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Summer, Summer, Summertome: 10 Exciting New SFF Books Out July 2024

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Liberty Hardy

Senior Contributing Editor

Liberty Hardy is an unrepentant velocireader, writer, bitey mad lady, and tattoo canvas. Turn-ons include books, books and books. Her favorite exclamation is “Holy cats!” Liberty reads more than should be legal, sleeps very little, frequently writes on her belly with Sharpie markers, and when she dies, she’s leaving her body to library science. Until then, she lives with her three cats, Millay, Farrokh, and Zevon, in Maine. She is also right behind you. Just kidding! She’s too busy reading. Twitter: @MissLiberty

Happy July, SFF fans! It’s already hot as summer in Arrakis in many places, which is the perfect time to take a great book to the beach and cool off. All books are beach reads if you read them at the beach! And who doesn’t want to read SFF year-round??! But if you go in the water, be sure to watch out for krakens. And sharks. And hostile merfolk. And…

For your reading enjoyment this month, we have an Arthurian fantasy; alternate history set in 15th-century West Africa; a historical epic with shades of The Godfather + dragon relics; a specialty shop that sells dreams — literally; a Spice Carrier who comes up with plans to escape while traveling between the eight kingdom spice gates; adventurous kids who accidentally summon a 300-year-old ghost pirate; and more! Plus, at the end of the post, find out which hugely-popular fantasy series has a new book coming out this month. (Hint: More like witch hugely-popular fantasy series, lol.)

So get your TBR prepared, make sure you put plenty of time on your meter (you don’t want your dragon to get a ticket), and get ready to find something great to read in the sand this summer. (But be sure to watch out for sandworms.)

The Best New Science Fiction and Fantasy Books Out July 2024

cover of Masquerade by O.O. Sangoyomi; illustration of a Black woman in a red-and-gold dress and head gear standing in front of an elephant

Masquerade by O.O. Sangoyomi (Forge Books, July 2)

This is a loose retelling of Persephone, set in 15th-century West Africa! Òdòdó is a member of a blacksmith guild, a group of outcasts in Timbuktu, who encounter problems when their land is conquered by a warrior king. Then things get even worse for Òdòdó when she is kidnapped by none other than the warrior king himself, who wants her as his bride. As Òdòdó adjusts to her new surroundings, she discovers she likes navigating the privilege and power her new life affords her. She must decide if (or more likely, when) she will make her move and break free from the warrior king.

cover of The Night Ends with Fire by K. X. Song; illustration of a person in red standing in front of a mountain-sized Phoenix engulfed in flames

The Night Ends with Fire by K. X. Song (Ace, July 2)

This is another fantasy inspired by an older story, this one based on the legend of Mulan. Desperate to escape an impending marriage and her terrible father, Meilin disguises herself as a man and joins the imperial army under her father’s name. Soon, she has made a friend in Sky, starts having visions of a sea dragon who offers her power, and crosses paths with an enemy prince. With the fate of her kingdom beginning to look bleak, Meilin will have to decide which of these three she can trust to help her save the day.

cover of Navola by Paolo Bacigalupi; white with a red dragon eye in the center

Navola by Paolo Bacigalupi (Knopf, July 9)

Calling all fans of wealthy families, political machinations, backstabbing, and dragons! Award-winning author Paolo Bacigalupi is back with a fantasy about the son of a powerful family in Navola, who is getting ready to take his father’s place at the head of the table. The di Regulai family has vast wealth and influence — and an alluring fossilized dragon eye that seems to contribute to their power. Davico must decide who he can trust to keep his family’s legacy from crumbling, and if the enchanting relic is ultimately going to help him or hurt him.

cover of The Dallergut Dream Department Store by Miye Lee; illustration of a big blue building with brightly lit windows surrounded by clouds

The Dallergut Dream Department Store by Miye Lee, Sandy Joosun Lee (translator) (Hanover Square Press, July 9)

If you need a feel-good read, this cozy fantasy debut has you covered. Translated from Korean, it’s about a department store nestled in the subconscious of humans (and animals), where you can shop for the dreams you desire. Penny is a new hire, looking forward to helping people make their dreams a reality. Well, a dream reality. And speaking of dreams coming true, this was a crowdfunded publication that became a million-book bestseller in Korea!

cover of The Sky on Fire by Jenn Lyons; illustration of castles in the mountains whose outlines also form a dragon against a red sky

The Sky on Fire by Jenn Lyons (Tor Books, July 9)

Jenn Lyons is no stranger to dragons, having authored the awesome Chorus of Dragons series. This is a standalone fantasy with dragons, plus adventure and a heist! Anahrod lives alone in the jungle with her drake companion, and she likes it that way. But when she is rescued from capture by a group of misfits, it turns out they need her help. They want her to steal from a dragon hoard. But doing so would mean going against the very person Anahrod has been trying to avoid, Neveranimas, who wants her dead. Just what does she owe the people who saved her, and is she willing to pay it?

cover of The Bright Sword: A Novel of King Arthur; teal with a black sword, black antlers, and a gold crown in its center

The Bright Sword: A Novel of King Arthur by Lev Grossman (Viking, July 16)

From the author of the Magicians trilogy comes a reimagining of the Arthurian legend. In this story, the Round Table is seated with misfits and outcasts, and King Arthur has just died. Collum, a knight who arrived in Camelot hoping to join the group, must now lead them against the darkness that is claiming Britain, both humans and monsters (led by Morgan le Fay, natch.) Only by reclaiming Excalibur and uncovering the truths of Britain’s past and King Arthur’s death will they triumph and restore Camelot to its former glory. (Even though ’tis a silly place.)

cover of The West Passage by Jared Pechacek; illustration of many scenes and characters from the book, including a bird person in yellow, a blue-robed person with a castle for a crown, a blue tower, a gray castle, and a red priestess

The West Passage by Jared Pechacek (Tordotcom, July 16)

This is a wildly imaginative debut that Travis Baldree told me was the best book he read last year when I interviewed him at an event! In the world of Grey, no one thinks much of it when the Guardian of the West Passage dies. She is given a funeral and her position goes unfilled. But her absence leaves the land vulnerable, and now signs of the prophesied Beast have begun to appear. It is up to the Mother of Grey House and the Guardian’s unnamed squire to protect the West Passage and save everyone. But there are great dangers and unthinkable horrors ahead.

cover of Cover of The Spice Gate by Prashanth Srivatsa; illustration of floating white portals on large divots of land, set against a pink sky

The Spice Gate by Prashanth Srivatsa (Harper Voyager, July 16)

Another debut fantasy for your summer reading enjoyment is this story of Amir, a Spice Carrier. In this world, there are eight portals to kingdoms, each with their own distinct spice. Spice Carriers are enslaved people who bear the mark that allows them to pass through the portals and bring spices from other kingdoms to the rich and greedy. Amir is looking to escape this life, but before he can figure out how, he will be drawn into a vast conspiracy between the Spice gates, one involving gods and humans.

SFF New Releases for Kids and Teens

cover of Farrah Noorzad and the Ring of Fate; illustration of a young girl in blue with dark hair and a jinn in black with white hair and purple skin

Farrah Noorzad and the Ring of Fate by Deeba Zargarpur (Labyrinth Road, July 2)

Farrah Noorzad is turning 12 and looking forward to seeing her father, who only visits on her birthday. But this time, her birthday wish goes sideways when she wishes to have more time with her father and he ends up trapped in a magic ring! It turns out, there’s a LOT her family hasn’t told Farrah. Like, the fact that her father is one of the seven jinn kings, and that Farrah herself is half-jinn. And now she must rescue her father and the other kings, with the help of the freed jinn boy who had been trapped in the ring, before all of the jinn realm is doomed.

cover of Dead Good Detectives by Jenny McLachlan; illustration of a young white girl in a hat and glasses holding a map and a young Black boy in a purple sweatshirt sitting on a treasure chest

Dead Good Detectives by Jenny McLachlan (HarperCollins, July 9)

Sid Jones and her best friend, Zen, like to spend time playing around in the cemetery, which is totally normal kid behavior. But then Sid accidentally conjures the ghosts of a 300-year-old pirate named Bones and his obnoxious parrot. Bones needs Sid and Zen to help him retrieve his long-buried treasure to put his spirit to rest once and for all. That is, once he remembers where he buried it. And what it is. Sid and Zen will have to use their wits to figure out where to find the treasure and to outsmart the cemetery’s ghost prison guard, Old Scratch, who wants to keep Bones and his crew for all eternity.

Bonus Mentions

The Black Bird Oracle cover

Because I can’t just stop at ten books, in July, be sure to watch for the sequels Ninth Life by Stark Holborn, A Whisper of Curses by J. Elle, Blood Jade by Julia Vee and Ken Bebelle, Gravity Lost by L. M. Sagas, and In the Shadow of the Fall by Tobi Ogundiran. And Discovery of Witches fans, rejoice! The fifth book in the series, The Black Bird Oracle by Deborah Harkness, is out this month, too!

There are also a TON of amazing SFF titles out in paperback this month, including The Grace of Wild Things by Heather Fawcett, Masters of Death by Olivie Blake, He Who Drowned the World by Shelley Parker-Chan, Immortal Longings by Chloe Gong, Forged by Blood by Ehigbor Okosun, Witch King by Martha Wells, and Counterweight by Djuna, Anton Hur (translator).

If you want to learn about more sci-fi and fantasy books, check out the 10 Nebula Award Winners You Should Put on Your TBR and LGBTQ Romantasy Books. 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.