12 new SFF books to help beat back the January blues

Photo: The Night Country by Melissa Albert.. Image Courtesy Macmillan Publisher
Photo: The Night Country by Melissa Albert.. Image Courtesy Macmillan Publisher /
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The Night Country – Melissa Albert

The Night Country is a sequel to Melissa Albert’s popular 2019 novel The Hazel Wood. A gorgeous and atmospheric story of fairytales, dark forests, hidden doors and mysterious secrets, it follows the tale of Alice Proserpine, a girl who journeys to a fairy world known as the Hinterland to rescue her mother. Bu once there, she discovers she’s not exactly who she always believed herself to be, and can’t escape the consequences of the dark stories her grandmother once told.

In this sequel, Alice – herself a Hinterland story character known as Alice-Three-Times – is in New York City with the other fairytale refugees, trying to build new lives for themselves in a world without magic. But someone is trying to kill ex-Stories in increasingly violent ways, and Alice finds herself caught in the middle, between her real world and her fairytale one, between the girl she was in her Story, and the one she’s trying to become now.

The official synopsis has a bit more detail.

"In The Night Country, Alice Proserpine dives back into a menacing, mesmerizing world of dark fairy tales and hidden doors. Follow her and Ellery Finch as they learn The Hazel Wood was just the beginning, and that worlds die not with a whimper, but a bang. With Finch’s help, Alice escaped the Hinterland and her reclusive grandmother’s dark legacy. Now she and the rest of the dregs of the fairy tale world have washed up in New York City, where Alice is trying to make a new, unmagical life. But something is stalking the Hinterland’s survivors―and she suspects their deaths may have a darker purpose. Meanwhile, in the winking out world of the Hinterland, Finch seeks his own adventure, and―if he can find it―a way back home…"

The Night Country is available January 7.