Book cover for "Babel."

Bob’s Favorite Fantasy Books of 2022

Created by Bob Helmbrecht, collection development librarian

Whether you’re looking for epic, medieval-themed fantasy, historical fantasy, or works set in a contemporary world, there is something for everyone. Check out my favorite fantasy titles of 2022.

Age of Ash” by Daniel Abraham

From veteran fantasy author Abraham comes the first book in a new trilogy. Kithamar is a center of trade and wealth, an ancient city with a long, bloody history where countless thousands live and their stories unfold. Alys uncovers dangerous truths while trying to discover who murdered her brother, a petty thief from the slums, putting the entire city at risk. 

Babel: Or the Necessity of Violence: An Arcane History of the Oxford Translators’ Revolution” by R.F. Kuang

A masterful historical fantasy. A Chinese boy orphaned by cholera and raised in Britain is trained to work at Oxford’s prestigious Royal Institute of Translation, the world’s center for translation and magic through silver-working, where he must choose between competing loyalties.

Bindle Punk Bruja” by Desideria Mesa

The debut novel from author Mesa. Hiding her supernatural and Latina identity in pursuit of owning an illegal jazz club, Rose negotiates with dangerous criminals as she climbs up Kansas City’s bootlegging ladder, but when she finds herself surrounded by greed and bigotry, she must use her earth magic to save her friends and family.

Even Though I Knew the End” by C.L. Polk

A fantastical noir set in 1940s Chicago. Offered one last job before serving an eternity in hell, a magical detective in Chicago is given three days to track down the White City Vampire and the chance to live out the rest of her life.

No Gods for Drowning” by Hailey Piper

As a serial killer ritually sacrifices victims, leaving their bodies strewn throughout the city, Alex and Cecil of Ace Investigations are tasked with finding the killer, not knowing they’re hunting a close friend, whose actions caused the old gods to flee and an ancient divine murder plot to be created.

Notorious Sorcerer” by Davinia Evans

A debut novel, and the first in a new high fantasy series. In a city filled with dangerous yet heavily regulated alchemical magic, a man from the slums discovers he may be its only hope to survive certain destruction.

Siren Queen” by Nghi Vo

Coming of age in pre-Code Hollywood, Chinese American actress Luli Wei, desperate to become a star, bargains with blood and ancient magic to realize her dreams, but the steep price for success may turn her into something she despises. 

The Spear Cuts Through Water” by Simon Jimenez

When an ancient god escapes her royal captivity and flees from her own children, the triplet Terrors, she, along with a guard broken by a guilt-stricken past and an outcast fighting for his future, embark on a five-day pilgrimage in search of freedom—and end the Moon Throne forever. 

The Two Doctors Górski” by Isaac Fellman

A survivor of academic abuse, brilliant grad student Annae moves to England to finish her studies under the seminal magician Marec Gâorski, until she sees inside his head her mirror image and must break free of a lifetime of conditioning to embody her own self and forge her own path.

When Women Were Dragons” by Kelly Barnhill

The first adult novel from Newbery Award-winning author Barnhill. A feminist tale set in 1950s America where thousands of women have spontaneously transformed into dragons, exploding notions of a woman’s place in the world and expanding minds about accepting others for who they really are.