35 science fiction/fantasy standalone of july to december 2021

Moving past the halfway mark of 2021 means that I’m finally able to talk about the upcoming releases that are on my radar. For today’s list, I’ve purposefully spotlighted standalone novels in the science fiction and fantasy genres. There’s a mixture of middle grade, young adult and adult books for your enjoyment. This post will be a long one since fantasy is my favorite genre, and so I’m always on the lookout.

Not a huge fan of horror and thriller, I’m actually quite surprised that I have a few of those books on this list. As you will find out, there are multiple highly anticipated retellings in this list. Don’t scold me if I’m unaware or unfamiliar with the original fables. 😂 My entire childhood surrounds Pokemon, Barbie movies, and Disney/Pixar. Classic books and stories weren’t part of my agenda as a kid.

Table of Content
July & August
September
October
November & December

Release dates are subjected to changes. If you’re aware of any trigger warnings that should come with the book, please let me know! Also, if any of the information is wrong or misleading, do let me know so that I can edit the details.

Without further ado, here are the 35 sci-fi/fantasy standalone novels!

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  • half sick of shadows – laura sebastian
  • age range: adult
    genre: historical fiction + fantasy

    While I’ve read a few retellings of King Arthur and everyone associated with him, I’m not familiar with the original Arthurian myth. Half Sick of Shadows is a feminist reimagining of the legend. Though I’ve only read Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian, I have high expectations of that trilogy, Half Sick of Shadows and Castles in Their Bones which is another series coming out in 2022.

    trigger and content warnings:

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  • sword stone table: old legends, new voices –
  • edited by swapna krishna & jenn northington
  • age range: adult
    genre: fantasy
    rep: LGBT

    Sword Stone Table is a collection of short stories surrounding the lore of King Arthur, Camelot, and the Knights of the Round Table which, as you know, I’m unfamiliar with the original legend. Authors that I’ve read from before are Roshani Chokshi and Sarah Maclean (her historical romances so I’m interested in seeing how I would like her fantasy story). Although I haven’t read from most of the authors, I’m highly anticipating this. One of the settings is in 21st century Singapore, my home country, which I would never expect.

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  • the river has teeth – erica waters
  • age range: young adult
    genre: fantasy + horror
    rep: LGBT (queer MC, LI)

    Natasha’s sister is missing, and the only person who can help her find Rochelle is Della whose mother might be the culprit behind the disappearance. The River Has Teeth will be a dark and suspenseful tale about magic went wrong, family relationships, and witches.

    Been meaning to read Ghost Wood Song when it was released last year. Maybe The River Has Teeth will motivate me to do so. Have you seen the cover? It’s gorgeous! The moth, the owl? All a mystery.

    trigger and content warnings:

    preorder the book

  • small favors – erin a. craig
  • age range: young adult
    genre: fantasy + horror

    Read House of Salt and Sorrows in 2019 and absolutely loved the spookiness of The Twelve Dancing Princesses retelling. Don’t let this flowery cover trick you, Small Favors is a horror book set in a little town surrounded by a forest where monsters roamed. I always like reading about mysteries in small towns where things don’t appear the way it seems. You might think that there wouldn’t be many secrets in an isolated, quiet town which makes it more fun when uncovering what’s hidden within.

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  • the wild ones – nafiza azad
  • age range: young adult
    genre: fantasy
    rep: LGBT (lesbian, trans, non-binary characters), POC

    The Wild Ones will be a powerful and inspiring book since it’s about lost, battered, abandoned, and betrayed girls who found strength despite everything. With that, the sisterhood between these girls will be a core element of the book. With a large cast of characters, I wonder how the narrative would be or who would be the main voice or perspective.

    trigger and content warnings:
    • misogyny, child endangerment, abandonment, abduction, human trafficking, prostitution, abuse (physical, mental, emotional, verbal, sexual), rape(mention), infidelity, bullying(mention), suicide(mention), death(mention), grief, victim’s guilt, blood & violence. 
    • taken from -`ˏ Galaxi Faerie ˎ´˗’s goodreads

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  • a clash of steel: a treasure island remix – c.b. lee
  • age range: young adult
    genre: fantasy + historical fiction
    rep: LGBT

    Part of the Remixed Classics series and each book takes on its own individual story and retelling unrelated to one another, hence why I’m taking it as a standalone.

    No idea what’s the original tale of Treasure Island but since I’m promised pirates and two Asians treasure hunting, sign me up. In this retelling of Treasure Island, the author incorporated some legends of the Chinese pirate queen Ching Shih in A Clash of Steel. Gotta say, I just want this in my hands.

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  • the all-consuming world – cassandra khaw
  • age range: adult
    genre: science fiction + horror
    rep: LGBT (sapphic MCs, non-binary MC, gender fluid MC)

    Cassandra Khaw will be a new-to-me author. Although I’m not a horror kind of reader, I decided to take a leap of faith after finding out that she’s a Malaysian author. With just 288 pages, The All-Consuming World features queer cyborg criminals on a heist.

    trigger and content warnings:

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  • among thieves – m.j. kuhn
  • age range: adult
    genre: fantasy
    rep: LGBT

    Among Thieves is a heist novel that stars Ryia Cautella who’s on the run from the most powerful man in the five kingdoms of Thamorr, the Guildmaster. Forced to work with other morally grey characters, Ryia must proceed with caution. I’m ready for some epic fighting, schemings, and betrayals. I can’t wait to read about these fascinating characters.

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  • the inheritance of orquídea divina – zoraida córdova
  • age range: adult
    genre: fantasy + horror + magical realism

    In The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina, a family inherits the matriarch’s assets and manifests abilities after. I believe the chapters will alternate between Orquídea’s perspective in the past and the grandchildren who are uncovering the secrets of Orquídea as well as their family’s history. This will be an atmospheric and whimsical book with lovely writing even though I’ve never read anything by the author.

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  • the city beautiful – aden polydoros
  • age range: young adult
    genre: fantasy + mystery + historical fiction
    rep: LGBT (gay)

    Alter, an immigrant, arrived in America for better opportunities. All he wants is to bring his family away from the oppression they’re facing in Romania. However, when his best friend died in the hands of a serial killer, Alter was possessed by Yakov’s dybbuk. Now, he runs the risk of the dybbuk taking over his body for good.

    First, love the 1893 Chicago setting. I bet it’s a compelling place to be with darkness lurking at every corner of the city. Second, historical fiction murder mystery? Yes, please. Thirdly, four words: queer Jewish gothic fantasy. That’s it.

    trigger and content warnings:

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  • a dark and starless forest – sarah hollowell
  • age range: young adult
    genre: fantasy
    rep: LGBT (trans, non-binary, ace, pan), plus-sized MC, disabled (hard of hearing), black and mexican american

    Derry lives with her eight siblings, isolated from the world by an eerie forest. The more time she spends in the woods, the more Derry’s powers grow. She’s determined to find out where her missing siblings went. Honestly, I don’t know what to expect from A Dark and Starless Forest but I want to find out the mysteries behind the dark forest that stole Derry’s siblings.

    trigger and content warnings:

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  • the lost girls – sonia hartl
  • age range: young adult
    genre: fantasy + paranormal
    rep: LGBT (lesbian)

    Vampire girls banding together to kill the man who had turned and then abandoned them, although Holly isn’t 100% sold on that plan. Turned in 1987, Holly is stuck as a 16-year-old. Before Elton can turn a new girl into a vampire, Rose and Ida plan to murder him. What Holly didn’t expect was her attraction towards Parker, Elton’s next victim.

    Although I’ve been reading some vampire books these two years to clear my backlist TBR pile, I think The Lost Girls will be interesting and have a completely different feel to it.

    trigger and content warnings:
    • blood, body horror, coercion described through memory, gaslighting, attempted sexual assault (on page), physical assault and fight scenes (on page), parental neglect (on page & flashbacks)
    • taken from sonia hartl’s goodreads

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  • last gamer standing – katie zhao
  • age range: middle grade
    genre: science fiction
    rep: chinese-american MC

    Knowing that she has what it takes to win the grand prize, Reyna Cheng decides to compete in a VR battle royale game. With the gaming scene populated by males, keeping her identity is of paramount importance. Everything was fine until the day an online troll threatened to dox Reyna and leak her personal details to the public. Through Last Gamer Standing, the toxicity in the gaming community will be highlighted and, with Reyna, we’ll see a badass gamer girl striving towards what she wants.

    I loved The Dragon Warrior by Katie Zhao and since then, I’ve been waiting for news about her upcoming books. Truth be told, Last Gamer Standing had me with “sports anime” and “gaming culture.”

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  • the wolf’s curse – jessica vitalis
  • age range: middle grade
    genre: fantasy

    Cursed when his grandpapá’s soul was stolen by a Great White Wolf, Gauge needs to decide what’s the next best move. A beautiful, emotional story about two boys finding solace and comfort with one another as they travel together. There would be an exploration of grief and death but also of life and healing.

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  • the cursed carnival and other calamities: new stories about mythic heroes – edited by rick riordan
  • age range: middle grade
    genre: fantasy
    cultures rep: indian, mesoamerican, korean, cuban, black american, african, navajo, mexican, mesopotamian, celtic

    This is another anthology on my radar. Read from most of the authors who are contributing to this collection of short stories. In total, there’ll be ten stories, and I’ll be reunited with familiar heroes such as Aru Shah (Pandava), Riley Oh (The Last Fallen Star) and Sikander Aziz (City of the Plague God). A new hero’s tale would be told by Rick Riordan.

    Anthologies aren’t my go-to but since The Cursed Carnival and Other Calamities has the authors under Rick Riordan Presents collaborating together, how can I resist? Not only can I revisit worlds and characters that I already know but I’m also able to read works by new-to-me authors too.

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  • little thieves – margaret owen
  • age range: young adult
    genre: fantasy

    Instead of following the princess who got her identity and life stolen, Little Thieves is told from the perspective of Vanja, the villainess, a wicked maid. Succeding in living as Princess Gisele and tricking the nobilities, Vanja was cursed by a low-god for her greed. Vanja needs to right her wrongs. Otherwise, she will turn into stone.

    I’m a stranger to the tale of the Goose Girl but whatever Margaret Owen writes, I decided ever since The Merciful Crow, I would pick up. Wonder how Little Thieves would be like since we’re following a villain instead of a hero.

    trigger and content warnings:

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  • a spindle splintered – alix e. harrow
  • age range: adult
    genre: fantasy

    Due to a terminal illness, Zinnia will never live past her 21st birthday and became obsessed with the story of Sleeping Beauty. For her birthday, her best friend threw Zinnia a Sleeping Beauty-themed party in which she was magically transported into a world that has an actual sleeping beauty.

    Read and enjoyed both The Ten Thousand Doors of January and The Once and Future Witches by Alix E. Harrow which basically means that I’ll be reading whatever she publishes. Although A Spindle Splintered is packed within 128 pages, I believe it will be an incredible retelling of The Sleeping Beauty.

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  • squad – maggie tokuda-hall
  • age range: young adult
    genre: fantasy
    rep: LGBT

    Just when Becca thinks she might not fit into her new school, she was accepted into the most popular clique of girls who turned out to be werewolves. Their main prey: slimy sexual predators. Becca finally feels like she belongs and willingly allowed the girls to turn her into a werewolf, and she’s slowly falling in love with one of the girls in the clique.

    I’m excited to see how the storyline would turn out in a graphic novel form.

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  • daughter of the deep – rick riordan
  • age range: young adult
    genre: fantasy

    Rick Riordan just surprised everyone with the news of Daughter of the Deep, unrelated to Camp Half-Blood or any mythology-based story. Daughter of the Keep follows Ana Dakkar who’s studying in a five-year high school that has produced the best marine scientists and underwater explorers.

    Honestly, I’m just excited that Rick Riordan is releasing a new book his year and that this setting hints at potential exploration under the sea where I can meet some incredibly marine creatures. Similarly, I’m not sure of the original story of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea but this setting is fascinating for me since I really love the ocean.

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  • jade fire gold – june c.l. tan
  • age range: young adult
    genre: fantasy
    rep: LGBT + chinese mythology

    Added this into my TBR once I found out that the author grew up in Singapore. I’ve been obsessed with xianxia novels lately (re: Heaven Official’s Blessing & Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation) so this is perfect for me. You know what? Even though there are not many details in the synopsis other than the names of the characters, I’m here to stay after realizing it’s an East-Asian-inspired novel with elements of Avatar: The Last Airbender.

    trigger and content warnings:
    • self-harm (gouging/eye horror; non-graphic), child abuse (physical, verbal, emotional manipulation/gaslighting), parent death (implied and off-page), character deaths, mentions and descriptions of fantasy/magical violence (blood, war, politcal violence), mentions and descriptions of physical symptoms that might be triggering to those with emetophobia, alcohol consumption
    • taken from june c.l. tan’s goodreads

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  • any sign of life – rae carson
  • age range: young adult
    genre: science fiction (dystopian)

    Imagine falling ill and then waking up to everyone dead, leaving you the only survivor. That’s what happened to Paige. She needs to survive against all odds. Not sure what to expect of Any Sign of Life but I enjoyed Rae Carson’s Fire and Thorns series.

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  • nothing but blackened teeth – cassandra khaw
  • age range: adult
    genre: fantasy + horror

    I remember last year’s USS Halloween Horror Night and being freaked out by the Japanese-styled haunted house with the dolls as decoration. Nothing but Blackened Teeth is another release of Cassandra Khaw’s this year. Though I’m not a fan of the horror genre, this book thoroughly intrigued me with Japanese folklore. A house that’s built upon the bones of a dead bride and foundations by bones of girls who were sacrificed to keep her company. Talking about it is already sending chills down my spine.

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  • city of shattered light – claire winn
  • age range: young adult
    genre: science fiction + LGBT (f/f romance)

    Fearing that her sister would be reprogrammed after Kaya’s mind was uploaded to an experimental brain by their manipulative father, Asa is on the run. Sent after her is Riven, a gun-slinging smuggler, who desires to climb up the Requiem’s underworld hierarchy. An outlaw and an heiress working together to fend for themselves in the dark underbelly of their world while a deadly virus spreads.

    This debut novel sounds absolutely intriguing so when it was available for request on NetGalley, you bet I went for it so thank you ARC gods. I can’t wait to see what the characters will get up to especially when they’re supposed to be on opposite sides.

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  • bright ruined things – samantha cohoe
  • age range: young adult
    genre: fantasy + historical fiction

    Read Samantha Cohoe’s A Golden Fury last year and had a fantastic time. As for Bright Ruined Things, I’m not familiar with Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Regardless, it seemed like an interesting magical setting with it being on an island with spirits around.

    Also, blessed by the ARC gods so I can read this much earlier than expected. I don’t think I’ll get as many of the easter eggs or little nostalgic details of the original tale. However, I’m just here to enjoy a good book!

    preorder the book

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  • dreams lie beneath – rebecca ross
  • age range: young adult
    genre: fantasy

    Dreams become living nightmares during the new moon for everyone who lives in the realm of Azenor. Magicians are the only ones with the power to stop the nightmares from plaguing humans. Just as Clementine was to take over as the warden, two magicians challenged her. Slowly, Clementine starts to get closer to one of the young magicians.

    The premise of Dreams Lie Beneath is alluring. I mean, I don’t want my nightmares to become real. No way. I’ve only read Rebecca Ross’s Sisters of Sword and Song which was filled with adventure and strong female characters so I’m excited about her upcoming book.

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  • gilded – marissa meyer
  • age range: young adult
    genre: fantasy

    Serilda, cursed with the ability to spin elaborate and untrue stories, caught the attention of the Erlking. Tasked to spin straw into gold, Serilda accidentally summoned a boy to help her. While she’s trying to stay alive, Serilda discovers the secrets of the castle and an ancient curse that needs to be broken.

    For once, I do know the story of Rumpelstiltskin (mostly because of Once Upon a Time). Based on the synopsis, it seems like the progression of the story is similar to the original tale but the setting feels more sinister. Rather than being captured to a sprawling palace, Serilda will be surrounded by ghouls, phantoms, and the undead.

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  • briar girls – rebecca kim wells
  • age range: young adult
    genre: fantasy
    rep: LGBT

    Briar Girls is a Sleeping Beauty retelling. Lena’s cursed by a witch for the touch of skin will kill. Afraid of causing any deaths, Lena fled to a village near the Silence, a forest where people disappear. Miranda suddenly appeared out of the Silence, searching for the sleeping princess who can liberate her city from a tyrannical ruler. If Lena helps Miranda find this sleeping beauty, she will help Lena break the curse.

    The latter of 2021 seemed to be inundated with fairy tale retellings, not that I’m complaining! I can’t wait to find out the story behind Lena’s ability and Miranda’s role in everything.

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  • a rush of wings – laura e. weymouth
  • age range: young adult
    genre: fantasy, historical fiction

    This Seven Swans retelling follows Rowenna Winthrop whose voice was stolen by her supposedly dead mother. As she tries to turn her brothers and a handsome stranger back to humans after the same mother turned them into swans, Rowenna needs to fend off power-grabbing strangers who want her raw magic for themselves.

    I’m looking forward to beautiful, lyrical prose in A Rush of Wings. Rowenna would be an incredibly fun protagonist to follow especially since she’s working through all the obstacles to undo the curse set upon by her mother.

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  • year of the reaper – makiia lucier
  • age range: young adult
    genre: fantasy

    Imprisoned for three years, Lord Cas finally returned home to find that everything has changed, and his castle was taken over by the king.

    This is the kind of book that I want to go into without knowing too much about. From the reviews that I’ve read, Year of the Reaper is filled with adventures and strong bonds with complex characters.

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  • skin of the sea – natasha bowen
  • age range: young adult
    genre: fantasy
    rep: west african

    As Mami Wata, a mermaid, Simi’s role is to collect the souls of the dead who perished at sea but Simi defied her gods by saving a boy from drowning. This Little Mermaid retelling focuses on Simi who needs to fight the gods she used to pray to and discover the fate of the world while escaping from dangers.

    Skin of the Sea sounds so good! I’m waiting for this West African-inspired retelling of The Little Mermaid.

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  • within these wicked walls – lauren blackwood
  • age range: young adult
    genre: fantasy + horror
    rep: ethiopian-inspired

    Within These Wicked Walls is an Ethiopian-inspired retelling of Jane Eyre. According to what I obtained from the synopsis, the plot does follow that of the original story of Jane Eyre but I suspect it would divert in every other aspect. I’m here for the spooky haunted mansion that this is story is set in. Also, never really heard of a debtera before so I’m intrigued to see how Andromeda’s career would play into the story. Can’t wait~

    Let me thank the ARC gods for gifting me one of my most anticipated releases of 2021. So blessed! 🙏

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  • graceling – kristin cashore
  • age range: young adult
    genre: fantasy

    Everyone knows the Graceling Realm series by Kristin Cashore. I absolutely enjoyed the first two books and have the next two to read. As someone who just started exploring this world and meeting the characters for the first time, it would be interesting to see the growth in Kristin Cashore’s writing.

    Now that there’s a graphic novel version for Graceling, I can’t miss it out. Looking forward to reuniting with familiar characters and watching everything play out in illustrations.

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  • tidesong – wendy xu
  • age range: middle grade
    genre: fantasy
    rep: LGBT

    Pressured into attending the best magic school in the realm, Sophie was sent to relatives she has never met before to train for her entrance exams. Instead of teaching her, Cousin Sage and Great-Aunt Lan kept piling chores on her. When Sophie tries magic on her own, something went wrong and her magic is bound with that of a water dragon.

    Since I’m promised Studio Ghibli vibes, there’s nothing else I would want from Tidesong. Excited to see Sophie go on a journey of self-acceptance and her friendship with Lir!

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  • a history of wild places – shea ernshaw
  • age range: adult
    genre: fantasy + mystery

    Can I just say that intense, creepy atmospheres in mystery books are my cup of tea? Travis took on a missing person’s case which led him to Pastoral, a reclusive community, that shouldn’t exist anymore. Following Travis’s own disappearance, Theo unravels the complicated web of secrets of the people around him.

    Just give this to me already. What a perfect book for the Halloween season though. If only. I’m definitely reading this as soon as I can get my hands on a copy.

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  • the coldest touch – isabel sterling
  • age range: young adult
    genre: fantasy + paranormal
    rep: sapphic

    With a touch, Elise knows how the person would die. Ready to rid of the curse after her brother’s death, one that she predicted but couldn’t stop. With her Death Oracle ability, Elise finds out about her teacher’s imminent death and is desperate to stop it. Claire, a vampire, is sent by the Veil to help Elise master her powers. While they’re doing that, a murderer is on the loose threatening the safety of everyone. Somehow the girls are entangled into it.

    You just need to know: sapphic vampire + murders + romance. I loved the These Witches Don’t Burn duology by Isabel Sterling that featured sapphic witches. Now that I’m getting a book about another paranormal race by the same author? You bet I’m ready.

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    let’s chat:
    which sci-fi/fantasy standalone are you looking forward to?

    I’m a Book Depository Affiliate! I get a tiny commission that supports my blogging journey. If you do plan to buy the book, just click on the Book Depository button up top.

    7 thoughts on “35 science fiction/fantasy standalone of july to december 2021”

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