SFF award season is upon us! I thought I’d share some of my favorite reads of the year that were published in 2016, in case either
a) you really liked some of these too and could do with a reminder they’re nomination-eligible, or
b) you’d like to check some of them out!
A few notes about my list here:
- They’re all novels, because that’s mostly what I read.
- There are no YA books, because this list would go on forever if I didn’t focus SOMEHOW.
- It looks like most of my favorite reads this year were not the first books in their series, so if you do want to check them out, keep that in mind when looking them up.
- I have not yet read everything published in 2016 that I meant or mean to. Story of our lives, I know, but there’s still time! If I’m missing something here that seems like it would obviously suit, though, that’s probably why.
Between moving and the election, this was a rough year for me, and I reached for a lot of stories that I either knew would be lighter reads or were set in worlds I was already comfortable with. I did try out new authors and series, of course, many of which didn’t make it onto this list — I’m picky, some were YA, many I enjoyed but weren’t my personal favorites (target audience is hard! taste is subjective!), etc. — but there are also some I desperately want to read and just haven’t gotten to due to limited mental bandwidth.
On that note, first, two shout-outs to books I’m really excited about and have on my e-reader, have started, have every confidence I’m going to love in their entirety, and have not yet had the brain space available to finish. I could just finish reading them before posting this, but if I delay I might never get around to posting at all, so. Really smart space opera and secondary world urban fantasy respectively!
- Ninefox Gambit (The Machineries of Empire #1), by Yoon Ha Lee – from Solaris
- The Obelisk Gate (The Broken Earth #2), by N.K. Jemisin – from Orbit
Without further ado, the rest of the list in order of publication, with some very brief descriptions of why they’re favorites:
- City of Blades (The Divine Cities #2), by Robert Jackson Bennett – from Broadway Books
- Secondary world urban fantasy. Mind-breaking and awesome in every way.
- A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic #2), by V.E. Schwab – from Tor Books
- High/portal fantasy. Action-packed and full of thieves, shenanigans, and feels.
- The Edge of Worlds (The Books of the Raksura #4), by Martha Wells – from Night Shade Books
- Best high fantasy world-building I’ve read in ages.
- If you’re new to Martha Wells LOOK UP HER WORK NOW.
- Children of Earth and Sky, by Guy Gavriel Kay – from NAL
- GGK is the master of historical fantasy. Lyrical and dense.
- Memories of Ash (The Sunbolt Chronicles #2), by Intisar Khanani – self-published
- High fantasy, just straight-up fun. More thieves and magic and exploring an expansive world!
- Four Roads Cross (Craft Sequence #5), by Max Gladstone – from Tor Books
- Secondary world urban fantasy. Again with the “mind-breaking and awesome” descriptor.
- Please believe me: you want to read the Craft Sequence. I promise.
- Behind the Throne (The Indranan War #1), by K.B. Wagers – from Orbit
- Space opera! Action-packed adventure and politicking.
- (I believe K.B. Wagers is Campbell-eligible!)
- No Good Dragon Goes Unpunished (Heartstrikers #3), by Rachel Aaron – self-published
- Urban fantasy with dragons and sorcerers and adorable/terrifying demonic cat familiar. Definition of “changing the game and raising the stakes.”
- The Guns of Empire (The Shadow Campaigns #4), by Django Wexler – from Roc
- Military fantasy. Arguably his best yet.
- Once Broken Faith (October Daye #10), by Seanan McGuire – from DAW
- Urban fantasy, my favorite fae-based UF series to date. I love these characters so much.
- Magic Binds (Kate Daniels #9), by Ilona Andrews – from Ace
- Urban fantasy of the shapeshifter variety. Case study in how to do a long-running series while still pushing the characters and having a functioning arc.
- Unquiet Land (Elemental Blessings #4), by Sharon Shinn – from Ace
- High fantasy romance? Character work is exquisite, and I love this world-building a lot.
- One Fell Sweep (Innkeeper Chronicles #3), by Ilona Andrews – self-published
- I have no idea what subgenre this falls into, but I love it. Like a cross between urban fantasy and space opera.
- You can try out the beginning of this serial on her website.
Happy reading! (And if I DID miss something you’re sure should be on here, please let me know so I can check it out!)