Believe it or not, I didn’t just read what I thought were the best books of the year. As in, I read more books.
Here are the other genre books I read this year, in no particular order:
The Space Between Worlds
by Micaiah Johnson
Anyone can traverse the multiverse… but only one of you can exist in any given universe at a time. Cara’s duplicates in other universes have almost all wound up dead, though, making her incredibly invaluable for exploration and trade. She’s rescued from the wastelands so the Eldridge Institute can use her multiversal abilities. Except… what if the fact that so many of her are dead isn’t just a coincidence?
I generally love multiversal stories, though I personally think the trope is getting a bit overused these days. This take, though, was incredibly inventive. The story kept me on the edge of my seat. If the plot write-up sounds interesting to you, yes, you’ll love this book, too.
Kuma awakens early. Something’s wrong with the generational sleeper ship. Something’s eating it. It’s invaded the cryogenic tanks of his family. It’s infected him. He’s the only one awake now, alone in a cavernous sleeping vessel with whatever is destroying everything he’s ever known. It’s coming for him, too, with an ancestral memory of pure rage.
So, I backed this trilogy on Kickstarter. Book one has a relentless looming presence. Kuma’s constantly struggling to figure out what’s going on and stay just a step ahead of whatever it is that’s hunting him. The answer to what’s destroying the ship is pretty ingenious, actually. However, as books two and three continue, it starts getting a little muddled. While book one was spectacular, I’d put the others as good. I really wish the whole thing had continued at that same pace.
A Thousand Years to Wait
by L. Ryan Storms
The prophecy says that a woman will end the war. So all it will take to end the war is to find the woman and force her through all the steps that the prophecy outlines, right? Oh, and make sure that there are two men near her to serve as suitors, since that’s in the prophecy, too. What could go wrong?
This book read fast. I don’t know if it was intended to be longer, but events went far quicker than I expected. Unfortunately, one of the key plots – the two suitors – had twists that I could see coming a mile away. The book wasn’t bad at all, but it didn’t shine the way I really wanted it to. It did present some neat ideas about forcing prophecy, though!
Beneath the Canyons
by Kyra Halland
The gunslinger came to town looking for a bounty. The rancher’s daughter hides a terrible secret. Together they face a town about to go to war. The only way they’ll survive is by using what they must hide: They’re both mages. If the town finds out, they’re dead.
This is book one of the “Daughter of the Wildings” series. The delicious mashup of western and fantasty tropes work incredibly well. Halland has developed not just a believable world, but one I desperately want to return to. If the idea of this genre mashup appeals to you, do yourself a favor and pick this up.
by H. Beam Piper
The Zarathustra Company owns the planet. Terra gave them the rights to exploit it however they saw fit. But then Jack Holloway finds a family a Fuzzies. These little creatures might be sentient. But if they’re intelligent creatures, the Company loses all rights to the planet. And the Company isn’t going to let that happen…
This slim science fiction book was so not what I expected. I delighted in Jack’s characterization as well as the descriptions of the little creatures that may or may not be intelligent. However, when the latter half of the book turned into a tense court case to prove or disprove the sentience of the natives, I was riveted. It wasn’t what I expected going in, but I loved it! I’d recommend this to lovers of classic science fiction.
The Cosmic Courtship
by Julian Hawthorne
Miriam has accidentally sent her consciousness to Saturn, and she’s been captured by an evil sorcerer! Only her love, Jack Paladin, can chase after and rescue her!
So, the plot is… kinda bare, right? Well, the book was originally published in All-Story Weekly in 1917. And check out the author. Yep, that’s the son of Nathaniel Hawthorne, writing early pulp science fiction! The book is relatively simple, but packed with wonder and adventure. If you get the chance to read it, I’d recommend it, especially if you’re a fan of the John Carter/Princess of Mars novels!
by M. G. Herron
They can’t fight back. Their only chance of survival is to flee. The Solaran fleet arrives to evacuate the colony on Robichar before the Kryl invade and kill everyone. When Captain Elya Nevers is shot down, his time is limited to get to the evacuation points. What he discovers on the way, though, could change the war forever.
Look! It’s another Kickstarter I backed! This book is incredibly frustrating for me. The parts that intrigued me most remained undeveloped (though promise to be explored in the other books of the trilogy), while the parts that feel like “standard sci fi” kept the focus. I enjoyed it well enough, but I just wanted the focus elsewhere. The kickstarter also included some prequel novellas, and I have to say, I really enjoyed those.
Two more books remain for me to review… but I can’t remember anything about them other than that I read them. So sorry, What-the-dickens by Gregory Maguire, and Class-M Exile by Raven Oak. I remember enjoying reading you, but I can’t say anything more about you than that. So… um… thanks?
Next week I’ll be back with pellet reviews of non-genre books I read this year! Huzzah!