Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.
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This week’s topic is Favorite Books of 2020, and I’m going to get a bit more specific and focus on Sci-Fi and Fantasy that I read in 2020. Also, instead of ranking, I put the books in alphabetical order by title. These are all AMAZING reads that I’ve raved about and recommended throughout the year!!
Favorite SFF Reads of 2020
The best thing to come out of this mess of a year is the release of an amazing amount of awesome books!!
Though this has been a dumpster fire of a year, I have read a ton of amazing books! Reading has definitely been my saving grace in 2020 and has helped me maintain my sanity. I hit my all-time high amount of books read, and I’ve read a ton of wonderful and memorable stories!! Let’s take a look at some of my favorite SFF reads:
1. Beneath Cruel Fathoms by Anela Deen
Series: The Bitter Sea Trilogy (Book 1)
Page Length: 386
Publication Date: May 2019
Publisher: Fine Fables Press
Synopsis: After a violent storm destroys her ship, Isaura Johansdottir knows better than to hope she’ll be rescued from Eisland’s vast Failock Sea. Adrift and alone, her plans to start over lost, it’s a tragic conclusion after the disastrous end of her marriage—until she’s saved by Leonel, one of the merfolk, a creature long believed extinct. In repayment for her life, Leonel enlists her help to investigate the Failock’s mysterious and deadly plague of squalls. But when Isaura discovers Eisland’s ruthless new Lord commands the storms, her life will be in more danger on land than it ever was at sea.
As guardian of the Fathoms, Leonel must find the cause of unnatural storms ravaging the tidal currents and destroying the sea life. There are rumors of dark magic stirring in the Orom Abyss, the resting place of old, vanquished gods who tried to submerge the land millennia ago. Yet without proof, no one in King Ægir’s court will listen to him. And if it’s discovered he broke the Blue Laws to save a shipwrecked landweller, he might not survive the consequences.
As storms spread, Leonel and Isaura uncover secrets as forbidden as the bond that grows between them. Betrayal lurks in the restless sea, and when ancient powers lay siege to Eisland’s coast, the truth may be drowned along with everything else.
2. Cinderella is Dead by Kalynn Bayron
Page Length: 400
Publication Date: July 7, 2020
Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
Synopsis: It’s 200 years after Cinderella found her prince, but the fairy tale is over. Teen girls are now required to appear at the Annual Ball, where the men of the kingdom select wives based on a girl’s display of finery. If a suitable match is not found, the girls not chosen are never heard from again.
Sixteen-year-old Sophia would much rather marry Erin, her childhood best friend, than parade in front of suitors. At the ball, Sophia makes the desperate decision to flee, and finds herself hiding in Cinderella’s mausoleum. There, she meets Constance, the last known descendant of Cinderella and her step sisters. Together they vow to bring down the king once and for all–and in the process, they learn that there’s more to Cinderella’s story than they ever knew . . .
This fresh take on a classic story will make readers question the tales they’ve been told, and root for girls to break down the constructs of the world around them.
3. Crownchasers by Rebecca Coffindaffer
Series: Crownchasers (Book 1)
Page Length: 384
Publication Date: Sept. 29, 2020
Publisher: Harper Teen
Synopsis: A deadly competition for the throne will determine more than just the fate of the empire in this riveting duology opener, perfect for fans of The Hunger Games, Aurora Rising, and Three Dark Crowns.
Alyssa Farshot has spent her whole life trying to outrun her family legacy. Her mother sacrificed everything to bring peace to the quadrant, and her uncle has successfully ruled as emperor for decades. But the last thing Alyssa wants is to follow in their footsteps as the next in line for the throne. Why would she choose to be trapped in a palace when she could be having wild adventures exploring a thousand-and-one planets in her own ship?
But when Alyssa’s uncle becomes gravely ill, his dying wish surprises the entire galaxy. Instead of naming her as his successor, he calls for a crownchase, the first in seven centuries. Representatives from each of the empire’s prime families—including Alyssa—are thrown into a race to find the royal seal, which has been hidden somewhere in the empire. The first to find the seal wins the throne.
Alyssa’s experience as an explorer makes her the favorite to win the crown she never wanted. And though she doesn’t want to be empress, her duty to her uncle compels her to participate in this one last epic adventure. But when the chase turns deadly, it’s clear that more than just the fate of the empire is at stake. Alyssa is on her most important quest yet—and only time will tell if she’ll survive it.
4. The Elements of the Crown by Kay L. Moody
Series: The Elements of Kamdaria (Books 1-4)
Page Length: 450
Publication Date: Dec. 3, 2019
Synopsis: Talise has a gift that could save her life. In an empire divided into three rings, seventeen-year-old Talise is from the outer ring. This dangerous and crime-laden land has one constant… death. Her only chance for escape is to become Master Shaper—an honored position in the palace court and military. Each year, the emperor chooses one student to receive the title.
After ten years of training at an elite academy, Talise clearly has a gift for manipulating the elements of water, air, earth, and fire. But Aaden, a handsome student from the privileged inner ring, is poised to steal the title away from her.
When they come before the emperor, he is impressed with the great skill both Talise and Aaden possess. He presents them with a set of trials, and she knows this is the chance she needs to prove herself. As long as Aaden doesn’t ruin everything.
But secrets hide in every corner of the palace, masking a conflict far more dangerous than her previous home in the outer ring. Now, she must play along with the emperor’s lies and games, or else she will lose her life to an enemy she never expected.
5. Fable by Adrienne Young
Series: Fable (Book 1)
Page Length: 368
Publication Date: Sept. 1, 2020
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Synopsis: As the daughter of the most powerful trader in the Narrows, the sea is the only home seventeen-year-old Fable has ever known. It’s been four years since the night she watched her mother drown during an unforgiving storm. The next day her father abandoned her on a legendary island filled with thieves and little food. To survive she must keep to herself, learn to trust no one and rely on the unique skills her mother taught her. The only thing that keeps her going is the goal of getting off the island, finding her father and demanding her rightful place beside him and his crew. To do so Fable enlists the help of a young trader named West to get her off the island and across the Narrows to her father.
But her father’s rivalries and the dangers of his trading enterprise have only multiplied since she last saw him and Fable soon finds that West isn’t who he seems. Together, they will have to survive more than the treacherous storms that haunt the Narrows if they’re going to stay alive.
Welcome to a world made dangerous by the sea and by those who wish to profit from it. Where a young girl must find her place and her family while trying to survive in a world built for men.
6. The Jabberwocky Princess by Cece Louise
Series: The Forest Tales – Book 2
Page Length: 298
Publication Date: March 10. 2020
Synopsis: Beware the Jabberwock . . . The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Kitchen maid Kainda is the daughter of a disgraced monster-hunter. She longs to learn more about strange beasts and use the hunting skills her father taught her, but kitchen maids don’t get to have adventures—especially not a girl everyone thinks is crazy.
That is until devil-may-care Prince Ander enlists her help in defeating a monster troubling a nearby kingdom. With her misfit knight best friend by her side, Kainda thinks it’s the perfect arrangement. She gets adventure and financial freedom, while Prince Ander gets to marry the princess of Fernshire.
Until the beast proves more troublesome than anyone imagined, and secrets from her father’s past raise the question: What is more dangerous—myth or reality?
A standalone read perfect for fans of sweet romance, suspense, and fairy tales!
7. Poison and Honey by Kristen Brand
Series: Dark and Otherworldly (Book 1)
Publication Date: July 15, 2020
Synopsis: Leigh Morgan has known that magic existed ever since an unearthly monster abducted her sister. It’s why she’s in Otherworld now, posing as a servant in its dark, decadent palace. She’s gathering intelligence and working with a small band of allies to bring down the Others and free their human captives. Her mission depends on blending in, so the last thing she wants is to attract the attention of a cunning prince.
Dredarion Rath wants one thing: to disgrace his older brother and prove himself the worthier heir to the throne. And out of all the servants in the palace, he chooses Leigh to help him. Just her luck.
Now Leigh has to keep her work a secret from a bewitching man who sees right through her–and who’s not nearly as cold and inhuman as he seems. She can’t screw this up, or the humans forced into servitude will never go home. But juggling two conspiracies at once, it’s only a matter of time before it all comes crashing down, and the man she’s falling for has her executed for her betrayal…
8. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
Series: Six of Crows – Book 1
Page Length: 465
Publication Date: Sept. 29, 2015
Publisher: Henry Holt & Company
Synopsis: Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone. . . .
A convict with a thirst for revenge
A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager
A runaway with a privileged past
A spy known as the Wraith
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes
Kaz’s crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first.
9. Subversive by Colleen Cowley
Series: Clandestine Magic Trilogy (Book 1)
Publication Date: Sept. 27, 2020
Synopsis: In an America controlled by wizards, Beatrix Harper counts herself among the resistance—the Women’s League for the Prohibition of Magic. Then Peter Blackwell, the only wizard her town has ever produced, unexpectedly returns home and presses her into service as his assistant.
Beatrix fears he wants to undermine the League. His real purpose is far more dangerous for them both.
Subversive is the first novel in the Clandestine Magic trilogy, set in a warped 21st century that will appeal to fans of gaslamp fantasy.
10. The Underground by Liv Evans
Series: Derivates Rising
Page Length: 395
Publication Date: Oct 10, 2020
Synopsis: “When freedom is a luxury, resistance is inevitable.”
The Government rule the Hub with an iron fist, their strict laws enforced by Derivates, humans with psionic abilities. When one of these Derivates flees her post, they send KC-847, a powerful telekinetic, to bring her back. However, KC-847 soon learns his team are unprepared for what they find in the tunnels, and the mission goes awry.
Flit, a plucky teleporter, works for the Underground resistance, the last refuge for Derivates wishing to live free of the Government’s control. On a routine security patrol, Flit comes across KC-847 and breaks all the rules to bring him back to the Underground.
However, KC-847’s arrival brings with it a string of deadly events that threaten the safety of the Underground. Convinced the incidents are more than unfortunate coincidences, Flit refuses to fall back on a false sense of security and drags KC-847 on an investigation that will change the trajectory of Derivate-kind forever.
11. Warriors of Wing and Flame by Sara B. Larson
Series: Sisters of Shadow and Light (Book 2)
Publication Date: Oct. 27, 2020
Publisher: Tor Teen
Synopsis: The doorway between the magical Visempirum and the human world has been reopened. Paladin are once more living in the citadel where Zuhra and Inara grew up completely isolated by the magical hedge that trapped them there. Amidst the brewing conflict between the Paladin and humans looms the threat of Barloc, who has stolen Inara’s immense power and continues to elude the Paladin who are desperately searching for him.
In this sequel to Sisters of Shadow and Light, Inara and Zuhra must navigate the treacherous paths of self-discovery, their love for each other, and for the boys who have captured their hearts. Together, they search for the strength within themselves to bridge the divide between the two worlds they inhabit, even as war threatens to destroy everything—and everyone—they love.
I know I included 11 books, but I just couldn’t cut out any of these beauties!!
Did you read any of these books? What do you think of the list? Which books would you include? Comment below! 🙂