Our favorite books of 2019

Here are our favorite books published in 2019. Hover over the cover to see who recommends each book. Click on the cover to read our review.

Please keep in mind that we did not read every SFF book published this year, so we know we’ve missed some good ones! Please add your comments — we’d love to hear your opinions about our list and to know which were YOUR favorite books of 2019. What did we miss? One commenter chooses a book from our stacks.





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  1. I’ve read 5 on your list. There were so many great books released in 2019 that there were more books than days in a year!

  2. Mary Henaghen /

    I loved Middle Game SOOOOO much. I have a lot more to add to my tbr pile…

  3. I have Middle Game on my TBR pile

  4. John Smith /

    There are a number of these that I want to read. I’ll probably start with the Philip Pullman book, since I enjoyed the first volume of “The Book Of Dust” very much!

  5. Paul Connelly /

    Interesting…no overlap with my top five piblished in 2019: Holy Sister (Mark Lawrence), The Unbound Empire (Melissa Caruso), Jade War (Fonda Lee), The Luminous Dead (Caitlin Starling) and Monstress Vol. 4 (Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda). Other than Starling’s, those are all continuation or concluding books in multi-volume stories

    Of the ones on your list, I have only read The Wicked King, A Memory Called Empire, A Little Hatred, The Raven Tower, and This Is How You Lose the Time War–and that’s my order of preference for those (from most liked to least).

    • Kelly Lasiter /

      Dropping in late to say that I read The Luminous Dead earlier this year and really liked it–and like you, I saw a parallel with the messed-up relationship in Gideon the Ninth! I wish I’d read both of them last year, but sometimes it feels like I’m eternally behind on my TBR.

  6. Noneofyourbusiness /

    I recently got “Dead Astronauts,” and I look forward to reading it after enjoying VanderMeer’s “Annihilation” and “The Situation” and hearing him speak here in Buffalo and at WFC.

  7. The Distinguished Professor /

    The Iliad is always a classic, literally. I would have been surprised if this had been the first time someone had turned it into a graphic novel (it’s not).

  8. BravoLimaPoppa /

    Had to root through my Kindle to figure out which new books I’ve read and liked.
    Gamechanger by L.X. Beckett
    Children of Ruin by Adrian Tchaikovsky
    Stealing Worlds by Karl Schroeder
    Silver by Linda Nagata
    The Quantum Garden by Derek Künksen
    Emergency Skin N.K. Jemisin
    The Cruel Stars by John Birmingham

    • I really need to get to reading Linda Nagata. The two books of hers I read years ago, during my brief “I’m going to read MILSF” phase, I really enjoyed.

    • Noneofyourbusiness /

      All good-looking stories.
      I should just note that it’s “Derek Künsken” not “Künksen,” in case anyone has the same trouble looking it up on Goodreads that I did.

  9. Lady Morar /

    The similarly named “Gideon the Ninth” (Tamsyn Muir) and “Ninth House” (Leigh Bardugo) were both released this year, and both are about necromancers.

    • Paul Connelly /

      Gideon the Ninth, The Luminous Dead, and the Cruel Prince/Wicked King books all have relationships that some people would find quite unhealthy, based on the power differential plus some abusive behaviors. Is this a new theme or just something I’m not widely read enough to have run into before? (I liked all of these books.)

      • I think this is a new theme.

      • Paul, that is something I didn’t like about the Cruel Prince/Wicked King book. Though they were definitely exciting, I don’t like the message it sends to teenage girls.

        • Noneofyourbusiness /

          That depends. Is it about rejecting relationships like that?

        • Paul Connelly /

          Kat, I haven’t read the concluding book yet, so I am not sure what the final perspective is that it takes. But one of the plot twists was the sudden inversion of the power imbalance…not that it makes the relationship any healthier! It is troubling for a book that is marketed to young adults. At least Gideon and Luminous Dead are ostensibly aimed at adults.

    • BravoLimaPoppa /

      Sorry ’bout that.

  10. Christopher S /

    I surprisingly have not read any of the books posted in the picture. A few do jump out at me as wanting to read and/or already on my TBR list for 2020. The Hod King, The Ten Thousand Doors of January, and The Testaments!

  11. Sethia /

    I’ve read quite a few of these, but need to read quite a few more! Thanks for the great list!

  12. Paul C, if you live in the USA, you win a book of your choice from our stacks.
    Please contact me (Marion) with your choice and a US address. Happy reading!

  13. Paul has opted out of this Giveaway.

    Christopher S, if you live in the USA, you win a book of your choice from our stacks.
    Please contact me (Marion) with your choice and a US address. Happy reading!

  14. Ginny Cooper /

    Thank you all for sharing – I’ve found so many great book recommendations on this site over the years! I can’t believe Holy Sister by Mark Lawrence is not on here though. If it is ‘just another bread-and-butter heroic fantasy narrative’ per the fanlit review, then I’ll have some more toast, please! ;-)

    Also, I don’t think I’ve seen any reviews of books by Yangsze Choo on this site. I’d recommend The Night Tiger, which came out this year (and also her previous book – The Ghost Bride).

    Wishing you all many hours of reading in 2020!

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