Our favorite books of 2016

Here are our favorite books published in 2016. 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 2016. What did we miss? One commenter chooses a book from our stacks.


fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsfantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsfantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsDaughter of Blood: The Wall of Night Book Three





FOLLOW:  Facebooktwitterrssmail  SHARE:  Facebooktwitterredditpinteresttumblrmail
You can subscribe to our posts via email, email digest, browser notifications, Twitter, RSS, etc. You can filter by tag (e.g. Giveaway), keyword, author. We won't give your email address to anyone. Subscribe.

FanLit is a hobby for us, but it costs us money to run the site. You can help by using our links to purchase books at Amazon. Just click on our images of the book covers. It won't cost you any extra, but FanLit will get a referral fee for anything you buy (not just books). We use this money to pay for our domain names, hosting, software, and mailing books to giveaway winners. Thank you!

View all posts by


  1. What an amazing list! You have most of my favorites and my “want to read nexts” – making it very difficult to know where to start. I really enjoyed City of Blades. Older women as protagonists really get my attention. I’ve just finish the first 3 craft sequence books and have decided to read Four Roads Cross before Last First Snow. Saint’s Blood continues the promise of the Greatcoats. Obelisk Gate was devoured and the third book is eagerly awaited.
    I’m also planning to read Ninefox Gambit, Borderline, Central Station … This is just making me feel behind :)
    We are so lucky to be living in a time of expanding horizons for SFF. There are so many diverse influences to choose from, so much creative reimagining of our reality. Somethings to look forward to in 2017…

  2. Elton Porter /

    Absolutely loved Dark Matter.

  3. Have you read BORDERLINE by Mishell Baker yet? If you haven’t, you should! Definitely one of my top books of the year. I’m really looking forward to the second book.

  4. Great list!
    I wish I had the time to read them all. *sigh*
    I loved Children of Earth and Sky, and I really liked Sleeping Giants (its interview style suited me perfectly).
    Dark Matter, The Queen of Blood and Too Like The Lightning have been high up in my wish list.

    Happy New Year everyone!

  5. RedEyedGhost /

    No Babylon’s Ashes?

    Too Like the Lightning is the book on that list that I’m most looking forward to reading… that I haven’t already purchased.

  6. Sandy Giden /

    I loved Fire Touched by Patricia Briggs. But I can’t say I read many of the books on your list this year.

  7. Ok, because I cheated on the last Thoughtful Thursday and gave a large list of books instead of one favorite, I’m adding them again here. I will say that there are quite a few books on your list above that I still have on my to read list. One of which I’ve moved closer to the top of the list (A Criminal Magic) because of the review here. Ok, here is my reprise favorites of 2016 list:

    One Good Eclair (A Nutrition Mafia Mystery, #1) Schneider, Maria E. – Cozy mystery
    In Shining Armor (Pax Arcana, #4) James, Elliott – urban fantasy with sarcastic wit, male protagonist
    Agatha H and the Clockwork Princess (Girl Genius Novels, #2) Foglio, Phil – steampunk and the subtitle says it all “Adventure, Romance, Mad Science!”
    Gentleman Jole and the Red Queen Bujold, Lois McMaster the latest in this excellent scifi series
    A Free Man of Color (Benjamin January, #1) Hambly, Barbara historical mystery
    Etiquette & Espionage (Finishing School, #1) Carriger, Gail – YA steampunk fantasy with British wit.
    Jackaby (Jackaby, #1) Ritter, William – YA fantasy mystery
    Hold Me Closer, Necromancer (Necromancer, #1) McBride, Lish – Hilarious YA urban fantasy
    The Penderwicks at Point Mouette (The Penderwicks, #3) Birdsall, Jeanne – these are sweet family stories.
    Uprooted Novik, Naomi – very good fairy tale
    The Grendel Affair (SPI Files, #1) Shearin, Lisa – fun, new urban fantasy
    A Red-Rose Chain (October Daye, #9) McGuire, Seanan – urban fantasy with fairy tale and mystery leanings.

  8. Melanie Goldmund /

    Well, I haven’t read a lot of books that were published in 2016, but of the few that I did get my hands on, my favourite is probably Stiletto, by Daniel O’Malley, in the category of adult sff.

    In young adult, it was Arabella of Mars, by David Levine.

    The one I’m most looking forward to reading next is The Liberation, by Ian Tregillis.

  9. Great list of books. Most of these are lying on my to-read shelf on goodreads, but I didn’t read very many books this year. I had time but was burnt out by too much fantasy reading and doing too little.

    Anyway, I read Man’s search for meaning (non-fiction) this year and truly loved it.
    I read and really like two of Brian Staveley’s Unhewn Throne books and at year’s end read the Great Ordeal by R. SCott Bakker which was awesome as always.

  10. I haven’t read any books on this list! It’s embarrassing!
    Would get Dark Matter in my next subscription box though. Heard so many great reviews for that one.

    • I often feel that way when I come to our site. I think I’m pretty broadly read, and then I find all these books that, often, I’ve never even heard of. That’s part of the joy (and part of the expense!)

  11. I haven’t read all that many books on your list, but I loved Dark Matter! It was so compelling. A Gathering of Shadows is on my to-read list, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet.

  12. Loved Ilona Andrews this year. And Myke Cole.

  13. The Obelisk Gate sounds amazing!

  14. Kate S. /

    There are several books on the list I love. One example is “Magic Binds” by Ilona Andrews.

    I just started Brandon Sanderson’s “Arcanum Unbounded”. Sanderson is a great wordsmith and many times I get caught up in the beauty and wonder of the words he uses and sentence structure as well.

    There are others I have on my list to read, “Children of the Earth and Sky” and others such as Patricia Briggs’ “Fire Touched” I have read.

    However, I would have liked to see “Age of Myth” by Michael J. Sullivan on this list. It is a wonderful first book of a trilogy. Sullivan’s way of writing is uncomplicated and quite enticing at the same time. His characters are multi-dimensional and some can be surprising in their actions/thoughts. I would recommend this book and his previous series.

  15. Lynette /

    This is a great list! On the anthology/collection side, I really loved The Starlit Wood, a fairy tale retelling anthology from Navah Wolfe and Dominik Parisien. Some of the stories in there blew me away.

  16. Robotfowl /

    I still have so many of these to read, most importantly Ken Liu’s collection of shorts and Kelly’s A Criminal Magic. This list is pretty well rounded and even features one of my absolute best of the year (as it lets me bask in lore and backstory), Dancer’s Lament by Ian Esslemont. Too cool.

  17. Morning Star by Pierce Brown was a great ending to a great series. All the Birds in the Sky by Charlie Jane Anders was probably my favorite 2016 read overall.

  18. Looks like a great list. I look forward to this list each year as I often use it a ‘short cut’ to decide my next read when my backlog runs low. One question… shouldn’t the Brandon Sanderson entry be listed under Anthologies?

    • Yes, Greg, I think you’re right. The stories in Arcanum Unbounded are more or less independent of each other. There’s a conceptual connection, but it’s at the 50,000 foot level.

      Ditto for Dreams of Distant Shores.

  19. Earl Johnson /

    City of Blades! Epic fantasy at its best! A Mountain Dew and a few hours reading this! Yes!!!

  20. Yagiz, 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!

  21. Charlie Hanlon /

    Great list of books. I thought Everfair could have been much better, but I did enjoy it. Really looking forward to Ada Palmer’s book.


  1. Happy New Year, Here & On the Supernatural Underground — & Some Good News for “Daughter of Blood” » Helen Lowe - […] Fantasy Literature: Our Favorite Books Of 2016 — & Giveaway […]
  2. The Anniversary of “Daughter of Blood” » Helen Lowe - […] It was fantastic, too, to round off the year with DAUGHTER making Fantasy Literature’s list of Favourite Books of…

Review this book and/or Leave a comment:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *