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Ancient Magic in Modern Cities

Modern cities can hold ancient magic, some more literally than others. Check out our favorite cities turn magical epicenters below!


when among crows by veronica rothChicago in When Among Crows by Veronica Roth

Pain is Dymitr’s calling. His family is one in a long line of hunters who sacrifice their souls to slay monsters. Now he’s tasked with a deadly mission: find the legendary witch Baba Jaga. To reach her, Dymitr must ally with the ones he’s sworn to kill. Pain is Ala’s inheritance. A fear-eating zmora with little left to lose, Ala awaits death from the curse she carries. When Dymitr offers her a cure in exchange for her help, she has no choice but to agree. Together they must fight against time and the wrath of the Chicago underworld. But Dymitr’s secrets—and his true motives—may be the thing that actually destroys them.

DarkerShadeMagic 9781250891211 CVRrev1.inddLondon in the Shades of Magic series by V. E. Schwab

Kell is one of the last Antari—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black. After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they’ll first need to stay alive.

one for my enemy by olivie blakeManhattan in One for My Enemy by Olivie Blake

In modern-day Manhattan where we lay our scene, two rival witch families fight to maintain control of their respective criminal empires. On one side of the conflict are the Antonova sisters — each one beautiful, cunning, and ruthless — and their mother, the elusive supplier of premium intoxicants, known only as Baba Yaga. On the other side, the influential Fedorov brothers serve their father, the crime boss known as Koschei the Deathless, whose ventures dominate the shadows of magical Manhattan. After twelve years of tenuous co-existence, one family member brutally crosses the line. Bad blood reignites old grudges; at the same time, fate intervenes with a chance encounter between enemies. In the wake of love and vengeance, everyone must choose a side. As each of the siblings struggles to stake their claim, bloodshed in inevitable. The question is: Whose?

blood jadewTokyo in Blood Jade by Julia Vee and Ken Bebelle

Emiko Soong, newly minted Sentinel of San Francisco, just can’t catch a break. Just after she becomes the guardian for a sentient city, a murder strikes close to home. Called by the city and one of the most powerful clans to investigate, she traces the killer whose scent signature bears a haunting similarity to her mother’s talent. The trail will lead her back to Tokyo where the thread she pulls threatens to unravel her whole world and bring dark family secrets to light. Meanwhile, the General rises in the East and Emiko must fight the hidden enemies of his growing army who are amped up on Blood Jade, while keeping her promises to her brother Tatsuya as he prepares for his tourney. Her duties as Sentinel and her loyalties collide when she must choose between hiding her deepest shame or stopping the General’s relentless march.

the library of the dead by t l huchuEdinburgh in the Edinburgh Nights series by T. L. Huchu

The Library of the Dead introduces readers to Ropa, a precocious and cynical teen who can talk to ghosts. She explores the shadowy magical underside of modern Edinburgh searching for clues to uncover what’s behind the evil bewitching all the children, leaving them shells of themselves. Along the way she encounters an occult library, a magical mentor, and some unexpected allies. This atmospheric, paranormal fantasy series continues with Our Lady of Mysterious Ailments.

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Every Paperback from Tor in Spring 2024

It’s Spring, and flower’s aren’t all that’s growing! We’ve got paperback books springing up left and right! 

Check them out 😎


April 2, 2024

one for my enemy by olivie blakeOne for My Enemy by Olivie Blake

In modern-day Manhattan where we lay our scene, two rival witch families fight to maintain control of their respective criminal empires. On one side of the conflict are the Antonova sisters — each one beautiful, cunning, and ruthless — and their mother, the elusive supplier of premium intoxicants, known only as Baba Yaga. On the other side, the influential Fedorov brothers serve their father, the crime boss known as Koschei the Deathless, whose ventures dominate the shadows of magical Manhattan. After twelve years of tenuous co-existence, one family member brutally crosses the line. Bad blood reignites old grudges; at the same time, fate intervenes with a chance encounter between enemies. In the wake of love and vengeance, everyone must choose a side. As each of the siblings struggles to stake their claim, bloodshed is inevitable. The question is: Whose?

tress of the emerald sea by brandon sandersonTress of the Emerald Sea by Brandon Sanderson

The only life Tress has known on her island home in an emerald-green ocean has been a simple one, with the simple pleasures of collecting cups brought by sailors from faraway lands and listening to stories told by her friend Charlie. But when his father takes him on a voyage to find a bride and disaster strikes, Tress must stow away on a ship and seek the Sorceress of the deadly Midnight Sea. Amid the spore oceans where pirates abound, can Tress leave her simple life behind and make her own place sailing a sea where a single drop of water can mean instant death?


April 9, 2024

forge of the high mage by ian c. esslemontForge of the High Mage by Ian C. Esslemont

After decades of warfare, Malazan forces are poised to consolidate the Quon Tali mainland. Yet it is at this moment that Emperor Kellanved orders a new, some believe foolhardy campaign: the invasion of Falar that lies far to the north . . . And to fight on this new front, a rag-tag army raised from orphaned units and broken squads is been brought together under Fist Dujek, and joined by a similarly motley fleet under the command of the Emperor himself. So the Malazans head north, only to encounter an unlooked-for and most unwelcome threat. Something unspeakable and born of legend has awoken and will destroy all who stand in its way. Most appalled by this is the Empire’s untested High Mage, Tayschrenn. All too aware of the true nature of this ancient horror, he fears his own inadequacies when the time comes to confront it. Yet confront it he must. 


April 16, 2024

the cradle of ice by james rollinsThe Cradle of Ice by James Rollins

To stop the coming apocalypse, a fellowship was formed. A soldier, a thief, a lost prince, and a young girl bonded by fate and looming disaster. Each step along this path has changed the party, forging deep alliances and greater enmities. All the while, hostile forces have hunted them, fearing what they might unleash. Armies wage war around them. For each step has come with a cost—in blood, in loss, in heartbreak. Now, they must split, traveling into a vast region of ice and to a sprawling capital of the world they’ve only known in stories. Time is running out and only the truth will save them all.

dual memory by sue burkeDual Memory by Sue Burke

Antonio Moro lost everything to the Leviathan League. Now he’s alone in a city on an Arctic island fighting the ruthless, global pirates with the chance to be the artist he always wanted to be. Unfortunately, he thinks it’s a cover story for his real purpose—spying on sympathizers. When things look bleak, he discovers an unusual ally. His new personal assistant program, Par Augustus. It’s insolent, extroverted, moody, and a not-quite-legal nascent A. I. Together they create a secret rebellion from unlikely recruits to defend the island from ideological pirates with entitlement and guns, and capitalist pirates with entitlement and money.


April 30, 2024

stan lee's the devil's quintet: the shadow society by stan lee & jay bonansingaStan Lee’s The Devil’s Quintet: The Shadow Society by Stan Lee & Jay Bonansinga

Ever since The Armageddon Code, the Devil’s Quintet have been using their demonic powers to fight evil and protect the world, while remaining nothing but an urban legend to the general public. But the Devil is not about to let them keep using his powers for good. Created by Satan himself to counter the Quintet, the Shadow Society are five saintly men and women that have been secretly (and strategically) possessed by five of Hell’s most powerful demons. Granted supernatural powers of their own, they are part of a literally diabolical plot to strike at the very heart of the Quintet—and destroy humanity’s last hope!

web of angels by john m fordWeb of Angels by John M. Ford

Originally published in 1980, the legendary John M. Ford’s first published novel was an uncannily brilliant anticipation of the later cyberpunk genre—and of the internet itself. The Web links the many worlds of humanity. Most people can only use it to communicate. Some can retrieve and store data, as well as use simple precoded programs. Only a privileged few are able to create their own software, within proscribed limits. And then there are the Webspinners. Grailer is Fourth Literate, able to manipulate the Web at will—and use it for purposes unintended and impossible for anyone but the most talented Webspinner. Obviously, he cannot be allowed to live. Condemned to death at the age of nine, Grailer must go underground, hiding his skills, testing his powers- until he is ready to do battle with the Web itself. With a new introduction from Cory Doctorow, written especially for this edition.


May 7, 2024

the silverblood promise by james loganThe Silverblood Promise by James Logan

Lukan Gardova is a cardsharp, academy dropout, and—thanks to a duel that ended badly—the disgraced heir to an ancient noble house. His days consist of cheap wine, rigged card games, and wondering how he might win back the life he threw away. When Lukan discovers that his estranged father has been murdered in strange circumstances, he finds fresh purpose. Deprived of his chance to make amends for his mistakes, he vows to unravel the mystery behind his father’s death. His search for answers leads him to Saphrona, fabled city of merchant princes, where anything can be bought if one has the coin. Lukan only seeks the truth, but instead he finds danger and secrets in every shadow. For in Saphrona, everything has a price—and the price of truth is the deadliest of all.


May 14, 2024

malarkoi by alex phebyMalarkoi by Alex Pheby

Nathan Treeves is dead, murdered by the Master of Mordew, his remains used to create the powerful occult weapon known as the Tinderbox. His companions are scattered, making for Malarkoi, the city of the Mistress, the Master’s enemy. They are hoping to find welcome there, or at least safety. They find neither – and instead become embroiled in a life and death struggle against assassins, demi-gods, and the cunning plans of the Mistress. Only Sirius, Nathan’s faithful magical dog, has not forgotten the boy. Bent on revenge, he returns to the shattered remains of Mordew – only to find the city morphed into an impossible mountain, swarming with monsters. The stage is set for battle, sacrifice, magic and treachery in the stunning sequel to Mordew. Welcome to Malarkoi.


May 21, 2024

fractal noise by christopher paoliniFractal Noise by Christopher Paolini

July 25th, 2234: The crew of the Adamura discovers the anomaly.

On the seemingly uninhabited planet Talos VII: a circular pit, 50 kilometers wide. Its curve not of nature, but design. Now, a small team must land and journey on foot across the surface to learn who built the hole and why. But they all carry the burdens of lives carved out on disparate colonies in the cruel cold of space. For some the mission is the dream of the lifetime, for others a risk not worth taking, and for one it is a desperate attempt to find meaning in an uncaring universe. Each step they take toward the mysterious abyss is more punishing than the last. And the ghosts of their past follow.


June 4, 2024

wolfsong by tj klune with orange sprayed edgesWolfsong by TJ Klune (with beautiful sprayed edges!)

Oxnard Matheson was twelve when his father taught him a lesson: Ox wasn’t worth anything and people would never understand him. Then his father left. Ox was sixteen when the energetic Bennett family moved in next door, harboring a secret that would change him forever. The Bennetts are shapeshifters. They can transform into wolves at will. Drawn to their magic, loyalty, and enduring friendships, Ox feels a gulf between this extraordinary new world and the quiet life he’s known, but he finds an ally in Joe, the youngest Bennett boy. Ox was twenty-three when murder came to town and tore a hole in his heart. Violence flared, tragedy split the pack, and Joe left town, leaving Ox behind. Three years later, the boy is back. Except now he’s a man – charming, handsome, but haunted – and Ox can no longer ignore the song that howls between them.


June 11, 2024

the first bright thing by j r dawsonThe First Bright Thing by J. R. Dawson

Ringmaster — Rin, to those who know her best — can jump to different moments in time as easily as her wife, Odette, soars from bar to bar on the trapeze. And the circus they lead is a rare home and safe haven for magical misfits and outcasts, known as Sparks. With the world still reeling from World War I, Rin and her troupe — the Circus of the Fantasticals — travel the midwest, offering a single night of enchantment and respite to all who step into their Big Top. But threats come at Rin from all sides. The future holds an impending war that the Sparks can see barrelling toward their show and everyone in it. And Rin’s past creeps closer every day, a malevolent shadow she can’t fully escape. It takes the form of another circus, with tents as black as midnight and a ringmaster who rules over his troupe with a dangerous power. Rin’s circus has something he wants, and he won’t stop until it’s his.

icehenge by kim stanley robinsonIcehenge by Kim Stanley Robinson

SF titan Kim Stanley Robinson’s breakout novel, now in a Tor Essentials edition with a new introduction by Henry Farrell

Decades before his massively successful The Ministry for the Future, Kim Stanley Robinson wrote one of SF’s greatest meditations on extended human lifespan, the limitations of human memory, and the haunted confabulations that go with forgetting. On the North Pole of Pluto there stands an enigma: a huge circle of standing blocks of ice, built on the pattern of Earth’s Stonehenge—but ten times the size, standing alone at the edge of the Solar System. What is it? Who could have built it? The secret lies in the chaotic decades of the Martian Revolution, in the lost memories of those who have lived for centuries.


June 18, 2024

ebony gate by julia vee & ken bebelleEbony Gate by Julia Vee & Ken Bebelle

Emiko Soong belongs to one of the eight premier magical families of the world. But Emiko never needed any magic. Because she is the Blade of the Soong Clan. Or was. Until she’s drenched in blood in the middle of a market in China, surrounded by bodies and the scent of blood and human waste as a lethal perfume. The Butcher of Beijing now lives a quiet life in San Francisco, importing antiques. But when a shinigami, a god of death itself, calls in a family blood debt, Emiko must recover the Ebony Gate that holds back the hungry ghosts of the Yomi underworld. Or forfeit her soul as the anchor. What’s a retired assassin to do but save the City by the Bay from an army of the dead?


June 25, 2024

foul days by genoveva dimovaFoul Days by Genoveva Dimova

As a witch in the walled city of Chernograd, Kosara has plenty of practice treating lycanthrope bites, bargaining with kikimoras, and slaying bloodsucking upirs. There’s only one monster she can’t defeat: her ex, the Zmey, known as the Tsar of Monsters. She’s defied him one too many times and now he’s hunting her. Betrayed by someone close to her, Kosara’s only choice is to trade her shadow—the source of her powers—for a quick escape.

Unfortunately, Kosara soon develops the deadly sickness that plagues shadowless witches—and only reclaiming her magic can cure her. To find it, she’s forced to team up with a suspiciously honorable detective. Even worse, all the clues point in a single direction: To get her shadow back, Kosara will have to face the Foul Days’ biggest threats without it. And she’s only got twelve days. But in a city where everyone is out for themselves, who can Kosara trust to assist her in outwitting the biggest monster from her past?

the frugal wizard's handbook for surviving medieval england by brandon sandersonThe Frugal Wizard’s Handbook for Surviving Medieval England by Brandon Sanderson

A man awakes in a clearing in what appears to be medieval England with no memory of who he is, where he came from, or why he is there. Chased by a group from his own time, his sole hope for survival lies in regaining his missing memories, making allies among the locals, and perhaps even trusting in their superstitious boasts. His only help from the “real world” should have been a guidebook entitled The Frugal Wizard’s Handbook for Surviving Medieval England, except his copy exploded during transit. The few fragments he managed to save provide clues to his situation, but can he figure them out in time to survive?

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Five Books for Full Moon Enthusiasts

Ah, the full moon – a powerful time for releasing negative energy, emotions, or habits. While some engage in practices such as journaling, burning photos of their exes, or engaging in a cleansing ritual, others are… I don’t know. Shifting into werewolves, fighting intergalactic battles, and facing cosmic forces that have the power to shape destinies… no pressure or anything.

Let’s explore some books that will have you over the moon (no pun intended)!


9781250766755 The Cradle of Ice by James Rollins

The second book in the New York Times bestselling Moonfall series from thriller-master James Rollins, The Cradle of Ice is a page-turning tale of action, adventure, betrayal, ambition, and the struggle for survival in a harsh world that hangs by a thread. With the moon casting its light over the icy terrain, ancient mysteries and modern-day threats collide in a pulse-pounding race against time.

9780765395818Empress of Forever by Max Gladstone

Get ready for a smart, swashbuckling, wildly imaginative adventure; the saga of a rag-tag team of brilliant misfits, dangerous renegades, and enhanced outlaws in a war-torn future. Think cosmic battles, celestial wonders, and a moon that shines as a beacon of hope in a universe on the brink of chaos.

9781250890313Wolfsong by TJ Klune

Discover love, loyalty, and transformation in the Green Creek Series’ Wolfsong, from beloved fantasy romance sensation and New York Times bestselling author TJ Klune. Follow the journey of a young man discovering his destiny amidst a pack of werewolves. The moon’s phases mirror inner turmoil, adding depth to this captivating tale of werewolves and destiny. Deep, right?

9781250236968The Relentless Moon by Mary Robinette Kowal

Amidst Earth’s escalating climate crisis due to meteor impacts, widespread riots, and space program sabotage, a determined protagonist faces the challenge of navigating both a deteriorating planet and the conflicts within a moon colony. It’s like House of Cards meets Space: The Final Frontier. Need I say more?

9781250264947Sweep of Stars by Maurice Broaddus

Maurice Broaddus’s Sweep of Stars is the first in a trilogy that explores the struggles of an empire. Get to know the Muungano empire—a coalition of city-states stretching from O.E. to Titan—as it faces escalating threats and internal power struggles. This one’s a must-read!

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Six Bookish Betrayals to Beware on the Ides of March!

Caesar: “What sayst thou to me now? Speak once again.” 

Soothsayer: “Beware the Ides of March.”

Caesar: “He is a dreamer. Let us leave him. Pass.”

This snippet from Act 1, Scene 2 of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar is quite famous. Often the clues that nod to a fate we don’t want to see are so clear, in retrospect. Even with this prophecy, Shakespeare’s subject perished in terrible surprise when he was betrayed by his besties. 

Here are six reading suggestions full of betrayals that you’ll never see coming!


the silverblood promise by james loganThe Silverblood Promise by James Logan

Ah, Saphrona! Fabled city of merchant princes! You can find anything you might like here, for a price, and loyalty? Well. That can be very cheap. Saphrona is the destination of Lukan Gardova, a disgraced noble scion on a quest to unravel the mysterious murder of his father. It’s a good thing Lukan is an excellent cheat in his own right (cardsharp) because in this investigation, a single lie could spell death. 

one for my enemy by olivie blakeOne for My Enemy by Olivie Blake

Sometimes love is betrayal. In this modern speculative reimagining of Romeo & Juliet, the two sparring factions are rival corners of the Manhattan magic underworld. The Antonova sisters are the daughters of the elusive chemical supplier Baba Yaga. The Federov brothers are the sons of the shadow kingpin Koschei the Deathless. 

To fall in love would constitute a betrayal of their families. To act for your family would be a betrayal of your lover. 

Uh oh. 

she who became the sun by shelley parker-chanShe Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan

This book is actually the most amount of betrayal one can fit in a book, probably. There’s so much. Literally so much. Our protagonist Zhu’s engagement with both betrayal and murder is well above average, but General Ouyang is the real revenge warrior. His entire life is revenged and the only person he loves is his target. Ouch. 

Daughter of RedwinterDaughter of Redwinter by ed mcdonald by Ed McDonald

After so many shocking betrayals, here’s a new angle: Our main character Raine is the one doing the betraying. Kind of. Her primary goal is to accumulate power so she can stay alive, and she’s staying true to that, even if it means lying to everyone else. Here’s the thing: Raine can see the dead. Everyone around her would just hate that if they found out. Probably to a lethal degree. 

So they never will. 

the echo wife by sarah gaileyThe Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey

In marriage, you’re supposed to have your partner’s back. Evelyn’s husband goes behind her back when he steals her cloning research to create a gentler replicant of his wife. He’s the worst. Luckily, he’s soon dead. Evelyn and her clone, Martine, have a mess to clean. 

the three body problem by cixin liuThe Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu

Sha stared at Wang for a long time and then nodded. “I understand. Strange things have been happening to scientists lately…” 

“Yes.” Wang ducked into the car. He didn’t want to discuss the subject any further. 

“Is it our turn?” 

“It’s my turn, at least.” Wang started the engine. 

The Trisolarans are coming. They have inside help. 

The Three-Body Problem will release soon as a Netflix series!

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Fantasizing About Revenge

Revenge is a dish best served cold, but these revenge-centric fantasy novels are hot! 

Check ‘em out!


projections by sarah porterProjections by S. E. Porter

Catherine Bildstein is dead. She is not gone. She was murdered. Now, she’s out for revenge. 

In a gothic historical fantasy about poisonous attraction and strange magic, a sorcerer obsesses over a woman, and when he understands he cannot possess her, kills her. Unsatisfied with this peak level of despicability, he sends projections of himself out into the world to ruin the lives of more women who won’t deliver to him the affection to which he believes himself entitled. 

Dead Catherine may be, but her slighted ghost feels strongly the magnetism of revenge. The world is full of strange magic. Garbage wizards better watch out. 

one for my enemy by olivie blakeOne for My Enemy by Olivie Blake

This story of star-crossed love and Manhattan’s occult underworld is Romeo & Juliet done Olivie Blake-style. Those who have read The Atlas Series know that Blake doesn’t play when it comes to writing emotionally devastating arcs, and One for My Enemy is no exception. It’s the scions of shadow underlord Koschei the Deathless versus the daughters of potion maven Baba Yaga as heirs to two respective magical crime families. Doesn’t matter how supernatural you are though—love will turn the lives of you and everyone you know upside down, and strong feeling is a prerequisite for revenge. 

the traitor baru cormorant by seth dickinsonThe Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson

Baru wants revenge. She needs it, and her target: a colonial empire called the Masquerade. Educated in their schools and knowledgeable in their ways, Baru begins accumulating power but plays by their rules—for now. She becomes an accountant. Her goal is to hold the Masquerade accountable. 

Sometimes revenge is a numbers game. 

vicious by v. e. schwabVicious by V. E. Schwab

Victor and Eli start out as college roommates and that’s also where things go wrong. In their senior year, their shared passion leads them to research superpowers and the conditions under which a person might develop them. Of course, like many roommates in college, everything goes wrong and they despise each other. Victor’s been in prison for ten years now but is cooking an escape. Eli is at large in the world on a mission to exterminate everyone with superpowers. They both want vengeance. 

the archive undying by emma mieko candonThe Archive Undying by Emma Mieko Candon

This epic science fantasy about giant robots that eat people, tyrannical AI deities, and totalitarian police states follows a man named Sunai who cannot die. He was inferfacing with his AI god when it corrupted and now he’s immortal and upset about it. He’s been killed plenty of times though. It just hasn’t stuck. Sunai is fundamentally sad however, and unlikely to seek revenge against his many killers. Himself though? Yeah, he’ll take revenge on himself for every mistake he’s ever made. 

Pretty heavy, and the rest of this book is too. It’s also heart-achingly beautiful and there’s a robot composed of a chittering shifting coral carapace. 

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Witchy Books for the Solstice

by Merlin Hoye

The days are dark, the wind is cold, and the solstice is upon us! We don’t blame you if you’re feeling a tad spooky—the weather practically demands it. We suggest that you embrace your witchy side and get into the spirit of things with some wintery rituals. If you’re running low on rosemary, incense, and tarot cards, never fear! Tor is here to help you with one of the oldest rituals we have—snuggling up with a good book.

Here are our recommendations to get you through the shortest day of the year in true witchy style. 


after the forest by kell woodsAfter the Forest by Kell Woods

Twenty years after Hansel and Gretal escaped from the witch, the land has been decimated by war, weird things are happening in the woods, and the siblings are struggling to get by. But Gretal has a secret—the witch’s stolen grimoire—and a recipe for gingerbread that seems strangely addictive. Could it be the key to keeping her family afloat or embroil Gretal in dark magic she isn’t prepared to face? The baking magic in After the Forest is truly a delight. I mean, food and magic are two of our favorite things so how can you go wrong? Just don’t read this book if you’re hungry. You might find yourself addicted as well. 


the witch in the well by camilla bruceThe Witch in the Well by Camilla Bruce

This dark, fantastical thriller is the story of two childhood friends torn apart by a witch who died nearly 160 years before the story begins. When Elena returns to her childhood home she feels inspired to write the story of beautiful young Ilsbeth Clark who was drowned in a well by the townspeople who thought she was a child-killing witch. When Elena’s childhood friend Cathy finds out, she is furious. She has been researching Ilsbeth’s life for years and has very different views on her life than Elena. As the competition between the two women grows fiercer, they each become more and more obsessed with their subject and things get spooky fast.


red rabbit by alex grecianRed Rabbit by Alex Grecian

It wouldn’t be a truly witchy list without some horror representation so here’s a spine tingling folk horror that feels like The VVitch had a baby with Lonesome Dove. Red Rabbit is the story of a ragtag crew of misfits who travel north to claim a bounty after killing the local witch. The trials they encounter on this quest are worse than any witch could ever and this bloody romp of a western, full of demons, ghosts, and ghouls galore, will have you gripped throughout. 


one for my enemy by olivie blakeOne for My Enemy by Olivie Blake

Most of the books on this list have one witch, singular, which is perfectly fine but what if you’re the kind of person who wants WITCHES WITCHES ALL THE TIME? If so, may I suggest One for My Enemy which features warring witches, witty witches, and witches falling irrevocably in love. This retelling of Romeo & Juliet is set in a Manhattan where two magical families have been fighting for years to stay in control of their criminal empires. Lev and Sasha defy their families and fall for each other and their story will keep you reading past your bedtime. 


princess of dune by brian herbert & kevin j. andersonPrincess of Dune by Brian Herbert & Kevin J. Anderson

Set two years before the events of the first Dune book, Princess of Dune follows Irulan and Chani before they were connected with Paul Atreides. While Irulan is trained in the Bene Gesserit Sisterhood, Chani is initiated into the Fremen mystical ways by an ancient Reverend Mother. This addition to the series is full of female magic and it’s fascinating to see these two women come into their power.


Placeholder of  -24Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher

This is the story of Princess Marra of the Harbor Kingdom who sets out on a quest to save her sister from her despicable prince husband. To do this, Marra seeks the help of a Dust Wife, a creepy, witch-like character with a demon-possessed hen sidekick. Yes, you heard that right. Adventure ensues, friendships are made, families are found. Nettle & Bone is steeped in dark fairytale vibes, sister bonding, and if that isn’t enough for you, there’s a Bonedog who’s exactly what he sounds like. We would die for Bonedog. 


witch queen of redwinter by ed mcdonaldWitch Queen of Redwinter by Ed McDonald

For fear of spoilers (this is the third book in the The Redwinter Chronicles after all) I won’t say much about this fast-paced fantasy other than GO READ THE FIRST TWO BOOKS (Daughter of Redwinter and Traitor of Redwinter) if you haven’t already! Witch Queen of Redwinter arrives November 12th of next year and you’ll want to be ready for this latest installment of riveting, witchy goodness full of suspense and complex characters. The story follows Raine, a cynical girl who has been forced to hide her ability to see and speak with the dead so she won’t be stoned to death by the warrior magicians in power. 

 

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Books Tor Staff Are Thankful For <3

Where would we be without our books? is a tough question, and not just because we work for Tor. Before we were workers in publishing, we were people who enjoyed books, and we’re still that. We always will be.

In spirit of the season, here’s some of the books that Tor staff are thankful for this year.


one for my enemy by olivie blakeOne for My Enemy by Olivie Blake

Increasingly, I am becoming convinced of the singular importance of vibes, and its verb form, vibing. Vibing is a modification of everything else you do—it’s existing with intention and style. So I’m going to talk about now, a book with impeccable vibes, where rival witch dynasties compete for each other’s affections and dominance over Manhattan’s magical, criminal underworld. It’s One for My Enemy, and it vibes severely.

a cat, Assistant Marketing Manager


Poster Placeholder of - 86He Who Drowned the World by Shelley Parker-Chan

I lost my entire mind about She Who Became the Sun back in 2021, so I spent a few months emotionally preparing myself for the emotional sledgehammer of He Who Drowned the World. What I wasn’t prepared for was how laugh-out-loud funny the contrast would be, flip-flopping between Zhu’s point of view (as she happily pursues her desired career path) and everyone else’s narration (angst, vengeance, wallowing in guilt and grief). Iconic, show-stopping, inimitable, unparalleled — I am grateful to Shelley Parker-Chan for simply existing in their awesomeness, for single-handedly writing the queer cdrama they wanted to see in the world, and for illustrating the principle that living well is, in fact, the best revenge. Ming Dynasty China will never be the same.

Yvonne Ye, Ad/Promo Coordinator


lent by jo waltonLent by Jo Walton

This year I am grateful for a book that kept me up way past my bedtime. Lent is full of twists, tormented monks, and demons, demons, demons. Read this fiendishly clever, fantastical take on historical fiction at your own peril and definitely not if you need to wake up early the next morning.

Merlin Hoye, Marketing Assistant


bookshops & bonedust by travis baldreeBookshops & Bonedust by Travis Baldree

This is the year of Travis Baldree. Legends & Lattes was my favorite book of 2022 and he knocked it out of the park once again with Bookshops & Bonedust. It was another perfect, cozy, sapphic fantasy novel with just an edge of bittersweet longing that had me clutching the book to my heart. I’m so grateful for the comfort and joy this book provided me with this year and I can’t wait to re-read this book again. And again. And again.

Rachel Taylor, Senior Marketing Manager


Starter Villainstarter villain by john scalzi by John Scalzi

Oh, to be able to read this book all over again with fresh eyes. Starter Villain by John Scalzi is such a fun, fast-paced romp that asks the very important, age-old question: what if my cats could talk (and also I was rich)? The cats would tell you to read this book about inheriting evil empires, unionizing dolphins, many (many) assassins, and one divorced substitute teacher who just wants to be able to keep his house.

Lizzy Hosty, Publishing Strategy Assistant


What books are you thankful for? Let us know in the comments! 

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Ancient Magic in the Modern Age: 4 Spins on Baba Yaga

by a cat

This article is about high magic and high-rises! That’s right: We’ve got the comfortable amenities and coldness of modernity mingling with the evocative mystique of legend, right here. Read on to see how Baba Yaga’s getting on in the present age! 


Spring's Arcana by Lilith SaintcrowPoster Placeholder of - 56The Dead God’s Heart Duology by Lilith Saintcrow

In her new duology, Lilith Saintcrow introduces us to a wide and dangerous America full of terror, wonder, and hungry divinities that would love to eat Nat Drozdova. Of course, Nat can’t let that happen because A) sounds like a rough way to go, and B) she has a mission to complete. 

In Baba Yaga’s imposing and cold skyscraper office, the old witch made Nat a deal: If she returns to Baba Yaga a lost relic of great power, her mother will be delivered from the illness that threatens her life. 

This duology opens with Spring’s Arcana and explosively concludes in The Salt-Black Tree, so you can read the whole story back-to-back right now. The wilderness that belongs to the old gods and the new is waiting. 


one for my enemy by olivie blakeOne for My Enemy by Olivie Blake

Olivie Blake takes us to the bright lights and long shadows of Manhattan in One for My Enemy: a modern retelling of Romeo & Juliet where dynasties of cunning witches hold the wealth and power. 

The daughters of underground alchemist and poison-purveyor Baba Yaga are faced with the sons of Manhattan’s shadow-kingpin, Koschei the Deathless. All will have to choose where they stand, and decide they want bad enough to lose everything else. 


Ebony Gate by Julia Vee & Ken BebelleEbony Gate by Julia Vee & Ken Bebelle

Admittedly, the Baba Yaga connection with this thrilling urban fantasy is a bit stretched, but when you’re searching for information about adaptations of Baba Yaga online, a prominent result is the following: “Why is John Wick called Baba Yaga?” 

This is a fair question, but not one this article is going to answer. Instead, we’re going to talk about Ebony Gate, a contemporary fantasy set in San Francisco’s Chinatown that’s got the vibes of John Wick, but with dragon magic. 


when among crows by veronica rothWhen Among Crows by Veronica Roth

The release date for this new novella from Veronica Roth is a fair while away, but we’d be so wrong not to include it on this list. When Among Crows is a contemporary fantasy where the various entities of Slavic folklore have come to settle in modern Chicago. It’s a story about the families we make, and the families we destroy. 

On Sale 5/14/24

 

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6 Fantastical Romances to Scratch the Romantasy Itch

by Merlin Hoye

With the advent of our new romance imprint Bramble, we hope you won’t blame us if we have love on the brain. If you still want to scratch that fantasy itch, though, we’re here with romantasy recommendations for every spice level!


Cassiel's Servant by Jacqueline CareyCassiel’s Servant by Jacqueline Carey

We have to start with Jacqueline Carey. Her lush Kushiel’s Legacy series is, in the immortal words of Olivie Blake, “the beating heart of every romantasy to follow”. Kushiel’s Dart is the story of Phédre nó Delaunay, a courtesan who experiences pain as pleasure, and her bodyguard, Joscelin, who is sworn to celibacy.  Their epic love story put romantic fantasy on the map and Cassiel’s Servant is a retelling of that genre-defining tale from Joscelin’s perspective. In Carey’s world, people are allowed to love who and how they wish and things get steamy pretty quickly. 


wolfsong by tj kluneWolfsong by TJ Klune

Wolfsong, the first installment in the Green Creek series, has all the heart and soul of Klune’s more recent books, with far more spice. This book is decidedly for adults. Ox is a young boy with a troubled home life so when a family with a mysterious secret moves in down the street, he quickly bonds with their son Joe. Years later, when Joe suddenly moves away, Ox is forced to grapple with his feelings for him, his own identity, and the turmoil building up all around him. This is a story about trauma, loyalty, loss, and opening yourself up to love despite your scars. Also werewolves. All the angsty werewolves. 


Place holder  of - 98Redwood and Wildfire by Andrea Hairston

This novel is an imagistic and literary alternate turn-of-the-twentieth history with romance and elements of the fantastic. It’s also fantastic, so it way earns its recommendation on this list and then some. Gifted vaudeville performers and hoodoo conjurers Redwood and Aidan embark on a journey from the haunted swampland of Georgia to the billed “city of the future” Chicago. There is magic and pain. Community and the prejudiced evils of individuals and society that despise such solidarity and hope. Like the stories Redwood and Aidan conjure not on screen, but in real space, this book lives with you, and inside you.


Legends & Lattes by Travis BaldreeLegends & Lattes by Travis Baldree

The romance in this one is light, almost like a slight dusting of cinnamon on top of (you guessed it) a latte. Low on the steam scale, but off the charts on the cute scale, this is cozy, romantic fantasy at its best. When orc barbarian Viv grows tired of constant battle and bloodshed, she moves to a small town and opens a coffee shop. The residents of the town have never heard of coffee before and are reluctant to try the strange “bean juice”, but soon Viv shows them the wonders of caffeine while finding herself a family and, perhaps, even love. 


Image Placeholder of - 25Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell

Now we just need a name for sci-fi romance… Romantifi? Eh, we’ll work on it. Winter’s Orbit is a story about an arranged marriage between princes in space. Jainan and Kiem marry in order to keep the peace after a bout of political upheaval and soon find themselves actually falling in love. This book doesn’t shy away from dark topics, but it is also a wildly entertaining ride full of blackmail, murder mystery, misunderstandings, interplanetary political intrigue, and romance galore. Winter’s Orbit will have you turning the pages far past your bedtime. 


one for my enemy by olivie blakeOne for My Enemy by Olivie Blake

What happens when you take the greatest love story of all time, set it in Manhattan, and add witches? One for My Enemy happens and it happens brilliantly. This is a retelling of Romeo & Juliet where the Antonova and Fedorov families have been rivals for years, each fighting to keep control of their criminal empires through magic. When Lev and Sasha, the two youngest members of the families, meet and fall in love, things quickly run out of control. Come for the fairies and Russian mythology, stay for the big feelings and heart-pounding romance.

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4 Urban Fantasies for the Current Year

by Julia Bergen

Do you recall 13+ (at time of writing) years ago in the late aughts? Before the internet soured and everything got complicated and worse? Just kidding. The aughts saw the rise of smart phone ubiquity and broadband connectivity’s revolution. And amid the tech boom, if you were to stroll in an analog bookshop, you’d fine rows and rows of books in the hot genre, urban fantasy.

It’s a broad term that technically just means fantasy set in a city, however time passes and changes and so do our lives and so do our cities. But it’s 2023 now—fanny packs are back, and so is urban fantasy. Both look a little different—in the 90’s I never would have worn my Sesame Street fanny pack over my shoulder, and I wouldn’t have been able to read these excellent urban fantasies from Tor that are perfect for our current year.

Hold onto your fanny packs and check them out!


Ebony Gate by Julia Vee & Ken BebelleEbony Gate by Julia Vee & Ken Bebelle

One of the best parts about urban fantasy is taking myths and legends and refitting them for the modern world. In Ebony Gate, Julia Vee and Ken Bebelle draw on Chinese mythology to build a magical system full of demons, parallel dimensions, and dragon magic. What’s better, they set their story in San Francisco, a key city for the history of Asian diaspora. They masterfully use the idea of a magical world parallel to ours as a metaphor for the immigrant experience.


the mystery at dunvegan castle by t.l. huchuThe Mystery of Dunvegan Castle by T. L. Huchu

If you haven’t started T. L. Huchu’s Edinburgh Nights series, you are missing out on some of the best urban fantasy around! Teenager Ropa uses Zimbabwean magic to solve ghostly mysteries on the streets of Edinburgh. In this addition to her series, she’s moved from the streets to a haunted castle. After all, a key component of living in the city is getting out for a little bit…and of course in urban fantasy there is no getaway without plenty of ghosts and murder. The blending of cultures and mythologies, plus the quality of prose and dialogue make this series an absolute delight to read.


book of night by holly blackBook of Night by Holly Black

The Masshole* in me is skeptical about calling anywhere Westa Woosta** urban, but Holly Black definitely gives central/western Massachusetts perfect urban fantasy vibes, earning Book of Night a solid spot on this list. What makes Book of Night feel so new and fresh is Black’s ability to create a unique type of shadow magic that she builds the rest of her fantasy world around. She weaves in societal conflicts analogous to those taking place in cities the world over, with the privileged, powerful, and wealthy hoarding knowledge and magic for themselves while others struggle to get by.


one for my enemy by olivie blakeOne for My Enemy by Olivie Blake

What makes any urban fantasy better? Baba Yaga. Add in battling witch families in a magical, contemporary Manhattan, and mix in a healthy dose of forbidden romance, and you have Olivie Blake’s knockout One for My Enemy. Genres come and go, but starcrossed lovers on opposite sides of a family conflict are forever.


  • Tor Blog-cat’s note: Masshole = intrastate slang for ‘resident of Massachusetts.
  • Tor Blog-cat’s note: Westa Woosta = Masshole slang for anywhere west of Worchester, MA

 

 

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