April 5th: Top SFF Books on Your TBR: Talk about the science fiction and fantasy books you want to read ASAP!
Now, it’s not a huge secret that I don’t read a lot of fantasy or sci-fi, so I initially assumed I’d have to skip this week. After glancing at my goodreads shelves though I realized I do actually have more than enough to make a top 5 out of. So without further ado…
The Obelisk Gate by N.K. Jemisin: (from goodreads) “The season of endings grows darker as civilization fades into the long cold night. Alabaster Tenring – madman, world-crusher, savior – has returned with a mission: to train his successor, Essun, and thus seal the fate of the Stillness forever. It continues with a lost daughter, found by the enemy. It continues with the obelisks, and an ancient mystery converging on answers at last. The Stillness is the wall which stands against the flow of tradition, the spark of hope long buried under the thickening ashfall. And it will not be broken.”
This is the second book in N.K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth trilogy. After reading and (really unexpectedly) loving The Fifth Season, I can’t wait to see where she takes this story. I should probably get on this before I forget too many details from the first book!
Dark Matter by Blake Crouch: (from goodreads) ““Are you happy with your life?” Those are the last words Jason Dessen hears before the masked abductor knocks him unconscious. Before he awakens to find himself strapped to a gurney, surrounded by strangers in hazmat suits. Before a man Jason’s never met smiles down at him and says, “Welcome back, my friend.” In this world he’s woken up to, Jason’s life is not the one he knows. His wife is not his wife. His son was never born. And Jason is not an ordinary college physics professor, but a celebrated genius who has achieved something remarkable. Something impossible. Is it this world or the other that’s the dream? And even if the home he remembers is real, how can Jason possibly make it back to the family he loves? The answers lie in a journey more wondrous and horrifying than anything he could’ve imagined—one that will force him to confront the darkest parts of himself even as he battles a terrifying, seemingly unbeatable foe.”
I’ve heard nothing but good things about this book. Plus, since it was chosen for BOTM last year and they don’t really do heavy sci-fi, I think it seems literary enough that there’s a good chance I’ll enjoy it.
The Queen of Blood by Sarah Beth Durst: (from goodreads) “An idealistic young student and a banished warrior become allies in a battle to save their realm in this first book of a mesmerizing epic fantasy series, filled with political intrigue, violent magic, malevolent spirits, and thrilling adventure. Everything has a spirit: the willow tree with leaves that kiss the pond, the stream that feeds the river, the wind that exhales fresh snow . . . But the spirits that reside within this land want to rid it of all humans. One woman stands between these malevolent spirits and the end of humankind: the queen. She alone has the magical power to prevent the spirits from destroying every man, woman, and child. But queens are still just human, and no matter how strong or good, the threat of danger always looms.”
With its generic fantasy title and generic fantasy cover this is the sort of book I’d normally never look twice at – but it comes really highly recommended by my friend Hadeer @ Hadeer Writes! And I’ve read a lot of really positive reviews, so I’m definitely going to check this one out at some point.
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers: (from goodreads) “Somewhere within our crowded sky, a crew of wormhole builders hops from planet to planet, on their way to the job of a lifetime. To the galaxy at large, humanity is a minor species, and one patched-up construction vessel is a mere speck on the starchart. This is an everyday sort of ship, just trying to get from here to there. But all voyages leave their mark, and even the most ordinary of people have stories worth telling. A young Martian woman, hoping the vastness of space will put some distance between herself and the life she‘s left behind. An alien pilot, navigating life without her own kind. A pacifist captain, awaiting the return of a loved one at war. Set against a backdrop of curious cultures and distant worlds, this episodic tale weaves together the adventures of nine eclectic characters, each on a journey of their own.”
I’ve heard a lot of people say that this is similar to Firefly… which isn’t exactly the best way to get my attention, because (unpopular opinion) I could never get into that show. However! I also keep hearing that it’s very character driven and not very Hardcore Sci-Fi, which is great for me, because I like my sci-fi as light on the sci-fi as possible. I love stories that focus on groups of individuals and group dynamics, so this sounds like something I will (hopefully) enjoy!
The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden: (from goodreads) “At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn’t mind—she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil. After Vasilisa’s mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa’s new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.”
And finally, a historical fantasy novel that I’ve heard nothing but good things about, and which my friend Chelsea recently read and recommended to me.
Oh, and obviously The Winds of Winter, whenever the heck that comes out.
Also, I thought now would be a good opportunity to mention that if you like my blog but wish I read more sci-fi & fantasy, you guys should check out my friend Chelsea @ Spotlight on Stories. We share a lot of opinions and review quite similarly, but she reads a lot more SFF than I do. And she’s way nice and always down to talk books. (And Chelsea, I totally forgot about Six of Crows while making this post and now I’m too lazy to edit it, but fear not, it’s at the top of my list!!)
I do try to read across all genres, so I’m going to make an effort to tackle this list by the end of the year. What SFF would you guys recommend to someone who reads mostly literary fiction? Comment and let me know!