Liam was told by his siblings at a very young age that he was the adopted child of a monkey and an alien, and the older he gets the more it seems this may have been true. So it may come as no surprise that an ideal afternoon for Liam would be reading a good sci-fi or fantasy book up in the branches of a big ol’ tree. When he is not taking part in an epic game of Dungeons and Dragons or playing any board games he can get his dorky hands on he can be found conquering mountains with a fusion of hiking and rock climbing. Feel free to come talk to him about sci-fi and fantasy books or about how the Iron Giant is the best movie ever made.
My mom raised me on all kinds of Arthurian stories/retellings so I'm always down to dive back into this great ocean of mythos and explore a fresh (and splendidly inclusive) take. Let me tell ya, this collection of short stories does not disappoint! There's intricate explorations of the idea of destiny, badass lesbian ladies with swords, correctly done love triangles, heart-rending looks at the baked in tragedies, one surprisingly sexy story, and so SO much more! Each author's voice rings powerfully unique and I love how this book took me so many places. An impressive book for Arthurian fans, new or old!
If Jim Henson puppetry fueled 80s dark fantasy movies are your thing (and they should be) then READ THIS BOOK! The Shadow Glass is a total love letter to all the 80's linchpins like Labyrinth, the Dark Crystal, and NeverEnding Story and it absolutely feels like reading an extraordinary literary adaptation of some epic puppet filled movie. Josh Winning did an excellent job of creating those same staple moments of wonder, sadness, and occasional horror that make those movies the beloved cult classics they are today. I'm confident any puppet adoring and fantasy loving weirdos like myself will treasure this book.
This book just absolutely revels in all things maps (not the Yeah Yeah Yeahs hit... but I'd read that too) and it's burning passion for the subject made me ecstatic! Feels like Peng Shepherd really recognized the inherent romantic potential that exists in all kinds of map-making and then upped the ante with a touch of reality-bending to truly make this story full on wowzers. As the mystery unfolded and the relationships were beautifully mapped out I got completely lost in the pages and just flew through it. So let the nerdy passion flow through you and READ THIS BOOK!
With characters ranging from a sassy talking cat all the way to incomprehensible space entities that live for eons and are so beyond us we just call them angels... you know it's gonna be good. Stars and Bones is the first space opera that I've read in a hot minute and it was such a great title to delve back into the genre with! There's fast action with lots of fire power, diverse and stellar (pun so intended!) backdrops, and characters that I just adored. If you're looking for a stunning adventure sci-fi you can't put down then pick this up!
Unsurprisingly, I was drawn in by the entrancing title, I mean wowzer. Then I absolutely flew through this book cause it's hot dang entertaining! This world takes the trope of falling into other worlds from the "normal" world and just cranks it up to 11. Of course this kind of adventure can leave some with serious PTSD (and worse) so we're introduced to a school that's supposed to help folks heal... but at what cost?! Find out now in this incredible (and inclusive!) book. Sidenote, this is the first Wayward Children book I read (it's #7) and it's impressive it holds up so well on its own.
Goliath is Science Fiction focused on social commentary at its finest, absolutely on the level of classics like 1984 or Fahrenheit 451. The alarming difference is this stunningly written book reads a lot more like an inevitable future than the usual speculative dystopia. Racism, class, gentrification, climate change and so much more are explored through flashes of many different characters' lives and it all weaves together so that you're left intimately understanding this all too familiar future. Goliath isn't very long, but it's necessarily dense and I'd recommend taking your time with it. I did and it will stick with me like few books have.
As the name might've given away; this book is a non-stop satire of all that is fantasy. Dawson and Hearne both have a wonderful understanding of what makes fantasy great (plus sometimes frustrating) and craft a book that expertly pokes fun at the genre while still being a compelling story itself. If you like the sound of a hilarious and easy read that'll have you rolling your eyes with a big goofy grin on your face then look no further! I mean it's got an insidious crime empire run by Halflings, what more do you need?!
I'm not one of those cool cats (or should I say bats!?) who has read oodles of vampire books, but I believe this book would leave any fan of the fanged more than happy! Set in an alternate reality Mexico City, Certain Dark Things is just dripping with vivid scenery that'll have you feeling lost in the neon sign lit streets yourself. If you're a fan of horrific vampires, noir mystery, or Silvia-Moreno Garcia you should definitely sink your teeth into this book! One could say... it's a bloody good time.
This book is bursting at the seams with heart, perhaps more than any other book I've read! There were moments that had me goose honking with laughter, intense moments that had my heart racing, and I totally cried. Light From Uncommon Stars is unabashedly weird (like melding a story about deals with demons and alien refugees together weird), but good god did it work for me! I fell head over heels for this book. It's also gonna have you craving donuts more than anything and may cause you to pick up violin as a new hobby, so that's a fun bonus. TW for racism, transphobia, self-harm, rape, and abuse
I'm an absolute nut for D&D. I've played in everything from 1st to 5th edition and always am looking to fill my brain with its goodness. Even with all that dorky knowledge, I had no idea that there was so much drama surrounding it! There's the zero to hero struggle, squabbles for nerd cred, national sensationalism surrounding cult fervor, backstabbing litigations, and so much more! If you're a big ol' nerd (same buddy), but you also find you can't look away from a reality tv show (again... same buddy, they're beautiful dumpster fires) then come enjoy this book with me.
Sometimes Urban Fantasy books can feel like they're just rehashing ideas that have already been done over and over again, but not this book! Trail of Lighting's setting is Dinétah (formerly the Navajo rez) so all of the supernatural aspects draw from Native American sources instead of the usual vampires, fae, and wizards of most UF. Roanhorse really knocks it out of the park with the badass action (there's monster hunting!) and spectacular powers that had me flippin flying through this book. If you're looking for some refreshingly different urban fantasy then pick this book up!
Holy fudgesicles I loved this book! It completely lived up to the amazing precedent that Gideon the Ninth set and maybe even surpassed it! Harrow the Ninth does a lot of world building for the Locked Tomb Series and the more in depth look at the incredible lore is thrilling! While reading I was laughing out loud, gasping in surprise, setting the book down to let my blown mind rebuild itself, and so many more majestic feelings that are beyond my vocab. This book (and series) is full of queer sword fighters and necromancers IN SPACE so just buy it already.
This collection of short stories is FLIPPING EXCELLENT! I can't think of the last time I read something by one person that had such impressive variety without dips in quality. There are cute stories, tragedies, skin crawling creepiness, thrilling action, amazing characters, and so much more! This was my first experience with reading Jemisin's work and I'm blown away with where her imagination takes this collection. I'm absolutely sold that she's one of the powerhouses in Sci-Fi and Fantasy now. Get lost in these snippets of other engrossing lives/worlds and then please come talk to me about these fantabulous stories.
Having a story pick up some 20-30 years after the epic world saving quest that would normally be the focal point may seem like an absurd idea, but Sarah Beth Durst makes it work! This book shines in a lot of places, but one of the shiniest bits is how the magic works. It's all powered by bones! It's fitting then that this book can get pretty dark and gruesome at times so beware if you're squeamish. Bone Maker's got great character interactions, honest looks at grief and what it does to people, hilarious and exciting action beats, awesome and spooky magic, and so much more! So... read it.
I don't always like collections of novellas, but this one was enjoyable and managed to tell a satisfying story over its three parts so it's definitely worth reading. The book follows an extraordinary genius who can pick up skills and master subjects in a matter of hours. Downside is these talents manifest as fully fledged hallucinations (called aspects) that follow him around, give him advice, and all have problems of their own. This book was a pretty light read (gets heavier in the third act) that left me interested in where Sanderson might go with this in the future, but also content with the story as is.
Ursula K. Le Guin doesn't really write science fiction in the same way that many authors do. Her books tend to feel much more grounded and often focus on very personal interactions and delving into our own human psyche. In the Left Hand of Darkness this is done through the earthling Genly Ai and his time spent with the gender shifting inhabitants of planet Gethen. This book is a slow burn and like a lot of older sci-fi it has that quaint feeling to it. With that said, this book is astoundingly beautiful. It'll no doubt go down as one of the greats and honestly should be taught in schools with other classics.
This book is an absolutely bonkers steampunk/fantasy extravaganza and I can't recommend it enough! China Mieville likes to write extremely weird and this book is no exception, so get ready for a book that'll stomp all expectations you have of how a story should go. The world building is second to none, the characters are bizarre yet engaging, and the fusion of magic with steampunk technology is so flipping awesome! I can guarantee you've read nothing like this before, but if you're up for a whole lot of delightful madness then pick up this book.
Snow Crash is a wild ride from start to finish and describing it to people can be just as wild. This book is some of the best Cyberpunk you will ever read while also being (somehow) the best Cyberpunk Parody that you will ever read. One moment you'll be having your socks rocked by an insane future and mega-badass characters and the next you'll be cracking up at the perfectly written absurdity of it all. If you're looking for a Sci-Fi book that cranks it to 11 and refuses to turn it back down then you've found it.
When you think of a Cinderella story you may imagine cute talking mice, an almost angelic fairy godmother, and of course the inevitable happily ever after. Welp... Don't expect it in this twisted version! Instead there's the harsh realities of living in the Victorian Era, a shadowy magical figure that pivots between between savior/nightmare, and unexpected twists and turns that'll keep you on your toes and buried in this book to its thrilling finish. If a healthy dash of horror sounds like the perfect compliment to a romance/drama base then pick this book up!
If you're like me then you'd heard of the Tulsa Race Massacre, but hadn't heard of "Black Wall Street" or fully understood the atrocities that occurred. The incredible amount of research put into The Ground Breaking will leave all readers with a new understanding of what happened in the Tulsa Race Massacre, how hard the pursuit of truth can be, and how all too often the USA is achingly slow to enact racial justice. May 31st 2021 will mark the 100th year anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre and its time we all educate ourselves on one the grimmest moments of racial violence in US history.
Stardust is so charming, strange, and delightful that it makes my wee heart glow with the power of 1000 suns. It's a book full of swashbuckling adventure, dastardly and hilarious villains, and so much weird magic that you'll never be sure what's coming next. If you loved the movie version of Stardust then you gotta read this book! There are lots of differences to keep you entertained and chortling along so don't worry about things being too predictable. This book is anything but that!
If you're looking for a book that continues the epic saga of Kvothe or to find answers to questions that the first two Kingkiller Chronicle books left you with, this is not that book. Instead it's a slice of life of the character Auri and it's just as odd as she is. There's no action, minimal characters, and lots of talking to inanimate objects, but I was completely drawn in and finished this book in just a day. It's beautiful, bizarre, and strangely enough exactly the book I didn't know I wanted. Check it out for something wildly different and equally terrific.
Ishmael is a big ol "Hippie Book" and I mean that in a mostly flattering way. It's a lot of philosophical exploration (from a telepathic gorilla!) and deliberates on how humanity has strayed from the path of the healthy animal and has become too selfish and greedy for its own (and the world's) good. This book can be divisive, there are some who say it changed their lives and opened their eyes, while others find it too full of itself or not engaging. Personally I enjoyed it a lot and would highly recommend trying it. Either way you feel you'll have lots to talk about!
Listen here. There are Queens (yes it's an awesome matriarchal society) and magic. Enough said right? Not at all! The queens are almost god level powerful beings and the magic is fueled by controlling spirits that control all the elements that are found in nature (Imagine Avatar the Last Air Bender, but soooooo much deadlier). If that doesn't light a fire under ya then maybe the fact that this book does world building so excellently will! Seriously, every scene unfolded in my head so spectacularly and I want everyone to get the same experience. Warning: brutally violent sometimes.
This book (and series) doesn't revolutionize fantasy or break much new ground, but it's really flipping fun and it's the perfect book to just fly through while having a jolly good time. Be warned though, Way of Shadows definitely falls into the category of books that is heavily inspired by classic sword and sorcery fantasy, but then makes the whole thing a little edgier (literally too, there's a lot of assassins with sharp stuff in here). Luckily the edginess doesn't usually go too over the top and it's well balanced with lots of moments of genuine hilarity and delightful absurdity.
Holy Shmoly Stephen Lynch has created an absolute winner of a book (and series) with more charming thieves and cunning rogues than an Ocean's Movie. The Lies of Locke Lamora takes the already exhilarating heist story and then sets it in a fantastical and delightfully dangerous city that really just ramps things up to 11. There's incredible fight scenes with all varieties of weaponry, hilarious dialogue from lovable characters, horrifyingly strong magic users and villains, and so much more that will have you flying through this book. Gentlemen Bastards book one will leave you wanting more, so start it up and then enjoy all the wonderful sequels!
Ring Shout is exactly the heartfelt and badass book about strong black women fighting against a demonically enhanced KKK that everyone needed right now. Between the visceral action scenes that'll send shivers down your spine and the fantastically written dialogue (that had me laughing and gasping out loud) you'll fly through this book before you even know it! Plus in these times where racists are coming out of the woodwork and spewing their hate all too publicly and proudly (again) it's delightfully cathartic to read a book where the worst they have to offer is being righteously struck down by sword and gun.
Brandon Sanderson is one of those authors who is too dang talented! He puts out so many books and manages (probably with the use of dark magics and deals with other worldly beings) to make all of them ridiculously entertaining and consistent. Not surprisingly, Mistborn is no exception to this. If you love the sound of well written morally gray characters, new and fully fleshed out superhuman abilities, or small band of lovable scoundrels trying to take down the corrupt system of government then this is the book for you! The icing on this book shaped cake (delicious?) is that it's the first book in a finished trilogy so if you love it there's more to dive into without any of that 10 years of waiting so much good fantasy has.
Anathem is such a fantabulous and fascinating collision of book styles that don't often get put together. It's chalk full of high concept and reality questioning science fiction that made me put the book down multiple times just to give these new ideas the proper mental processing they deserved. At the same time though it has incredibly well written and fleshed out characters that keep the book engaging and personal. So if you're looking for some science fiction that'll both blow your mind and touch your heart look no further, this is the book for you.
The Silmarillion is most easily summarized as the bible of the Lord of the Rings world. If you love the epic ancient beings and powers that come up in the Lord of the Rings series then this is an absolute must read! There's Dragons, Wizards, Gods, Demigods, Balrogs and their king, and Ungoliant (a giant spider that makes Shelob look like a daddy long legs). It's amazing to see how fleshed out Tolkien had everything in this world he created and I absolutely recommend exploring it in full with the Silmarillion.