Litty Committee: Pour Yrself An Iced Tea And Lap Up The Best New Books Out This Feb

February new book releases
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January is over and there’s a good chance that your New Year resolution to read a new book every week is too. Look, it happens to the best of us, okay? If you’re struggling to stay motivated to keep kicking your hefty book goals, don’t worry: the good news is there are some killer new books in February which will definitely reignite your spark and get your nose stuck between some pages.

For those of you whose brains are fried by the influx of spicy/chaotic celebrity memoirs to come out in recent months (we’re looking at you Prince Harry), you’ll be delighted to know this is a great month for those who love a bit of escapist fiction. Goodbye celebrity drama, hello fantasy novels that’ll get you so absorbed you’ll forget what century you’re in. Honestly, if it doesn’t have us so enthralled that we don’t notice our phones pinging, we don’t want it.

So, without further ado, let’s get into all the delicious reads you can devour this February.

Best new fantasy book releases coming out in February

Victory City by Salman Rushdie

Image: Penguin Randomhouse

About the book:

A story told as a translation of a fantastical ancient epic set in India, Victory City has been touted as one of Booker Prize-winning Salman Rushdie‘s best works.

It centres on a nine-year-old girl who is chosen as a vessel for a goddess, and the way she goes on to shape history. It’s about love and pain, patriarchy and feminism, adventure and mythology. Honestly, we’re expecting this to be one of the most breathtaking fiction reads of the year, and it’s a must-read if you’re trying to diversify your taste in fantasy this year.

In the wake of an insignificant battle between two long-forgotten kingdoms in 14th-century southern India, a nine-year-old girl has a divine encounter that will change the course of history. After witnessing the death of her mother, the grief-stricken Pampa Kampana becomes a vessel for the goddess Parvati, who begins to speak out of the girl’s mouth. Granting her powers beyond Pampa Kampana’s comprehension, the goddess tells her that she will be instrumental in the rise of a great city called Bisnaga – literally ‘victory city’ – the wonder of the world.

Over the next two hundred and fifty years, Pampa Kampana’s life becomes deeply interwoven with Bisnaga’s, from its literal sowing out of a bag of magic seeds to its tragic ruination in the most human of ways: the hubris of those in power. Whispering Bisnaga and its citizens into existence, Pampa Kampana attempts to make good on the task that Parvati set for her: to give women equal agency in a patriarchal world. But all stories have a way of getting away from their creator, and Bisnaga is no exception. As years pass, rulers come and go, battles are won and lost, and allegiances shift, the very fabric of Bisnaga becomes an ever more complex tapestry – with Pampa Kampana at its centre.

Release date: 14 February

Where to buy: Amazon ($21.99) | Booktopia ($25.75) | Dymocks ($32.99) | QBD ($22.99)

Arch-Conspirator by Veronica Roth

Image: Titan Books

About the book:

One thing I’m loving about book lovers right now is how we’ve all re-entered our Greek mythology era. The last time Greek mythology was in was during our Percy Jackson days, but ever since The Song of Achilles blew up BookTok, it looks like it’s back, baby!

Brought to you by Veronica Roth, AKA author of Divergent (!!!), Arch-Conspirator is a futuristic sci-fi retelling of the story of Antigone, daughter of famed Oedipus. In the fifth-century Greek tragedy that she originally appeared in, she defied the oppressive men of her family in order to love and mourn how she wished. A feminist icon then, and recognised as one now.

Outside the last city on Earth, the planet is a wasteland. Without the Archive, where the genes of the dead are stored, humanity will end.

Antigone’s parents – Oedipus and Jocasta – are dead. Passing into the Archive should be cause for celebration, but with her militant uncle Kreon rising to claim her father’s vacant throne, all Antigone feels is rage.

When he welcomes her and her siblings into his mansion, Antigone sees it for what it really is: a gilded cage, where she is a captive as well as a guest. But her uncle will soon learn that no cage is unbreakable. And neither is he.

Release date: 21 February

Where to buy: Amazon ($32.99) | Booktopia ($26.95) | Dymocks ($32.99) | QBD ($32.99)

Spice Road by Maiya Ibrahim

February new book releases: Spice Road by Maiya Ibrahim
Image: Hachette

About the book:

Fans of Hafsah Faizal (you’ve probably heard of her book We Hunt The Flame, which went viral on BookTok), this one is right up your alley. Spice Road is an epic fantasy, which draws on Arab and Islamic mythology and tells the story of a teenage girl who must stop her brother from sharing the secrets of her nation with the rest of the world.

Its magic “spice” and desert monsters are giving Dune, but without the colonialism. This is our most anticipated book of the year and it’s only February.

In the hidden desert city of Qalia, secret spice magic awakens affinities in those who drink the misra tea. With an affinity for iron, seventeen-year-old Imani wields a dagger like no other warrior, garnering her the reputation as the next greatest Shield for battling the dangerous djinn, ghouls, and other monsters that lurk in the sands beyond city limits.

Her reputation has been overshadowed, however, by her brother who tarnished the family name after he was discovered stealing their nation’s coveted spice – a tell-tale sign of magical obsession. He disappeared soon after, believed to have died beyond the Forbidden Wastes, leaving Imani reeling with both betrayal and grief.

But when Imani uncovers evidence her brother may be alive and spreading their nation’s magic beyond the desert, she strikes a deal with the Council to find him and bring him back to Qalia before he can reveal the city’s location. Accompanied by Qayn, a roguish but handsome djinni, and Taha, a powerful beastseer whose magical talents are matched only by his arrogance, they set out on their mission.

Imani will soon discover there are many secrets that lie beyond the Forbidden Wastes – and in her own heart – but will she find her brother before his betrayals endanger the fate of all of Qalia?

Release date: 31 January

Where to buy: Amazon ($17.99) | Booktopia ($21.75) | Dymocks ($22.99) | QBD ($24.99)

A Day of Fallen Night by Samantha Shannon

February new book releases: A Day of Fallen Night by Samantha Shannon
Image: Bloomsbury

About the book:

Perhaps one of the best fantasy epics of our time, Samantha Shannon‘s The Priory of the Orange Tree was dubbed a “sapphic Game of Thrones“. You can return to the world of Priory with this standalone prequel set 500 years before the events of the initial book. Shannon promises a “more politically complex plot, a larger cast and more settings”, along with more books on the way.

Tunuva Melim is a sister of the Priory. For fifty years, she has trained to slay wyrms but none have appeared since the Nameless One, and the younger generation is starting to question the Priory’s purpose.

To the north, in the Queendom of Inys, Sabran the Ambitious has married the new King of Hroth, narrowly saving both realms from ruin. Their daughter, Glorian, trails in their shadow exactly where she wants to be.

The dragons of the East have slept for centuries. Dumai has spent her life in a Seiikinese mountain temple, trying to wake the gods from their long slumber. Now someone from her mother’s past is coming to upend her fate.

When the Dreadmount erupts, bringing with it an age of terror and violence, these women must find the strength to protect humankind from a devastating threat.

Release date: 28 February

Where to buy: Amazon ($22.99) | Booktopia ($) | Dymocks ($) | QBD ($24.99)

Dazzling by Chikodili Emelumadu

Image: Wildfire

About the book:

Prepare to be *dazzled* by this debut novel from Nigerian author Chikodili Emelumadu that features magical realism from a fresh literary voice that will rival the authors driving the oversaturated Greek mythology renaissance on BookTok RN.

Treasure and her mother lost everything when Treasure’s daddy died. Haggling for scraps in the market, Treasure meets a spirit who promises to bring her father back – but she has to do something for him first.

Ozoemena has an itch in the middle of her back that can’t be scratched. An itch that speaks to her patrilineal destiny, to defend her people by becoming a leopard. Her father impressed upon her what an honour this was before he vanished, but it’s one she couldn’t want less.

But as the two girls reckon with their burgeoning wildness and the legacy of their fathers’ decisions, Ozoemena’s fellow students at her new boarding school start to vanish. Treasure and Ozoemena will face terrible choices as each must ask herself: in a world that always says ‘no’ to women, what must two young girls sacrifice to get what is theirs?

Release date: 14 February

Where to buy: Amazon ($24.74) | Booktopia ($26.95) | Dymocks ($32.99) | eBay ($35.38) | QBD ($32.99)

Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries by Heather Fawcett

February new book releases: Emily Wilde's Encyclopaedia of Faeries
Image: Orbit

About the book:

Shh, a moment of silence for all dark academia, please. That’s because we hereby declare that light academia is now in, as are all cosy fantasies. This gorgeous, gorgeous read is about an autism-coded Cambridge professor attempting to collate the first-ever encyclopaedia on faeries. As a breath of fresh air, it’s written part diary entry, part academic paper with endearing footnotes that are a pure joy to read.

Emily Wilde is good at many things: she is the foremost expert on the study of faeries. She is a genius scholar and a meticulous researcher who is writing the world’s first encylopaedia of faerie lore. But Emily Wilde is not good at people. 

So when she arrives in the hardscrabble village of Hrafnsvik, Emily has no intention of befriending the gruff townsfolk. Nor does she care to spend time with another new arrival: her dashing and insufferably handsome academic rival Wendell Bambleby, who manages to charm the townsfolk, get in the middle of her research, and utterly confound and frustrate Emily.

But as Emily gets closer and closer to uncovering the secrets of the Hidden Ones – the most elusive of all faeries – lurking in the shadowy forest outside the town, she also finds herself on the trail of another mystery: who is Wendell Bambleby, and what does he really want? To find the answer, she’ll have to unlock the greatest mystery of all – her own heart.

Release date: 31 January

Where to buy: Amazon ($26.95) | Booktopia ($26.95) | Dymocks ($32.99) | QBD ($32.99)

Best new fiction reads coming out in February

How To Be Remembered by Michael Thompson

Image: Allen & Unwin

About the book:

Attention bookworms that ATE UP The Midnight Library and/or The Rosie Project, this is the read for you. It’s all about first love, the complexities of relationships and how they interlink with identity. The premise also reminds us a lot of The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue (which we highly recommend picking up), so give this one a red hot go.

On an ordinary night in an ordinary year, Tommy Llewellyn’s doting parents wake in a home without toys or nappies, without photos of their baby scattered about, and without any idea that the small child asleep in his cot is theirs. That’s because Tommy is a boy destined to never be remembered.

On the same day every year, everyone around him forgets he exists, and he grows up enduring his own universal Reset. That is until something extraordinary happens: Tommy Llewellyn falls in love.

Determined to finally carve out a life for himself and land the girl of his dreams, Tommy sets out on a mission to trick the universe and be remembered. But legacies aren’t so easily won, and Tommy must figure out what’s more important – the things we leave behind or the people we bring along with us.

Release date: 28 February

Where to buy: Amazon ($25.51) | Booktopia ($26.95) | Dymocks ($32.99) | QBD ($32.99)

Best new thrillers coming out in February

The Writing Retreat by Julia Bartz

February new book releases: The Writing Retreat by Julia Bartz
Image: Oneworld

About the book:

Nothing breaks a reading block quicker than a mind-boggling mystery-thriller. If you’re after an addictive read that’ll have you turning pages all night, this book is what you need.

The Writing Retreat is a closed-room thriller with hints of the whodunit genre and it’s been described as “bonkers”, “claustrophobic”, “gleefully twisted” and  “erotic”. Given the fact that this novel is a debut and yet has the wildest reviews, I’m fkn sold.

Alex has all but given up on her dreams of becoming a published author when she receives a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity: attend an exclusive, month-long writing retreat at the estate of feminist horror writer Roza Vallo. Even the knowledge that Wren, her former best friend and current rival, is attending doesn’t dampen her excitement.

But when the attendees arrive, Roza drops a bombshell—they must all complete an entire novel from scratch during the next month, and the author of the best one will receive a life-changing seven-figure publishing deal. Determined to win this seemingly impossible contest, Alex buckles down and tries to ignore the strange happenings at the estate, including Roza’s erratic behavior, Wren’s cruel mind games, and the alleged haunting of the mansion itself. But when one of the writers vanishes during a snowstorm, Alex realizes that something very sinister is afoot. With the clock running out, she’s desperate to discover the truth and save herself.

Release date: 21 February

Where to buy: Amazon ($24.74) | Booktopia ($26.95) | Dymocks ($32.99) | QBD ($32.99)

Lenny Marks Gets Away With Murder by Kerryn Mayne

February new book releases: Lenny Marks Gets Away With Murder by Kerryn Mayne
Image: Bantam

About the book:

When you’ve got master thriller writers calling your novel, “devilishly fun” (Benjamin Stevenson, Everybody in My Family Has Killed Someone), “a brilliant combination of light and dark” (Candice Fox, The Chase) and a book you’ll “keep thinking about later” (Sally Hepworth, The Good Sister), we reckon that’s more than enough incentive to hit up this memory-driven suspense debut.

Lenny Marks is good at not remembering. She has spent the last twenty years not thinking about the day her mother left her when she was still a child. Her stepfather’s parting words, however, remain annoyingly unforgettable: “You did this.”

Now 37, Lenny prefers contentment and order over the unreliability of happiness and the messiness of relationships. She fills her days teaching at the local primary school, and her nights playing Scrabble with her pretend housemate, watching reruns of Friends and rearranging her thirty-six copies of The Hobbit.

To appease her beloved foster-mum, Lenny has set herself the goal of ‘getting a life’. Until, out of the blue, a letter arrives from the Adult Parole Board. And when her desperate attempts to ignore it fail, she starts to unravel. Worse, she starts to remember.

Release date: 28 February

Where to buy: Amazon ($21.99) | Booktopia ($26.95) | Dymocks ($32.99) | QBD ($22.99)

Best new romance releases coming out in February

Six Times We Almost Kissed (And One Time We Did) by Tess Sharpe

Image: Hodder’s

About the book:

Ahhh, a Valentine’s Day release! What perfect timing if you’re in need of a slow-burn LGBT romance that will make your heart swell.

Six fun facts about Penny and Tate: One. They’ve known each other their whole lives; Two. Their moms are best friends; Three. They are DEFINITELY NOT friends; Four. They keep almost kissing; Five. They don’t talk about it; Six. Thanks to their moms, they’re moving in together.

But when an almost-kiss goes from almost to “I am now wearing your lip gloss”, Penny and Tate have no choice but to finally face the music – right?

Release date: 14 February

Where to buy: Amazon ($14.99) | Booktopia ($18.25) | Dymocks ($19.99) | eBay ($26.08) | QBD ($19.99)

Best new non-fiction releases coming out in February

The One Thing We’ve Never Spoken About by Elfy Scott

Image: Pantera Press

About the book:

The One Thing We’ve Never Spoken About is a condemnation of Australia’s public health system and how it not only neglects but also abuses people with complex mental health needs. It’s as searing as it is graceful, and an important read for anyone who lives on this stolen land.

Journalist Elfy Scott grew up in a household where her mother’s schizophrenia was rarely, if ever, spoken about. They navigated this silence outside the family home too; for many years, this complex mental health condition was treated as an open secret.

Over the past two decades, we have started talking more about common mental health conditions like depression and anxiety. But complex conditions like schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and psychosis have been left behind, as have many of the people who live with these conditions or who care for them.

Part memoir, part deep-dive investigation, The One Thing We’ve Never Spoken About is filled with rage at how our nation’s public discourse, emergency services and healthcare systems continue to fail so many people. It is also a work of care, telling the little-heard stories of people who live with these conditions and work at the front lines of mental health. Above all, this timely, compelling book is informed by hope and courage, breaking down taboos and asking big questions about vulnerability, justice and duty of care.

Release date: 31 January

Where to buy: Amazon ($22.69) | Booktopia ($26.95) | Dymocks ($32.99)