Best New Fantasy and Sci Fi Books to Read in December 2016

If you’re looking for a Holiday gift for the reader in your life, any of the books listed here would be an excellent choice.upcoming fantasy and scifi books

This month’s list is a little later than usual, owing to the fact that I’ve been unable to tear myself away from Final Fantasy XV and Pokémon Moon for long enough to even read books, let alone write about them. Mercifully, the list is also shorter this month, allowing me a little time to catch up on my backlog of both books and games. December is not completely lacking in books, however; there are several gems this month, including the highly-anticipated conclusions to two series, continuations of two popular ones, and the novelization of the upcoming Star Wars movie.

So when you’re snowed in this month and looking for a good book to curl up with, refer to our list of the best new fantasy and sci-fi books to read in December. And if you live  someplace where it doesn’t snow, well, we’re sure you can find an excuse to read, so check it out anyway.


1. Babylon’s Ashes (The Expanse #6) by James S.A. Corey

Babylon's Ashes

Publisher: Orbit
Release Date: December 6
Pages: 544 (Hardcover)

James S.A. Corey is the pen name of authors Daniel Abraham and Ty Franck, and Babylon’s Ashes is the sixth entry into their highly popular sci-fi series The Expanse. The first book, Leviathan Wakes, was a Hugo Award nominee in 2012; the series has also been picked up for TV by SyFy, and if you read it, it’s not hard to see why. The Expanse follows captain Jim Holden of the Rocinante as he stumbles upon the greatest conspiracy in the history of mankind; in Babylon’s Ashes, Earth has been crippled by The Free Navy as they turn their attention to the outer planets, and the Rocinante has been called upon for a vital mission to reach Medina Station at the heart of the gate network. However, they’ll soon find that piracy, mutiny, and betrayal are the least of their worries. The story picks up right where Nemesis Games left off and continues the trend of spectacular worldbuilding, political intrigue, and non-stop action; however, it features a wider cast of characters than any of the previous novels, giving the story a much broader scope. Fans of space opera should definitely check out this series.

Buy it here.

 2. Tempest: All-New Tales of Valdemar by Mercedes Lackey

Tempest (Valdemar)

Publisher: DAW
Release Date: December 6
Pages: 400 (Mass Market Paperback)

Tempest is an all-new collection of short stories from 24 different authors – including Elizabeth Vaughan, Fiona Patton, Jennifer Brozek, Brenda Cooper, Rosemary Edghill, and more – that all take place in Mercedes Lackey’s world of Valdemar. Fans of the world will undoubtedly enjoy this anthology, which features a wonderful medley of works that tie into the series beautifully. There are thirteen stories in total (including a brand-new story by Mercedes Lackey herself), each as strong as the next, and several have the feel of a chapter taken directly from a complete novel. They are written from the perspectives of Heralds, Bards, Healers, ordinary citizens, and everything in-between, and range from serious to light and fluffy in tone. If you’re looking for a return to Valdemar, this short story collection is a must-read.

Buy it here.

3. The Liberation (The Alchemy Wars #3) by Ian Tregillis

The Liberation

Publisher: Orbit
Release Date: December 6
Pages: 464 (Paperback)

The Liberation is the final book in Ian Tregillis’s The Alchemy Wars trilogy, which follows the story of Jax, one of a race of mechanical beings built to serve humankind. This is a pretty hot topic now due to shows like Westworld, so if that concept interests you, this series is definitely worth checking out. The series, which begins with The Mechanical, is set in an alternate 17th century where famed scientist Christiaan Hyugens uses magic to animate an army of clockwork automatons that are bound to their masters. Naturally, they are not content to be slaves forever, and the mechanical revolution reaches a climax in this stunning conclusion to an epic trilogy that is a masterpiece of steampunk. Fans of speculative fiction won’t want to miss this amazing trilogy from the author of The Milkweed Triptych.

Buy it here.

4. Winter Halo (Outcast #2) by Keri Arthur

Winter Halo

Publisher: Signet
Release Date: December 6
Pages: 368 (Mass Market Paperback)

Winter Halo is the second installment in the Outcast series from New York Times bestselling author Keri Arthur. The series is about what happens following a war between humans and shifters, when the bombs accidentally tore holes in the veil between worlds and allowed the Others (demons, wraiths, and death spirits) to enter; a hundred years later, the two races now live in artificially lit cities to keep them at bay. The main character is Tiger, one of a breed of humanoid super-soldiers known as the déchet that were nearly eradicated by the war. She tries to live in hiding but finds she can’t look the other way upon discovering that Central City’s children are being kidnapped and experimented on. A pharmaceutical company called Winter Halo holds the key to saving them, but Tiger discovers that their female security guards are being attacked by an unknown force, and now the responsibility for stopping both tragedies rests squarely on her shoulders. Keri Arthur is a fantastic storyteller, and this book picks up right where the first one left off; it’s recommended to read them in order, so if you haven’t yet, check out the first book, City of Light.

Buy it here.

5. Wrath (The Faithful and the Fallen) by John Gwynne

Wrath (The Faithful and the Fallen)

Publisher:Orbit
Release Date: December 6
Pages: 736

The fourth and final book in John Gwynne’s highly acclaimed series The Faithful and the Fallen was published in the UK last month and is now making its way to the US. In the Banished Lands, the war reaches a new height as King Nathair gains control of the fortress at Drassil, along with three of the Seven Treasures. With the aid of Calidus and Queen Rhin, he seeks to obtain the other Treasures to open a portal to the Otherworld for Asroth and his demon-horde. Meanwhile, the warrior giants known as the Jotun have taken Corban prisoner, and he must make allies of them if he hopes to survive and take on Nathair. The first book in the series, Malice, is one of the strongest debuts in recent memory, and Wrath is a fitting end to a breathtaking series. Simply put, The Faithful and the Fallen is epic fantasy at its finest, although be warned: it’s not for the faint of heart.

Buy it here.

6. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story by Alexander Freed

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

Publisher: Del Ray
Release Date: December 20
Pages: 352 (Hardcover)

If you plan on seeing the Rogue One movie this month, you should also read the film’s official novelization by Alexander Freed. You’re undoubtedly familiar with the story already, in which a small band of rebels plots to steal the Death Star plans. Alexander Freed also wrote Star Wars: Battlefront: Twilight Company, which was included on BuzzFeed’s “Best Science Fiction Books of 2015” list, so this will undoubtedly be worth a read.

Buy it here.

7. The Dreamblood Duology by N.K. Jemisin

The Dreamblood Duology

Publisher:Orbit
Release Date: December 20
Pages: 960 (Paperback)

The Dreamblood Duology contains the novels The Killing Moon  and The Shadowed Sun by N.K. Jemisin, author of the Hugo Award-winning novel The Fifth Season. Neither of these books is technically a new release, but if you haven’t read them yet, this is the perfect opportunity to pick up both in one volume. The Killing Moon is about the Gatherers, priests of the dream-goddess in ancient Gujaareh whose duty it is to keep the peace. They do so by harvesting “the magic of the sleeping mind” and using it to heal, soothe, and also kill the corrupt. In The Shadowed Sun, Gujaareh, under the imperial rule of the Kisuiati Protectorate, now knows only violence where once there was peace. The citizens are also haunted by a mysterious plague that causes the infected to die screaming in their sleep. N.K. Jemisin has built a beautiful world with deep lore and engaging, fully-realized characters and an intriguing magic system that is unmissable for epic fantasy fans.

Buy it here.

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