The holiday season is a great time for me to reflect on what I’ve read this year and pull together recommendations from my list. I’ve read quite a few books this year, though fewer science fiction and fantasy than usual. This is due to my greater interest in murder mysteries and domestic thrillers. It’s much easier for me to find a “book like book x” in other genres than it is in SFF, weirdly. I have very particular tastes!
Without further ado, here’s what I’ve been reading:
Holeeeee shit. Stayed up late to finish this last night. The worldbuilding! Sentient plants! The struggles of pacifism! Generation ships! Alien biology! Everything going wrong! War vs. symbiosis! This was one of the year’s most surprising finds. Occasionally Tor will put out some old-school hard SF goodness that just hits me right in my Golden Age sense-of-wonder feels (the last one that gave me this same sense of awe and wonder was Dark Orbit). So much SF ignores our biology when it talks about generation ships, first contact, and settling on new worlds. This one gets down and dirty (I got some We Who Are About To vibes here as well; surviving in an alien environment is HARD – you’re always at the edge of annihilation) and pulls no punches. Some TW’s for a lazy and utterly unnecessary (but brief) rape scene and some questionable choices on social relations that I’d have done differently. But holeeee shit! Sentient plants! Amazing worldbuilding! Grab this one, fam. If I get a chance, I may do a longer write up about this one because it blew my mind.
Clearly, I love this fucking book, as I basically live-tweeted reading it and then foisted it off on my spouse immediately. We both burned through it quickly. It’s set in the post-apocalypse nation of Dinétah (formerly the Navajo reservation), and features a monster hunter lead who teams up with a sweet-talking male partner to track down the baddies. So much of the banter and interplay between these two leads reminded me of Nyx and Rhys (with bonus apocalypse landscape!) that I couldn’t help but fall in love. I adored this worldbuilding too, as it’s a great look at what comes after the end of the world as we know it (spoilers: the world goes on).
“I murdered a man and made my husband leave the night before they crowned me.” I mean… how could you not keep reading?Powerful female lead, exceptional worldbuilding, twisty politics. Picked this up because the author is now repped by the same agent I am – and I know our agent has great taste! Definitely some Traitor Baru Cormorant vibes, for me, with a much less self-destructive heroine.
I know, I know, this isn’t out yet, but woo-boy, this is a page-turner! This is another one I stayed up way too late to finish; just devoured it. Creepy plagues, self-destructing cultist seperatists, young people caught up in shit they don’t understand, and spaaaaace. I blurbed it thusly: “A smart, gripping thriller you just can’t put down. Explosions, betrayals, morally gray choices and twisty secrets; all set in the world that comes after the end of ours. Perfect for fans of Aliens and locked spaceship murder mysteries.” You’ll want to pre-order this one. You’ll read it so fast when it arrives! A good one to pre-order with all those holiday gift cards.
For those looking for more unique gifts, I’ve reduced some of the prices for my original paintings in my Etsy store for the holidays! You can also purchase SIGNED books there for friends and family, too.