Sci-Fi Month

Sci-Fi Month 2016: My Top SF Novels of 2016

SFM16_7

This post is part of Sci-Fi Month 2016, a month long event to celebrate science fiction hosted by myself and Over the Effing Rainbow. You can view the schedule here, follow the event on Twitter via the official @SciFiMonth Twitter account, or with the hashtag #RRSciFiMonth.

With what has become something of a tradition amongst my Sci-Fi Month posts, here are my top science fiction novels of the year, in no particular order! This includes novels read this year, regardless of year published.

Revenger Calamity Vicious by Victoria Schwab

I received a copy of Revenger by Alastair Reynolds for review at the end of September, and had read it within a few weeks. I just absolutely love the whole premise of following a spaceship crew, and Revenger tells the story through the eyes of one of the new recruits, plus it has space scavengers, robots and space battles. Calamity (Reckoners #3) by Brandon Sanderson is the final book in the series, and was an excellent conclusion. The whole trilogy has just been hugely fun from the very beginning, and I honestly have never not enjoyed a Sanderson book. A previous book group read, Vicious by V.E. Schwab was one that I devoured in a couple of days. I loved reading a villain origin story!

The Lives of Tao Long Way Morningstar

The Lives of Tao (Tao #1) by Wesley Chu was a book I picked up by chance from the library, and I’m so glad I did. It is so clever and unique, and confirmed my belief that Chu is an excellent writer, after reading another of his books last year. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet (Wayfarers #1) by Becky Chambers was, quite honestly, one of my absolute favourite books this year in ANY genre. It felt like it was written just for me, and was exactly what I needed to read. Like I mentioned above, I love stories that follow spaceship crews, and this does nothing but. It’s more about the relationships between the characters and their backstories than any action. In fact, I almost want to re-read it again this year. Morning Star (Red Rising #3) by Pierce Brown was the conclusion I sorely needed for the entire Red Rising trilogy. I fell in love with the first two books the instant I read them (almost back to back) and waiting for the final book to come out was utter agony. Another series I want to re-read already!

Unwind The Forever War New Pompeii

I thought a little while about adding Unwind (Unwind Dystology #1) by Neal Shusterman to this list, and then decided I would. I was expecting it to be a rather typical dystopian YA, with a horrendous cover that quite honestly reminds me of The Human Centipede, but actually… well, it was terrifying. And really very disturbing. I wasn’t expecting it to affect me in the way that it did, which is why I ended up giving it a higher rating. I’m not normally a fan of military science fiction, but The Forever War (The Forever War #1) by Joe Haldeman was an excellent book. It’s less about the military action, and more about the impact. If these soldiers have to travel through time and space to fight their wars, what happens when they finally return home and hundreds of years have passed back on Earth? How do they adjust to life without families and friends, and in an unfamiliar world? I immediately bought the next two books after reading this. New Pompeii by Daniel Godfrey was a book I first saw mentioned in the back of A Darker Shade of Magic, and one that I just KNEW I had to read, as it sounded a bit like Jurassic Park meets the Roman Empire. It’s such a clever story, and that cover is genius!

What were the best science fiction books you read in 2016? Have you read any of the ones on my list?

Sci-Fi Month

Sci-Fi Month 2015: My Top 10 Science Fiction Novels of the Year

sfm15_5

This post is part of Sci-Fi Month 2015, a month long event to celebrate science fiction hosted by myself and Over the Effing Rainbow. You can view the schedule here, follow the event on Twitter via the official @SciFiMonth Twitter account, or the hashtag #RRSciFiMonth.

I feel this has to be a part of Sci-Fi Month every year: my favourite science fiction novels read this year. These are the ten novels that impressed me the most, listed in no particular order because I find it so difficult to order books… I just love them all too much. If you enjoyed any of these, let me know!

Steelheart & Firefight by Brandon Sanderson

Steelheart by Brandon Sanderson Firefight

Both Steelheart and Firefight were extraordinary books. I have really enjoyed everything by Brandon Sanderson that I’ve read so far, but these two are written in a very different style to everything else, and are aimed at younger audiences. However, if you’re not a Young Adult fan, this series still comes really highly recommended – particularly if you like the superhero genre.

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury & Tracer by Rob Boffard

Fahrenheit 451 Tracer

Reading Fahrenheit 451 meant making progress with my Definitive Science Fiction Reads challenge, created for Sci-Fi Month 2013. It is a haunting tale; the thought of a world where books are banned absolutely terrifies me, and many others I’m sure. Tracer was a Netgalley find, chosen for my post-The 100 needs. It is so action-packed and fast, and I can remember the opening scene really well as it was so vivid.

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August by Claire North & Armada by Ernest Cline

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August Armada

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August is a more ‘subtle’ science fiction book, in that whilst time travel (of a sort) is the central concept of the book, it actually takes a backseat. How Harry time travels/is reborn is less important than what he does with his many lives. It is definitely the sort of science fiction book that would appeal to those who do not consider themselves big fans of the genre. Armada, on the other hand, is definitely one that will appeal to a certain group of people: video game fans. The story of a teenager who gets caught up in an alien invasion that seems inspired by the online game he plays, it is Ernest Cline’s second novel. I couldn’t wait to read it after Ready Player One, and whilst I did not enjoy it much as his first novel, I still rated it five stars because it was just so fun.

Time Salvager by Wesley Chu & The Girl With All The Gifts by M.R. Carey

Time Salvager The Girl With All The Gifts

Time Salvager was one of those books that I had high expectations for, but it still managed to utterly blow me away. As I said in my review, it is the type of science fiction that I have been yearning for for a while. The Girl With All The Gifts is a very different type of book, but equally fantastic. A sort-of-zombie dystopian novel, unlike other books of the same ilk, the reader sees the zombies from a more ‘personal’ viewpoint.

Way Down Dark by James Smythe & Catalyst by S.J. Kincaid

Way Down Dark Catalyst

Way Down Dark was another wonderful Netgalley find, that I partly took a chance on just because of the cool cover. This felt like a breath of fresh air compared to the whole host of science fiction/dystopian Young Adult novels that have recently been released. Unfortunately as it has been labelled as ‘for fans of The Hunger Games and Divergent, I fear this will put many people off the book who actively avoid those series or those similar. Ignore that! Catalyst is the final book in the Insignia series, and was a really great ending. It follows young teens training for the military, and somehow often feels simultaneously tense and light-hearted.

Have you read any of these, or are you planning to? What are your thoughts?

Monthly Roundup

Monthly Roundup: March 2015

monthlyru16

Every first Wednesday of the month, I’ll be posting a roundup of the month just gone, and writing about what’s to come in the next few weeks.

A Darker Shade of Magic Firefight The Mime Order

 

Last month I read a total of three books: A Darker Shade Of Magic by V.E. Schwab, Firefight (Reckoners #2) by Brandon Sanderson and The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon.

Clearly, it was a pretty awful month for reading. And also for blogging… At least the two of the three books I managed to read were both amazing, and the other was still good! I’m back in university guilt mode: if I’m reading, I feel it should be something that will contribute towards my thesis, which is frustrating. That means I’ve spent most of my alone free time either watching TV shows or films, or playing video games.

 

Challenge progress:

  • I read three books towards the DC vs Marvel Challenge. They all counted, at least! April’s villain is Kang the Conqueror, time to select some books for him!
  • I have currently read seventeen books towards my Goodreads goal. If I keep this up, I’ll fall behind!

 

Currently reading:

Outlander

How was March for you?

Review

Review: Firefight (Reckoners #2) by Brandon Sanderson

23011946.jpg

5 out of 5 stars | Goodreads

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.

Oh Brandon Sanderson, you’ve done it again. After finally reading and absolutely loving Steelheart, I couldn’t wait to move onto Firefight, and luckily Gollancz were kind enough to send me a copy. Unfortunately I didn’t manage to get round to it as quickly as I’d hoped, hence why this review is a little late, but wow was it worth the wait.

From the get go I was just as mesmerised by this book as I was by the first. With Sanderson’s fluid writing and magnificent story-telling, not to mention David’s absolutely awful and hilarious metaphors – and who else but Sanderson could get away with writing like that? – I was whisked back to Newcago with the Reckoners.

The majority of this story actually takes place in Manhattan, or Babylon Restored as it is called by this point, and I have to say, for a post-apocalyptic city, it sounded pretty beautiful. Apart from the whole murderous ruling Epic thing… In Babylon Restored, the water levels have risen so much that the skyscrapers poke out of the water like islands. Glowing fruit mysteriously grows all over the place, giving it an ethereal jungle vibe. The descriptions of the city were so vivid in my mind, like an urban Pandora.

There were some fun new additions to the team, Mizzy especially. One of the youngest Reckoners, excitable and clumsy, she tries hard to fit in with the rest of the group. I wasn’t sure about Exel, it felt a little like Sanderson was creating a character to fill the shoes of Cody, who was left back in Newcago. However, it wasn’t just some great new characters, but also new techology – the spyril in particular. A sort of water-powered jetpack, I could perfectly imagine David weaving his way through the concrete jungle of New York with it – although at times it did remind me a little of Super Mario Sunshine

With some fantastic new Epics, such as Obliteration and Regalia, and a really dark and shocking ending, Firefight is an absolute blast of a book and a definite recommendation whether you’re a Brandon Sanderson fan, or have never read any of his work (although in that case make sure you read Steelheart first!). I CANNOT WAIT for Calamity – and this time I actually have to…

impatient gif

Monthly Roundup

Monthly Roundup: January 2015

monthlyru16

Every first Wednesday of the month, I’ll be posting a roundup of the month just gone, and writing about what’s to come in the next few weeks.

January 2015

Last month I read a total of eleven books: The Well of Ascension (Mistborn #2) by Brandon Sanderson, Doctor Who: The Shakespeare Notebooks by Justin Richards, Helen and Troy’s Epic Road Quest by A. Lee Martinez, The Dagger in the Desk (Lockwood & Co #1.5 by Jonathan Stroud, Steelheart (Reckoners #1) by Brandon Sanderson, Pawn of Prophecy/a> (The Belgariad #1) by David Eddings, Asylum by Madeline Roux, How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff, Breathe (Breathe #1) by Sarah Crossan, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury and The Blade Itself (The First Law #1) by Joe Abercrombie.

I’m so glad I finally got to read The Blade Itself, it was well overdue and I loved it. I also finally read Pawn of Prophecy which was a birthday present from and highly recommended by two friends. I’m looking forward to the rest of the series, and the one that follows it! Steelheart pretty much blew everything out of the water though, and The Well of Ascension was a fantastic sequel. BRANDON SANDERSON IS A WRITING GOD.

 

Challenge progress:

  • I read nine books towards the DC vs Marvel Challenge. I managed to defeat the Joker, mwhaha!
  • I have currently read eleven books towards my Goodreads goal.

 

Currently reading:

Assassin's Creed Brotherhood

How was January for you?

Review

Review: Steelheart (Reckoners #1) by Brandon Sanderson

17727802.jpg

5 out of 5 stars | Goodreads

You know those sorts of books that you go into, expecting to really enjoy – you know you love the author’s work, the premise sounds amazing – but then they pretty much blow everything out of the water and are somehow even better than expected, defying expectations?

Yep, that was Steelheart.

I haven’t been a Sanderson fan for as long as some – my first read of his was Elantris, at the end of 2013, followed by The Final Empire at the beginning of 2014. From then on I knew this was an author whom I had to read as much of as possible. I love superheroes and superhero stories, so when I heard about Steelheart I knew it was the book for me.

You can’t go into this book expecting Sanderson’s usual style of writing. This is a Young Adult book, and the tone is so different. I really hope that doesn’t put many of his readers off, with the stigma that YA fiction sometimes has, because they will really be missing out. As with the Mistborn series, the action scenes are fantastic, and I had such a vivid image of every part of the book in my head.

I loved the variety of characters. David, with his awful metaphors, was hilarious. But he was also determined and dedicated, having spent the past ten years researching Epics so he could get revenge for the murder of his father. The Prof was a bit of an enigma, and I look forward to finding out more about him. Cody was an odd one, with his Tennessee-accented Scottish slang, occasionally mixed with Irish, and I really felt myself warming to this silly man very quickly. Tia was this awesome, super-smart one-woman force who I totally wanted to be. I’m interested in seeing more of Abraham, because he may seem gentle and quiet albeit armed with a rocket launcher, but I reckon with the right situation he could turn into a total badass and go completely crazy. And Megan… well, she is one dark horse.

I had my suspicions about how events might unfold, what secrets were being kept, and despite the fact that I managed to guess a small part of the end, I was still surprised in so many ways. The last 10-15% of the book was just phenomenal, with a huge face-to-face showdown and so many different twists and turns. I was pretty much sat there with this look on my face the entire time:

ERMEHGERD!!
ERMEHGERD!!

The other day, I received a copy of Firefight in the post from Gollancz, and I am SO HAPPY BECAUSE I COULD NOT WAIT MUCH LONGER TO READ IT AFTER THAT CONCLUSION. Fangirl mode very much activated.