With 2013 officially coming to a close and 2014 just around the corner, we Book Smugglers have started our annual tradition of list-making! Here are our top 10 highly anticipated speculative-fiction novels coming out next year (hopefully 2014 will be a better year for quality SFF!).

In no particular order:  

Peacemaker by Marianne de Pierres: de Pierres has written one of loveliest short story collections Ana has ever read (Glitter Rose), as well as the superimaginative Night Creatures YA series. (Not to mention, the prolific de Pierres has written loads of awesome-sounding science fiction that we Smugglers have yet to read.) Her new Peacemaker series promises to combine elements of some of our favorite genres—Western, sci-fi, crime and urban fantasy—and features a park ranger heroine in the last natural habitat in Australia. Need we say more?

The Galaxy Game by Karen Lord: The Galaxy Game is a sequel/companion novel to The Best of All Possible Worlds (an excellent, if flawed, book), following a new set of characters in the same futuristic setting as its predecessor. The story follows Rafi (the nephew of the heroine from the first book) as he travels the universe with an intergalactic sports team. Allow us to repeat that: an intergalactic sports team. Sports! In Space! We get excited about things like that.

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Full Fathom Five by Max Gladstone: Ana has been truly impressed with Gladstone’s Craft Sequence books Full Fathom Fiveso far (check out her reviews of Three Parts Dead and Two Serpents Rise) and even though there is little information about the third novel apart from this awesome teasing line “a defrocked and godless priestess struggles to save her career—and her soul,” the cover alone makes Ana salivate all over her keyboard (sorry but the imagery was kind of inevitable).

Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie: Another book we know little about apart from the tentative title and release date (October 2014—we weep at how far away this sounds right now) but given how much we both loved the first book in the series Ancillary Justice (seriously, we are rarely on the same page when it comes to books but we both loved Ancillary Justice to the point where we gave it an extremely rare double 10 review) , we will be reading the sequel the moment it lands in our grabby hands. 

The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin: We love N. K. Jemisin’s books like we love awesome things such as kittens. And chocolates. And air (not an exaggeration). We can’t wait to see how her imagination will shape what sounds like a post-apocalyptic story in which the world has “suffered frequent, repeated Extinction Level Events for millions of years.” Bring it. 

Red Rising by Pierce Brown: On a bleak future world, society is split into color-coded castes. Darrow, a “Red,” is the lowest of the low, but works tirelessly to mine the planet in the hopes that future generations will be able to live on its surface. Little does Darrow know that the surface is already colonized, and that he’s a slave to the upper echelons of society. A classic sci-fi setup (reminiscent of The Time Machine’s Eloi and Morlocks), we cannot wait to dig into Red Rising very soon.

Armada by Ernest Cline: Ernest Cline, author of the much-loved Ready Player One, is back with this sophomore novel that promises to be as nerdtastic as his debut. Armada sounds like a mashup of War Games, Space Invaders and Ender’s Game—invading aliens threaten Earth and a lonely gamer has the chops to stop the apFifth Seasonocalypse.

Honor’s Knight and Heaven’s Queen by Rachel Bach: Is this cheating? Honor’s Knight and Heaven’s Queen are technically 2 novels, but are being released in quick succession next year. We loved the first book in this military sci-fi trilogy (Fortune’s Pawn), with its competent, empowered heroine and cannot wait for books 2 and 3 in early 2014.

The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey: Based on the Edgar Award–nominated short story of the same name, The Girl with All the Gifts is a post-apocalyptic horror fable—with zombies!— filtered through the perspective of a 10-year-old protagonist. Suffice it to say, we’re really excited for this one.

Night Broken by Patricia Briggs: Last but certainly not least, the next book in the ongoing Mercy Thompson series! We love Mercy for her resourcefulness, her tenacity, her realness. Every trip to the Tri-Cities is a good one, and we’re expecting nothing less than another sweet ride with our favorite VW mechanic.

And that’s it from us! Are we missing anything? Let us know which SFF books you’re looking forward to—and we’ll see you in 2014!

Thea James and Ana Grilo are The Book Smugglers, a website for speculative fiction and YA. You can also find them on Twitter.