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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Beyond the Shadowed Earth – Joanna Ruth Meyer

Beyond the Shadowed Earth isn’t a sequel, per se, but it is set in the same universe as author Joanna Ruth Meyer’s debut novel, Beneath the Haunting SeaIt’s a story of female friendship, ambition, loss and a life-altering bargain with the gods that ultimately feels like the worst punishments conjured up in fairy tales or myths.

Eda has always dreamed of becoming empress, no matter the cost. But when she makes  a deal with the gods to achieve her heart’s desire, she must risk the one thing she truly cares about: Her best friend Niren. Is a kingdom worth it? And when things start to go badly, and Eda must face the consequences of her choices, things suddenly become even more complicated. And dire.

The official synopsis has a few more details.

"It has always been Eda’s dream to become empress, no matter the cost. Haunted by her ambition and selfishness, she’s convinced that the only way to achieve her goal is to barter with the gods. But all requests come with a price and Eda bargains away the soul of her best friend in exchange for the crown. Years later, her hold on the empire begins to crumble and her best friend unexpectedly grows sick and dies. Gnawed by guilt and betrayal, Eda embarks on a harrowing journey to confront the very god who gave her the kingdom in the first place. However, she soon discovers that he’s trapped at the center of an otherworldly labyrinth and that her bargain with him is more complex than she ever could have imagined."

Beyond the Shadowed Earth is available on January 14.