Last Updated on February 11, 2024
2023 brought in a good haul of dark fantasy and science fiction books with many of our favorite authors dominating the scene with their releases (check out our favourites from 2023). As 2024 creeps up, the party isn’t slowing down. Be in the know as the GdM team rallied together to discuss the books we are most excited for. It is time to break out the good ol’ TBR list for GdM’s most anticipated SFF books for 2024.
Empire of the Damned by Jay Kristoff
Picked by Fiona Denton
Readers with a long memory may recall that this sequel to 2021s Empire of the Vampire was also my pick for 2023 when I was desperately hoping the then untitled novel would be released in late 2023. I was wrong and I’m still waiting, but that’s okay. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, good things come to those who wait, etcetera etcetera. Empire of the Damned will have vampires, silversaints, the best sweary insults, battles, blood, and probably the odd potato vodka. I’ve got it on predordered in physical and audio (narrated by the awesome Damian Lynch) and I cannot wait to get my hands on it. After all, ‘a life without books is a life not lived’.
About the Book
From holy cup comes holy light;
The faithful hands sets world aright.
And in the Seven Martyrs’ sight,
Mere man shall end this endless night.
Gabriel de León has saved the Holy Grail from death, but his chance to end the endless night is lost. Drawn into an uneasy alliance with the mysterious vampire Liathe, Gabriel must now deliver the Grail to ancients of the Blood Esani, and learn the truth of how Daysdeath might be finally undone.
But the Last Silversaint faces peril, within and without. Pursued by terrors of the Blood Voss, drawn into warfare between the Blood Dyvok and duskdancers of the frozen Highlands, and ravaged by his own rising bloodlust, Gabriel may not survive to see the Grail learn her truth.
And that truth may be too awful for any to imagine.
Read Empire of the Damned by Jay Kristoff
The End and the Death: Volume III by Dan Abnett
Picked by Chris Napper
The End and the Death Part 1 was so nearly my book of the year, but let’s be honest it’s all about the final climax. The End and the Death part 3 is a book I’ve been looking forward to since I was first exposed to Warhammer 40k 33 or so years ago, with the full version of the Emperor vs Horus now added to by all the themes and threads added by the Horus Heresy series over 63 books and 17 years. Dan Abnett is rightly considered as one of if not the best writer in Black Library’s stable and I trust him to stick the landing.
About the book
The Great Angel, Sanguinius, lies slain at his brother’s hand.
Terra burns as reality itself unravels and the greatest bastion of civilisation teeters on the brink of annihilation.
Desperate defenders gather, banding against the rabid traitor hordes. The Hollow Mountain, host to the pilgrims of Euphrati Keeler, is one of the last redoubts, held by the Dark Angels while the unclean host of Typhus lays siege. Malcador the Sigillite sits ablaze on the Golden Throne, trying to buy his master more time. But time is running out…
Guilliman races across the stars to reinforce the Throneworld. Will he return to ashes, where a Warmaster of Chaos has ascended to godhood, or will the Emperor have triumphed? And at what cost?
It all comes down to one final, climactic confrontation: the Emperor versus Horus. The father against the son.
Read The End and the Death: Volume III by Dan Abenett
Ghost Station by S.A Barnes
S.A Barnes filled the night sky with haunted delusions in Dead Silence. She reaches a new height with her latest space horror novel. While Dead Silence focused on a mysterious lost spaceship, the secrets in Ghost Station are spread throughout a planet. Space exploration is paved by nightmares in Ghost Station. Perhaps space isn’t so empty after all.
About the book
Space exploration can be lonely and isolating.
Psychologist Dr. Ophelia Bray has dedicated her life to the study and prevention of ERS—a space-based condition most famous for a case that resulted in the brutal murders of twenty-nine people. When she’s assigned to a small exploration crew, she’s eager to make a difference. But as they begin to establish residency on an abandoned planet, it becomes clear that crew is hiding something.
While Ophelia focuses on her new role, her crewmates are far more interested in investigating the eerie, ancient planet and unraveling the mystery behind the previous colonizer’s hasty departure than opening up to her.
That is, until their pilot is discovered gruesomely murdered. Is this Ophelia’s worst nightmare starting—a wave of violence and mental deterioration from ERS? Or is it something more sinister?
Terrified that history will repeat itself, Ophelia and the crew must work together to figure out what’s happening. But trust is hard to come by…and the crew isn’t the only one keeping secrets.
Read Ghost Station by S.A Barnes
The Woods All Black by Lee Mandelo
Picked by Fabienne Schwizer
I’m slightly cheating here because I have already been sent an advance review copy. Out in March, Lee Mandelo’s latest, The Woods All Black, is a modern gothic masterpiece. Set in rural Appalachia in the 1930s and featuring two (non-passing) trans leads, this novella packs a punch. Mandelo’s evocative writing, literary style and a strong sense of the uncanny root this story in a small(minded) community. It looks at what makes villains and morality – and how they are affected by perspective. I haven’t been able to shut up about it since I read it.
About the Book
Leslie Bruin is assigned to the backwoods township of Spar Creek by the Frontier Nursing Service, under its usual mandate: vaccinate the flock, birth babies, and weather the judgements of churchy locals who look at him and see a failed woman. Forged in the fires of the Western Front and reborn in the cafes of Paris, Leslie believes he can handle whatever is thrown at him―but Spar Creek holds a darkness beyond his nightmares.
Something ugly festers within the local congregation, and its malice has focused on a young person they insist is an unruly tomboy who must be brought to heel. Violence is bubbling when Leslie arrives, ready to spill over, and he’ll have to act fast if he intends to be of use. But the hills enfolding Spar Creek have a mind of their own, and the woods are haunted in ways Leslie does not understand.
Read The Woods All Black by Lee Mandelo
The Book That Broke The World by Mark Lawrence
Picked by John Mauro
The ending of The Book That Wouldn’t Burn left me in tears, and I can’t wait to find out what happens next with Livira, Evar, and all my friends from Mark Lawrence’s new Library Trilogy. I am also eager to see how the larger plot evolves regarding King Oanold and the war over the Library, which parallels the epic struggle of humankind between knowledge and ignorance.
Read the full review for The Book that wouldn’t Burn here.
About the Book
We fight for the people we love. We fight for the ideas we want to be true.
Evar and Livira stand side by side and yet far beyond each other’s reach. Evar is forced to flee the library, driven before an implacable foe. Livira, trapped in a ghost world, has to recover her book if she’s to return to her life. While Evar’s journey leads him outside into the vastness of a world he’s never seen, Livira’s destination lies deep inside her own writing, where she must wrestle with her stories in order to reclaim the volume in which they were written.
And all the while, the library quietly weaves thread to thread, bringing the scattered elements of Livira’s old life – friends and foe alike – back together beneath new skies.
Long ago, a lie was told, and with the passing years it has grown and spread, a small push leading to a chain of desperate consequences. Now, as one edifice topples into the next with ever-growing violence, it threatens to break the world. The secret war that defines the library has chosen its champions and set them on the board. The time has come when they must fight for what they believe, or lose everything.
Read The Book That Broke The World by Mark Lawrence
A Tempest of Tea by Hafsah Faizal
Picked by Saberin C.
Heists, criminal masterminds, vampires and… tea? What is there not to look forward to? I’ve followed Hafsah Faizal’s writing career since her traditionally-published debut We Hunt The Flame and have been utterly in awe of her since. I cannot wait to see what else lays in her fantastical repertoire!
About the Book
On the streets of White Roaring, Arthie Casimir is a criminal mastermind and collector of secrets. Her prestigious tearoom transforms into an illegal bloodhouse by night, catering to the vampires feared by society. But when her establishment is threatened, Arthie is forced to strike an unlikely deal with an alluring adversary to save it―she can’t do the job alone.
Calling on some of the city’s most skilled outcasts, Arthie hatches a plan to infiltrate the sinister, glittering vampire society known as the Athereum. But not everyone in her ragtag crew is on her side, and as the truth behind the heist unfolds, Arthie finds herself in the midst of a conspiracy that will threaten the world as she knows it. Dark, action-packed, and swoonworthy, this is Hafsah Faizal better than ever.
Read A Tempest of Tea by Hafsah Faizal
How to Become the Dark Lord and Die Trying
Picked by Elizabeth Tabler
Honestly, this just sounds fun as hell. “A young woman stuck in a time loop tires of defending humanity from the Dark Lord and decides to become the Dark Lord herself.” I mean, firstly it is Wexler who is a master, and I love a good protagonist gone bad. 2024 is not lacking in glorious books coming out, Adrian Tchaikovsky has multiple books coming out and he could write a new take on the dictionary and I would line up on publish day to buy it. Also, Hannah Kaner has the second book in Godkiller series, Sunbringer. I am thinking it is going to be a gloriously busy reading year for me.
About the Book
Davi has somehow managed to get herself trapped in a fantasy world – and not one full of rainbows and unicorns, but one packed with all manner of terrifying monsters and deadly magic.
Proper Lord of the Rings stuff. And, for reasons unknown, the humans of the Kingdom look to her for protection against the Dark Lord. To make matters worse, Davi’s stuck in a time loop. So every time she fails to defeat the Dark Lord (which is every time) she has to start over.
But Davi has a plan. What if instead of trying to defeat the Dark Lord . . . she becomes the Dark Lord instead?
What could possibly go wrong?
Read How to Become the Dark Lord (and Die Trying)
The Storm Beneath the World by Michael R. Fletcher
Fletcher has become renown as an author that grimdark fans love to read. His worlds are dark and gritty, his characters are as morally grey as they come (and generally hilarious), and his imagination is about as wild as any author out there plying their trade in the modern age. If you haven’t yet picked up Beyond Redemption and witnessed the magnificence that is the ending of that the Manifest Delusions world in A War to End All then you have missed out on one of the wildest, grungiest rides in modern fantasy. There isn’t a lot available about this book, but you can delve into an interview with Fletcher on Fantasy Book Critic.
The Storm Beneath the World is a book that I cannot wait to get my hands on.
About the book
Cursed by the gods, the insectile ashkaro live on flying islands travelling the eternal River of Days while a hellish firestorm devours the world below. Collected into queendoms, the higher caste brights live in the luxurious windward rain-forest while the servile dulls scrape out a desperate existence in the leeward desert.
Conflicts escalate between two neighbouring queendoms. Where Nysh embraces modern ideals of equality and independence, Yil honours the Fallen Goddess by enslaving their neighbours and maintaining traditional castes.
In preparation for the imminent war, Nysh sends ashkaro youths with dangerous Talents to secret schools, training them as assassins and spies. Joh, a dull male with a Talent for suggestion, and Ahk, a bright female with a Talent for stealth, are torn from their families and thrown into the academy. The two naively believe that the biggest threat comes from the other students, not realizing the war has already begun.
United in purpose, divided by caste, they can only save the island from the Mad Queen by working together.
Read The Storm Beneath the World by Michael R. Fletcher
Relics of Ruin by Erin M Evans
Empire of Exiles left unanswered questions and we are all too eager for answers. Relics of Ruin continues the Books of the Usurper series with new mysteries to uncover. Erin M Evans’s ensemble of characters, with their moral ambiguity, sparked our curiosity in the first book. Their choices are bound to still haunt them.
About the book
The conspiracy at the heart of the empire has been revealed. The Archivists played a key role in solving a brutal murder and uncovering one of the empire’s longest kept secrets. Now, what’s left in its wake are a series of unearthed artifacts, one shaken city, and the shocking truth not dared spoken aloud.
Just as the empire has begun to regain normalcy, another mystery unveils itself when a stolen ancient relic is found. Only no one knew that it was missing from its sacred vault in the first place. And now that the real one has been recovered, who replaced it with a fake?
With Quill and Amadea at the heart of another mystery, they will need to quickly follow the clues that all lead back to this new relic.
Because all the while, an old enemy is gathering strength beyond the Salt Wall and the Archivists might come to find there’s nowhere left for them to go but over.
Read Relics of Ruin by Erin M Evans
The Butcher of the Forest by Premee Mohamed
Picked by Carrie Chi
A sinister forest filled with monsters and black magic- I’m running right in. Butcher of the Forest tangles fantasy and horror in this promising dark fairy tale. While Premee Mohamed is a new name for me, her work has won numerous awards including Nebula, World Fantasy, and Aurora.
About the book
At the northern edge of a land ruled by a merciless foreign tyrant lies a wild, forbidden forest ruled by powerful magic.
Veris Thorn―the only one to ever enter the forest and survive―is forced to go back inside to retrieve the tyrant’s missing children. Inside await traps and trickery, ancient monsters, and hauntings of the past.
One day is all Veris is afforded. One misstep will cost everything.
Read The Butcher of the Forest by Premee Mohamed
The Serpent Sword by Matthew Harffy
Picked by Aaron Jones
Following the Northumbrian lord, Beobrand heads to the Holy City of Rome for more medieval adventures following this year’s fantastic Forest of Foes. Beobrand’s journey of growth and warfare has been a fascinating one so far and fans of historical fiction will be eager to snap up this next instalment from a master of the genre.
Read the interview with Matthew Harffy here.
About the series
AD 633, Anglo-Saxon Britain: Beobrand is a young man with a shadowy past. As an outsider in the kingdom of Bernicia, he is compelled to join his brother, Octa, as a warrior in the household of King Edwin. He must learn to fight with sword and shield to defend the war-ravaged kingdoms of Northumbria. In a period of great upheaval for Dark Age Britain, all he finds is death and war. Men and women strive to seize control of their destinies in a time of despair, and the land is rife with danger as warlords vie for supremacy and dominion. Among the blood and the betrayals, Beobrand learns of his brother’s near-certain murder. Inexperienced but ruthless, Beobrand must form his own allegiances and learn to fight as a warrior with sword and shield. Driven by a desire for vengeance and a relentless pursuit of his enemies, he faces challenges which transform him from a boy to a man who stands strong in the clamor and gore of the shieldwall. As he closes in on his kin’s slayer, can Beobrand mete out the retribution he craves without sacrificing his honor . . . or even his soul?
Read book one of the Bernicia Chronicles by Matthew Harffy
The Dead Cat Tail Assassins by P. Djèlí Clark
Known for his punchy stories and incredible worldbuilding, the author of A Master of Djinn is on the short list of my TBR. His new tale promises to deliver what I look for in any assassin story- impossible stakes and compelling characters. P. Djèlí Clark brightens the deal with its Gaslamp setting.
About the book
Eveen the Eviscerator is skilled, discreet, professional, and here for your most pressing needs in the ancient city of Tal Abisi. Her guild is strong, her blades are sharp, and her rules are simple. Those sworn to the Matron of Assassins—resurrected, deadly, wiped of their memories—have only three unbreakable vows.
First, the contract must be just. That’s above Eveen’s pay grade.
Second, even the most powerful assassin may only kill the contracted. Eveen’s a professional. She’s never missed her mark.
The third and the simplest: once you accept a job, you must carry it out. And if you stray? A ﬁnal death would be a mercy. When the Festival of the Clockwork King turns the city upside down, Eveen’s newest mission brings her face-to-face with a past she isn’t supposed to remember and a vow she can’t forget.