The Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide: Sci-fi and Fantasy Books (2018)

The holidays are coming! I personally don’t celebrate but I love how generous people get around this time of the year. If you are doing some last minute shopping and need to get something for the special speculative fiction lover you know, I’ve put together a list of 10 books to choose from to make your job easier. I have picked out books that I think everyone will enjoy, but certain titles may not be universally suitable, in which case I’ve mentioned who might particularly like it. It is divided by age range and mostly contain books that have come out this year. I hope that this helps you to pick out the perfect gift!

Holiday Gift Guide 2018

Children’s and Middle Grade

Aru Shah and the End of Time

Aru Shah and the End of Time by Roshani Chokshi

This is easily the best middle grade book I’ve read this year and possibly of all time. It takes the reader on an epic adventure inspired by the Mahabharata. It explored themes like identity and has a strong focus on friendship. This is the promising first book in a four-book series which kids and adults alike will surely treasure.

The Screaming Staircase

Lockwood and Co. series by Jonathan Stroud*

The concluding novel in this series came out in 2018, so you can get the complete set for a reader who loves magic with a side of ghosts. Although I personally haven’t read it, Stroud’s Bartimaeus trilogy is one of my favourites and I’m confident that this will be just as amazing. One of my wonderful book blogger friends (Justine @ I Should Read That) and an IRL friend have both loved it and I think it’s going to be the perfect binge-worthy series for a curious young reader.

The Little Prince

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-ExupΓ©ry

This is a classic illustrated children’s book that I read this year. I completed it in January but I keep thinking about this book often even now. It’s a cosy, whimsical blend of science fiction and fantasy that will remind both the young and old of important lessons that one tends to forget as one grows up.

Young Adult

A Spark of White Fire

A Spark of White Fire by Sangu Mandanna

This book is #OwnVoices and another one inspired by the Mahabharata, which is all the more special if you’ve read the original. It is the first in a trilogy that blurs the line between sci-fi and magic, good and evil, and myth and reality. Not only does it have compelling characters, but unpredictable plot twists and an explosive climax that will leave you asking for more.


The Illuminae Files by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

The series is now complete with the release of Obsidio this year. Set in the future, this follows a group of survivors seeking safety, with a gang of unlikely teenage heroes trying to save the day using their own unique set of skills. It’s got suspense, clever plot twists and told in a quirky format that will definitely appeal to young readers.

A Thousand Beginnings and Endings

A Thousand Beginnings and Endings edited by Ellen Oh and Elsie Chapman

This short story anthology features some of young adult literature’s greatest Asian writers. All the stories resonated with my soul and made me fall in love with reading all over again. It’s a wonderful introduction to Asian culture, mythology and folklore, features diverse voices from a variety of genres and the perfect gift for any occasion.


The Poppy War

The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang

This intense debut takes you on a journey along with the peasant girl Rin who rises to great power with sheer will and hard work. War, politics and magic are expertly blended together to create the best first book in a series I’ve read in 2018. This is the kind of book that will haunt you long after you’ve turned the last page and get you hooked to an excellent new series. Please check out this list of trigger warnings by the author herself before making any decisions.

Ninefox Gambit

The Machineries of Empire series by Yoon Ha Lee*

This is a critically acclaimed and recently concluded adult sci-fi series with a strong focus on military manoeuvring. I haven’t personally read this series but it’s very high on my TBR as it has been garnering praise from all over the bookish SFF community. It features unique world-building, complex characters, a layered plot and will prove to be the best gift for the ardent sci-fi lover or the math genius you know.
How Long 'til Black Future Month.jpg

How Long ’til Black Future Month? by N. K. Jemisin

Another short story collection, but this time all are written by the best SFF writer of our time. This is my current read and first introduction to Jemisin. Two stories in and I’m already in love with her masterful prose, her plots and her sheer genius in world-building. This is an excellent introduction to the world of science fiction and fantasy for newcomers who are interested to get a taste of the genre.


Neil Gaiman by Beowulf Sheehan

Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman

This is a 2017 release but I read it this year, so I decided to include it anyway. It includes certain hand-picked stories from the Norse Mythology told in the quintessential Gaiman way. Not only does the hardcover feature stunning cover art, the audiobook is one of the best I’ve listened to. This is a must-have for any fantasy fan to revisit time and again.


I really hope that the recipient loves whatever you give them! What do you usually give your loved ones for holiday season? What do you receive in turn? Let me know in the comments section below.

27 thoughts on “The Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide: Sci-fi and Fantasy Books (2018)

  1. Awesome list Dini 😊😊😊 And I cant believe it’s your first Jemisin book… you have to read the Broken earth trilogy.. your mind will be blown πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒ

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is an excellent list, as everyone’s been saying haha. I’ve read a lot of these and would probably put them on a similar list. I may actually make one, I feel inspired. πŸ™‚ Thanks for it! I’m putting it on the next Blogsphere Highlights. β™₯

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have the Norse Mythology one…. I plan on reading it during the Christmas vacay. Another good one I read that I think will fall into the young adult category is The Unmarked Girl by Jeanelle Frontin. That was a compelling and entertaining book and is the first of three in the series.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Gayathri Lakshminarayanan

    You end this list without adding the adventure of Hitchhiker’s galaxy. I am telling you this because that is the only sci fi book I have read but because it is amazing and hilarious as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I haven’t read it that series, unfortunately. Guilty as charged! πŸ™ˆ But I was looking to add books that came out in 2018, series that finished in 2018 or books that I read in 2018 so I couldn’t include that. But thank you so much for your suggestion! 😊 Hopefully it’ll push me to read it soon. πŸ˜…

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I must admit, I loved Lockwood and Co. But was rather put off by the third book, so I think I’ll finish of all my current arcs before I go to the fourth one.

    But I definitely recommend The Little Prince as a gift!! It’s so beautiful and you can keep it for years and the story’s still good.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I heard from friends that it gets better from there and that the fifth is one of the best. I’d love to know your thoughts if you decide to continue. 😊

      I love it for the universal appeal as well! It’s quite small, so you don’t have to spend a ton and is a timeless classic with some wonderful illustrations. I’m so glad you agree! 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Am I surprised to see Aru Shah at the top of this list? I think not! πŸ˜€ I’m glad The Poppy War is being recommended by you because it’s definitely such a good read, I can’t even ❀ Even though I haven't yet finished reading it XD

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: December’s Blogsphere Highlights #2! (2018) | BiblioNyan

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