January Sci-Fi & Fantasy books to pick up as soon as possible

Contributed by
Jan 2, 2018

What are your reading goals for January? Are you a person that has reading goals? It’s a thing I always think about as one year ends and another begins. My bookish wishes for 2017 were pretty simple: read more for fun. I have to read in order to do my job, but it means that the bulk of what I read is for work (even if I can’t do it on work time). I wanted to read more just for myself, but I was only marginally successful at that.

This year, I’m not sure what my goals are. I always want to read more, and to read more diversely. I’d like to read more books than I read in 2017 (somewhere around 190), but I’m pretty sure that’s not going to happen as life just gets busier. So instead, I’ll say that I’d like to take more enjoyment in my reading. I want to focus less on numbers and revel more in story and character. I’m really proud of my best SFF of 2017 list for Fangrrls, and I want to read more books with fantastic world building and deep, dark mysteries. All in all, this is shaping up to be a good reading year, so make sure you keep an eye out for these books in January.

Everless - Sara Holland (January 2)

This fantasy novel is set in a world where time is everything. People trade in time as if it were currency, buying time in order to add to their own lives. The rich live long lives at the expense of the poor, and no one feels that social stratification more than Jules. When her father’s life begins to run short, Jules knows she must steal time for him. I’m really interested in this book for multiple reasons, but I really think the class commentary — and divide between the haves and have nots — is really important right now.

A Conspiracy of Stars - Olivia A. Cole (January 2)

You may know Olivia Cole on Twitter for her excellent viral story about how she almost rented a murder house. But Cole is actually an author as well, and her new novel is here! When a teen gets the chance to study a planet called Faliov, she’s ecstatic. She’s always dreamed of becoming a whitecoat, one of the scientists who study this incredible world. But she soon discovers that things aren’t quite right at the lab, and the experiments aren’t what she thought they were. Normally I’m not overly swayed by blurbs (the quotes in support of a book on its cover), but considering Dhonielle Clayton and Daniel Jose Older have both said great things about this book, I’m in.

Black Star Renegades - Michael Moreci (January 2)

I’m intrigued (though cautious) by anything that’s compared to Star Wars, which is why Black Star Renegades caught my attention. It’s been billed as a Star Wars adventure that isn’t set in that rapidly expanding universe. A young man named Cade has an ultimate weapon that will bring peace, but he doesn’t want the responsibility. If he doesn’t wield it, though, the evil empire Praxis will find a way to get ahold of it and use it for themselves. A familiar story, sure, but I’m curious to see how it’s employed in this newish setting.

Zenith - Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings (January 16)

If a premise of lady space pirates sounds like a book you can get behind, then you’ll want to check out Zenith. The crew runs routine mercenary jobs to make ends meet, but when one goes wrong, they find themselves at the center of a very dangerous situation. I’m definitely interested in the character development on this one — a crew of space pirates, captained by someone known as “the Bloody Baronness” is enough to hook me for this one.

Heartland - Ana Simo (January 16)

I’m always looking for books from smaller presses to highlight in these roundups — after all, these publishers may not have the budgets of the bigger names, but they’re also where you’ll find a lot of the more diverse books being released. That’s why I was glad that Heartland, which is by Cuban American author Ana Simo, caught my eye. This novel is set just before the apocalypse, when starvation is rampant and the country is filled with refugee camps. It’s a stark landscape that serves as the backdrop for a story of revenge.

Markswoman - Rati Mehrotra (January 23)

I’ve had my eye on this book for about six months, so I’m incredibly excited that it’s finally here. The novel follows Kyra, a young woman who’s a member of a band of incredibly trained female warriors with enchanted blades. But when her mentor dies, Kyra is convinced there are sinister forces at work, and she’s forced to go on the run. I’m excited to see the fantastic world building this book promises, and I’m definitely interested in reading about an all-lady group of warriors.

The King of Bones and Ashes - J.D. Horn (January 23)

There’s an undercurrent of magic in the world around us, but it’s slowly disappearing. The witches who rely on it are trying to adapt to a new world in which they will no longer be able to use magic. But some are willing to pay a dark price in order to save what little magic they have left. Alice Marin is investigating a series of disappearances in New Orleans that she thinks may be linked to the waning days of magic. I’m a sucker for a crime novel in an urban fantasy setting, so I can’t wait to see how Horn develops this intriguing premise.