As the year winds down and we start looking forward to 2024, some of the final books released in the last weeks of the year can get lost in the shuffle. Yes, there are some excellent books to look forward to in 2024, but while we’re still here in 2023, we’ve still got a good number of exciting science fiction and fantasy titles to look forward to. So before you start figuring out your TBR list for next year, let’s take a moment to be in the now and read all the great new science fiction and fantasy hitting shelves in December.
This month, readers are going to be treated to not one but three new additions to science fiction and fantasy series we already know and love. We’re also getting introduced to a brand new romantasy trilogy you won’t want to miss, a unique new AI romance sci-fi story, a sci-fi retelling of the story of Jesus, a YA fantasy set in Japan with serious Fifty First Dates vibes, and more! Make room on your shelves and in your sci-fi and fantasy-loving hearts, book readers, because these are stories you’ll want to read before the clock strikes twelve at the end of the year.
After World by Debbie Urbanski (Simon & Schuster, December 5)
I know a lot of us are worried about AI writing novels and making art now, and so maybe we’re a little apprehensive about reading a book about it, but check this one out! As the world faces environmental collapse, Sen Anon has been tasked with witnessing the changes in the environment for the Department of Transition. Meanwhile, an AI records Sen’s life, using 21st-century novels as a roadmap for their own writing. But the more the AI learns about Sen’s life, the more they begin to feel romantic feelings for their subject.
The Ruined by Renée Ahdieh (G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers, December 5)
This December, we’re getting the exciting conclusion to Renée Ahdieh’s The Beautiful Quartet. Now that the Sylvan Vale and the Sylvan Wyld are at war, Bastien is working to rally his allies in New Orleans to protect the Winter Court. In the Summer Court, Celine is having trouble communicating with Bastien and has no idea who to trust. Not knowing what else to do, Celine embarks on a quest to find a time-traveling mirror that could change the fate of their world.
Yours for the Taking by Gabrielle Korn (St. Martin’s Press, December 5)
Set in 2050, Yours for the Taking tells the story of The Inside Project, a series of city-sized structures that is the only way to survive the elements in a quickly changing world. When Ava is accepted into the Inside Project in Manhattan and her girlfriend isn’t, Ava is forced to leave her whole world behind in an effort to survive. But on the inside, she finds a new world that welcomes her with open arms. Could this be the family and home she has always searched for? Or is there something else going on here?
A River of Golden Bones by A.K. Mulford (Harper Voyager, December 5)
Get ready to be obsessed with a brand new romantasy trilogy, starting with this first book, A River of Golden Bones. Twins Calla and Briar are wolves… but no one is supposed to know that. They’ve spent their lives in hiding, hoping to keep their true identity a secret and hoping to hide away from the evil sorceress who destroyed their kingdom. But when Briar is attacked with a sleeping curse, Calla must come out of hiding and set off on a quest across the realm to save her sister.
This Cursed Light by Emily Thiede (Wednesday Books, December 5)
This Cursed Light is the sequel to Emily Thiede’s This Vicious Grace. So… some spoilers for the first book in this description. Okay, onwards! After saving her island from destruction, Alessa hopes to settle in and live a quiet life with Dante. But Dante worries that the gods’ tests for them are not over. In fact, Alessa is hiding something from him: there’s a darkness growing inside of her. And Dante and Alessa will face the most daunting test of all: saving the world.
HIM by Geoff Ryman (Angry Robot, December 5)
HIM is the intriguing sci-fi retelling/alternate version of the life of Jesus Christ. Born in the village of Nazareth, Avigayil was born as a girl, but by the age of five, he realizes that he is meant to be a boy. What’s more, Avigayil knows he is destined to be something greater than the daughter of Maryam. And so Avigayil becomes Yeshu, a man who can work miracles, see into the future, and speak on behalf of God himself. HIM is a thought-provoking examination of religion and gender.
Our Cursed Love by Julie Abe (Wednesday Books, December 12)
Fifty First Dates meets Love and Gelato in Julie Abe’s YA fantasy romance Our Cursed Love. Remy and Cam are best friends, but Remy has always felt like their relationship could be something more. And what better place to finally confess her feelings than Japan, on their winter vacation? But in Tokyo, Remy and Cam discover a secret magical apothecary, where they take a love potion… that makes Cam forget who Remy is. Not the outcome Remy was hoping for! Now she has until midnight New Year’s Eve to get Cam to remember her, or they will be forgotten to each other forever.
Lucero by Maya Motayne (Balzer + Bray, December 26)
And towards the end of December, we’ll finally get the last chapter in Maya Motayne’s Nocturna trilogy. Lucero picks up after Sombra’s return. Castallan and Englass are on the brink of war, and Finn and Alfie must work together to restore balance in magic and save the world. But with Sombra’s shadows lurking around every corner and their own magic becoming more and more unpredictable, this will be no easy feat.
Want more SFF recommendations? Here are November’s new SFF releases, and you can find a full list of new releases in the magical New Release Index, carefully curated by your favorite Book Riot editors, organized by genre and release date. Make sure you’re subscribed to Book Riot’s Swords & Spaceships newsletter for all the latest in sci-fi and fantasy. And don’t forget to also check out the SFF Yeah! podcast!