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Top 5 Science Fiction/Fantasy Books of 2012

Top 5 Science Fiction/Fantasy Books of 2012

It's always difficult to do best of lists at the end of the year. There are so many great books released every week, and part of us wants to include every single book we loved on this list. But we have to make tough choices, so without further ado, here are the best sci fi and fantasy books of 2012. These are in no particular order, so being at the bottom/top/middle of the list has absolutely no bearing on what we thought of them!

The Diviners by Libba Bray

Libba Bray is a difficult author to make out. She burst onto the scene with her Gemma Doyle trilogy, about a teenage girl named Gemma Doyle (obviously) set in Victorian England. They're definitely a sort of historical fiction-fantasy mix, with an often-frustrating main character, but the world Bray created was incredibly interesting. Since then, her projects have been varied and fascinating, but it's exciting that Bray has returned to fantasy/historical fiction with her latest. The Diviners is about a girl named Evie O'Neill living in 1920s New York with her uncle, the curator of an occult museum. But when occult-related murders start happening around New York, it's up to Evie to figure out what's happening.

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

Yes, you've already heard our gushing about this book. The Raven Boys was beautifully written, unique, and completely unexpected, with realistic characters and a breathtakingly original storyline. With adjectives like that, what more are you waiting for?

For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund

Diana Peterfreund has dabbled in contemporary fiction and urban fantasy, but her latest novel For Darkness Shows the Stars is entirely different. It's set in a distant future, a dystopian world in which technology has destroyed everything and is now banned. Those who turned their back on technology survived, and they are the ruling class. Elliot North is a member of the Luddite ruling class and it's up to her to save her family's floundering estate. As a result, she was forced to choose between her duty and the boy she loved, a servant named Kai. It's a thoughtful, well-written book with amazing main characters, and what's more, Peterfreund based the novel's plot on Jane Austen's Persuasion, so you know it's going to be a good story.

The Twelve by Justin Cronin

It's weird to put the middle book of a trilogy on a best-of list, yet The Twelve was just too good to pass up. It's the sequel to The Passage, a sort of literary-horror-dystopian novel set in a world where hordes of vampire-zombies, called Virals, have taken over and humans exist only in small enclaves of civilization. The first book was good, to be sure, but there were times when we found it difficult to get through. The Twelve has none of those issues; it's written at a breakneck pace and though it's doorstop-sized, you'll have a hard time putting this one down. The only catch is that you really have to read The Passage before delving into The Twelve, so clear your schedule for for the next few weeks.

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore

Bitterblue is a companion fantasy novel to Graceling and Fire, and though those two novels can be read interchangeably, it's better to think of Bitterblue as the third book in a series. In other words, don't read this book if you haven't read Graceling and Fire because you'll miss so much of its majesty. But if you have, then Bitterblue is an amazing, twisty adventure. It's difficult to describe, so we're not even going to try, but to put it succinctly, Kristin Cashore has created one of the most unique and interesting fantasy worlds in the genre today. It's absolutely worth reading all of her novels, but take our recommendation with a warning: If you read these three books, you're only going to want more from Cashore.

Did we miss any?

Tags: novels, best of, lists, reviews, ya fiction, books-and-comics

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About the Author
Swapna Krishna

Swapna is a Washington, DC-based freelance editor who loves all things space and sci fi. You can find her book reviews at S. Krishna’s Books ( and on Twitter at @skrishna.

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