. So let’s get started!
The Warm Hands of Ghosts by Katherine Arden (February 13)
Katherine Arden is well-known for her Winternight fantasy trilogy and the Small Spaces quartet for kids, all of which are fabulous. But this is her best book to date. It’s a speculative work of historical fiction set during World War I. Laura Iven was a field nurse in Flanders when she was injured and sent home to Nova Scotia. Shortly after, she loses her parents in the Halifax munitions explosion and then receives her brother Freddie’s possessions, indicating that he was killed in battle. But when no one can tell Laura how or where he died, and now, with nothing keeping her in Halifax, she gets a new job. Her nursing position takes her back to Belgium in the hopes that there is the slightest chance that Freddie is alive. Meanwhile, in alternating chapters, readers are taken back a few months in the story to learn what happened to Freddie. It is a story of family, love, and survival. It’s one of the most harrowing works about war written in the last decade: its speculative plot line captures the classism, devastation, and futility of war.
The Book of Doors by Gareth Brown (February 13)
If you love books, magic, and adventure, this is the dark fantasy debut for you! Cassie is a bookseller in NYC, where she makes friends with an elderly man who often comes into the store. But sadly, one day, he dies, and she discovers he left a book with a note for her. The book is called — you guessed it — The Book of Doors. While Cassie doesn’t know why he left it for her, she soon learns it opens doors. Like, actual doors to any place in the world for whoever is in possession of it. Just pick up the book, imagine the door to the place you want to go and step through — voilà! You’re there. But Cassie will find out that not only are there other books like this that give the owner different special abilities, but there are people who would stop at nothing to get their hands on them, including one of the scariest villains anyone has ever seen, simply known as The Woman. She’s like Cruella de Vil’s less-nice sister. (+5 Sliding Doors reference!) This is an imaginative read that sticks the landing and is perfect for fans of V.E. Schwab and Erin Morgenstern!
The Book of Love by Kelly Link (February 13)
This is simply the most exciting fiction release of the year: Kelly Link’s debut novel! Link has published several collections of award-winning stories, but now we are invited to visit her longest work yet. (Seriously, it’s over 600 pages!) In a small, sleepy Massachusetts town, three teenagers are returned to the town. Returned, because they’ve been dead for a year. Their high school music teacher, who it turns out is more than just a teacher, has brought them back to life to enlist their help in fighting the coming battle between good and evil. This is a remarkable tale of love, family, magic, books, and chosen ones, but told only as Link would tell it…meaning it’s really freaking brilliant. It’s a lush, hypnotic fantasy novel like no other.
The Butcher of the Forest by Premee Mohamed (February 27)
Readers of SFF could subsist on amazing Tordotcom Publishing novellas for a very, very long time. This one is from award-winning author Premee Mohamed. It’s a dark fairytale about a woman who, as a child, was the only villager to survive a stay in the dark, magical woods. Now, she is forced to return as an adult to rescue the children of the village tyrant, and the trappings she escaped all those years ago may prove too much for her this time around. This is one of three new books Mohamed has coming out in 2024. The second is The Siege of Burning Grass, out March 12, and the third is We Speak Through the Mountain, out June 18. (And if you haven’t read it yet, the novella And What Can We Offer You Tonight is also excellent.)
Fifty Beasts to Break Your Heart: And Other Stories by GennaRose Nethercott (February 6)
In 2022, GennaRose Nethercott dazzled readers with an adult fantasy novel about Baba Yaga’s descendants and her chicken leg house. Now, she is back with a collection of fantasy tales for adults about the terrors and dark desires that reside within us all. In this anthology, a woman begins to change after moving in with her boyfriend; an unusual detective — okay, a zombie rooster — is working a missing persons case; two teens get drawn into the roadside attraction where they work; a group of students use black magic to fight a terrible classmate; an unusual romantic match is made between a goat woman and a vampire; and much more. Get ready to sink into this weird, wonderful book, perfect for one sitting or to read in bite-sized bits!
Moon Of The Turning Leaves by Waubgeshig Rice (February 27)
This is the exciting follow-up to 2018’s Moon of the Crusted Snow! In that book, an isolated Anishinaabe community was cut off from the coming horrors of the outside world, left with no electricity and no news of what was happening around them. (I recently saw someone online say they had to stop reading the first book because it was too unsettling in the best way, which is a great way to sum it up.) This new book contains the same community and characters but can be read as a standalone. In it, it’s two decades after the apocalypse for the Anishinaabe people, and they have run out of supplies. In order to survive, they will have to leave the only place they have known for 20 years and go out into the wilds of the post-apocalyptic country. Relying on their wits and gut feelings, they will encounter help and dangers in the form of people, animals, and nature.
Lore of the Wilds by Analeigh Sbrana (February 27)
In keeping with the surge of interest in romantasy these past couple of years, here is another thrilling adult debut featuring Fae, a cursed library, and and a human willing to risk her life to save the people she loves. Lore Alemeyu’s human village has been being kept prisoner by the Fae for many years. No one has been able to leave without serious harm. But when the villagers need protection, Lore makes a deal with the Fae — she will catalog the cursed library in exchange for the safety of the village. No Fae has ever been able to enter the library, and but Lore thinks a human can. She convinces them she will organize it and relay all the information she learns there about magic. Of course, Lore also has her own reasons for wanting to enter the library. As she works to gain the trust of the very creature who has caused so much harm to her and the rest of her village, she begins to fall for the two Fae men charged with keeping her safe in their world. How awesome does that sound?? What book lover wouldn’t jump at the chance to spend time playing with books in a library untouched for a millennium??!
Convergence Problems by Wole Talabi (February 13)
And last but not least, we have this exciting anthology from a Hugo-, Nebula-, Locus- and Nommo award-nominated author, featuring 16 new and collected stories and a novella, all inspired by or set in Africa. In these speculative works, a technical support engineer must contend with malfunctioning AI; a man looking for revenge submits to an experimental procedure to electrify his skin; a woman must figure out how to rescue her brother from the surface of Mars; a young woman puts her consciousness in a robot in order to escape a city run by machines; and lots more! These stories are electrifying takes on the limits of the human body but not the human imagination.
Bonus mentions: Because I can’t just stop at eight books, in February, be sure to watch for the kids and YA books Bumps in the Night by Amalie Howard and Infinity Alchemist by Kacen Callender. In sequels, there are Tales of the Celestial Kingdom by Sue Lynn Tan and The Imposition of Unnecessary Obstacles (The Investigations of Mossa and Pleiti) by Malka Older. And Robert Jackson Bennett, author of the Founders Trilogy, is back with The Tainted Cup, a fantasy-mystery that is sure to be a great time!
If you want to learn about more sci-fi and fantasy books, check out The Most Anticipated SFF of 2024, According to Goodreads, and be sure to sign up for our SFF newsletter, Swords and Spaceships, and listen to our SFF podcast, SFF Yeah!
Finally, you can also find a full list of new releases in the magical New Release Index, carefully curated by your favorite Book Riot editors, organized by genre and release date.