August is here and so are the summer holidays, whcih can mean only one thing – time to get some sunshine reading in, so what better time for us to pull together our list of the best sci fi books for August 2023!
From the follow up to one of the most epic space operas we’ve read with The House of Saints, through to a bit of comic book adventure with Mockingbird and man-shark romance with Shark Heart, there’s plenty on offer to sink your teeth into. So if you’re a science fiction buff, a fantasy fan or even a horror nerd, we’ve got a little bit of everything this month.
(Psst, ff you think we’ve overlooked your most anticipated book then why not drop us a message on our social channels?)
8 August – Angry Robot
Lessons in Bird Watching takes readers on a mesmerizing sci-fi journey set in the dystopian world of Apech, ravaged by a time-plague. Elite students of the Crysthian empire, led by the enigmatic Wilhelmina Ming, grapple with the harrowing violence they encounter, seeking solace in psychedelic antidepressants and uninhibited group encounters.
After a night of debauchery, the students awaken to a grim warning—a corpse impaled outside their residence. Determined to unravel the mystery, they embark on a perilous investigation, uncovering a web of intrigue and treachery within their diplomatic ranks.
Amidst a brewing civil war, they must face betrayal and deception while a fanatical zealot awakens a forgotten deity and its lethal temporal virus, threatening to engulf Apech in chaos.
This intelligent and immersive sci-fi epic delivers a thrilling exploration of power, morality, and the unyielding pursuit of truth in a world consumed by time. Brace yourself for a gripping narrative of survival, sacrifice, and the intertwining forces of destiny and free will.
22 August – Quirk Books
In a small Midwestern town, a teenage girl discovers the chilling truth behind ‘Tornado Day’ – a plague of sentient tornadoes that strikes the town every generation, threatening total annihilation. The town’s only hope lies in a mysterious boy known as the Tornado Killer. But the adults guard a terrifying secret about the origins of the tornadoes and the true nature of the Tornado Killer and soon finds that she must escape before the primordial power that binds them all consumes her.
This genre-defying horror-thriller, delves into surreal, mind-bending depths. James Kennedy, author of Dare to Know is back with more mythical madness of bizarre Americana; painting a chilling portrait of small-town living. Fans of eerie, atmospheric horror will be hooked.
17 August – Tor
Olivie Blake, bestselling author of The Atlas Six, presents Masters of Death, an urban fantasy brimming with vampires, ghosts, and the godson of Death.
Viola Marek is a vampire struggling as a real estate agent. Her latest challenge: selling a haunted house. The ghost, murdered and trapped, refuses to move on until he unravels the mystery behind his death. Enlisting the help of Fox D’Mora, a supposedly fraudulent medium with a surprising connection to Death, the pair unwittingly entangle themselves in an unexpected and unwanted quest. With the aid of a mischievous poltergeist, a demonic personal trainer, a sharp-voiced angel, and a love-stricken reaper, Vi and Fox soon discover that the line between a lost love and a bothersome corpse is far blurrier than they imagined.
Get ready for a witty and page-turning urban fantasy adventure, that challenges the boundaries of the afterlife with a unique twist on the supernatural.
24 August – Pan Macmillan
Shelley Parker-Chan’s sequel to the brilliant She Who Became the Sun, arrives as a mesmerizing and deeply disquieting continuation.
Zhu Yuanzhang, the Radiant King, revels in her recent triumph over the Mongol rulers in southern China. Driven by ambition and the belief in her divine mandate, she is determined to claim the imperial throne for herself. However, she faces a formidable rival in Madam Zhang, whose powerful kingdom poses a threat to Zhu’s ambitions. To outmaneuver Madam Zhang, Zhu forms an unlikely alliance with the traitorous general Ouyang. As Zhu’s ambition propels her forward, she realizes that even her ruthless heart may not be immune to the price she must pay. The consequences of her actions may ultimately break her, testing the limits of her unyielding will.
He Who Drowned the World examines the value of self-acceptance, shedding light on the corrosive impact of self-hate and societal rejection, Parker-Chan deftly portrays the destructive consequences that self-loathing and bigotry can have on individuals and society at large, compelling readers to confront the darker facets of humanity while seeking solace in the profound depths of the characters and storytelling.
3 August – Gollancz
In the epic conclusion to the Pact and Pattern series, J.T. Greathouse continues on the thrilling journey of the magical warrior, Foolish Cur, who must confront his greatest feat-turned-failure. Seeking to thwart the tyrannical Emperor’s war with the gods, Foolish Cur wields forbidden magic, unknowingly setting the gods free after countless years of imprisonment.
With chaos unleashed, the world is transformed into a nightmarish realm, overrun by terrifying creatures. The Empire, rebellion, and existence itself hanging in the balance.
Fans of the British Fantasy Award-nominated series will love the spellbinding mix of magic, mystery, and political intrigue that Greathouse’s fantasy series has brought us.
3 August – Quercus
In her remarkable debut novel Shark Heart, Emily Habek crafts a deeply moving intergenerational love story that tugs at the heartstrings. The tale revolves around Wren and Lewis, a newlywed couple whose journey takes an extraordinary turn when Lewis receives a life-altering diagnosis. A rare condition promises to transform him into a great white shark over the course of nine months while preserving his consciousness and memories. As Lewis grapples with his metamorphosis, Wren is faced with the daunting prospect of a life alongside a shark-human hybrid.
Skillfully interwoven within this narrative is the poignant account of Wren’s mother, Angela, whose past unravels with a teenage pregnancy amid the throes of an abusive relationship. Habek effortlessly connects the past and present, exploring the timeless themes of love, loss, and the essence of identity.
Habek’s writing displays a deft blend of humor, lyricism, and unfiltered emotion, creating an unforgettable story that delves into the profound questions that life presents, especially in the midst of grief. With unmatched originality, delightful elements of magical realism and an endearing cast of characters, Shark Heart adds an extra layer of depth to the transformations experienced in life, whether they stem from relationships or physical changes.
Emily Habek’s debut marks the arrival of a fresh and talented writer, teaching us to embrace the impossible, seize fleeting moments of joy, and find solace in the embrace of life’s unpredictable journey.
1 August – Titan
Jin Zhara faces the challenge of concealing her magical abilities in a society that condemns magic. When rumours of monstrous creatures resurface, a chance encounter with Han introduces her to the Guardians of Dawn, a secret magical liberation organisation. As a mysterious plague transforms magicians into abominations, Zhara must embark on a quest to unravel the truth behind the chaos. Embracing her inner elemental warrior becomes crucial in restoring harmony and thwarting the malevolent demon.
S. Jae-Jones kickstarts an enthralling YA Fantasy series with Guardians of Dawn: Zhara. Blending threads of love, magic, and chaos, creating a mesmerising journey of self-discovery and the battle for order and disorder in this richly imagined fantasy tale that will be sure to appeal to fans of Sailor Moon.
3 August – Aconyte
Mockingbird: Strike Out soars as a captivating addition to the Aconyte Marvel Heroines series, focusing on Bobbi Morse, alias Mockingbird. Maria Lewis weaves a thrilling tale as the S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent seeks distraction from her painful divorce to Hawkeye by delving into a high-stakes espionage and action-packed adventure. Lewis artfully defines Mockingbird’s character, infusing her with humor, snark, and relatable human traits. The story brims with spy work and gadgets, ensuring a fast-paced narrative that enthralls readers.
The novel’s seamless integration into the wider Marvel universe adds depth to the plot and Lewis’ writing showcases the allure and strength of Marvel heroines. Mockingbird: Strike Out will surely please fans looking to go beyond the MCU.
31 August – Rebellion
In The House of Saints, the long-awaited sequel to The House of Styx, (read our 5 star review here) Derek Künsken transports readers back to the harsh and captivating world of Venus, continuing the enthralling saga of the D’Aquillon family in a tale of resilience and human determination.
The novel picks up shortly after the conclusion of The House of Styx, exploring the family’s relentless quest for survival amidst the unforgiving conditions of the planet. As they investigate a mysterious wormhole that could hold the key to their colony’s survival, the D’Aquillon family finds themselves entangled in a web of intrigue and danger from rival families and external forces.
Künsken’s skillful narrative weaves together tension, wonder, and emotional depth. The evolving relationships of the complex characters add increasing layers of heartbreak and authenticity in an expert balance of scientific wonder and human drama.
For fans of hard sci-fi and compelling tales of human survival, The House of Saints and its companion, The House of Styx, form an unmissable series. Künsken’s visionary storytelling ensures that readers will be captivated until the very end.