2014 has been an exceptional year for sci-fi and fantasy literature. If you’ve missed my best of 2014 list, no worries. No reason to wax nostalgic. 2015 looks to be an excellent year for genre fiction. Although the three most anticipated books in the genre (Winds of Winter, Doors of Stone, Skybreaker) are unlikely to be released in 2015, there’s still a ton to look forward to. Here’s some of the best sci fi and fantasy books of 2015. The books on this list are ordered by expected date of release. (I can’t get over how cool some of the cover art is). Some of the descriptions come from Goodreads.
Golden Son by Pierce Brown
(Red Rising Trilogy, #2)
Pierce Brown’s debut novel, Red Rising, is a genre-bending YA fan favorite. In an age where the Earth is dying, a miner on the interior of Mars named Darrow must find and extract enough precious elements to some day tame the surface of the planet so as to make it habitable for humans. These miners are known as Reds. These Reds are mankind’s last hope. And with the sequel, Golden Son, being published so soon, it’s best to start now. This series is certainly on my to-read pile. Come to think of, it’s sitting on my desk now…
Release date: January 6th, Del Rey (Random House)
Firefight by Brandon Sanderson
Brandon Sanderson is no stranger to genre fiction. The #1 New York Times bestselling author has multiple series under his belt – The Stormlight Archive, Mistborn – and he’s even coauthored the last few Wheel of Time books with fantasy legend Robert Jordan. Reckoners follows the events ten years after Calamity, a burst in the sky that gave ordinary individuals extraordinary abilities. These individuals are known as Epics.
Release date: January 6th, Delacorte Press
The Providence of Fire by Brian Staveley
(Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne, #2)
Brian Staveley’s first book in his new fantasy series, The Emperor’s Blades hit the scene strong last year. Many reviewers ranked it quite high on their best of year lists. And as such, it’s at the top of my to-read-list. For fans of George R.R. Martin and Douglas Hulick, this title is for you.
Release date: January 13th, Tor Books
Unbreakable by W.C. Bauers
(The Chronicle of Promise Paen, #1)
W.C. Bauers breakthrough novel is pretty extraordinary in that it gives incredible depth to the future of warfare. Promise Paen is a damaged, but accomplished soldier, who sees visions of her dead mother in the presence of her ancient semiautomatic heirloom. I’m currently making my way through an ARC of this now.
Release date: January 13th, Tor Books
The Autumn Republic by Brian McClellan
(The Powder Mage, #3)
Brian McClellan’s series, The Powder Mage, follows Field Marshall Talas and his powder mages after they stage a coup against the king and send corrupt aristocrats to the guillotine. This also provokes a war with the Nine Nations. Don’t miss the exciting conclusion to the trilogy!
Release date: February 10th, Orbit
Half the World | Half a War by Joe Abercrombie
(Shattered Sea, #2-3)
Joe Abercrombie is perhaps best known for his ‘The First Law’ trilogy. But his new trilogy, Shattered Sea, admittedly a YA series, is receiving huge applause. And he’s releasing the second and third installments this year!
Release date: February 12th, Harper Voyage
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
(A Darker Shade of Magic, #1)
“From V.E. Schwab, the critically acclaimed author of Vicious, comes a new universe of daring adventure, thrilling power, and parallel Londons, beginning with A Darker Shade of Magic. Kell is one of the last Travelers—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel universes—as such, he can choose where he lands.”
Release date: February 24th, Tor Books
Heir to the Jedi by Kevin Hearne
(Star Wars: Empire and Rebellion, #3)
For any and all fans of the Star Wars Expanded Universe, it was tragic to learn that suddenly, once Disney took over creative rights of the franchise, none of the books were true canon. Rather all these books were relegated to the status of “Legends”. Well, for better or worse, the new films and direction have ushered in a new range of novels. Don’t miss Heir to the Jedi, perhaps the most anticipated of the unveiled lot.
Release date: March 3rd, LucasBooks
The Mechanical by Ian Tregillis
(The Alchemy Wars, #1)
“My name is Jax. That is the name granted to be by my human masters. I am a clakker: a mechanical man, powered by alchemy. Armies of my kind have conquered the world – and made the Brasswork Throne the sole superpower. I am a faithful servant. I am the ultimate fighting machine. I am endowed with great strength and boundless stamina. But I am beholden to the wishes of my human masters. I am a slave. But I shall be free.”
Release date: March 10th, Orbit
Clash of Eagles by Alan Smale
(The Hesperian Trilogy, #1)
“It’s The Last of the Mohicans meets HBO’s Rome in this exciting and inventive debut novel from Sidewise Award-winner Alan Smale that will thrill fans of alternate history, historical fiction, and military fiction. In a world where the Roman Empire never fell, a legion under the command of general Gaius Marcellinus invades the newly-discovered North American continent. But Marcellinus and his troops have woefully underestimated the fighting prowess of the Native American inhabitants. When Gaius is caught behind enemy lines and spared, he must reevaluate his allegiances and find a new place in this strange land.” This is definitely on my to-read list. Currently sitting in my ARC pile.
Release date: March 17th, Del Rey
The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu
(The Dandelion Dynasty, #1)
“Wily, charming Kuni Garu, a bandit, and stern, fearless Mata Zyndu, the son of a deposed duke, seem like polar opposites. Yet, in the uprising against the emperor, the two quickly become the best of friends after a series of adventures fighting against vast conscripted armies, silk-draped airships, soaring battle kites, conspiring goddesses, underwater boats, magical books, as a streetfighter-cum-general who takes her place as the greatest tactitian of the age. Once the emperor has been overthrown, however, they each find themselves the leader of separate factions—two sides with very different ideas about how the world should be run and the meaning of justice.”
Release date: April 7, Simon & Schuster
The Vagrant by Peter Newman
(The Vagrant, #1)
“The Vagrant is his name. He has no other. Friendless and alone he walks across a desolate, war-torn landscape, carrying nothing but a kit-bag, a legendary sword and a baby. His purpose is to reach the Shining City, last bastion of the human race, and deliver the sword, the only weapon that may make a difference in the ongoing war. But the Shining City is far away and the world is a very dangerous place.”
Release date: May 1st, Harper Voyager
Sword of the North by Luke Scull
(The Grim Company, #2)
“In The Grim Company, Luke Scull introduced a formidable and forbidding band of anti-heroes battling against ruthless Magelords and monstrous terrors. The adventure continues as the company—now broken—face new dangers on personal quests….”
Release date: May 5th, Roc Hardcover
The Liar’s Key by Mark Lawrence
(The Red Queen’s War, #2)
“Prince of Fools, The Red Queen’s War: Book One had all “the hallmarks of [Mark Lawrence’s] storytelling and writing style which made The Broken Empire trilogy such an incredibly addictive read” (Bibliosanctum.com). Now, The Liar’s Key continues the story of the unusual fellowship between a rogue prince and a weary warrior…” And that cover seriously sold it for me. Starting this series immediately.
Release date: June 2nd, Ace
Nemesis Games by James S.A. Corey
Here’s a series everyone should keep their eyes on. It’s currently my favorite SciFi series on the scene, and since its been picked up for a straight-to-series run on SyFy it’s skyrocketed in popularity. In many ways this is considered by fans as a Game of Thrones in space. There’s nine books announced, and they come out on yearly basis. Don’t miss it. The Expanse should hit television sometime in 2015 also, so this is perhaps THE most anticipated of the books on this list.
Release date: June 2nd, Orbit
The Price of Valor by Django Wexler
(The Shadow Campaigns, #3)
“In the latest Shadow Campaigns novel, Django Wexler continues his “epic fantasy of military might and magical conflict” following The Shadow Throne and The Thousand Names, as the realm of Vordan faces imminent threats from without and within.”
Release date: July 7th, Roc
Time Salvager by Wesley Chu
“In a future when Earth is a toxic, abandoned world and humanity has spread into the outer solar system to survive, the tightly controlled use of time travel holds the key maintaining a fragile existence among the other planets and their moons. James Griffin-Mars is a chronman–a convicted criminal recruited for his unique psychological makeup to undertake the most dangerous job there is: missions into Earth’s past to recover resources and treasure without altering the timeline. Most chronmen never reach old age, and James is reaching his breaking point.”
Release date: July 7th, Tor Books
Queen of Fire by Anthony Ryan
(Raven’s Shadow, #3)
Raven’s Shadow is an extremely popular series, that you either love or hate. The first book was one of my favorite reads in a while. The second book, eh… Not so much. But still, I need to find out what happens to Vaelin Al Sorna, and you do too probably.
Release date: July 7th, Roc
Armada by Ernest Cline
“Zack Lightman is daydreaming through another dull math class when the high-tech dropship lands in his school’s courtyard-and when the men in the dark suits and sunglasses leap out of the ship and start calling his name, he’s sure he’s still dreaming. But the dream is all too real; the people of Earth need him. As Zack soon discovers, the videogame he’s been playing obsessively for years isn’t just a game; it’s part of a massive, top-secret government training program, designed to teach gamers the skills they’ll need to defend Earth from a possible alien invasion. And now…that invasion is coming. As he and his companions prepare to enter their ships and do battle, Zack learns that the father he thought was dead is actually a key player in this secret war. And together with his father, he’ll uncover the truth about the alien threat, race to prevent a genocide, and discover a mysterious third player in the interplanetary chess game he’s been thrown into.”
Release date: July 14th, Crown Publishing
The Dinosaur Lords by Victor Milán
Does this really need a description? Good or bad, you know you’re intrigued.
Expected release date: July 28th, Tor
The Spider’s War by Daniel Abraham
(The Dagger and the Coin, #5)
“The epic conclusion to The Dagger and The Coin series, perfect for fans of George R.R. Martin.” But obviously, start with book one if you haven’t already.
Expected release date: August 4th, Orbit
The End of All Things by John Scalzi
(Old Man’s War, #6)
“Hugo-award winning author, John Scalzi returns to his best-selling Old Man’s War universe with the direct sequel to 2013’s The Human Division
Humans expanded into space…only to find a universe populated with multiple alien species bent on their destruction. Thus was the Colonial Union formed, to help protect us from from a hostile universe. The Colonial Union used the Earth and its excess population for colonists and soldiers. It was a good arrangement…for the Colonial Union. Then the Earth said: no more.”
Expected release date: August 11th, Tor Books
Fool’s Quest by Robin Hobb
(The Fitz and the Fool, #2) Here’s a book many genre fans look forward to. Robin Hobb’s FitzChivalry Farseer saga is one of the best fantasy series out there. And although I claim above that it’s book 2 of The Fitz and the Fool, it’s really the 2nd book within the third trilogy of his lifespan (so really the 8th book) But be wary. This series will suck you in and drain your soul. It’s beautiful and tragic.
Expected release date: August 11th, Del Rey
The Thorn of Emberlain by Scott Lynch
(Gentleman Bastard, #4) Scott Lynch’s Gentleman Bastard series is another highly popular fantasy saga that has fans chomping at the bits. But be warned, these books come with a strong language warning.
Expected release date: September 17th, Gollancz
Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson
This is the fifth release in Brandon Sanderson’s international bestselling Mistborn series, but a direct sequel to The Alloy of Law which takes place some centuries after the original trilogy. Now we follow Wax & Wayne. This book is interesting in that, as it was just recently announced, Sanderson wrote it and it’s sequel at the same time. The guy’s so prolific he can’t help it. Notice this is his second appearance on the list.
Expected release date: November 19th, Gollancz