Unlike my list of the top books published in 2015, this list is for the top books I read in 2015, no matter when the book was published. I'm also going to cheat a little and where a book overlaps with the previous list, I'm going to use most of the same text. Because I'm lazy.
1. City of Stairs, by Robert Jackson Bennett: The sole reason this was not at the top of last year's list is that I didn't read it until the beginning of January and it just missed out. An investigation into the murder of a historian turns into a quest into the central nature of whether all of the gods were really killed and holy shit, this is good. This is epic fantasy, this is a mystery, this is an awesomely fantastic book that you need to read right freaking now.
2. Ancillary Mercy, by Ann Leckie: Tonally different from the previous two volumes, Ancillary Mercy is a crushingly good book that closes out Leckie's Imperial Radch trilogy. I was in awe of just how much I loved this book, the characters, the setting. While I always wanted to know just a little bit more about what was going on in other places of the universe, the story kept me rooted and grounded and focused. I loved it.
3. The Martian, by Andy Weir: At this point I believe everyone in the world has heard of The Martian, and that includes my 74 year old mother who doesn't watch much tv beyond Dancing with the Stars or read fiction. I suspect even people who actually live under a rock will say "The Martian? Yeah, that's the one where that guy sciences the shit out of something." Well, Mark Watney does science the shit out of Mars and the voice and the science and the story here is damned good and fun and tense and thrilling and yeah - The Martian is great.
4. Uprooted, by Naomi Novik: I finished Uprooted as I began work on this list and it immediately shot nearly to the top. After all the hype and build up as I somehow didn't read this earlier, I was concerned that Uprooted would ultimately be a let down. It was not. It was oh so good. There is something to be said for a great standalone fantasy novel (see last year's The Goblin Emperor, but damn, they always leave you wanting more).
5. Seveneves, by Neal Stephenson: Destroy the moon with the first sentence of the book, see how quickly I want to read your book. "The moon blew up without warning and for no apparent reason." This was my first Neal Stephenson novel. It will not be the last.
6. Daughters of the North, by Sarah Hall: I'm not sure I can do this short novel justice in only a few sentences, so what I'd like for you to do is read the first three paragraphs of the co-review over at Lady Business (stop at the second Renay section if you don't want extensive story details). Then come back for the rest of this list. Daughters of the North (or, The Carhullan Army, as it was originally published as) is a novel that has stuck with me for most of 2015 and is one that I'm actively looking forward to revisiting.
7. Signal to Noise, by Sylvia Moreno-Garcia: Described as a "literary fantasy about love, music, and sorcery, set against the backdrop of Mexico City." Flipping between 1988 and 2009, Moreno-Garcia has written a beautiful novel that caught me up in its spell.
8. The Traitor Baru Cormorant, by Seth Dickinson: A comment from Dickinson on Goodreads mentions that there will be a sequel, though preferably only one. I would love to see Baru's story continued and wrapped up - to see if she's able to get her revenge on the Masquerade by destroying herself in the process. Brutal. Wonderful.
9. Sorcerer to the Crown, by Zen Cho: Though the novel is technically the story of Zacharias Wythe, the titular character in Victorian England, the beating heart of the story is that of Prunella Gentleman, a wonderful character and a bit of a force of nature. Sorcerer to the Crown is set in Victorian London, so we've got "vicious politeness", as Amal El-Mohtar so eloquently put it. I highly recommend this.