The Best New Fantasy Books of December 2022

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The Best New Fantasy Books of December 2022

Traditionally—and perhaps somewhat unintuitively—December is the slowest time of year in the world of publishing, despite the fact that it’s basically the peak of the holiday season. Given the positive avalanche of titles that the previous three months have brought us, I’m not sure that even the most enthusiastic readers necessarily mind a few weeks to breathe, catch up on their overflowing TBR list backlogs, and encourage family members to fill their stockings with new titles for Christmas. (Your friendly neighborhood book editors are also pretty thankful, just saying.)

But, just because December isn’t dropping a dozen new releases on us every week doesn’t mean there aren’t some solid options for fantasy fans arriving on shelves. Here are our picks for the best of the month.


A Fire Endless by Rebecca Ross

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Release Date: December 6 from Harper Voyager

Why You’ll Love It: The sequel to A River Enchanted leans further into all the things that made that novel one of our favorites of 2022: The lyrical prose, the lush, fully realized setting that’s teeming with spirits and nature magic, the thoughtful romance at its center. The rare ending to a duology that actually makes its predecessor more intriguing in hindsight, A Fire Endless is a series conclusion that’s thoroughly satisfying.

Publisher’s Description: East and West. Humans and Spirits. Breccans and Tamerlaines. The Isle of Cadence has always held itself and its residents in a tenuous balance. But now Bane, the spirit of the North Wind, has pushed everyone and everything in his path off-kilter in a bid to claim dominion over all.

In the West, Adaira struggles to adjust to the more brutal, bitter ways of life among the Breccans. Striving to find her place in the clan, she swiftly realizes that it just might be the last role she desires to hold. And while magic blooms effortlessly for the Breccans in the west, the spirits continue to suffer beneath Bane’s harsh power, felt in every gust of wind.

In the East, Jack is adrift without Adaira until he sings to the ember-weak fire spirits, acquiring a dangerous mission he never expected. One that is destined to lead him westward. Likewise, Torin and Sidra are consumed by a new mystery as sickness spreads first amongst the crops, and then to the people of the Tamerlaine clan. While Sidra desperately searches for a cure, Torin dares to strike a bargain with the spirits—a precarious folly anytime, but especially now as the days grow darker.

With the island falling further out of balance, humans and spirits alike will need to join together to face Bane, and Jack’s gift with the harp will be called upon once more. Yet no one can challenge the North Wind without paying a terrible price, and the sacrifice required this time may be more than Jack, Adaira, Torin, and Sidra can bear to pay.


The Poison Season by Mara Rutherford

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Release Date: December 6 from Inkyard Press

Why You’ll Love It: The latest novel from the author of Luminous and the Crown of Coral and Pearl duology, The Poison Season continues Mara Rutherford’s run of uniquely imaginative YA fantasies with a story set on an island protected from outsiders by a poisonous lake and a magical forest that demands blood sacrifices. An exploration of mistrust, morality, and family, the story follows Leelo, who has spent her entire life on Endia and whose understanding of the world she lives in is upended when her beloved younger brother is banished from their community for his lack of magic and she must question her society’s commitment to virulent xenophobia in the name of “protecting” themselves.

Publisher’s Description: Leelo has spent her entire life on Endla, coexisting with the bloodthirsty Forest and respecting the poisonous lake that protects her island from outsiders who seek to destroy it. But as much as Leelo cares for her community, she struggles to accept that her younger brother will be exiled by his next birthday, unless he gains the magic of enchanted song so vital to Endla.


Queen of Myth and Monsters by Scarlett St. Clair

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Release Date: December 27 from Sourcebooks

Why You’ll Love It: The highly anticipated installment in BookTok sensation Scarlett St. Clair’s steamy Adrian x Isolde series, Queen of Myth and Monsters sees a newly coronated Isolde forced to navigate life at her vampire husband’s court where political intrigue and mistrust abound. (Not the least of which between the royal couple themselves.)

Publisher’s Description: Isolde, newly coronated queen, has finally found a king worthy of her in the vampire Adrian. But their love for each other has cost Isolde her father and her homeland. With two opposing goddesses playing mortals and vampires like chess pieces against one another, Isolde is uncertain who her allies are in the vampire stronghold of Revekka.

Now, as politics in the Red Palace grow more underhanded and a deadly blood mist threatens all of Cordova, Isolde must trust in the bond she’s formed with Adrian, even as she learns troubling information about his complicated past.


The Shattered City by Lisa Maxell

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Release Date: December 6 from Margaret K. McElderry Books

Why You’ll Love It: Lisa Maxwell’s sprawling Last Magician series concludes with this doorstopper of a finale, which sees Esta and Hart nearing the end of their time traveling hunt for a series of magical artifacts needed to save the world, but the question of what they’ll be asked to sacrifice in order to stop an ancient evil hangs over them.

Publisher’s Description: Once, Esta believed that she could change the fate of magic. She traveled to the past and stopped the Magician from destroying a mystical book that held the key to freeing her people from the Brink, an energy barrier that traps all Mageus who cross it.

But the Book was more than she bargained for. So was the Magician she was tasked to steal it from.

Hunted by an ancient evil, Esta and Harte have raced through time and across a continent to track down the powerful artifacts they need to bind the Book’s devastating power. They’ve lost family, betrayed friends, and done what they’d both vowed never to do: fallen in love with the one person who could truly destroy them.

Now, with only one artifact left, their search has brought them back to New York, the city where it all began. But nothing in Manhattan is as they left it. Their friends have scattered, their enemies have grown more powerful, and as the deadly Brink beckons, their time is running out.


The Ivory Tomb by Melissa Caruso

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Release Date: October 6 from Orbit

Why You’ll Love It: Melissa Caruso’s Rooks and Ruin trilogy concludes with the action-packed The Ivory Tomb, a story that mixes horror, humor, and heart to bring the war of the Nine Demons to an end. As Ryx fights to save everything she loves and regain control over the Black Tower, she’ll be forced to find a way to not only balance her human side with the influence of the demon in her head but to convince her allies that she can still be trusted. (But come for the demon duels, stay for the well-developed romance.)

Publisher’s Description: The Dark Days have returned. The Demon of Carnage mercilessly cuts through villagers and armies. The Demon of Corruption rots the land. The Serene Empire and the Witch Lords race towards war. And in the middle of it all stands Rxyander, the Warden of Gloamingard.

Burdened by conflicting loyalties and guilt, Ryx searches desperately for a way to defeat the demons before the world she loves is completely destroyed. To find answers, she’ll have to return to where it all started…the black tower at the heart of Gloamingard.

Lacy Baugher Milas is the Books Editor at Paste Magazine, but loves nerding out about all sorts of pop culture. You can find her on Twitter @LacyMB.