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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Chosen – Kiersten White

Author Kiersten White has been everywhere in the past year, concluding her Conqueror’s Saga focused on a female version of Vlad the Impaler with Bright We Burn and kicking off a new female-focused Arthurian trilogy with The Guinevere Deception. And she’s also wrapping up her Buffy the Vampire Slayer-adjacent Slayer duology this winter with Chosen.

The series initially follows a pair of twins who grow up in the Watcher’s Academy, a boarding school that trains teens to be guides for future Slayers. But when Nina is called not just as a Slayer herself, but as the potential last Slayer ever, things get real complicated real quick. (Nina’s not just a Buffy hater, she also considers all Slayers violent and dangerous. It’s fun to watch her grow out of these preconceptions once she is one herself.)

Chosen will conclude Nina’s story. Theoretically, this is the last of White’s Buffy books, but given that she’s only playing around in one corner of this universe, there’s no reason she or another author couldn’t continue at some point in the future with a different character. That’s the beauty of this universe at the moment – it’s kind of wide open, in the most exciting of ways.

The official synopsis sets up both where we’ve left everyone and where we’re going.

"Now that Nina has turned the Watcher’s Castle into a utopia for hurt and lonely demons, she’s still waiting for the utopia part to kick in. With her sister Artemis gone and only a few people remaining at the castle—including her still-distant mother—Nina has her hands full. Plus, though she gained back her Slayer powers from Leo, they’re not feeling quite right after being held by the seriously evil succubus Eve, a.k.a. fake Watcher’s Council member and Leo’s mom. And while Nina is dealing with the darkness inside, there’s also a new threat on the outside, portended by an odd triangle symbol that seems to be popping up everywhere, in connection with Sean’s demon drug ring as well as someone a bit closer to home. Because one near-apocalypse just isn’t enough, right?"

Chosen is available on January 7.