8 Best New Books to Read: January 2016’s Sci-Fi & Fantasy

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best new books to read

Now that Christmas is over, I’m sure many of you have Amazon gifts cards to spend, and if you’re anything like me, have probably resolved to read a certain number of books in the new year. To help you on your epic quest, we have again compiled a list of the must-read books due to be released in the upcoming month.

Whatever your reading goal is for 2016, here are the best new books to read in January that you won’t want to miss:

1. The Bands of Mourning (Mistborn) by Brandon Sanderson

new books to read

Release Date: January 26

Readers are already raving about this sixth installment of #1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson’s wildly popular Mistborn saga. If you’re not already familiar with this series, you should know that it’s broken up into trilogies, with the second taking place about three centuries after the first one and, of course, concluding with Bands of Mourning. All that’s left for us to say about Brandon Sanderson at this point is that his devoted following is definitely merited, and if you haven’t gotten on this bandwagon yet you’d better hurry; the next book, The Lost Metal, is due out just a few months after this one. If you need to bring yourself up to speed, pick up the first book of the series, The Final Empire. (We also included Brandon Sanderson’s Firefight on our list of the best new fantasy books of 2015).

Buy it here.

2. This Census-Taker by China Miéville

new books to read january

Release Date: January 12

China Miéville is part of a loose coalition of authors collectively known as the New Weird (the actual definition of which seems to be a matter of some dispute). This title, however, seems to be an apt description for Miéville’s dark, speculative fiction offerings. This Census-Taker is a brief but intense novella that is the perfect thing to hold you over until all the book releases at the end of the month, but be warned: it may leave you with more questions than answers. Although fans of the author may be disappointed that this isn’t a full-length novel, we’ll take what we can get; a narrative of a boy left with one disturbed parent following a witnessed tragedy until he is rescued by a mysterious stranger sounds like it’s worth a read.

Buy it here.

3. The Sleep Garden by Jim Krusoe

new books to read

Release Date: January 27

The Sleep Garden by novelist and poet Jim Krusoe is even shorter in length than Miéville’s This Census-Taker, but the description certainly has us intrigued. His poetic writing style makes for a poignant tale, which concerns residents of an underground apartment known only as “The Burrow,” which is described as, “essentially purgatory.” This seems to be the month for books with heavy subject matter, as this book explores questions related to the meaning life and death in a very unique manner. It raises these questions in a very open-ended manner that allows the reader to draw their own conclusions, rather than wrapping everything up with neat resolutions.

Buy it here.

4. City of Blades (The Divine Cities) by Robert Jackson Bennett

need books to read

Release Date: January 26

Initial reviews for City of Blades, the second book in award-winning author Robert Jackson Bennett’s urban fantasy series The Divine Cities. The series began in 2014 with the extremely well-received City of Stairs, and the follow-up promises to be every bit as good as its predecessor. The way City of Stairs ended didn’t necessarily set the stage for a sequel; consequently, this book gets off to a bit of a slow start, but it still manages to be engaging and does pick up around the middle, ending on a fantastic (albeit grim) note. If you thought the first book was dark, this one tops that; and, as in the first, the worldbuilding and character development are spectacular (which is why we believe it’s one of the best new fantasy books in January).

Buy it here.

5. All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders

new books to read january 2016

Release Date: January 26

All the Birds in the Sky is an apocalyptic urban fantasy novel from i09 editor-in-chief Charlie Jane Anders. Having recently compiled a list of our favorite post-apocalyptic novels, this one really caught our eye. Anders skillfully blends fantasy and science fiction (which is no small feat), pitting technology against magic in a race between childhood-friends-turned-rivals, both attempting to save the world through their respective means. Having already received a great deal of positive attention, we predict this could be the author’s breakout novel (she has published several others in recent years), and a stunning one at that. You’re going to be hearing a lot about this one, so make sure to get your hands on a copy as soon as it comes out.

Buy it here.

6. The Blue Line by Ingred Betancourt

new books to read

Release Date: January 26

In this stunning debut work of magical realism, The Blue Line is set during Argentina’s Dirty War and draws heavily on the personal experiences of political activist and author Ingred Betancourt. The coming-of-age tale centers around a young Argentinian girl named Julia, who is gifted with visions of the future that she must act on in order to prevent catastrophic events. At fifteen years of age, Julia falls in love with a revolutionary named Theo, and the book chronicles their activism, capture, and eventual escape. Although significantly heavier than most books of the genre, it does such a beautiful job of blending history, politics, and magical realism that you definitely won’t want to miss it.

Buy it here.

7. And Again by Jessica Chiarella

new books

Release Date: January 12

We have come across yet another exciting debut novel in And Again by Jessica Chiarella, and one with an interesting subject matter.Four people with terminal illnesses are essentially given a second chance at life when they are chosen for an experimental programs that replaces their diseased bodies with genetically perfect copies. Their brain cells are transferred to the new bodies so they retain their personalities and consciousness. What seems to be an overwhelmingly fortunate turn of events proves more complicated than they could have imagined when they attempt to return to their lives in their new, unblemished bodies. While not extremely plot-heavy, this is nonetheless a fascinating character study that raises many ethical and philosophical questions.

Buy it here.

8. The Last Weekend: A Novel of Zombies, Booze, and Power Tools by Nick Mamatas

new books to read

Release Date: January 8

I think the title of this book says it all. The main character is a struggling writer named Billy who lives in San Francisco, and wakes up from a massive hangover to find himself in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. He then finds a career as a “driller” — in other words, he visits the dead and dying to drill into their heads and ensure that their corpses don’t reanimate. It is told from the first person voice of Billy, who comes off as rather pretentious, and the zombies are almost incidental rather than a central part of the story. It is also possessed of a rather dry sense of humor, although is perhaps not as lighthearted as the title suggests. It is a short read, but not at all a light one, and fans of zombie lit should definitely check it out.

Buy it here.

Daily Deals on the Hottest Books

See Also

Top 50 Best Sci-Fi Books to Read

Top 23 Best New Fantasy Books of 2015

Top 8 Fantasy Books with Strong Female Characters

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