New Fall 2023 Fantasy from Jim Butcher, Cassandra Clare, and Benedict Jacka

New fall 2023 fantasy from Jim Butcher, Cassandra Clare, and Benedict Jacka — Fictions & Fandoms

New Fall 2023 Fantasy from Jim Butcher, Cassandra Clare, and Benedict Jacka

Fantasy readers may find themselves overwhelmed this season by the sheer deluge of SFF fiction hitting stores, across a number of wildly different sub-genres. If you’re the type of reader who likes many flavors of fantasy, that diversity is exciting. But where to start amongst all the new fall 2023 releases?

Check out this collection of fan-favorite authors, all of whom are stepping into fresh territories—and series—with these new fantasy novels.

The Aeronaut's Windlass and The Olympian Affair by Jim Butcher — Fictions & Fandoms

THE AERONAUT’S WINDLASS and THE OLYMPIAN AFFAIR by Jim Butcher

Fantasy / Steampunk | Available November 7th

If you’ve spent any time in the sci-fi/fantasy stacks at your local bookstore, you’ve probably seen Jim Butcher’s prolific output. Best known for his DRESDEN FILES urban fantasy series, Butcher ventured into steampunk territory with the 2015 novel, THE AERONAUT’S WINDLASS.

That book, originally published with a cover very in-line with the style of the Dresden Files novels, kicked off THE CINDER SPIRES series. The promised sequel, however, didn’t manifest until now—eight years later!

With the release of book 2, THE OLYMPIAN AFFAIR, the first novel has also been re-released with new trade dress to match its sequel. The new covers reflect a more contemporary Fantasy design style, but I expect some readers will misinterpret them as romantasy or young adult fantasy.

What should you actually expect? Swashbuckling action adventure in a well-built steampunk-y society settled sky high, with airships and sword duels and tricksy political problems. Also, sassy talking cats!

I’ve seen it described as Fantasy Firefly, and yes, there’s a certain Malcom Reynolds-ish flair to Butcher’s Captain Francis Madison Grimm.

» Buy THE AERONAUT’S WINDLASS on Amazon

» Buy THE OLYMPIAN AFFAIR on Amazon

Inheritance of Magic by Benedict Jacka — Fictions & Fandoms

AN INHERITANCE OF MAGIC by Benedict Jacka

Urban Fantasy | Available October 5th

If you prefer your fantasy a little more street level, Benedict Jacka’s AN INHERITANCE OF MAGIC might be more your speed. Previously known for the ALEX VERSUS series, Jacka kicks off the new STEPHEN OAKWOOD novels with a steady and accessible coming-of-age urban fantasy story.

It follows a young man wrestling with his abandonment issues by delving into the only true inheritance left by his vanished parents: Drucraft. But self-taught magic may not save him when manipulative parties from wealthy and connected circles decide he might be a useful pawn—or even a threat.

With lean, direct prose and a unique, relatively crunchy magic system, Inheritance offers a promising series start. Some readers may find it a bit sparse for their taste, and the pretty but over-designed cover poorly reflects the tale inside. But if you’re into dark-academy-but-still-blue-collar vibes and Succession-esque family politics, give this one a try.

» Buy AN INHERITANCE OF MAGIC on Amazon.

Swordcatcher by Cassandra Clare — Fictions and Fandoms

SWORD CATCHER by Cassandra Clare

Fantasy | Available October 10th

Cassandra Clare is the bestselling author and co-author of just a ridiculous number of Young Adult and Middle Grade Fantasy novels, notably THE SHADOWHUNTER CHRONICLES. Now she makes her first foray into adult oriented Fantasy, with SWORD CATCHER.

I’m not very familiar with Clare’s previous works. The premise of this novel caught my attention, though. Selected as an orphan for his physical similarity to the crown-prince, the titular “sword catcher” was raised as a full-time royal body double. His entire life is centered on dying in the prince’s stead should he be attacked.

A failed assassination attempt inadvertently pairs the sword catcher with a rural physician who seeks a forbidden cure for her best friend. But a shadowy patron pulls them both into their city-state’s shadowy and corrupt underworld. Their illicit discoveries may force them to betray the nation they hold dear—but the cost to do what’s right might be unimaginably high.

The graphic nature of this cover design really appealed to me, and favorably reminded me of Katy Rose Pool’s THERE WILL COME A DARKNESS. (Though I really hate it when the author’s name is bigger than the title — see also: way too many Stephen King books.)

The book is slow, slow burn, though lighter on romantic elements than Clare’s YA readers might expect. Instead, you’ll get layered plotting and world building, and tangled, emotionally compromised characters.

» Buy SWORD CATCHER on Amazon.

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Picture of Adron Buske

Adron Buske

Adron Buske (he/him) is the founder of FICTIONS & FANDOMS, and hosts FICTITIOUS, a podcast about the storytelling craft of science fiction and fantasy. An avid cross-genre reader, he prefers thought-provoking, character driven stories with complex moralities, well-developed worlds, diverse characters, and big adventures. Some favorite books: American Gods (Neil Gaiman), The Wolf in the Whale (Jordanna Max Brodsky), The Murderbot Diaries (Martha Wells), and The Night Circus (Erin Morgenstern).
Picture of Adron Buske

Adron Buske

Adron Buske (he/him) is the founder of FICTIONS & FANDOMS, and hosts FICTITIOUS, a podcast about the storytelling craft of science fiction and fantasy. An avid cross-genre reader, he prefers thought-provoking, character driven stories with complex moralities, well-developed worlds, diverse characters, and big adventures. Some favorite books: American Gods (Neil Gaiman), The Wolf in the Whale (Jordanna Max Brodsky), The Murderbot Diaries (Martha Wells), and The Night Circus (Erin Morgenstern).