15 Best New Fantasy and Sci-Fi Books to Read in January 2017

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While 2016 certainly had its low points, the book world thrived, giving readers some of the best novels of the past few years. The Obelisk Gate continued The Fifth Season trilogy, The Last Mortal Bond stuck the landing with the conclusion of its trilogy, and The Big Book of Science Fiction gave us an anthology that was actually worth reading from front to back.new fantasy books

But now, it’s 2017’s turn, and the year ahead in the sci-fi and fantasy genres looks especially good. And with the new year comes new reading goals, and we’re here to help you achieve your goals for the year ahead.

Here are the best new fantasy and sci-fi books hitting shelves in January 2017:


1. The Heart of What Was Lost (The Last King of Osten Ard 0.5) by Tad Williams

The Heart of What Was Lost by Tad Williams

Publisher: DAW
Release Date: January 3
Pages: 224 (Hardcover)

Return to the world of Osten Ard, the world which reportedly inspired George R.R. Martin to write A Song of Ice and Fire, with this prequel to The Last King of Osten Ard trilogy by Tad Williams. The Heart of What Was Lost is a novella that takes places between the events of the emory, Sorrow, and Thorn trilogy and The Last King of Osten Ard, bridging the gap between the two series, and is a perfect introduction for those who are looking to find their way into this world. It takes place in the months following To Green Angel Tower and details Isgrimnur’s attempt, along with a host of Rimmersgard soldiers, to destroy the remaining Norns as they attempt to flee back to their homeland. It also goes into “what actually happened in the immediate aftermath of the fall of Green Angel Tower”. As stated, it would be perfectly enjoyable to read as a standalone novel, and is also a must-read for fans of the series to grant them additional insight into this immersive world.

Buy it here.

2. Dead Man’s Steel (Grim Company #3) by Luke Scull

Dead Man's Steel by Luke Scull

Publisher: Ace
Release Date: January 3
Pages: 400 (Hardcover)

Dead Man’s Steel by Luke Scull is the third and final installment in his highly acclaimed Grim Company series. Sasha and Davarus Cole struggle to keep the peace between warring mages, and when the White Lady sends Davarus south to the Shattered Realms to seek allies, he faces his hardest challenge yet. The godly essence within him offers powers he could use against the Fade, but he risks losing a part of himself with every death that feeds it. The Halfmage Eremul has a position of privelege among Dorminia’s new masters thanks to an association with a Fade officer, and he witnesses humanity’s fate firsthand; against the Fade’s technology, however, his magic is insufficient, so he must rely solely on his wits. In the north, Brodar Kayne is battling for his people as an ancient evil sealed beneath the mountains threatens to break free and drown the world in blood. This is a satisfying conclusion to a fantastic trilogy, one that is a must-read for fans of grimdark fantasy.

Buy it here.

3. The Final Day by William R. Forstchen

The Final Day by William R. Forstchen

Publisher: Forge Books
Release Date: January 3
Pages: 352 (Hardcover)

The Final Day is the third installment in the New York Times bestselling One Second After series by William R. Forstchen. This story takes places two years after the EMP apocalypse that wiped out all electricity and plunged the world into darkness. John Matherson and the community of Black Mountain, North Carolina have endured numerous hardships, and now they are trying to restore the world to what it was prior to the EMP attack. Things are relatively stable for awhile, until the new government announces its plans to cede large portions of the country to China and Mexico. The Constitution is no longer upheld and the remainder of the U.S. army has been sent to suppress rebellion. Bob Scales, John’s old friend and CO, is set to confront him, but will he follow orders if it means turning against his old friend? As the Federal government becomes more and more tyranical, the people are gearing up for a revolution. Don’t miss this thrilling sequel to the book hailed on the floor of Congress as “a book all Americans should read”.

Buy it here.

3. The Burning Page (The Invisible Library #3) by Genevieve Cogman

The Burning Page by Genevieve Cogman

The adventures of Irene the Librarian and her assistant Kai continue in The Burning Page, the third book in Genevieve Cogman’s The Invisible Library series. The stakes are much higher in this book and things get darker as the Library itself is threatened by rogue Librarian Alberich, who Irene and Kai narrowly escaped from in their last encounter. Gates to the Library are malfunctioning, causing harm to Librarians that attempt to use them, and Irene is sent on a mission to an alternate St. Petersburg to retrieve an important book; once there, she encounters none other than the traitor Alberich. All the while, she is trying to figure out how to save her friend Vale, who has been damaged by chaos exposure, and another friend from the past reappears in search of aid. Irene is forced to seriously examine her priorities, and often decide whether her loyalty to the Library supercedes her loyalty to her friends, and figure out whether or not she can save both. This installment also answers some questions about the inner workings of the Library, as well as the the Dragon and Fae societies and how chaos and order work. As with the previous two books, The Burning Page is action-packed from start to finish, and will keep you hooked until the very last page.

Publisher: Roc
Release Date: January 10
Pages: 368 (Paperback)

Buy it here.

4. The Alchemists of Loom (Loom Saga #1) by Elise Kova

The Alchemists of Loom by Elise Kova

Publisher: Keymaster Press
Release Date: January 10
Pages: 380 (Hardcover)

The Alchemists of Loom, the first in a new series from Elise Kova, is a shining example of steampunk fantasy done right. The worlds of Nova above the clouds and Loom down below, previously unaware of one another, are now in conflict. The Fenthri of Loom have been dominated by the Dragon King, and protagonist Arianna (also known as the notorious criminal White Wraith) seeks revenge on their oppressors by selling her talents to the highest bidder and contributing to the underground Dragon organ market. Meanwhile, Cvareh, whose family has suffered the shame of being the lowest rung of Dragon society for too long, seeks to help his sister overthrow the Dragon King. He is on the run, and he finds an unlikely ally in Ari, who agrees to help him in exchange for a Dragon boon – which amounts to one wish of her choosing. She can’t refuse the offer, but she must put aside her prejudices in order to work with him, and in doing so may find that they share a common goal. The opening of the book drops you right into the middle of the action and doesn’t let up; additionally, the worldbuilding is spectacular, the magic system is interesting, and the characters are well-developed. If you’re looking for a new steampunk fantasy series, definitely check this one out.

Buy it here.

5. The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

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Publisher: Del Rey
Release Date: January 10
Pages: 336 (Hardcover)

The Bear and the Nightingale first drew me in with its gorgeous cover, and when I read the description, I knew it was a must-read. This atmospheric tale is set in medieval times and draws heavily on Russian folklore. At the edge of the Russian wilderness where it is almost always winter, Vasilisa has grown up on fireside tales from her nurse about Frost the winter demon. He appears in the night to claim unwary souls, and all wise Russians know the importance of honoring the spirits of house and yard and forest to protect their homes from this evil. However, following the death of her mother, Vasilisa’s mother marries a devout, city-born woman who immediately puts a stop to these rituals. Sure enough, the village is soon plagued by misfortune; this only increases the stepmother’s determination, however, and Vasilisa must call on long-concealed and dangerous gifts in order to protect her loved ones. The story is told in the style of a fairy tale, with absolutely stunning writing and a beautifully immersive world. This is one of the most impressive debut novels in recent memory, and one you definitely don’t want to miss.

Buy it here.

6. Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day by Seanan McGuire

Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day by Seanan McGuire

Publisher: Tor.com
Release Date: January 10
Pages: 192 (Paperback)

Seanan McGuire’s Every Heart a Doorway was easily one of the best books I read in 2016, so when I heard about Dusk or Dark or Dawn or Day, I knew I had to get my hands on it. The interesting part about this urban fantasy novella is that the main character is actually a ghost. Every soul is promised a certain amount of time, and Jenna died far too soon. Rather than stealing time from the living to satisfy her debt, she chooses to earn it through volunteer work at a suicide prevention hotline. However, something is coming for the ghosts of New York that has the power to bind them to mirrors and force them to do its bidding. Jenna notices the other ghosts in the city disappearing, and must work to solve the mystery with the help of her friends. Like Every Heart a Doorway, this book packs a punch; Seanan McGuire truly has a gift for novellas, and takes a seemingly ambitious concept and manages to execute it flawlessly in the span of under 200 pages. This is a must-read for fans of urban fantasy and ghost stories.

Buy it here.

7. Galactic Empires by Neil Clarke

upcoming sci-fi books

Publisher: Night Shade Books
Release Date: January 17
Pages: 636 (Paperback)

Galactic Empires is a collection of science fiction short stories edited by the Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of Clarkesworld magazine and four-time Hugo Nominee for Best Editor (short form), Neil Clarke. This diverse anthology features a wide range of subgenres, including space opera, time travel, hard SF, near-future dystopia, grimdark fantasy, steampunk, and many more; the one thing they all have in common is that they address the subject of empires (as the title would suggest). It includes works from Brandon Sanderson, Neal Asher, Naomi Novik, and more – you can find the complete list of titles on Skyhorse’s site. These titles take contemporary political ideologies and approach them in terms of galactic empires, allowing readers to see these issues from an entirely new perspective. Although united by a common theme, the diversity of the stories and genres in this collection ensure that there is something for everyone, so it’s definitely worth checking out for all science fiction fans.

Buy it here.
See Also:
Top 50 Best Sci-Fi Books to Read

8. The Hanging Tree (A Rivers of London Novel) by Ben Aaronovitch

The Hanging Tree by Ben Aaronovitch

Publisher: DAW
Release Date: January 31
Pages: 304 (Mass Market Paperback)

The sixth book in the Rivers of London series by Ben Aaronovitch, The Hanging Tree, is coming to the US this month. If you’re not familiar with the series, it follows young police officer Peter Grant, who is recruited into the branch of the Metropolitan Police that deals with magic and the supernatural after an unexpected encounter with a ghost.

Buy it here.

9. Caraval (Caraval #1) by Stephanie Garber

new fantasy books january 2017

Publisher: Flatiron Books
Release Date: January 31
Pages: 416 (Hardcover)

Caraval is another book that sucks you in with its gorgeous cover design and then hooks you with the intriguing description. Fans of The Night Circus will definitely appreciate this spellbinding fantasy about two sisters who live on an island with their cruel father and dream of seeing Caraval, the legendary annual performance where the audience participates in the show.

Buy it here.

10. Passing Strange by Ellen Klages

new sci-fi books January

Publisher: Tor.com
Release Date: January 24
Pages: 224 (Paperback)

Seriously, though, they are killing it with the gorgeous cover art this month. Passing Strange by World Fantasy Award winner Ellen Klages is set in 1940s San Fransisco, which is described as “a haven for the unconventional”. In Passing Strange, six women cross paths where the borders of magic, science, and art intersect. It’s being touted as an unusual story, and it sounds delightfully strange.

Buy it here.

11. Death’s Mistress (Sister of Darkness: The Nicci Chronicles #1) by Terry Goodkind

new fantasy books

Publisher: Tor Books
Release Date: January 24
Pages: 512 (Hardcover)

Death’s Mistress is the first book in Terry Goodkind’s new series The Nicci Chronicles, which is a spinoff of his Sword of Truth series. The onetime-Lieutenant of Emperor Jagang – known as “Death’s Mistress” and “Slave Queen” – had captured Richard Rahl to convince him that the Imperial order stood for the greater good. Instead, she became loyal to Richard and Kahlan and served them for years afterward. Now that Richard and Kahlan’s reign is stabilized, she is setting off on her own adventure, and her first job is to keep the unworldly prophet Nathan out of trouble. The Sword of Truth series has been going for more than two decades, so it’s nice to see Terry Goodkind start to focus on other characters. Fans of the series definitely won’t want to miss this first adventure of Sorceress Nicci and Wizard Nathan. If you haven’t read Sword of Truth, this might be a good place to jump into the world, although obviously having read the prior series will give you a better foundation.

Buy it here.

12. Dreadnought (Nemesis #1) by April Daniels

new superhero novel

Publisher: Diversion Publishing
Release Date: January 24
Pages: 280 (Paperback)

Dreadnought by April Daniels is about a transgender girl who gains superpowers after the superhero Dreadnought dies in front of her, and those powers transform her body into the one she’s always wanted. This should be a happy time, but now that she can’t hide her true gender, Danny is faced with a host of new difficulties, such as her father’s determination to cure her girlhood and her best friend’s newfound desire to date her. On top of that, Dreadnought’s murderer – a cyborg named Utopia – is still at large, and if Danny can’t stop her, humanity faces certain doom. In addition to just being an awesome superhero story, this book is important because it features a transgender and queer main character (and a superhero at that), and is accessible to younger teen readers who might need such a character to identify with. It addresses many important issues transgender persons face without that being the focus of the plot, though, so even those just looking for a good superhero book will enjoy this.

Buy it here.

13. Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty

Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty

Publisher: Orbit
Release Date: January 31
Pages: 400

Six Wakes is a sci-fi mystery where a ship’s murdered crew is resurrected via cloning and must find out not only who killed them, but the secret to their mission (the description kind of reminds me of Dark Matter). Marie Shea awakens in a cloning vat covered in blood, with no memory of how she died, which is different than the previous two times she awoke as a clone. She is in one of six vats, each holding the clone of a crew member of the starship Pituitary, and discovers that she was not the only one to die recently. This gripping space murder mystery will keep you hooked with all its twists and turns, and sci-fi fans won’t want to miss it.

Buy it here.

15. Home (Binti #2) by Nnedi Okorafor

Binti Home by Nnedi Okorafor

Publisher: Tor.com
Release Date: January 31
Pages: 176 (Paperback)

Home is the sequel to the Hugo- and Nebula-winning Binti by Nnedi Okorafor. It takes places a year after Binti was delcared a hero for uniting two warring planets, and she an Okwu enrolled at Oomza University. Now she returns home with Okwu at her side, and he will be the first of his race not only to set foot on earth in over a century, but also to come in peace. Nnedi Okorafor was born in the United States to Nigerian parents, and is known for weaving African culture into her science fiction and fantasy stories. The first Binti novella was absolutely stunning, and this follow-up promises to be every bit as beautiful. If you haven’t yet, do yourself a favor and pick up Binti; at just under 100 pages, you can easily read it in time for the sequel.

Buy it here.

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See Also:
New This Month: January's Games, Movies, and New TV Series

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Nerd Much LLC is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program that allows websites to earn advertising fees by linking to Amazon. We do not have any relationship with manufacturers, and all product choices are made by our editors, themselves.

Liz is a co-owner of Nerd Much. You can follow her on Twitter at @Yeralizard. She is a feminist, nurse, freelance writer, blogger, foodie, bookworm, gamer chick, craft beer snob, coffee addict, chocoholic, Hufflepuff, sci-fi/fantasy junkie, and mom.

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