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Top 5 Fantasy 2023

Bad Cree by Jessica Johns

Jessica Johns’ debut is an indigenous horror story that explores the enduring consequences of colonisation in Canada while highlighting and celebrating the resilience of the indigenous community.

The Saint of Bright Doors by Vajra Chandrasekera

Another debut, The Saint of Bright Doors is an urban fantasy which eschews the tropes of the Western fantasy canon to deliver something modern and fascinating.

Gods of the Wyrdwood by RJ Barker

RJ Baker starts his third fanatsy trilogy with a ferocious piece of worldbuilding in a book that is “never less than engaging and, much of the time, page-turningly tense”

Two for the price of one – two very different books set in the same complex fantasy world from prolific author Adrian Tchaikovsky. The first is a city-based story of rebellion and the second is set in a military field hopsital.

The Adventures of Amina Al-Sirafi by Shannon Chakraborty

Shannon Chakraborty delivers a rollicking Middle Eastern historical fantasy adventure in the vein of Sinbad centred around a retired female pirate. All of the elements are here – a magical macguffin, a moustache-twirling villain, monsters, unknowable spirit creatures, a bantering crew, long buried secrets, cliffhangers and reverses and plenty of threads left hanging for future volumes.

Honourable mentions

The Curator by Owen King

Owen King’s dark steampunk-inspired fractured fairytale set in a fantasy European city in the aftermath of a revoution.

Starling House by Alix E Harrow

Alix Harrow comes home to Kentucky to deliver top shelf modern yet classical fantasy.

The Ghost Theatre by Mat Osman

Mat Osman’s Ghost Theatre takes readers to a sliughtly alternate Elizabethan London and crosses the tragedian tradition with a punk sensibility

He Who Drowned the World by Shelley Parker-Chan

The conclusion of Shelley Parker-Chan’s epic, gender bending, violent retelling of the conquest of the Mongols and rise of the Ming Dynasty.

Love will Tear Us Apart by CK McDonnell

Another great entry in CK McDonnell’s often hilarious urban fantasy Stranger Times series.

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