Death's Mistress, the first book of Terry Goodkind's Nicci Chronicles. With Richard and Kahlan's story having come to an end in Warheart last year, this is the start of a new saga in the world of The Sword of Truth. As uneven as I found that series to be at time, I'm curious to see what Goodkind can do with the world, unencumbered by the legacy of Richard, Kahlan, and the Sword.
With Blood Upon the Sand by Bradley P. Beaulieu is my choice for February, the next book in his Song of Shattered Sands. I enjoyed the first book, Twelve Kings in Sharakhai, and the prequel novella, Of Sand and Malice Made, even more, so I am definitely anxious to see where Beaulieu takes the story next. Sharakhai is a fantastic land, with a really interesting system of magic and mythology, and Çeda is fast becoming a favorite heroine for me.
Spymaster, the first book of The Dragon Corsairs, by Margaret Weis and Robert Krammes. Although it's set in the same world as their Dragon Brigade trilogy, it sounds like it can serve as a stand-alone read, and I've been hungry for the kind of classic, traditional fantasy that Weis does so well, regardless of who she works with. I do have the final two books of that first trilogy on hand, so if I can dig up a copy of Shadow Raiders, I may even be able to catch up in time.
Tyrant's Throne by Sebastien de Castell is probably my most anticipated sequel of the year; while Skullsworn by Brian Staveley promises to be an exciting new adventure in the world of the Unhewn Throne. The title I'm most excited about, however, is likely to be a bit of a surprise - Long Black Veil, a book about an abandoned prison, murder, and long-buried secrets, by Jennifer Finney Boylan.
Owl and the Electric Samurai a definite must-read, but it is the final Fitz & the Fool novel, Assassin's Fate, from Robin Hobb that will have me stalking the mailbox. As critical as I was of the first novel, the second absolutely blew me away, and that has me really excited to see how she brings it all to a close. The Farseer Trilogy was one of my first fantasy reads, and it was wonderful to revisit old friends, but I'm also ready to bid them a proper goodbye.
The Witchwood Crown by Tad Williams (the return to Osten Ard that I've been waiting for since high school) has been pushed here from its original April release. As for July, it has a pair of titles that I'm excited about - for very different reasons. The Curse of Oak Island is a non-fiction exploration of the century's greatest treasure hunt, written by Randall Sullivan, author of the highly acclaimed Rolling Stone article on the same subject. On the fiction side, Anthony Ryan brings us The Legion of Flame, a must-read sequel to The Waking Fire, one of my most pleasant surprises of this year. The first book came pitched as “part Indiana Jones, part Pirates of the Caribbean, and part Mistborn" and boy did it deliver!
Initiates of the Blood (an erotic, BDSM-themed urban fantasy) is a new book from legendary Cecilia Tan, but the rest of the month is marked by series conclusions. A War in Crimson Embers by Alex Marshall concludes his Crimson Empire trilogy; The Dinosaur Princess by Victor Milán concludes his Dinosaur Lords trilogy; and The Core by Peter V. Brett concludes his Demon Cycle. While I have some catching up to do with Marshall and Milán, Brett's is one book that I will eagerly tear into the moment it arrives.
The Astonishing, a novelization of the Dream Theatre album by the same name, should be coming in the Spring from Peter Orullian. Sleeping Beauties is a new epic novel from Stephen King & Owen King that's supposedly set for a 2017 release, taking place in a women’s prison in West Virginia.
Oathbringer - the progress bar on his website shows the first draft is done, and he's talked about 6 months of editing, so mathematically there's an outside chance of an end-of-year release. As for Mark Smylie's Black Heart, it was originally rumored for a 2015 release, but he told me he was aiming to have it done by the end of this year, so there's hope we'll finally see the follow-up to The Barrow next year.
*please note, of course, that publication dates can (and often do) change frequently, so please let me know if you spot a title that's shifted down the calendar