The Best SFF & Horror of 2023

In 2023, SFF embraced the darkness, venturing into gloomy corners of the gothic and shining a light into haunted eras of history. The authors that resisted horror’s ever-present creep provided the necessary counterpoint, fashioning heroic tales of middle-aged sea captains and gloriously powerful princesses.

Samantha Shannon’s prequel to The Priory of the Orange Tree is just as sumptuous and explosive, immersing readers in a world on the brink of destruction.

He Who Drowned the World, Shelley Parker-Chan’s sequel to She Who Became the Sun, is the most finely crafted fantasy novel of the year.

Gut-wrenching and deeply human, Leigh Bardugo’s sequel to Ninth House will tug at your heartstrings even as it chills you to the bone.

A powerful study in setting and character with a healthy dose of horror, Lone Women will forever change the way you think about the Wild West.

A gorgeously crafted retelling of Greek mythology, Medusa’s Sisters is a celebration of the many faces love can wear.

Spooky and atmospheric, Our Share of Night is a constantly surprising and bloody ride.

Mexican Gothic author Silvia Moreno-Garcia puts a new spin on Nazi occultists and eldritch rituals in Silver Nitrate, a love letter to classic horror cinema.

Alix E. Harrow’s Starling House is a riveting Southern gothic fantasy with gorgeous prose and excellent social commentary.

Shannon Chakraborty’s follow-up to her bestselling Daevabad trilogy is a swashbuckling high seas quest that’s rousing, profound and irresistible.

Beautiful and expertly executed, The Reformatory is a horror masterpiece that derives its power from both the magical and the mundane.

Previous Best SFF & Horror lists

Recent starred SFF & horror

A phantasmagoria of dark imagery that never loses sight of its human core, The Dissonance solidifies Shaun Hamill’s place as one of genre fiction’s brightest rising stars.

Jared Pechacek’s The West Passage is consistently wondrous; in this experimental fantasy, the reader turns each page knowing they will encounter something wholly new.

A spiritual epilogue to C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia, Meg Shaffer’s The Lost Story explores what happens after you return from a magical realm.

With its unique mixture of slapstick and sincerity, Dreadful is an heartwarmingly earnest tale of an evil sorcerer who tries to become a better person after losing his memories.

A fantastical combination of time-travel novel, spy thriller and slow-burn romance, The Ministry of Time uses its fish-out-of-water story to explore cultural identity and the legacy of British imperialism.

A whimsical yet emotional fantasy, Sylvie Cathrall’s A Letter to the Luminous Deep is a delightful, oceanic twist on epistolary romances and dark academia.