Books make for great gifts, don't you think? Except . . . book lovers have probably already bought or read most of the books they want. Enter the deluxe edition: those fancy, illustrated editions designed especially for gift giving — I mean, I assume that's what they're for, with their gilded edges, pretty pictures, and fall release dates.
If you're searching for the perfect book to give your favorite sci-fi or fantasy reader, elevate your giving with just such a deluxe, anniversary, or collector's edition of a beloved book. Or a hardcover edition instead of a mass market paperback, or a series collected into one volume. Here are 11 deluxe edition books to get you started in these trying holiday shopping times...
For Science Fiction book lovers...
Area X: The Southern Reach Trilogy
In time for the holidays, a single-volume hardcover edition that brings together the three volumes of the Southern Reach Trilogy: Annihilation, Authority, Acceptance — perfect for fans of dark sci-fi films and books alike, as the Annihilation movie adaptation starring Natalie Portman is set to hit theaters in February.
Area X — a remote and lush terrain — has been cut off from the rest of the continent for decades. Nature has reclaimed the last vestiges of human civilization. The first expedition returned with reports of a pristine, Edenic landscape; all the members of the second expedition committed suicide; the third expedition died in a hail of gunfire as its members turned on one another; the members of the eleventh expedition returned as shadows of their former selves, and within months of their return, all had died of aggressive cancer. This is the twelfth expedition.
Their group is made up of four women: an anthropologist; a surveyor; a psychologist, the de facto leader; and our narrator, a biologist. Their mission is to map the terrain and collect specimens; to record all their observations, scientific and otherwise, of their surroundings and of one another; and, above all, to avoid being contaminated by Area X itself.
They arrive expecting the unexpected, and Area X delivers — they discover a massive topographic anomaly and life forms that surpass understanding — but it's the surprises that came across the border with them, and the secrets the expedition members are keeping from one another, that change everything.
Ender’s Game (Hardcover Reissue)
Orson Scott Card
This engaging, collectible, miniature hardcover of the Orson Scott Card classic and worldwide bestselling novel makes an excellent gift for anyone’s science fiction library.
Once again, Earth is under attack. An alien species is poised for a final assault. The survival of humanity depends on a military genius who can defeat the aliens. But who?
Ender Wiggin. Brilliant. Ruthless. Cunning. A tactical and strategic master. And a child.
Recruited for military training by the world government, Ender's childhood ends the moment he enters his new home: Battle School. Among the elite recruits Ender proves himself to be a genius among geniuses. He excels in simulated war games. But is the pressure and loneliness taking its toll on Ender? Simulations are one thing. How will Ender perform in real combat conditions? After all, Battle School is just a game. Isn't it?
Old Man’s War (Hardcover Reissue)
A perfect gift for an entry-level sci-fi reader and the ideal addition to a veteran fan’s collection, John Scalzi's Old Man’s War will take audiences on a heart-stopping adventure into the far corners of the universe.
John Perry did two things on his 75th birthday. First he visited his wife’s grave. Then he joined the army.
The good news is that humanity finally made it to the stars. The bad news is that, out there, planets fit to live on are scarce―and alien races willing to fight us for them are common. So: we fight. Far from Earth, the war has been going on for decades: brutal, bloody, unyielding.
Responsible for protecting humanity, the Colonial Defense Force doesn’t want young people; they want people who carry the knowledge and skills of decades of living. You’ll be taken off Earth, never to return. You’ll serve two years in combat. And if you survive, you’ll be given a homestead of your own on a hard-won planet light-years from home.
John Perry is taking that deal. He thinks he knows what to expect. But the actual fight is far, far harder than he can imagine―and what he will become is far stranger.
For Fantasy book lovers...
The Broken Earth Trilogy
For the Kindle lover, get the complete New York Times bestselling trilogy that began with The Fifth Season (2016 Hugo Award Winner for Best Novel) and The Obelisk Gate (2017 Hugo Award Winner for Best Novel), and concludes with this year's highly acclaimed The Stone Sky.
This is the way the world ends...for the last time.
A season of endings has begun. It starts with the great red rift across the heart of the world's sole continent, spewing ash that blots out the sun. It starts with death, with a murdered son and a missing daughter. It starts with betrayal, and long dormant wounds rising up to fester. This is the Stillness, a land long familiar with catastrophe, where the power of the earth is wielded as a weapon. And where there is no mercy.
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson, a special gift edition of Edgedancer, a short novel of the Stormlight Archive (previously published in Arcanum Unbounded).
Three years ago, Lift asked a goddess to stop her from growing older--a wish she believed was granted. Now, in Edgedancer, the barely teenage nascent Knight Radiant finds that time stands still for no one. Although the young Azish emperor granted her safe haven from an executioner she knows only as Darkness, court life is suffocating the free-spirited Lift, who can't help heading to Yeddaw when she hears the relentless Darkness is there hunting people like her with budding powers. The downtrodden in Yeddaw have no champion, and Lift knows she must seize this awesome responsibility.
The Name of the Wind 10th Anniversary Edition
This deluxe, illustrated edition celebrates the New York Times-bestselling series, The Kingkiller Chronicle—a masterful epic fantasy saga that has inspired readers worldwide.
This anniversary hardcover includes more than 50 pages of extra content; a beautiful, iconic cover by artist Sam Weber and designer Paul Buckley; gorgeous, never-before-seen illustrations by artist Dan Dos Santos; detailed and updated world map by artist Nate Taylor; and more.
My name is Kvothe.
I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep.
You may have heard of me.
So begins a tale unequaled in fantasy literature—the story of a hero told in his own voice. It is a tale of sorrow, a tale of survival, a tale of one man’s search for meaning in his universe, and how that search, and the indomitable will that drove it, gave birth to a legend.
Neverwhere Illustrated Edition
The #1 New York Times bestselling author’s dark classic of modern fantasy, beautifully illustrated with strikingly atmospheric, painstakingly detailed black-and-white line art by award-winning artist Chris Riddell, and featuring the author’s preferred text and his Neverwhere tale, “How the Marquis Got His Coat Back.”
Richard Mayhew is a young London businessman with a good heart whose life is changed forever when he stops to help a bleeding girl—an act of kindness that plunges him into a world he never dreamed existed. Slipping through the cracks of reality, Richard lands in Neverwhere—a London of shadows and darkness, monsters and saints, murderers and angels that exists entirely in a subterranean labyrinth.
Neverwhere is home to Door, the mysterious girl Richard helped in the London Above. Here in Neverwhere, Door is a powerful noblewoman who has vowed to find the evil agent of her family’s slaughter and thwart the destruction of this strange underworld kingdom. If Richard is ever to return to his former life and home, he must join Lady Door’s quest to save her world—and may well die trying.
For Young Adult book lovers...
City of Bones 10th Anniversary Edition
Celebrate the tenth anniversary of Cassandra Clare’s City of Bones with this gorgeous new edition, complete with new cover art, gilded edges, over thirty interior illustrations, and six new full-page color portraits of everyone’s favorite characters! Also includes the Clave’s official files on some of the series’ most beloved characters, written by Cassandra Clare.
This is the book where Clary Fray first discovered the Shadowhunters, a secret cadre of warriors dedicated to driving demons out of our world and back to their own. The book where she first met Jace Wayland, the best Shadowhunter of his generation. The book that started it all. A perfect gift for the Shadowhunter fan in your life.
A Darker Shade of Magic Collector’s Edition
A stunning collector's edition of the acclaimed novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author V.E. Schwab. With an exclusive metallic ink cover and reading ribbon, this edition will feature: end papers of London, fan art, a glossary of Arnesian and Antari terms, an interview between author and editor, and original (never before seen!) tales from within the Shades of Magic world.
Kell is one of the last Antari―magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel Londons; Red, Grey, White, and, once upon a time, Black.
Kell was raised in Arnes―Red London―and officially serves the Maresh Empire as an ambassador, traveling between the frequent bloody regime changes in White London and the court of George III in the dullest of Londons, the one without any magic left to see.
Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they'll never see. It's a defiant hobby with dangerous consequences, which Kell is now seeing firsthand.
After an exchange goes awry, Kell escapes to Grey London and runs into Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She first robs him, then saves him from a deadly enemy, and finally forces Kell to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.
Now perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, they'll first need to stay alive.
The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic
Inspired by myth, fairy tale, and folklore, #1 New York Times-bestselling author Leigh Bardugo has crafted a deliciously atmospheric collection of lavishly illustrated short stories filled with betrayals, revenge, sacrifice, and love.
Enter the Grishaverse...
Love speaks in flowers. Truth requires thorns.
Travel to a world of dark bargains struck by moonlight, of haunted towns and hungry woods, of talking beasts and gingerbread golems, where a young mermaid's voice can summon deadly storms and where a river might do a lovestruck boy's bidding but only for a terrible price.
Perfect for new readers and dedicated fans, the tales in The Language of Thorns will transport you to lands both familiar and strange―to a fully realized world of dangerous magic that millions have visited through the novels of the Grishaverse.
This collection of six stories includes three brand-new tales, each of them lavishly illustrated and culminating in stunning full-spread illustrations as rich in detail as the stories themselves.
Red Queen Collector's Edition
A beautifully designed collector’s edition of the #1 New York Times bestselling Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard, featuring exclusive content, fan art, a redesigned cover, printed case, stained edges, a never-seen-before look behind the scenes of the Scarlet Guard, and more!
Mare Barrow's world is divided by blood--those with common, Red blood serve the Silver- blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village, until a twist of fate throws her in front of the Silver court. Before the king, princes, and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own.
To cover up this impossibility, the king forces her to play the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks everything and uses her new position to help the Scarlet Guard--a growing Red rebellion--even as her heart tugs her in an impossible direction. One wrong move can lead to her death, but in the dangerous game she plays, the only certainty is betrayal.
The perfect gift for anyone looking to add this beautiful edition to their collection, and for new readers eager to discover the lush, vivid fantasy series where loyalty and desire can tear you apart and the only certainty is betrayal.
Still searching for that perfect gift?
Here's a sci-fi and fantasy bookish gift guide to help make it easier to shop for your favorite SFF book lover (and it's totally okay if that person is you).
On this list you'll find everything from Kindle covers made to look like real hardcover books, custom ex libris stamps inspired by Harry Potter and Tolkien, bookish clothes and candles, SFF magazine subscriptions, and other fun gifts ― if you're into the weird and offbeat, be sure to take a closer look at the porcelain mugs!