10 Sizzling Sci-Fi Fantasy Books You Have to Read This Summer

No matter the season, diving into a good book is always a treat. But there’s something extra magical about finding that perfect summer read you just can’t put down.

Harry Potter was that book for me. Not only did the books release in the summer, but each one began with Harry on summer break. Although we won’t be going anywhere near Hogwartz this time, we’ll be adventuring into equally enchanting sci-fi and fantasy realms.

Whether you’re into epic space adventures, dark and gritty tales, or uplifting fantasy, here are 10 must-read sci-fi and fantasy books that are sure to heat up your summer.

What if being made whole breaks you in the end?

What sets this book apart: This character-driven story set in a utopian-looking-dystopia make this an accessible sci-fi read. 

Why you should read it: What better way to spend a summer than falling in love with your best friend (who you’ve forgotten) all over again!

Genres: Dystopian Romance

Description: Khai escapes through the boundary, seeking death on his own terms. The outside world should kill him, but instead it gives him the ability to heal with a touch. As he hones his gift, a disturbing trend emerges–those he helps keep disappearing.

Dread and suspicion growing, he returns to his childhood home to convince his best friend Mae to leave the communities behind with him. When he finds Mae, his hopes are dashed. She has no memory of him or their shared past.

Discovering the authorities are searching for him, Khai doubles down, creating a new identity to give himself time to reconnect with Mae while waiting for the danger to pass.

When Khai’s true identity is revealed, Mae is thrust into the crosshairs of a manhunt. Khai must find those pulling the strings before Mae pays the price for his return.

Review: “Glass Helix is a nonstop thrill ride through a hauntingly dystopian world. I felt deeply invested in the characters as they struggle with the world they live in and each other. I could hardly put it down in the last fifth of the book because I had to know what happened next. Excellent book.” – BRR, Goodreads Review

The prettiest lies hide the darkest secrets.

What sets this book apart: Fate Born: Secrets of Sratta combines the dystopian elements of nostalgic favorites like The Hunger Games and Divergent with the hallmarks of great sci-fi, from space travel to futuristic technology. Long-time sci-fi lovers say that the book hits all sci-fi beats they’re looking for, while newbies say that it was easy to get into and more realistic than they expected. 

Why you should read it: This fast-paced book has all of the ingredients for a perfect summer read: adventure, mystery, romance, and characters to fall in love with.

Genres: YA Sci-Fi, YA Dystopian

Description: In the year 3,121, the planet Drammat rules its utopian galaxy with innovation and compassion. The graduates of the Grand Drammatan Academy are the writers of their society’s future.

As the youngest student ever admitted to the Academy, 16-year-old Aria Blake is on edge when her lifelong visions of a teenage boy named Luca become more frequent and intense just before the school year begins.

With mental illness being a thing of the past and a stigma for the rare few who still face it, she’s forced to hide the truth or risk losing everything she’s worked for.

When she runs into Luca, alive and in the flesh, at the Academy orientation, her whole world is flipped upside down. It’s immediately clear that Luca has secrets of his own, but Aria feels an instant, almost supernatural connection to him. When he eventually opens up to her about his past on Earth – something that should be impossible – Aria learns that Drammat isn’t as benevolent as it leads its citizens to believe.

Luca begs Aria to keep his secret to protect both of their lives, but when they uncover a heinous plot on an Academy field trip they must choose between protecting themselves and saving thousands of innocent lives.

Review: “For fans of Divergent and a (CLEAN) version of The Red Rising series! The characters were 3d, and interacted wonderfully with one another. They also felt like real teenagers, which is always good! I wanted to be apart of the friend group! The romance was… *chief’s kiss🤌🏼* I don’t want to give anything away, but there were some very unique and refreshing aspects to the way Robison portrayed the romance between the two main characters. I loved it!” Stacy Bair Ogden, reader and author of Like Courage on a Starless Night

Death comes for us all, even gods.

What sets this book apart: Imagine reading LOTR, but written more like Sanderson or Hobb, and you don’t need prior knowledge of other books or magic systems to enjoy it.  Spark of the Divine has a classic, old-school feel to it without alienating new readers of the fantasy genre.

Why you should read it: Inspired by D&D and based on a true story, this book will tug on fantasy enthusiasts’ heartstrings in surprising ways.

Genre: Epic Fantasy

Description: Spark of the Divine is a classic high fantasy based on a true story. It follows a group of reluctant heroes on a quest to save a god, while the fate of the seven realms hangs in the balance. Inspired by real life events at the D&D table, Spark of the Divine combines action, adventure, friendship & betrayal to ask the ultimate question: how far would you go for those you love?

Review: “Now, I know this might sound a bit odd, but upon reading the first page of this book I genuinely got this magical and almost nostalgic feeling that I can only describe as ‘coming home’. […] I love how Holland gently eases you into this world, entrancing you with her magical prose and expertly trickling in just the right bits of organic world building at exactly the right times to continuously spark wonder.” – Esmay Rosalyne (BWG Blog) 

Feral women. Evil corporations. One hot sharkman.

What sets this book apart: Tired of being bored? Let Slip the Beasts is fun and dumb and extremely violent, like an old 80s action movie. It doesn’t feature Arnold Schwarzenegger or Sly Stallone, but it does have something even better—a hot shark man and a feral goblin of a main character!

Why you should read it: This is a fast-paced, action-packed, bonkers blockbuster of a book, guaranteed to keep you entertained during the warm summer days! 

Genres: Dystopian, science fiction, thriller, grimdark 

Description: Kaliope Dearborne, a customer service nobody for a pharmaceutical mega-conglomerate, wants only to escape her cubicle and find true meaning for her life. But after accidentally killing her little sister’s bully, she’s taken captive by The Warren, a ragtag group of runaway medical test subjects.

Kaliope learns that she and her captors are experiments owned by the VyroGen corporation. Locked away and evolving, pieces of her slough off as she grows stronger, faster, and hungrier. Only Thresher—not quite man, not quite animal—keeps her from losing her grip on reality.

When Kaliope discovers the hidden truth of her genetic code, she joins The Warren in the war against VyroGen. With chemistry-altering pheromones and brain-tampering, she’s converted into a sleeper agent. But deep inside the dark heart of the corporation, Kaliope finds something that drastically changes her role in the war. She might win back her memories, her body, and her life, but will Kaliope lose her humanity in the process?

Review: “So grotesque you can’t look away, so exciting you can’t put it down!” – Goodreads review

Avatar: The Last Airbender meets Star Wars

What sets this book apart: A blend of timeless action adventure and deeper meanings and themes, The Elements of Time is a fully rendered world that leaves a lasting impact. 

Why you should read it: For anyone who grew up loving incredible world building, complex magic systems, and good old fashioned fun, funny adventures with lovable protagonists, this book is for you. 

Genres: Sci-fantasy, adventure, portal fantasy, fantasy, action

Description: Destiny, personal responsibility, what the future holds – common concerns for anyone graduating high school. But usually not because of a cosmic war between timeless beings where you’re the central player. 

Review:The Winds of Change” by Sam Paisley is one hell of a debut novel with damn near perfect pacing between excitement and build-up, all while sprinkling in just enough foreshadowing to keep you on your toes from start to finish. Don’t let the YA label fool you; this book is just as much for adults as it is for teens. Some of the deeper hidden meanings within the story, I believe, will resonate with readers and leave the truths revealed living rent-free in the reader’s mind for years to come.” – Boe Kelley, Founder of SFF Insiders

A girl in hiding. A boy on the run. The fate of the galaxy between them.

What sets this book apart: It’s about a circus in space! The Greatest Showman meets Star Wars in Suspended in the Stars, a thrilling space opera filled with sci-fi vibes and light fantasy elements. 

Why you should read it: When it’s too hot outside it’s best to escape to outer space. I suggest checking out the Xerus Galaxy! You can even join the Circus Phenomena while you’re at it. 

Genres: Young Adult Science Fantasy

Description: The Greatest Showman meets Star Wars in this fun and thrilling YA science fantasy about a girl in hiding and a boy on the run.

On the circus spaceship Midway in the Xerus Galaxy, Soaring Staress, Talie Zarna, is coerced into hiding rogue soldier Renner Cartha who is on a mission to deliver sensitive information regarding a political assassination.

Forced on the run by Jas Uli-Tai, Renner’s former guard captain, they must remain undetected despite warrants for their arrest. When they discover corruption has spread to the highest echelons of Xerus’s governing council, Talie must decide if she is willing to sacrifice everything for the sake of saving her galaxy, even if that means giving up the boy she loves.

Review: “At times I felt like I was reading an episode of Firefly…and that’s the highest compliment I can give science fiction. I need book two in my hands NOW.” – Caitlyn, Goodreads Reviewer

He came to conquer Earth. She just wanted to survive college.

What sets this book apart: Foiled Stars is a multi-POV character driven narrative that favors plot and has some spice, featuring a BIPOC MC who is entering her first year of college rather than high school.

Why you should read it: Foiled Stars is a top summer read because it spans one summer vacation to the next and the climax of the story actually takes place during summer 2024! 

Genres: Dark Sci-Fi Romance, New Adult 

Description: Autumn Ramon thought her freshman year of college would be easy, but her summer takes a turn for the worse after her mom’s tragic death, her boyfriend’s betrayal, and her struggles to pass her road test. Love is the furthest thing from her mind until she encounters a mysterious stranger after an earthquake who turns up everywhere, including her dreams.

Crown Prince Dante Martyne, ruthless conqueror of the Universes, has Earth next on his list. When a spaceship oversight leaves him and his crew stranded on this quaint little planet, he must reconsider his beliefs and sense of duty as his plans are derailed by an unexpected romantic infatuation with a human girl.

As their worlds collide, they must navigate the complexities of love, duty, and unravel secrets that could challenge the course of fate and shatter their lives.

Fans of Beauty and the Beast, The Vampire Diaries, and Dragon Ball Z will enjoy the first installment in this sweeping new dark sci-fi romance series.

Review: “I could not put this book down. It was an addictive read in the best way possible. I loved getting to know the main characters through dual perspective, Dante and Autumn. The small details that made the character distinctive, such as Dante’s signature cinnamon scent and unique dialogue, and Autumn’s tendency to always have overdue library books and a disorganized, chaotic life. There were several moments throughout the book that I wanted to scream at the characters and ask what they were doing, and I absolutely loved that part. The story takes a lot of unexpected twists and turns, and you will never know where it is headed next. I can’t wait to read the sequel!! – Alyssa Nichols, Amazon Reviewer

Battlestar Galactica meets Star Wars with a side of slow-burn romance.

What sets this book apart: A sci-fi with a romantasy spin and a narrative that is equally driven by complex characters and a suspenseful plot, filled with banter, tension, slow burn simmer, duty, self identity and betrayal, Umbra does not disappoint.

Why you should read it: A fresh take on romantasy but put it in space, fill it with banter and tell it from the point of view of three deeply flawed characters, oh and add plenty of sword fights and starship battles and make it full of suspense, tension, and action.

Genres: Scifi fantasy, scifi romance 

Description: Earth That Was has faded into myth. After millenia spent wandering, humans are no longer nomads. Twelve tribes stand allied under the United Tribal Axis; but there is a signal in the darkness that threatens to destroy everything.

All Skyla wanted after leaving the Navy was to be left alone. Just her ship, the stars, and a new adventure. But when a strange virus disables her ship, she is thrown into the middle of a conflict she doesn’t understand, forcing her to take on responsibilities she swore she never would again.

Hinata always followed the rules, honor above all else. He always won, until he didn’t. Sentenced to exile for his failures, he is determined to prove himself, until a mysterious woman arrives on his station and chaos threatens to break already fragile alliances.

Freyja was always angry, an outcast, playing the part of admiral and black ops operative. But she is tired of being a pawn in the Empress’ games and when she’s stranded on the wrong side of enemy lines after a vengeful battle, she’s forced to ally with her adversaries to clear her name.

A Rogue. A Commander. And an Admiral. Brought together by circumstance, held together by duty. Can they find a way to work together to save humanity?

Review: “In a world of fast fiction, Umbra stands out as a well developed, thoroughly enjoyable space opera with a cinematic feel that checks all the boxes of a good sci-fi. This book has heart and I’d recommend it to any reader looking for their next great adventure.”SFF Insider, Amanda Simas 

Ender's Game meets Star Wars

What sets this book apart: If you want a story with many of the common tropes you’ve seen over the years, but with unique modern twists, check out The Forsaken Planet.

Why you should read it: Because where else have you read a sci fi space opera, rooted in an epic fantasy magic system, and revolving around the mysteries of Earth’s ancient past?

Genres: Science Fiction Fantasy

Description: When mysterious aircraft wreak havoc across Earth’s skies, it is revealed that there are clusters of other planets where humankind resides, distant worlds where the people wield the power of the stars themselves. It is an energy force that can bring about miracles or, as the alien fleet’s ruthless leader displays, unleash horrors beyond imagination.

After experiencing a loss during the onslaught, Colton Samson, an ordinary college student, vows to protect his loved ones at any cost. But to learn the power to do so, he must enlist into the Army of the Universal Throne—a second alien force with its own agenda.

With the revelation of a secret prophecy foretelling humanity’s demise and Colton’s improbable role in preventing it, he embarks alongside a diverse group of friends to the Throne’s capital, the planet of Vintara. There he faces prejudice from supposed allies, lifelike combat simulations that test him to his core, and the looming threat of a universal war. Only by embracing his true potential can Colton hope to secure the safety he seeks, in a universe that views him as nothing more than Forsaken.

Review: “Uniquely weaves together the beginnings of a sprawling space opera with a fantasy core that works surprisingly well…Overall, I loved this book and highly recommend it!” – The_Dragon_Reread, Bookstagram

A myth can be true, but a love can be stronger.

What sets this book apart: When Eden Falls is a sci-fi for fantasy lovers that will leave you begging for more.

Why you should read it: Summer is the time for adventure and romance, and this book will have you hanging off the edge of your seat while falling in love with its diverse characters.

Genres: Sci-fi fantasy romance, dystopian, post-apocalyptic

Description: She has an unwanted destiny. He is the commander of her heart. Together, they must survive a forgotten world full of unimaginable truths.

Earth. It’s a myth; a distorted story filtered down through the generations. But how much of the ancient myth is fundamentally true?

The uncertainty of their latest mission has left Eden’s nightmares spiralling out of control. They’re on a mission like no other, one Rooke, Eden’s commander, accepted without hesitation. But Eden would follow Rooke to the ends of the universe. He’s her best friend; her rock; the man she’s been secretly in love with for years.

When their search for a missing scouting ship finds them stranded on the world they believed to be a myth, they soon discover the horrifying reason why humans left thousands of years ago.

Faced with the strain of being trapped on an ancient world, with mystery and primal danger greeting them at every turn, Rooke is forced to make some risky decisions. But how much pressure can Eden, Rooke, and the rest of the crew endure as they desperately seek a way home?

Review: “This is sci-fi that isn’t bogged down in techy terms, its packed with action & adventure, really likeable characters, friendships that tug the heartstrings, a love-triangle that makes you wonder who to root for (yes I’m swooning over a fish-man), beautiful world-building, emotional scenes (Alana how could you do that to us!!!) and a cliffhanger ending that made me order the next book immediately!!” – Kaz, Goodreads Review

Learn More About the Authors

You can find out more about each of the author’s by clicking on the links below:

🧬 Glass Helix by Katee Stein @katee.stein

☀️ Fate Born: Secrets of Sratta by Michelle Robinson @michellelrobisonbooks

Spark of the Divine by Louise Holland @louisehollandauthor

🦈 Let Slip the Beasts by Suzanne Berget @misuzanthropy 

The Elements of Time: The Winds of Change by Sam Paisley @elementsoftimebook

💫 Suspended in the Stars by E. A. Hendryx @createexploreread 

⭐️ Foiled Stars by Jennifer Ascienzo @themidnight_novelist 

⚜️ Umbra by Amber Toro @Amberraetoro

🌏 The Forsaken Planet by Bryan Wilson @bryan.wilson.author

👩🏽‍🚀 When Eden Falls by Alana Faye Wilson @alanafayewilsonauthor

What do you think?

Have you read any of these? What did you think? Let us know in the comments!

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