In the madness of 2020, many great books have gone under the radar. Here are 15 of the best sci-fi and fantasy novels from the past year that you may have missed.
Let’s face it: the past year has been tough for everyone from individuals trapped in their homes to businesses trying to stay afloat in a volatile environment. For example, it was a year about as difficult as publishing a book. While book sales actually increased in 2020 (up 8.2% for print, 15.5% for e-books and 16.5% for audiobooks), the majority of sales of fiction consisted of titles and authors from the waiting list. before 2020. In-person events such as book signings and conventions that typically give visibility to new books have been canceled or have gone virtual. Even those coveted bookstore displays have been pretty ineffective for most of 2020 because, you know, going to the store wasn’t really on the cards for much of the year. It was difficult for anyone to release a book in 2020, and doubly difficult for early authors.
The flip side is that you, the voracious reader, may have missed out on a few absolute gems last year. Some of these gems could even have sequelae on the way.
So we’ve rounded up 15 of the best sci-fi and fantasy books of 2020 that you might miss. These tales represent a range of sci-fi and fantasy subgenres, so whatever your tastes, you’ll likely find a new favorite here. Some are authors who have just broken through the doors of the publishing industry in 2020; others are new series by former players.
We’ll take a look!
1. The Bone Splint Girl by Andrea Stewart
It was my favorite book that I read from 2020 – but in keeping with the theme of this article, I only recently discovered it. Looks like an absolute crime considering the quality The Bone Splint Girl is. It combines elements of epic fantasy and horror in such a unique and fresh way that it even stands out among the many excellent books that have come out in the genre in recent years.
Here is the official description:
The emperor’s reign spanned decades, his mastery of bone fragment magic fueling the animal constructs that maintain law and order. But now his reign is failing and revolution is sweeping through the Empire’s many islands.
Lin is the Emperor’s daughter and spends her days trapped in a palace with locked doors and dark secrets. When her father refuses to recognize her as heir to the throne, she vows to prove her worth by mastering the forbidden art of bone fragment magic.
Yet such power comes at a high cost, and when the revolution hits the palace gates, Lin must decide how far she is willing to go to claim her birthright – and save her people.
The Bone Splint Girl is one of the most unique fantasy books I think I have ever read, in large part because of the narrative structure the author employs. The two “main” characters in the story are written from a first person perspectiveâ¦ while the rest are told from the more traditional limited third person perspective so popular in modern fantasy. While that may sound shocking, rest assured – it only makes the story better. It’s a very difficult thing for a writer to do, and Stewart does it incredibly well.
But hey, you’re not into all that gritty writing stuff. You just want a good story! The Bone Splint Girl also offers for this purpose. It takes place in a fantasy world on a moving archipelago, where the inhabitants of the Empire are forced to donate a fragment of their skull to the government in a bloody ceremony when they are children. In turn, the emperor uses these bone fragments to create monstrous constructions. And when I say monstrous, I really mean it. The Bone Splint Girl delves into horror like few fantasy books do, right down to its biggest twistsâ¦ which we can’t talk about here because of SPOILERS, but my god they hit hard. Magical systems are excellent, combining magical elements as strictly ordered as computer code with other more mystical elements that imbue the world with an immense sense of wonder.
Oh, and it features what might be the most endearing animal companion of any fantastic book in recent memory.
When I said there were hidden gems last year, this book was at the forefront of my mind. The second volume of the trilogy, The Emperor of Bone Splinters, hits shelves on November 9.