Wherever you are while reading this, it’s probably really hot. Like, oppressively hot. Escaping to another world sounds great about now, and plenty of great fantasy stories are coming our way in August. If you’re a movie person, enjoy the air conditioning and see Blue Beetle or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem. But if you like to curl up with a good book, the best new fantasy books in August 2023 will help you forget how ridiculously miserable it is outside.
August’s fantasy offerings bring a lot of variety to the table. There’s high fantasy, new entries in established series, brand new stories, and even some Star Wars. If you’re new to fantasy books, it can be a daunting genre to get into. But good news — some of our August entries are great for readers new to the genre and offer a terrific entry point if you’re looking to take on something new.
The Most Promising Fantasy Books to Watch in August 2023
Wild Spaces – S.L. Coney, August 1
S.L. Coney’s debut novel is a coming-of-age tale where the dangers of family secrets and toxic relatives come to life and grow into the monsters they are. In that sense, that is a theme many of us will be able to relate to in 2023. We can only hope that the monsters from our own family drama don’t compare to those in Wild Spaces.
Wild Spaces centers on an 11-year-old boy living in coastal South Carolina with his parents and his dog, Teach. When the boy’s estranged grandfather suddenly shows up and overstays his welcome, the tension among the adults causes noticeable changes for the boy. He finds himself changing physically into something monstrous — a change his grandfather welcomes. The boy and his family must fight to save him from becoming a monster.
Whalefall – Daniel Kraus, August 8
Okay, Whalefall is probably more of a sci-fi novel than fantasy, but the story is so interesting that I had to include it here. Imagine being trapped inside one of a whale’s four stomachs. Now imagine only having an hour of oxygen left to find a way out. That’s this book.
Jay Gardiner’s father died by suicide a year ago, and Jay is still wrought with guilt. He decides to dive into the Pacific Ocean in search of his father’s remains off the coast of Monastery Beach. Soon, Jay experiences all-new dangers as he is swallowed by a sperm whale while trying to escape a deadly giant squid. Now trapped in one of the whale’s stomachs, a man who had no reason to live suddenly finds himself fighting for life — and racing against time.
The Water Outlaws – S.L. Huang, August 22
Lin Chong is an arms instructor, and she’s one of the best trainers the Emperor’s soldiers have. She is mainly focused on being the best at her job, but everything in Lin’s life changes when she is set up by a vindictive man who is out to ruin her.
Now exiled and tattooed as a criminal, Lin joins the Bandits of Liangshan. The good news is that the bandits believe in equality for women, progressive ideas, and justice for the oppressed. The bad news is they’re also murderers and thieves. With an Imperial Marshall still hunting her, Lin must choose her allegiance and decide if she wishes to help overthrow an empire.
Guardian: Zhen Hun Vol.1 – Priest, August 29
Dragon City is filled with strange happenings, and it’s the job of the Ministry of Public Security to investigate them in Guardian: Zhen Hun. Zhao Yunlan heads up the unit, and although his cockiness can rub people who don’t know him the wrong way, he is a brilliant investigator specializing in crimes that border the mortal realm and the Netherworld.
While investigating a particularly awful death at a university, Zhao Yunlan meets Professor Shen Wei, and there is an immediate connection and attraction between them. As much as Zhao is attracted to Shen Wei, Wei is equally mysterious and reserved. Zhao Yunlan must solve the mystery of Shen Wei to decode the mystery of the murder.
Star Wars: From a Certain Point of View – Return of the Jedi – Various Authors, August 29
If you’re a Star Wars fanatic like me, the From a Certain Point of View books are must-reads. This latest entry covers Return of the Jedi, and each short story tells about events during the film but from a background character’s point of view. It’s an enjoyable concept and allows readers to gain further insight into their favorite Star Wars stories through the eyes of other characters.
This collection contains some of the best writers Star Wars has to offer. Olivie Blake takes us into the mind of Emperor Palpatine, while Mike Chen tells a touching story of Anakin Skywalker becoming one with the Force. In other tales, we learn more about the Rancor trainer, the life of the Sarlacc, and even spend a day with Wicket on Endor. From a Certain Point of View – Return of the Jedi is packed with something for every Star Wars fan and should be picked up by any original trilogy fan.
Tell us if you have your eye on any more fantasy (and/or sci-fi-ish) books in August 2023.