Best Summer Reads 2016: Fantasy & Science Fiction

24 May 2016

With Memorial Day and Summer quickly approaching, it’s time to find some good summer reads to bring with you on vacation. If you’re a fan of fantasy and science fiction, you might want your vacation to include a little magic or paranormal activity. Last year, books like The Martian took the literary world by storm and served as the perfect travel companion. As for new releases from 2016, there are plenty of buzzy fantasy and sci-fi books that will make for a good summer read. We did a little research and found the best reads from this year so far that you’re sure to enjoy on your beach trip!

Best Summer Reads 2016: Fantasy & Science Fiction

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Bloodline (Star Wars)

Claudia Gray

If you’re a fan of Star Wars, this book is a must read. It follows Senator Leia Organa as she fights to restore peace to the galaxy, and it shows what the Star Wars world was like in the years leading up to events in The Force Awakens. says that the novel “paints a much more complete galaxy than we often get to see on the big screen,” which is great for fans who enjoy digging in deep to the backstory of their favorite sci-fi universe. The director of Episode VII Rian Johnson even provided creative input to the novel, so you know this book is legitimate. If you were ever curious about the rise of the First Order or wanted more backstory to Senator Leia, you will get plenty of context and details in Bloodline.

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Night Shift

Charlaine Harris

The third novel in Harris’s Midnight, Texas trilogy, Night Shift is set in a small western town that isn’t as lifeless as it looks. Mystical creatures are drawn to this seemingly uninteresting town, which makes for a lot of excitement and maybe a little bloodshed. The Houston Press calls Night Shift “the Mark Twain of things that live under your bed,” and it’s filled with extraordinary events that will likely excite fans of Welcome to Nightvale or books by Stephen King. Night Shift is set to be made into a TV show, so it’s the perfect time to pick up this exciting series.

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All the Birds in the Sky

Charlie Jane Anders

Ever wonder what would happen if the planet started falling apart around you? The characters in All the Birds in the Sky must use the powers of science and magic to save the world from an untimely demise. Patricia graduated from a school that trains the world’s magically gifted individuals (think Hogwarts or Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters), and her old friend Laurence is an engineering genius. The two must bring their abilities together to prevent the apocalypse from occurring. The Washington Post called All the Birds in the Sky “a fairy tale and an adventure rolled into one,” and it has been praised on it’s ability to seamlessly weave together the strengths of magic and science into a powerful narrative. 

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Allen Steele

If you loved Interstellar or Gravity, you’ll love this new take on space exploration. The main character, Nathan Arkwright, is sure that humans will not be able to survive on our planet for much longer, so he’s dedicated his life to finding a way for people to live on an Earth-like planet that is light years away. The author of Arkwright, Allen Steele, is an expert on space travel and exploration, so you can be assured that this novel is based on accurate scientific fact.

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The Last Mortal Bond

Brian Staveley

Concluding Staveley’s Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne Trilogy, The Last Mortal Bound is an epic ending to an exhilarating fantasy tale. The ancient csestriim have returned to finish massacring humanity, and the imperial siblings must work together to save the world despite their conflicting opinions. The Speculative Herald claims that it is “darker and fiercer than the other two books,” which should make for a pretty spectacular conclusion to an exciting series. According to the Library Journal, fans of Sara Douglass’s Wayfarer novels and George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire will love this epic trilogy.

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Sleeping Giants

Sylvain Neuvel

Sylvain Neuvel is a debut author, but that doesn’t stop his book from being a best summer read of 2016. Sleeping Giants marks the beginning of an exciting new series, and it begins with a young girl falling into a hole and discovering a giant metal hand covered in strange markings. It’s written in a series of interview, which provides reader with a different and unique reading experience. Pierce Brown, author of Red Rising, said that Sleeping Giants is “reminiscent of The Martian and World War Z.” It already has a movie deal in the works, so be on the lookout for more exciting news about this fantastic debut.

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Sarah Pannenberg