Best of the Year

Our Annual and All-Time FanLit Faves

Here we keep a list of our favorite books for each year and (see the bottom post) a list of many of our all-time favorite fantasy epics and stand-alone novels. If you’re new to the genre, here’s a good place to start (and this should keep you busy for quite a while, too!). Comments are welcome.

FanLit’s Favorite Books of 2013

Here are our favorite books published in 2013. Hover over the cover to see who recommends each book. Click 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! You can read some of our thoughts about these books in today’s later Thoughtful Thursday post, and you can add your comments there -- we'd love to hear your opinions about our list.




FanLit’s Favorite Books of 2012

Here are our favorite books published in 2012. Hover over the cover to see who recommends each book. Please keep in mind that we did not read every SFF book published in 2012, so we know we’ve missed some good ones! You can read some of our thoughts about these books in today’s later Thoughtful Thursday post, and you can add your comments there, too. We look forward to hearing about your favorite books of 2012!


MarionMarionTerryMarion, BillKatBill


Rebecca, MarionBillKellyKelly



AUDIOBOOKS  released in 2012


We’ve discussed some of these books here. Find our reviews of these books on our Author Pages (use the menu at the top right of this page).


FanLit’s Favorite Books of 2011

Here are our favorite books published in 2011. Hover over the cover to see who recommends each book. You can read some of our thoughts about these books in this post. In the comments, let us know if you agree, and what books we missed that are on your Best of 2011 list.


Lev Grossman The Magician KingChina Mieville EmbassytownDaniel Abraham The Dragon's PathJoe Abercrombie The HeroesNeal Stephenson ReamdeMark Lawrence Prince of ThornsPatrick Rothfuss The Wise Man's FearBrandon Sanderson The Alloy of LawHaruki Murakami IQ84Douglas Hulick Among ThievesKaren Marie Moning ShadowfeverJo Walton Among OthersSteven Erikson The Crippled GodStina Leicht Of Blood and HoneySeanan McGuire One Salt SeaJon Courtnay Grimwood The Fallen BladeClay and Susan Griffith The RiftwalkerM.L.N. Hanover Killing RitesJohn Hornor Jacobs Southern Gods


Laini Taylor Daughter of Smoke and BoneAnne Ursu BreadcrumbsCatherynne Valente The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland In A Ship Of Her Own MakingMatthew J. Kirby IcefallScott Westerfeld LeviathanPhilip Reeve Scrivener's MoonIan McDonald PlanesrunnerElizabeth C. Bunce Liar's Moon


John Joseph Adams Brave New WorldRobert Silverberg Collected Works MultiplesThe Collected Stories of Philip K. Dick Volume Two: Adjustment Team (1952-1953)

AUDIOBOOKS  (older books released in audio format in 2011)

Kage Baker The House of the StagSean Russell Gatherer of CloudsNnedi Okorafor-Mbachu Who Fears Death Walter J. Miller Jr A Canticle for LeibowitzWilliam Gibson Neuromancer

FanLit’s Favorite Books of 2010

Each of us has listed a few of our our favorite 2010 releases (hover over the cover to see who recommends each book). This year we’ve added an audio category — these are books that were released on audio for the first time in 2010. Read some of our comments about these books in this post.

Guy Gavriel Kay Under HeavenN.K. Jemisin The Inheritance Trilogy The Hundred Thousand KingdomsJoel Shepherd Tracato Jasper Kent Thirteen Years LaterJuliet Marillier Seer of SevenwatersFreda Warrington Midsummer NightFelix Gilman The Half-Made WorldKage Baker The Bird of the RiverJ.V. Jones Watcher of the DeadK.J. Parker The Folding KnifeSharon Shinn Troubled WatersIan Whates City of Dreams and NightmareSkyler White In Dreams BeginM.L.N. Hanover Black Sun's Daughter 3. Vicious GraceKat Richardson 5. LabyrinthNancy Holzner HellforgedWilliam Gibson Zero HistoryConnie Willis Blackout All Clearfantasy book reviews Justin Cronin The PassageIan McDonald The Dervish HousePatrick Rothfuss The Princess and Mr. Whiffle

Children / Young Adult

Matthew Kirby The Clockwork ThreeJonathan Stroud The Ring of SolomonKate Milford The BoneshakerPlain Kate Erin Bow


fantasy anthology review Jonathan Strahan and Lou Anders Swords & Dark Magic: The New Sword & Sorcery George R.R. Martin WarriorsThe New Dead: A Zombie Anthology Christopher GoldenReal Unreal: Best American Fantasy 3Daniel Abraham Leviathan WeptThe Very Best of Charles de LintHolly Black The Poison Eaters

2010 Audiobooks

Gene Wolfe The Shadow of the TorturerJulian May The Many-Coloured LandElizabeth Moon The Speed of DarkJesse Bullington The Sad Tale of the Brothers GrossbartGuy Gavriel Kay Under Heaven

FanLit’s Favorite Books of 2009

It’s quite a bit longer this year because we added a few new reviewers. Mostly we did not read the same books, but special mention goes to the first 10 novels which were highly recommended by more than one of us. Hover over the cover to see who recommends each book.

China Mieville The City & the Citybook review Daniel Abraham The Long Price Quartet 1. A Shadow in Summer 2. A Betrayal in Winter 3. An Autumn War 4. The Price of Springfantasy book reviews Brandon Sanderson WarbreakerJeff VanderMeer Ambergris fantasy book review 1. City of Saints and Madmen 2. Shriek, Secret Life, FinchJulian Comstock: A Story of 22nd-Century America

Children / Young Adult


FanLit’s Favorite Books of 2008

Joe Abercrombie‘s The Last Argument of Kings and Brandon Sanderson‘s The Hero of Ages (both trilogy enders) top our list this year. In fact, those of us who read any Abercrombie or Sanderson novels named them as favorite authors this year. Another mention goes to last year’s favorite: Patrick Rothfuss. Those of us who finally got around to reading his 2007 debut novel this year put it at the top of our lists.

Joe Abercrombie Last Argument of KingsMistborn The Final Empire Brandon SandersonAn Autumn War Daniel AbrahamPamela Freeman Blood TiesBlack Ships Jo GrahamPatricia Briggs Iron KissedThe Ten Thousand Paul KearneyBlack Pearls Louise Hawes

Children / Young Adult

Helen Lowe Thornspell

FanLit’s Favorite Books of 2007

We’ve named Patrick Rothfuss‘s The Name of the Wind as FanLit’s Favorite Book of 2007. Since this is our first year in existence, this is our first award ever. Mr. Rothfuss’s response: “That’s so cool. I’m proud to be your first….”

Best Book of 2007 FanLit review The Name of the Wind Patrick RothfussBest Book of 2007 FanLit review Joe Abercrombie Before They are HangedBest Book of 2007 FanLit review C.S. Friedman Feast of SoulsBest Book of 2007 FanLit review Steven Erikson Reaper's GaleBest Book of 2007 FanLit review J.R.R. Tolkien The Children of HurinBest Book of 2007 FanLit review  The Well of Ascension Brandon SandersonBest Book of 2007 FanLit review  Red Seas Under Red Skies Scott Lynchbest of 2007 J.V. Jones A Sword from Red Icebook review Valentine's Resolve E.E. Knight Best of 2007Alex Bledsoe Sword Edged Blonde

FanLit’s All-Time Faves!

Some of our all-time favorite fantasy novels. We update this list occasionally.

Here are some of our very favorite fantasy novels and series (the first book in a series is shown). Each of our reviewers provided their top favorites. We don’t all love every book on this list, but there is definitely a lot of overlap! You might also be interested in the archive of our Best of the Year lists.

RECOMMENDED SERIES (first book or omnibus is shown)

China Mieville New Crobuzon Perdido Steet Station, The Scar, Iron  CouncilRobin Hobb Farseer Saga: 1. Assassin's Apprentice 2. Royal Assassin  3. Assassin's Quest fantasy book reviewsRobert Holdstock Mythago Wood, LavondyssFritz Leiber Lankhmar (Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser) 1. Swords  Against Deviltry, Ill Met in Lankhmar 2. Swords Against Death 3. Swords  in the Mist 4. Swords against Wizardrybook review Steven Erikson Gardens of the MoonPattern Recognition by William GibsonGene Wolfe The Book of the New Sun 1. The Shadow of the Torturer 2. The Claw of the Conciliator 3. The Sword of the Lictor 4. The Citadel of the Autarch 5. The Urth of the New SunRobert Jordan The Wheel of Time: The Eye of the World, The Great Hunt, The Dragon Reborn, The Shadow Rising, The Fires of Heaven, Lord of Chaosfantasy book review Lev Grossman The MagiciansWilliam Gibson 1. Neuromancer 2. Count Zero 3. Mona Lisa OverdriveTolkien Lord of the Rings, The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two  Towers, The Return of the KingGeorge R.R. Martin, A Song of Ice and Fire: A Game of ThronesC.S. Friedman Coldfire Trilogy 1. Black Sun Rising 2. When True Night Falls 3. Crown of Shadowsfantasy book reviews Jack Vance The Dying Earth, The Eyes of the Overworld, Cugels Saga, Rialto the Marvellousbook review Patricia McKillip  Riddlemaster Morgon of HedNeal Stephenson The Baroque Cycle 1. Quicksilver 1. King of the Vagabonds 3. Odalisque 4. The Confusion 5. The System of the WorldJack Vance Lyonesse 1. Suldrun's Garden 2. The Green Pearl 3.  Madouc fantasy book reviewsRobert E. Howard Conan Kull, The Coming of Conan The Cimmerian,  The Bloody Crown of Conan, The Conquering Sword of Conanbook review Kim Harrison Rachel Morgan 1. Dead Witch Walking 2.  The Good, the Bad, and the Undead 3. Every Which Way But Dead 4. A  Fistful of Charms 5. For a Few Demons More 6. The Outlaw Demon Wails  Where Demons DareThe EarthSea Cycle Ursula Le Guin: A Wizard of Earthsea, The Tombs of Atuan, THe Farthest Shore, Tehanu, Tales from Earthsea, The Other WindMervyn Peake Gormenghast Trilogy 1. Titus Groan 2. Gormenghast 3. Titus Alone book reviewsJanny Wurts THe Wars of Light and Shadow, The Curse of the  Mistwraith, Ships of Merior, Warhost of VastmarkJoe Abercrombie The First Law 1. The Blade Itself 2.  Before They are Hanged 3. The Last Argument of Kingsthe fortress series c.j. cherryh  fortress in the eye of timeMercedes Thompson, Moon Called, Blood Bound, Iron Kissed 4. Bone  Crossed 5. book review E.E. Knight Vampire Earth Way of the Wolf, Choice of the Cat, Tale of the Thunderbolt, Valentine's Rising, Valentine's Exile, Valentine's Resolve, Fall With HonorBrandon Sanderson The Final Empire 1. Mistborn 2. The Well of  Ascension 3. Hero of Ages reviewCatherynne Valente The Orphan's Tales: In the Night Garden, IN the  Cities of Coin and SpiceScott Lynch fantasy book reviews The Gentleman Bastard: 1. The Lies of Locke Lamora 2. Red Seas Under Red Skies 3. The Republic of Thieves 4. The Thorn of Emberlain 5. The Ministry of Necessity 6. The Mage and the Master Spy 6. Inherit the Night book review Stephen R. Donaldson The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant  the Unbeliever Lord Foul's Banebook review Daniel Abraham The Long Price Quartet 1. A Shadow in  Summer 2. A Betrayal in Winter 3. An Autumn War 4. The Price of SpringThe Riftwar Saga: Magician: Apprentice, Silverthorn, A Darkness at  SethanonPatrick Rothfuss The Kingkiller Chronicle: 1.  The Name of the  Wind 2. The Wise Man's Fearurban fantasy book reviews: Ilona Andrews, Kate Daniels: 1. Magic  Bites 2. Magic Burns 3. Magic StrikesJaqueline Carey Kushiel's Dart, Kushiel's Chosen, Kushiel's Avatar,  Kushiel's Scion, Kushiel's Justice, Kushiel's MercyLois McMaster Bujold Vorkosigan Saga 1. Shards of Honor 2. Barrayar 3. The Warrior's Apprentice 4. Ethan of Athosurban fantasy book review Freda Warrington ElflandMeredith Ann Pierce 1. The Darkangel 2. A Gathering of Gargoyles  3. The Pearl of the Soul of the World The Dresden Files Storm Front, Fool Moon, Grave Peril, Summer Knight, Death Masksbook review Tad Williams Memory Sorrow and Thorn: 1. The Dragonbone Chair 2. Stone of Farewell 3. To Green Angel Tower Siege Storm


someplace to be flying de lintScience Fiction Book reviews Frank Herbert 1. Dune 2. Dune Messiah 3. Children of Dune 4. God Emperor of Dune 5. Heretics of Dune 6. Chapterhouse: Dunebook review Susanna Clarke Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell a  novelWinter Rose Patricia McKillip book reviewElizabeth Hand book review Waking the Moon


Tamora Pierce Circle of MagicC.S. Lewis The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion the Witch and the  Wardrobe, The Magician's Nephew, The Horse and His Boy, Prince Caspian,  The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, The Silver Chair, The Last BattleJ.K. Rowling 1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone 2. Harry  Potter and the Chamber of Secrets 3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of  Azkaban 4. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire 5. Harry Potter and the  Order of the Phoenix 6. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince 7. Harry  Potter and the Deathly HallowsMadeleine L'Engle Time Quintet 1. A Wrinkle in Time (1962) 2. A Wind in the Door (1973) 3. A Swiftly Tilting Planet (1978) 4. Many Waters (1986) 5. An Acceptable Time (1989) Lloyd Alexander Chronicles of Prydain The Book of Three The Black  Cauldron The Castle of Llyr Taran Wanderer The High King The Foundlingdiana wynne jones howl's castle howl's moving castle reviewbook review Philip Pullman His Dark Materials The Golden Compass,  The Subtle Knife, The Amber Spyglassbook review Patricia C. Wrede Enchanted Forest: Dealing with  Dragons, Searching for Dragons, Calling on Dragons, Talking to Dragonschildren's fantasy book review Rick Riordan: Percy Jackson and the  Olympians: 1. The Lightning Thief 2. The Sea of Monsters 3. The Titan's  Curse 4. The Battle of the LabyrinthHolly Black The Spiderwick Chronicles review 1. The Field Guide 2.  The Seeing Stone 3. Lucinda's Secret 4. The Ironwood Tree 5. The Wrath  of Mulgarath diana wynne jones review fire and hemlock

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