Here are our favorite books published in 2020. 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 2020. What did we miss? One commenter chooses a book from our stacks.
MIDDLE GRADE / YOUNG ADULT SFF
I didn’t get a chance to read many new releases this year, but I did begin reading the stormlight archives and they might just be my favorites of all time.
We had so many amazing SFF releases this year, I am very excited to read them.
I’m most looking forward to “Across the Green Grass Fields”, Seanan McGuire’s next Wayward Children book, in 2021.
I didn’t get to read all of the books I wanted to in 2020, but some of my favorites include:
“Black Sun” by Rebecca Roanhorse
“The Year of the Witching” by Alexis Henderson
“Riot Baby” by Tochi Onyebuchi
“Ring Shout” by P. Djeli Clark
“The House in the Cerulean Sea” by TJ Klune
BLACK SUN was wonderful. I’m restarting RIOT BABY because I got distracted during the holidays and put it down.
Three matches between your list and mine for books published in 2020 (last year there were none). Including those, my top picks in order are: The Broken Heavens (Kameron Hurley), Piranesi (Susanna Clarke), Harrow the Ninth (Tamsyn Muir), Unconquerable Sun (Kate Elliott), and The Empress of Salt and Fortune (Nghi Vo).
Of the others on your list, I read the following four and would rank them from most liked to least as: Network Effect (Martha Wells), A Deadly Education (Naomi Novik), Shorefall (Robert Jackson Bennett) and The Trouble With Peace (Joe Abercrombie).
So many books are being published nowadays. But so few sound interesting. I don’t know if it’s the nature of the stories themselves or if the publicists are not doing justice to the stories in the book descriptions they provide.
So many exciting-looking books from this year still to get into! Particularly the ones about witches.
I’m not normally very current, but my favourite books published this year are Call of the Boneships by R.J. Barker, How to Rule an Empire and Get Away With It by K.J. Parker, The Tyrant Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson and Mexican Gothic by Silvia Moreno Garcia
The book that made me happiest this year was Hench by Natalie Zina Walschots. I also really liked The Empress of Salt and Fortune. But I’m way behind on my reading. (Also, please do not pick me because way behind, etc.)
Wow, people don’t usually ask NOT to be picked! :)
The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue was a definite favorite this year, and Piranesi and The Book of Koli were quite strong as well.
I would include Ninth House, which I loved. I saw the recent reviews here that were turned off by the violence. Interestingly, I found Shorefall a less enjoyable book because of the heavy violence, but it bothered me less in Ninth House. Not sure why, except maybe it seemed intrinsic to the story, and the Shorefall violence just seemed over the top.
My other 5 star books for 2020 were Providence, by Max Barry, and A Beautifully Foolish Endeavor, by Hank Green.
I always find it interesting how we can react to similar aspects in two different books or films quite differently
I liked NINTH HOUSE too. The violence was personal. That can be hard to take, but it worked in that book (of course, the violence in SHOREFALL is deeply personal too.)
David Walton, your book Three Laws Lethal was on our Faves list last year. I just wanted you to know that I gave that book as a gift to several people in the past year.
Awesome to hear, thanks!
I will definitely have to read “The Last Emperox.” I’m not sure if I’ve read the previous two books in the series, but I’m driving myself crazy trying to find ISBN numbers for Audio CDs, not MP3 CDs. It’s so much easier, I find, to use Audio CDs …. I’m not sure if there are Audio CDs for the series.
Just started on The Fires of Vengeance by Evan Winter, So far it is just as good as the first book, The Rage of Dragons
Recently got “Harrow the Ninth” in a giveaway.
We got “Gideon the Ninth” in a mixup from Barnes & Noble last year when it was supposed to be Rachel Maddow’s “Drift”; they let us keep both. (Speaking of mixups, we recently were sent Grand Theft Auto V by Walmart instead of tie-dye shoelaces)
Have had “The Only Good Indians” for a while. Looking forward to reading “Piranesi”, as I really enjoyed Susannah Clarke’s “Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell” and its use of footnotes like the hilarious ones in Jonathan Stroud’s Bartimaeus trilogy.
Black Sun was a nice one. Seemed to have an abrupt ending worthy of Neal Stephenson, but I’ll read the next one.
A Memory Called Empire was a great one and I’m surprised it didn’t make it to the list.
Automatic Reload by Ferret Steinmetz was a lot of fun and I can’t recommend it enough.
Network Effect was fun, and worth reading for Murderbot in a longer format.
A Wizard’s Guide to Defensive Baking by T. Kingfisher was a great one. Funny and touching.
The Hereafter Bytes by Vincent Scott is another one that I wish more people were aware of and read. It’s funny, original and insightful.
And maybe more, but those stood out for me and were published this year.
Memory Called Empire was on last year’s list so you, a great book. Thanks for the other recommendations, will have to check them out
Lot of great books last year, I personally enjoyed A memory called Empire, the Ninth house, Shorefall, Once and Future witches, The Invisible life of Addie Larue, and The Rhythm of war.
David Walton,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!
Thanks so much!
Can’t believe I’ve not even more than glanced at Susanna Clarke’s Piranesi. Just some weird relationship between me and my TBR.
The Devil and the dark water really piqued my interest …. as did The only good Indians