Must Read Speculative FictionStarships and werewolves and dragons, oh my!
Science Fiction: Sirantha Jax series by Ann Aguirre
Ann Aguirre is one of those authors who can make me cry like a baby, keep me on tenter-hooks during an action sequence, and make me drink coffee at 4 am so that I can keep reading. […] Everything I love about science fiction is in this book. The familiar-yet-different worlds, species with bizarre cultures taking the lead – it’s like Star Trek meets Firefly meets, well, Ann Aguirre. This woman can write action and drama and romance, all while developing a stunning universe for her characters to play in.
Grimspace is filled with non-stop twist and turns. Space battles, crazy alien planets and new enemies at every port – kicking ass and running like hell. I am in love with the verse. I’m also in love with Aguirre’s writing style. She managed to turn the whole tale around half a dozen times without making the book bi-polar. In retrospect, it was one of the most coherent novels I’ve read – although it seemed out of control (in a “Dude, that’s crazy awesome” sort of way) while I was reading it.
Urban Fantasy (with healthy dose of hysterical): Sabina Kane series by Jaye Wells
I absolutely adore Jaye Wells. Her writing, her characters, her blog – everything. She writes snarky-but-serious urban fantasy that is violent but amusing. It is a flawless combination that can hook even the most skeptical of UF fans. Honest to God, if I could only read one urban fantasy author for the rest of my life – it would be this one.
Above all, it’s the humour that makes this series stand out. Jaye Wells is as snarky and flat-out hysterical as she’s ever been – mocking Twilight, making some kick-ass Star Trek references, giving a brief glimpse at a funny-yet-crazy-disturbing orgy, and giving demon!cat! Giguhl some lines that you will want to draw hearts over.
Urban Fantasy: Mercy Thompson Series by Patricia Briggs
What makes the Mercy series so amazing is Mercy herself. Unlike a lot of protagonists – both male and female – she shows a fair amount of common sense. She doesn’t run in looking for trouble, errs on the side of caution, and refuses to sit around whining about her problems. Not to mention she has a work ethic I would pay good money for. Just because she was almost killed the night before is no excuse for not turning up to work the next day! Seriously. Mercy is one of the few characters whose judgement I trust implicitly.
This book has confirmed what I long thought to be true: Patricia Briggs is incapable of writing books I don’t like. I was in a real reading slump when I picked up River Marked. Almost every book I picked up left me with a desire to send letter bombs in the mail – and there seemed to be no cure in sight. I thought: “If Briggs can’t get me out of this funk, no one can.” And sure enough, she did.
Fantasy: Temeraire series by Naomi Novik
I found myself thinking about this book whenever I wasn’t reading it. Imagining what the characters were getting up to, and dreaming of their future endeavors. It was a rare pleasure. If you’re looking for detailed fantasy/alternative-history novel, Novik is a must. If you’re looking for a fantastic novel about dragons, Novik is a must. If you’re literate, Novik is a must.
Not-just-for-teens YA Fantasy: Daughter of Smoke and Bone series by Laini Taylor
Daughter of Smoke and Bone is a book about angels and demons, but it is also not about angels and demons. It is about forbidden love, but it is about so much more than forbidden love. It is a book that takes every stereotype you’ve ever loathed and turns them into something magical and utterly unique. I was stunned by how Laini Taylor could make me accept things that – only ten pages before – I would have thought utterly implausible or unjustifiable. It turns out, all I needed was a stellar author guiding me!