2022 Staff Picks: Science Fiction and Fantasy

By Skokie Staff Advisory Services

Our expert staff members look back at the year and share their favorite titles.

  • Sea of Tranquility

    2022 by Mandel, Emily St. John

    I definitely think that Mandel is one of the best in the business at weaving together multiple characters, viewpoints, and storylines. Add in some time travel, moon settlements, and astrophysical weirdness, and you've got a story that I literally sat and read in one go. Suggested by Amy K.

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  • How to Be Eaten

    2022 by Adelmann, Maria

    I loved this book and its clever take on fairy tales. Through wry humor, the author shows how these tales are still relevant--especially in terms of how women are viewed in society. Suggested by Lynnanne.

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  • The Stardust Thief

    2022 by Abdullah, Chelsea

    I devoured this One Thousand and One Nights-inspired debut fantasy novel. Told from multiple points of view, the story takes us on a quest for a magic relic that will forever alter the human and jinn power struggle. The plot is fast-paced and I loved learning about the characters who each have their own motive for going on the adventure. I can't wait to read more from this series. Suggested by Rummanah.

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  • Wild and Wicked Things

    2022 by May, Francesca

    This queer retelling of The Great Gatsby incorporates magic with the seductive allure of money and extravagance. The pacing kept me coming back for more, and May's creative take on The Great Gatsby is something to be applauded. Suggested by Amber H.

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  • The City Inside

    2022 by Basu, Samit

    It's been awhile since cyberpunk felt as relevant to me as it did when reading The City Inside. Basu's near-future Delhi is a sadly plausible dystopia(?) where there's still the necessity of moral choice--and maybe, the possibility of heroism. Suggested by Andrew.

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  • The Golden Enclaves

    2022 by Novik, Naomi

    Book three of The Scholomance series did not disappoint! I absolutely love the narrator, who is snarky and angry and very self aware. And I love the scheming murderous world of magic in which she lives. Suggested by Rachael.

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  • The Book Eaters

    2022 by Dean, Sunyi

    I absolutely loved this violent, fast-paced, genre-blending fantasy about vampiric families and the decisions we make to survive oppressive power structures. The author is also autistic and discusses how her neurodivergence influenced her writing. Suggested by Megan.

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  • Siren Queen

    2022 by Vo, Nghi

    I was absolutely mesmerized by this historical fantasy which unveils the ugly side of the 1930's Hollywood golden years and is loosely based on the life of Anna May Wong, the first Chinese American actress. I loved the main protagonist, Luli, and witnessing her awakening to her own power. Suggested by Rummanah.

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  • The Monsters We Defy

    2022 by Penelope, L.

    I found The Monsters We Defy to be a remarkable historical fantasy read, not only because of the seamless weaving of 1920's Harlem and folk magic, but also because of the research. Penelope made mention of Black icons and events, which made her world feel even more authentic. Suggested by Amber H.

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  • The World We Make

    2022 by Jemisin, N. K.

    Once again, Jemisin's politically astute, funhouse-mirror version of our world was the most purely entertaining reading experience I had all year. And we finally learn who the avatar of Chicago is! Suggested by Andrew.

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  • When Women Were Dragons

    2022 by Barnhill, Kelly Regan

    A Mad Men-era story made better by women who are turned to dragons, fly away, and leave their lives. Alex Green, whose aunt became a dragon while her mother did not, struggles throughout her life with the meaning of the 'dragoning' and why her mother stayed. Lovely, smart, and so much fun. Suggested by Lynnanne and Megan.

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  • Daughter of the Moon Goddess

    2022 by Tan, Sue Lynn

    This is a lush, character-driven fantasy with great world building. It is completely enchanting and magical. I love learning about Chinese folklore and mythology. I am looking forward to picking up the conclusion, which was published just a few weeks ago. Suggested by Rummanah.

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  • The Mountain in the Sea

    2022 by Nayler, Ray

    This debut may be the best I've read. Advances in artificial intelligence and the discovery of an octopus species that appears to use symbolic language raise questions about the definition of consciousness. Suggested by Andrew.

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  • How High We Go in the Dark

    2022 by Nagamatsu, Sequoia

    A collection of almost unbearably devastating dystopian scenarios, leading toward a surprisingly beautiful and uplifting conclusion. I loved it! Suggested by Megan.

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  • Light from Uncommon Stars

    2021 by Aoki, Ryka

    This science fiction novel left us feeling hopeful. The characters were full of love even if they had dark motives and were coming from dark places. We loved the queer characters and the clever use of music, mythology, and place. Suggested by Rachael and Rummanah.

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  • Elder Race

    2021 by Tchaikovsky, Adrian

    I was intrigued by the premise--what if two characters disagreed as to whether they were in a science fiction story or a fantasy one?--and impressed with the execution. There are epic series that lack the world building and character development of this slim novella; it's like a masterclass in genre writing. Suggested by Andrew.

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