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The Very Best Sci-Fi and Fantasy Books of 2022

These 2022 releases will transport you to new worlds.

illustration of two warriors underwater, holding spears. red eyes look at them from seaweeds

2022 has been a spectacular year for reading, especially with all the new dazzling gems in speculative fiction. And since we’re on the last leg of the year, it’s time for our annual tradition of rounding up the best SFF book releases. (In case you missed them, I also did fun best-of roundups for 2020 and 2021. Wink, wink.)

From high-stakes space battles to comforting slice-of-life fantasy, our reading appetites have truly been fed well. With that, here are my top 13 picks for the best sci-fi and fantasy releases of 2022! How many have you read so far?

Goliath

Goliath

By Tochi Onyebuchi

Set in the distant future, humanity is split into two, with the privileged departing for lofty space colonies while the less fortunate are left behind in a collapsing Earth. 

Told through a myriad of characters, this post-apocalyptic novel delves into the fascinating intricacies of race, class, and the gentrification of space.

a thousand steps into night

A Thousand Steps Into Night

By Traci Chee

In this Japanese-inspired fantasy, an ordinary innkeeper's daughter must embark on a dangerous quest to reverse the curse that threatens to permanently transform her into a demon with a deadly touch.

Brimming with romance, self-discovery, and demonic mayhem, this novel will surely appeal to fans of Inuyasha.

best science fiction fantasy books 2022

Zachary Ying and the Dragon Emperor

By Xiran Jay Zhao

This middle grade contemporary fantasy follows a young Chinese-American boy and his perilous mission to seal the Chinese underworld portal before the upcoming Ghost Month threatens the safety of the mortal realm.

legends and lattes, a wholesome book

Legends & Lattes

By Travis Baldree

This cozy fantasy novel follows Viv, a retired orc barbarian who dreams of opening the first-ever coffee shop in Thune. Though her past warrior life isn't willing to let her go quite so easily.

Legends & Lattes is a widely loved BookTok sensation for a reason! A perfect pick for fantasy fans looking for a comforting, slice-of-life story.

hana-hsu-and-the-ghost-crab-nation

Hana Hsu and the Ghost Crab Nation

By Sylvia Liu

When her friends start falling prey to a mysterious illness, Hana Hsu's investigations lead to spying on one of the most powerful corporations in the country.

This middle-grade novel is led by a young, determined STEM protagonist and offers a dynamic tale that questions the role of technology in our lives.

best science fiction fantasy books 2022

Speaking Silk

By Ken Liu

In the highly-anticipated conclusion to Ken Liu's Dandelion Dynasty series, the battle continues as science and destiny collide against the will of the gods.

A sweeping silkpunk fantasy that tackles imperialism, Chinese history, and warfare.

dawn of yangchen best science fiction fantasy books 2022

The Dawn of Yangchen

By F.C. Yee

As a thrilling new addition to the Chronicles of the Avatar series, this installment follows Avatar Yangchen and her tumultuous journey from untested young woman to widely respected leader. 

Casual and diehard fans of Avatar alike will be very thrilled by the high-stakes adventure inside F.C. Yee’s latest novel!

The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches

By Sangu Mandanna

Mika Moon believes in hiding in plain sight. Which is why she has a dedicated online account where she creates videos pretending to be a witch, despite hiding her real witchy magic in the offline world. Until she receives a mysterious message inviting her to teach three young witches how to control their magic.

On top of the magical whimsy, this is a comforting novel that embraces quirkiness and found families.

Babel

Babel

By R.F. Kuang

Set in 1820s London, this story follows an orphaned Chinese boy working to rise through the ranks in Oxford University's prestigious Royal Institute of Translation. 

An intelligently crafted tale set in a world where magic comes in the form of enchanted silver bars and translation is a tool for colonial power. Perfect for lovers of dark academia!

best science fiction fantasy books 2022

The Spear Cuts Through Water

By Simon Jimenez

Set in a world where people suffer from the tyrannical reign of the Moon Throne, two warriors release an ancient god from royal captivity and embark on a daunting pilgrimage to end the oppressive dynasty.

Highly compelling for readers who enjoy ambitious fantasy stories told through lush, evocative prose.

best science fiction fantasy books 2022

Silver Under Nightfall

By Rin Chupeco

Despite dedicating his life to hunting down rogue vampires, Remy Pendergast remains an outcast in the kingdom he serves. When a terrifying new breed of vampire is discovered, no one is eager to help with his investigation. Except for a strangely warmhearted vampire heiress and her insufferable fiancé.

Serving a deliciously fascinating murder mystery and page-on-page tension, this book is a refreshing take on vampiric lore.

The Genesis of Misery

The Genesis of Misery

By Neon Yang

When two warring factions discover rare saint-like powers inside a nobody miner from an abandoned planet, Misery is suddenly thrust into the heart of political machinations and space battles.

Pitched as queer Joan of Arc meets Pacific Rim, this is an electrifying space opera that promises high stakes and interstellar action.

Marikit and the Ocean of Stars

Marikit and the Ocean of Stars

By Caris Avendaño Cruz

When terrifying shadow creatures kidnap her family, 10-year-old Marikit must rely on her mother's homemade patchwork dress to navigate the magical land of the Engkantos to save them.

A heartwarming adventure story that centers Filipino family dynamics, magic, and a young girl’s admirable courage. Middle grade readers, don’t sleep on this title!