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  • Writer's pictureThe Bossy Bookworm

Six Four Star (And Up) Science Fiction and Fantasy Reads I Loved in the Past Year

Six Great Bossy Science Fiction and Fantasy Reads

The Obsessive Wrap-Up of Favorite Reads continues!

If you've read any of these, I'd love to hear what you think!

You can click here for other science fiction and fantasy books that I've reviewed on Bossy Bookworm.

I'd love to hear: what are some of your favorite science fiction reads?


01 The Adventures of Amina Al-Sirafi (Amina al-Sirafi #1) by Shannon Chakraborty

I loved every bit of the story of willful, sometimes grumpy pirate Amina al-Sirafi and her quest, her strategic swearing, her strength, her fierce loyalty, and her messy, grand, swashbuckling adventures.

“Amina, if you insist on going in alone, at least stop caressing your dagger.”

I listened to the first installment in Shannon Chakraborty's Amina al-Sirafi fantasy series, The Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi, as an audiobook, which was narrated by the fantastic Lameece Issaq and Amin El Gamal.

Amina is a notorious former pirate--ruthless, scandalous, and invincible--who has dropped out of sight and settled down to raise her young daughter alongside her strong-willed mother.

Then a mysterious, wealthy matriarch preys upon Amina's need for funds--and her desire for one final, glorious success. Amina soon finds herself entangled in a dangerous ocean quest to rescue a young woman, while fighting to keep her own family safe.

The Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi is fun, funny, and smart, and I was hooked on the lightning-fast banter; the gruff and independent, saucy, and irresistible main protagonist in the feminist Muslim character of Amina; and the sea adventure with various fantastical elements.

Chakraborty offers some closure to book one while setting up a sequel. I am alllll in on this series and can't wait for the second installment.

For my full review of this book, please see The Adventures of Amina al-Sirafi.


02 Legends & Lattes (Legends & Lattes #1) by Travis Baldree

The first in the Legends & Lattes series is a cozy fantasy story about new beginnings, the transformative power of coffee, and vulnerability and unexpected love.

After twenty-two years of adventuring, Viv had reached her limit of blood and mud and bullshit. An orc’s life was strength and violence and a sudden, sharp end—but she’d be damned if she’d let hers finish that way. It was time for something new.

I had this book on my to-read list for ages, and both my friend Jamie and my nephew Jamie sang its praises, so I finally listened to Legends & Lattes.

Viv has spent years hunting down creatures for bounties, wielding her sword, and doing anything ruthless needed to bag her prey.

But Viv has discovered the wonder of coffee and has determined to make a new start: she's headed to the city of Thune to settle down and open its first coffee shop.

This is a sweet, cozy fantasy story that feels like a big hug; it's a love letter to coffee, to the beauty of diversity, to unexpected and special connections, and to the joy and satisfaction in a settled life surrounded by loyal friends and found family.

For my full review, please see Legends & Lattes.


03 Silver in the Bone (Silver in the Bone #1) by Alexandra Bracken

Alternative Arthurian legends twist through this first in a young adult fantasy series, but what hooked me was the fearless, hardened, fiercely loyal, savvy, and crafty main protagonist Tamsin as she struggled to find her place in both worlds of the story.

In Alexandra Bracken's young adult novel Silver in the Bone, sorceresses and dark magical beings populate the underground beneath Boston. Tamsin Lark is separate from them all, as she was born without magic. She knows how to find things, she's crafty, she's ruthless, and she'll do anything for her brother Cabell.

But when her last remaining parent figure disappears without a trace, Tamsin is forced to go to great lengths and seek enchanted relics--of dubious provenance and with potentially disastrous power--in order to keep herself and Cabell alive.

Bracken's story offered sassy banter that I loved, a great enemies-to-(not-quite)-lovers setup, a strong young female protagonist with a heart of gold, female power all over the place, captivatingly creepy elements, and fidelity that in some cases are shown to be betrayals that take your breath away.

The book ends on a cliffhanger, setting up book two, which will hopefully be published in 2024 and which I can't wait to read.

For my full review, please check out Silver in the Bone.


04 Time's Mouth by Edan Lepucki

Lepucki's strange, interesting time-travel novel centers around betrayal, broken hearts, second chances, and the power of hate--and of love.

When Ursa was a child she was horribly abused by her father, and while she feels that she's pushed beyond it, the trauma has undoubtedly shaped her.

When she flees to remote California, her ability to travel through memory to revisit the past secures her a revered role in a counterculture 1950s community that builds around her.

A friend's borrowed, rambling home becomes a refuge for unwed mothers and mothers-to-be, with the women on site treating Ursa as a goddess--and the children being horrifically neglected as the women enjoy proximity highs when Ursa time-travels.

The time travel itself is fascinating. A precious few in the story have the ability, and the power can be used for good (reminiscing, reliving beloved moments, spending moments with those lost to us) or evil (creating a whirlwind of negative feeling that shapes others' actions in significant ways).

I loved the father-daughter bond, and Opal is a wonderfully quirky, self-possessed young person. The ending to this often-dark book is satisfying as well.

Please click here for my full review of Time's Mouth.


05 World Running Down by Al Hess

Hess's dystopian Utah relies on AI, robots, and the growing, stark split between the haves and have-nots. Trans salvager Val is just trying to get by--but an unexpected connection changes everything.

Al Hess's World Running Down tracks the adventures, challenges, unexpected meetings, and joys of a trans salvager in a futuristic, dystopian Utah.

Valentine Weis is coping with body dysmorphia, and he dreams of making enough money to afford citizenship in Salt Lake City, where the privileged have access to endless food options, shelter and safety, and, most importantly to Val, surgical and medical options to aid his transition.

But for now, Val is eking out an existence in the rugged city outskirts. And a typical day might involve facing mortal danger from roving pirates, cyborg animals, certain AI beings, and even his own salvaging partner Ace.

Val is an underdog and fights for others who have been dismissed or taken advantage of. He's an appealing, unexpected hero, and his heartbreak and heartwarming connections were lovely to dive into.

For my full review of this book, please see World Running Down.

If this book sounds down your alley, you might want also to check out the books on my Greedy Reading Lists Six Fascinating Dystopian and Postapocalyptic Novels, Six More Fascinating Dystopian and Postapocalyptic Novels, and Six Great Stories about Robots, Humans and Alien Life, and AI.


06 Some Desperate Glory Emily Tesh

Emily Tesh's debut novel is a space opera about war, duty, brainwashing, escaping limitations, and reinventing oneself--with fascinating turns of events and richly wrought characters. I just loved it.

Kyr has not only trained her whole life for the day she can avenge the long-ago destruction of Earth, she was genetically bred to be exceptional at the task.

But then unexpected events lead her to leave the only home she's ever known in order to try to save her brother. She realizes that the revenge fantasies that have been instilled in her since birth--along with a distrust of all nonhuman creatures--were based on lies.

An oddball trio made up of Kyr, her brother's subversive genius of a friend, and a lonely alien force Kyr to reexamine all that she's ever known.

Emily Tesh's Some Desperate Glory examines deep matters in a fascinating chain of events, reflections, unexpected do-overs, and fantastic character growth.

I absolutely loved Tesh's writing, the scope of her work, her characters, their connections, the world-building--all of it. I'm in for alllll Emily Tesh books now.

For my full review, check out Some Desperate Glory.


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