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  • Writer's pictureThe Bossy Bookworm

Six More Science Fiction and Fantasy Reads I Loved in the Past Year



Six More 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.

What are some of your favorite science fiction reads?


 

01 August Kitko and the Mechas from Space (Starmetal Symphony #1) by Alex White

White's first Starmetal Symphony installment offers deadly deep-space robots, showcases the power of music, and illustrates how love can persist even in the face of imminent demise. I loved the main characters' fashion, banter, and stubbornness.

Gus is a jazz pianist whose biggest hope for the pending end of the world was to play at the most epic goodbye party of all time. After all, the Vanguards, giant, deadly AI robots, are headed from deep space to destroy Earth at any moment.

But when the Vanguards arrive, the sudden, brutal ending Gus has envisioned for himself doesn't happen. Instead, Gus and a few other Earthlings are pulled in by a small group of traitorous Vanguards--and tasked with being modified, temporarily melded with the robots, battling other robots--and saving all of humanity.

The robots and the imminent demise of the human race that the robots seem perched to enact serve as a catalyst for the human main characters to assess their own purposes and consider what makes life worth living. They forge desperate, deep connections and struggle with loss and an uncertain future, and I loved the impractical, invigorating, stubborn love in the book.

I really enjoyed Alex White's Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe, the first in the Salvagers series. Click here for my full review of August Kitko and the Mechas from Space.


 

02 The Deep Sky by Yume Kitasei

I loved the futuristic space-mission capabilities, smart and strong all-woman crew, the mystery and suspicion, and most of all the character-driven storyline in Kitasei's science fiction novel.

In Yume Kitasei's science fiction thriller The Deep Sky, a mission to deep space is disrupted by an explosion that shakes the confidence of the ship's crew.

With the collapse of Earth's environment imminent, eighty trained elite young people venture into space, where they hope to preserve the human race for generations to come.

But a deadly disaster on The Phoenix halfway to its destination causes suspicion to fall upon Asuka, the only living witness. Asuka must find the real culprit before accusations surrounding the mystery destroy her.

I do generally love a book set on a ship barreling through space, and I loved The Deep Sky. Yume Kitasei offers plot and mystery, but this is primarily a wonderfully character-driven story--with a satisfying amount of spaceship detail, process, and futuristic capabilities (such as alternative realities the crew can pipe into their brains) to capture a reader's imagination.

Asuka is very intelligent and capable, but she was chosen for the once-in-history journey as an alternate, and she constantly struggles with impostor syndrome.

Everyone but Asuka feels like a suspect at some point or another, and I loved the way the author built tension without making me feel manipulated or offering red herrings.

Click here for my full review of The Deep Sky.


 

03 Divine Rivals (Letters of Enchantment #1) by Rebecca Ross

I liked Divine Rivals and the gutsy characters facing wartime struggles and challenges, but I was surprised that the book's fantasy elements felt so fully in the background.

In Divine Rivals, Iris and Roman, two journalists, are competing for a permanent position as a newspaper columnist. The two are constantly at odds with each other, and each has erected emotional armor around a devastating loss.

Iris's beloved brother is missing in action in the war among the gods, and sending letters through a magical wardrobe is the only way she can reach him.

But the person receiving these missives is not Forest, but Iris's work nemesis, Roman. He keeps his knowledge secret, yet becomes more and more drawn to Iris.

I really liked this, but I was surprised by how light it felt on fantasy elements. The gods' war provides the structure for the book's main conflict, but the story feels primarily focused on everyday, regular-human wartime concerns--with an unlikely-feeling god-war and magical letter-sending method mixed in.

Click here for my full review of Divine Rivals.


 

04 The Future by Naomi Alderman

Alderman offers a dive into a future world that's crumbling due to greed, disregard for the environment, a loss of human connection, and threatening pandemics--then turns all of it on its head with a twisty, compelling, futuristic, technology-driven attempt at survival--and at maybe just changing the world for the better, and for good.

The behavior of three key tech billionaires might seem like the symptom of all the biggest world problems...relentless greed, disregard for the environment, hoarding of resources, destruction of privacy, and more. These three figures become the center of the plot of The Future, around which mind-bogglingly enormous developments occur.

In The Future, Alderman considers religious fanatics, corporate entities, pandemics, environmental implosion, fascinating imagined technological advancements, and more, while offering great twists, a compelling story, characters I was curious about, oddball friendships, and deep love.

This was an engrossing dystopian read. I loved it.

I mentioned Naomi Alderman's novel The Power in the Greedy Reading List Six Fascinating Dystopian and Postapocalyptic Novels. You might also want to check out the books on the Greedy Reading List Six More Fascinating Dystopian and Postapocalyptic Novels.

Click here for my full review of The Future.


 

05 Starling House by Alix E. Harrow

Starling House is another wonderful, dark, twisty story from Alix E. Harrow, with imperfect characters, a noble, messy quest, layers of history, and a captivating end.

Opal is desperate for cash, and her petty theft at her minimum-wage jobs isn't going to cut it. She's got to raise the money to send her bright younger brother Jacob to a private school where he can thrive--and have better prospects than Opal herself has had since the loss and disappearance of their single mother.

She's been cobbling together enough to get by, but when a mysterious draw to the spooky Starling House ends up in an overpaying job offer, she feels she can hardly say no.

Arthur, the young, haunted-seeming caretaker of the estate, seems resigned to her presence even as he advises her to stay far away from Starling House. He's caught up in solving some sort of puzzle related to the past.

Opal takes his envelopes of cash for her overpriced housekeeping, but she doesn't tell Arthur that she's been dreaming of the decrepit, rambling house for years, and that she has some eerie sense that she's finally home.

Alix E. Harrow is also the author of the wonderful The Once and Future Witches and The Ten Thousand Doors of January.

For my full review, check out Starling House.


 

06 The Great Transition by Nick Fuller Googins

Emi, Kristina, and Larch are a family that survived the immense destruction of the climate crisis, but secrets, danger, and a double life might be their undoing.

Emi Vargas is, frankly, tired of being reminded that her parents were part of the movement that saved the world--and weary of the constant comments about how she's so lucky to have been born after the climate crisis.

But then climate criminals begin to be systematically assassinated in public shows of retaliation for their past crimes, Emi's mother Kristina goes missing, and Emi fears that her mother is in danger.

Emi and her father Larch journey from their home in Greenland to a near-future, postapocalyptic New York City, frequently ravaged by flooding and storms, to try to find Kristina.

When a long-term secret is revealed and Emi's safety is endangered, the family must decide whether they can go on as before, or whether they must invent a new future for themselves.

Click here for my full review of The Great Transition.


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