40 fantasy and science fiction books you should read in 2022

Discover Orbit's "Memory's Legion" by James S.A. Corey on Amazon.
Discover Orbit's "Memory's Legion" by James S.A. Corey on Amazon. /
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Notorious Sorcerer by Davinia Evans — September 13

Notorious Sorcerer is the debut novel by Davinia Evans. It sounds like a heady adventure of magic gone awry and inter-planar conflict. Publisher Orbit Books is calling this one a “vibrant and clever adventure fantasy,” and given Evans’ claim on her website that a background studying political strategy made a life writing stories “full of sneaky ratbags tangling with magic” inevitable, we’re inclined to think this one is going to be an awful lot of fun with some great humor:

Ever since the city of Bezim was shaken half into the sea by a magical earthquake, the Inquisitors have policed alchemy with brutal efficiency. Nothing too powerful, too complicated, too much like real magic is allowed–and the careful science that’s left is kept too expensive for any but the rich and indolent to tinker with. Siyon Velo, a glorified errand boy scraping together lesson money from a little inter-planar fetch and carry, doesn’t qualify.

But when Siyon accidentally commits a public act of impossible magic, he’s catapulted into the limelight. Except the limelight is a bad place to be when the planes themselves start lurching out of alignment, threatening to send the rest of the city into the sea.

Now Siyon, a dockside brat who clawed his way up and proved himself on rooftops with saber in hand, might be Bezim’s only hope. Because if they don’t fix the cascading failures of magic in their plane, the Powers and their armies in the other three will do it for them.

Pre-order it: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books-A-Million

Discover Tordotcom's "Nona the Ninth" by Tamsyn Muir on Amazon.
Discover Tordotcom’s “Nona the Ninth” by Tamsyn Muir on Amazon. /

Nona the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir (The Locked Tomb #3) — September 13

The next volume of Tamsyn Muir’s twisty space-necromancy series The Locked Tomb is due out this September…which means we should all prepare to have our minds utterly broken.

Gideon the Ninth was a relatively straightforward book about a necromancer and her undead champion Gideon, who was as quick with dirty jokes as she was with her sword; together, they went through a haunted-house style tournament where the name of the game was kill or be killed.

That book ended in a triumph that was also a tragedy…which set the stage for the 2020 sequel Harrow the Ninth, which was a study in irregular story structure and the deconstruction of a mind so traumatized that its memory is scattered to the void.

We have no idea what to expect from Nona the Ninth. The veil on the wider galactic conflict began getting pulled back during Harrow, but with Muir, anything is on the table.

Pre-order it: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books-A-Million

Discover Del Rey's "The Golden Enclaves" by Naomi Novik on Amazon.
Discover Del Rey’s “The Golden Enclaves” by Naomi Novik on Amazon. /

The Golden Enclaves by Naomi Novik (The Scholomance #3) — September 27

If magic school stories are your jam, then you’ll probably be happy to know that the final volume of Naomi Novik’s The Scholomance trilogy is due out this year. The Golden Enclaves continues the story of El from A Deadly Education and The Last Graduate, but this time the stakes are higher.

Magic school stories are a dime a dozen these days, but Novik brings a special quality to any story she writes. From historical fiction with Temeraire to the fairy tale retellings of Uprooted and Spinning Silver, Novik has thus far been able to hop fantasy subgenres without missing a beat. The Scholomance sees her flexing her writing muscles in the Harry Potter arena, taking the tropes common to those kinds of stories and turning them on their heads to create a dark and intriguing tale set in a magic school where monsters lurk around every corner and one of the biggest criteria for graduating is simply staying alive.

All that’s left is to see how she sticks the landing this fall.

Pre-order it: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Books-A-Million