Sci-Fi Month

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

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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?

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Review

Review: Tracer (Outer Earth #1) by Rob Boffard

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4 out of 5 stars | Goodreads

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

Recently, I decided to give The 100 another shot. I’d given up on it by episode three when it aired on television, but I was in the mood for that sort of science fiction. I devoured both series in a matter of weeks, and I was still hungry for more. Then I saw Tracer on Netgalley, auto-approved for me, and grabbed it.

And Tracer satisfied that hunger pretty well! It begins with one of the most fast-paced action scenes I have ever read, Riley’s every leap, spin and landing painted vividly for the reader. Although the action slowed down at points, it was still there, and for me that was the high point of the novel.

Unfortunately, where the book suffered was the characters. Tracer is told from three points of view: Riley, Prakesh and Darnell. Riley’s viewpoint is first person whereas the other two are told in third person. This was an interesting technique, focusing in on Riley as the main character, but I didn’t really feel a connection to her or any one else. If, in a book, characters are faced with a life or death situation, I need to care for them, I need to hope that they make it through. I just wasn’t feeling it for any of the characters in the book.

However, the plot was really great and that’s what pulled it through, along with the fantastically written action scenes. There are a lot of science fiction novels out there which focus on the ‘last humans’, but rarely is the threat to these survivors other members of their own race, rather than an extra-terrestrial species. THAT’S what’s scary – not an alien invasion, but human beings turning on each other.

Although I would have loved some more character development, this was a really fun science fiction novel, and definitely the sort of thing I was looking for. If you’re suffering from The 100 withdrawal, you might want to give it a try too!

Monthly Roundup

Monthly Roundup: May 2015

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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.

May 2015

Last month I read a total of seven books: Tracer (Tracer #1) by Rob Boffard, City of Dark Magic (City of Dark Magic #1) by Magnus Flyte, The Eye of Minds (The Mortality Doctrine #1) by James Dashner, Tarzan of the Apes (Tarzan #1) by Edgar Rice Burroughs, Warm Bodies (Warm Bodies #1) by Isaac Marion, Batgirl of Burnside by Cameron Stewart and Outlander (Outlander #1) by Diana Gabaldon, .

With a short break between thesis draft hand-in and feedback, I was able to get some time to relax and read for fun! I should have the same again halfway through this month, as my thesis is due on 15th June! The stand-out book of May was definitely Outlander – a book which stole my heart and mind, it’s an absolutely gorgeous tale of unexpected romance and sexy Scotsman… I would like my own Jamie Fraser, please and thank you. Tarzan of the Apes was also highly entertaining, more so than expected, and Batgirl of Burnside was my first ever DC comic!

 

Challenge progress:

  • I read five books towards the DC vs Marvel Challenge and managed to defeat Gorilla Grodd. Next month’s villain is Bullseye, and I’m still hunting for some books that fit him…
  • I have currently read thirty-one books towards my Goodreads goal.

 

Currently reading:

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August

How was May for you?