Science Fiction/Fantasy

10 SFF Books Out in May 2023 You Don’t Want to Miss!

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Rey Rowland


A daydreamer and a bit of a lost cause, Rey loves stories. Whether they're book shaped or you can see them on a screen, a story always hides in the corners of her mind. She's working on a few stories of her own, always accompanied by her trusty cat.

Can you believe it’s May already? Neither can I. But a new month is here and that means it’s time to look at new releases that should join the ranks of your TBR! I’m an avid lover of SFF, so of course it’s the first genre I look for every month. If you’re like me then you’re in the right place — because today I’m looking at 10 new incredible works of SFF out in May 2023.

Of course, these are not the only SFF books out this month. With so many new releases, I had to choose some of the best ones you can add to your TBR. But don’t worry. Because I still tried to pick a bit of everything to make sure you guys find something you love. It doesn’t matter if you read middle grade, YA, or adult fiction. And whether you like dragons, epic adventures set in space, pirates, gladiators, or jumping back into a beloved series — there’s something in this list for you! After all, that’s part of the beauty of science fiction and fantasy: they’re such versatile genres that everyone can find a new favorite read.

So without further ado, let’s look at 10 new works of SFF out in May 2023 you don’t want to miss!

Middle Grade SFF

The Sun and the Star by Rick Riordan and Mark Oshiro book cover

The Sun and the Star by Rick Riordan and Mark Oshiro (May 2)

We’re starting this list of SFF out in May 2023 with none other than The Sun and the Star! This is the next book set in the Percy Jackson universe, and it toes the line between MG and YA. The story follows our beloved Nico di Angelo and Will Solace, who have been able to overcome every obstacle thrown their way so far. But now Nico senses that a certain friendly neighborhood Titan is in trouble. Pair that with Rachel’s prophecy and Nico knows he must venture into Tartarus to help his friend. Of course Will insists on joining the quest. Let’s just hope both of them can make it out alive.

cover of ellie engle saves herself

​​Ellie Engle Saves Herself by Leah Johnson (May 2)

Moving on to a magical story about a girl who is pretty content with not standing out. Either at the bakery, at school, or at her own home — Ellie Engle just needs her best friend Abby by her side and a comic book in her hand to be happy. But life has other plans. When an earthquake hits her town, Ellie wakes up with powers. She now has the ability to bring anything she touches back to life. Then a video of her magic goes viral and poof, everyone wants something to do with her. Surviving middle school was hard enough before, and things are about to get way more complicated for Ellie.

Onyeka and the Rise of the Rebels by Tolá Okogwu book cover

Onyeka and the Rise of the Rebels by Tolá Okogwu (May 30)

Spoilers for Onyeka and the Academy of the Sun ahead!

The next middle grade novel out this month is book #2 of Okogwu’s sci-fi series! This book follows Onyeka and her friends after they’ve uncovered Dr Dòyìnbó’s hidden agenda. That puts them in a lot of danger, so they escape the Academy of the Sun. Eventually, they stumble upon a group of rebels who have been trying to expose Dr Dòyìnbó’s secrets and join forces with them. On top of it all, they must find a cure for the Solari disease AND find Onyeka’s parents. Easy peasy, right?

Young Adult SFF

To Shape a Dragon's Breath by Moniquill Blackgoose book cover

To Shape a Dragon’s Breath by Moniquill Blackgoose (May 9)

The next work of SFF out in May 2023 is none other than this incredible fantasy novel written by an Indigenous author! To Shape a Dragon’s Breath follows the story of Anequs, who finds a dragon’s egg on her island — which hasn’t seen a dragon for ages. She bonds with the hatchling, and because of that the Anglish conquerors send her to one of their dragon academies. The problem is Anequs does not meet their requirements to take care of the dragon. She’ll have to prove herself in the academy or else her dragon will be killed. 

Venom & Vow by Anna-Marie McLemore and Elliott McLemore book cover

Venom & Vow by Anna-Marie McLemore and Elliott McLemore (May 16)

Anna-Marie McLemore is back! And this time they’ve co-written an incredible YA fantasy with their partner Elliot McLemore. Venom & Vow follows trans prince Cade McKenna and bigender dama/assassin Valencia Palafox — also known as Gael Palma. They’re both trapped in an intricate web, as Cade is doubling for his brother and Gael is trying to destroy said brother. But all of that seems small compared to the powerful curse that has taken both their families, as well as the far more dangerous enemies that want to end them both.

Threads That Bind Book Cover

Threads That Bind by Kika Hatzopoulou (May 30)

Next comes another fantasy novel — and this one is steeped in Greek mythology! Threads That Bind follows Io, one of the Ora sisters who are descendants of the Fates. Io lives in Alante, where she uses her powers to solve cases as a private investigator. Everything changes when Io’s latest job leads her to a shocking discovery: someone is maiming the life-threads of women and then setting their wraiths loose in the city. In order to find and stop the culprit, Io must work together with Edei — the boy whose fate is linked to hers.

Adult SFF

Lords of Uncreation by Adrian Tchaikovsky book cover

Lords of Uncreation by Adrian Tchaikovsky (May 2) 

This is book #3 in The Final Architecture series, so there will be spoilers for Shards of Earth and Eyes of the Void ahead!

Adrian Tchaikovsky’s epic sci-fi trilogy is finally coming to an end in Lords of Uncreation! The story follows Idris Telemmier, who has finally discovered the Architects’ greatest weakness. This knowledge could finally put an end to these destroyers of worlds. But there’s just one problem. The leaders of the galaxy would rather pursue their own agendas than help each other beat their common enemy. Then there’s the fact that the Architects’ masters are the true threat — a knowledge that only Idris possesses. 

Chang-Gang All-Stars book cover

Chain-Gang All-Stars by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah (May 2)

The next work of SFF out in May 2023 is Adjei-Brenyah’s debut! Chain-Gang All-Stars is dystopian sci-fi that takes a look at the American prison system through a speculative lens. The story follows Loretta and Hamara, two of the most popular fighters in an entertainment show that pits prisoners and gladiators against each other in order to win their freedom. If all goes well, Loretta will be free after a few more matches. Still, she’ll try her damndest to preserve her fellow prisoners’ humanity — despite all the obstacles the system puts in front of her.

cover of Witch King by Martha Wells

Witch King by Martha Wells (May 30)

Martha Wells’ new adult fantasy drops this month — and it sounds absolutely incredible! Witch King follows Kai, whose consciousness just woke from a long sleep. He was murdered and imprisoned inside a water contraption years ago, and now a mage is trying to harness his magic. The thing is, Kai doesn’t know how he wound up in this trap. Why was he there at all? What happened in the outside world while he slept? You’ll have to discover the answers alongside Kai as you devour his story!

Deep as the Sky, Red as the Sea by Rita Chang-Eppig book cover

Deep as the Sky, Red as the Sea by Rita Chang-Eppig (May 30)

Last but not least, I’m personally very excited to read this epic adventure story that dabbles with magical realism! Deep as the Sky, Red as the Sea follows the ruthless Shek Yeung. She’s the wife of a feared pirate. Or at least she was, until a sailor slayed him. Because of that, she strikes a deal with her husband’s second-in-command. But as she fights to gain control of the army she knows should be hers, bigger threats loom on the horizon. And the price of victory might be too steep even for Shek Yeung. 

Looking for more SFF recommendations? Dive into our SFF archive for all kinds of quizzes, lists, and essays. And if you want to keep up with the latest books, you can also find a carefully curated list full of them in our New Release Index!