Now that we are more than halfway through 2018, what are my standout reads? So far this year, I’ve read 73 books and in no particular order, my top 10 favourites of the year so far are:-
The Stone Sky – Book 3 of The Broken Earth trilogy by N.K. Jemisin
This whole series blew me away. The extraordinary viewpoint and the worldbuilding that takes a science fiction premise and pushes it right to the edge. It has an epic fantasy feel with a strong family dynamic and remarkable characters – and perhaps most important, concluded this series with sufficient drama and conviction.
The Hyperspace Trap by Christopher G. Nuttall
This space opera adventure, set on an intergalactic cruise-ship liner, was an unusual and riveting setting for this alien encounter. I liked the fact that the protagonists came from both the crew and passengers and enjoyed the growing tension as things slid away into a major emergency.
Blunt Force Magic by Lawrence Davis
I loved this one. A half-trained apprentice with loads of ability and no finesse finds himself having to stand against formidable antagonists. The chippy narrator and gritty take on this well-trodden path made this a memorably enjoyable read.
The Bitter Twins – Book 2 of The Winnowing Flame trilogy by Jen Williams
I’ve been a fan of Williams’ vibrant, energetic prose since I picked up The Copper Promise, but this one is an awesome braiding of both science fiction and fantasy. No mid-book slump here!
The Cold Between – Book 1 of the Central Corps novels by Elizabeth Bonesteel
This space opera focuses on the characters with ferocious intensity and we get a ringside seat as layered, plausible people grapple with their own lives in amongst the stars. Needless to say, there is also politics, greed and the need for revenge and love blended to make this one unputdownable once I’d started.
The Green Man’s Heir by Juliet McKenna
This is one of the reading highlights of the year so far. Set in England and steeped in the myths and folklore of this ancient land, the story follows the fortunes of a half-dryad man trying to trace his lineage. Needless to say, he is pitchforked into the middle of something dangerous and old…
Head On – Book 2 of the Lock In series by John Scalzi
I loved the first book in this futuristic crime series, Lock In, where victims of a terrible illness leaving them completely paralysed are able to upload their consciousness into robotic bodies. Our protagonist is now working for the police, investigating the murder of a sporting star, who plays a savage version of American football. Mayhem and action all the way…
Before Mars – Book 3 of the Planetfall series by Emma Newman
I’ve loved every one of these stories – and this one charting the fortunes of a woman newly arrived on a Martian outpost is another riveting read. It’s rare that motherhood is examined with any depth in science fiction stories – yet the protagonist has left a baby behind and is grappling with feelings of guilt and inadequacy. There is a terrible twist that those who have read the previous two books are waiting for…
Child I by Steve Tasane
You won’t have read anything quite like this one. The cover alone tells you it is something different – and yet I plunged into it, thinking it was set on a near-future, post-apocalyptic Earth. I was devastated to learn it is set right now and based on the testimonies of children alive today…
All Systems Red – Book 1 of the Murderbot Diaries novella series by Martha Wells
Hard enough to write a well-paced novella – writing convincingly as a security robot assigned to keep scientific teams out of harm is far more difficult. Yet Wells triumphantly pulls it off. A marvellous read – I just wish I could afford to read the rest of the series…
There were other near misses it hurts to omit – Isha Crowe’s quirky Gwithyas: Door to the Void, L.E. Modesitt’s Outcasts of Order and Children of the Shaman by Jessica Rydill to name but three. What about you – what are your favourite reads of the year, so far?
Ah, The Bitter Twins, my Malice, I have a copy but am yet to get around to reading it.😂👍📚
Ah… that toppling TBR tower…:)
What a wonderful list, I’m happy to see some of my favorites on here, and a few that I’ve been meaning to read. Now I’ll have to bump up the Martha Wells story, and I NEED to just get to The Stone Sky already!
Thank you, Tammy and yes… I highly recommend All Systems Red and The Stone Sky is amazing.
Blunt Force Magic sounds fantastic. I love your description of the protagonist 🙂
Again – this is definitely going to make my final all-time favourite list for the year. I loved this one – there is energy and commitment in the writing that I thoroughly enjoyed.
I can’t wait to get to The Stone Sky. We are ever so slowly worked through the first book, but enjoying every moment of it. Our reason for going so slow? We can seldom find time for our schedules to mesh so we can read it aloud together. I still am interested in Child I but have been unable to find it…strange?
I think reading this remarkable story aloud is a wonderful project, Rae:)). As for Child I – I’m not surprised, as it has been released by a really small Brit publisher, so may simply not be available in the US. What a shame!
Scalzi is one of the authors I buy sight unseen, and he’s never disappointed me…
One of the books in your list that most piqued my interest is The Cold Between, and I will be adding it soon to my “next” list 🙂
Yes – I found this one in my library – and I’m certainly looking out for other work by her. I love her writing!
Awesome list. I loved Head On. I listened, as Wil Wheaton narrated.
Ooo… I bet that was a real treat, listening to Wil delivering Scalzi’s laconic character:)
I like the title of The Green Man’s Heir. Makes me curious about the story.
My top 2 for the year so far: THe SHape of Water by Guillermo del Toro and Daniel Kraus and Kintu by Jennifer Nansubuga Makumbi.
If you enjoy touching base with some of the older creatures that feature in English folk tales, then this one is worth reading, Zezee. I’ve heard great things about The Shape of Water – thank you for the recommendations and have a great weekend:)
Blunt Force magic is defo calling out to me.
Do listen to the siren song… this one is worth it!
Well, The Stone Sky was my favorite book of last year, so I’m thrilled to see it at the top of your half-year list for this year. 🙂 I wonder if it will win Best Novel at the Hugos this year? That would mean she’d be a back-to-back-to-back winner for that category – for each book in the Broken Earth Trilogy. 😮
I’m not publishing a “favorites so far” list for this year, but if I had to pull one together and pick 5 brand new books and 5 older books, they would be:
– Circe by Madeline Miller
– Guardian by A.J. Hartley
– Side By Side by Jenni L. Walsh
– The Price Guide to the Occult by Leslye Walton
– Tempests and Slaughter by Tamora Pierce
– Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
– A Natural History of Dragons by Marie Brennan
– American Street by Ibi Zoboi
– The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden
– Shadowhouse Fall by Daniel Jose Older
There are some books on that list I definitely want to get hold of – the Katherine Arden series is one everyone has been recommending, so I am keen to tuck into that one. I also like the sound of Circe. And I’m pleased you have also fallen in love with the wonderful A Natural History of Dragons:)
I’m actually reading Book #2 of that series (The Tropic of Serpents) right now! 🙂
I hope you’re enjoying is, Sara:))
Sooooo many good books listed here!
I know – and there are some marvellous reads that didn’t make that cut. So far, it’s been an excellent reading year:))
What an excellent list! Four of these made it to the ports for plunder list because of yer awesome reviews. Hope the second half of the year is as wonderful. Arrrr!
x The Captain
Thank you so much, Cap! Yes – I’ve been thrilled at the quality of the books I’ve read so far this year – and very much looking forward to tucking into some exciting books languishing on my TBR pile during the summer break:)
Oooh, about half of the books on this list are on my radar – and I believe it is because of your reviews :).
Oh, thank you so much! What a lovely tribute, Joanna:)). Given I’ve been seriously considering giving up the blog recently, this is a very welcome comment:)))
Giving up? I want to scream “Nooooooo!”, but I can imagine you’d have serious reasons for that.
I hope you won’t, because you’re one of the few reviewers I “trust” – your reviews always help me decide whether something is for me or not.