January’s monthly recommendation topic is such a timely one for me, because I was just thinking when I was evaluating my yearend stats that I should really read more scifi because I really seem to enjoy it, and this month we’re talking about genres we’ve found gems in but still seem to neglect!
As mentioned above, I’m going to focus on scifi, especially space scifi, because I’ve really loved all of the scifi I’ve been reading lately. Since this is a recommendations post, I’ll recommend my favorites I’ve read, but I’ll also include a brief tbr at the end of scifi books I’m hoping to get to in the coming year. Further recommendations are appreciated!
And if you want to see what other genres our group members feel they’ve been neglecting, be sure to check out the Goodreads group here.
Red Rising by Pierce Brown
This was one of my favorite things I read in 2017, and honestly, I’m still obsessed with it in 2019. If you’re not familiar with Red Rising, it’s essentially the Hunger Games meets Roman mythology in space and follows a cast of characters as they try to overthrow a rigid class structure organized by colors. It’s a super engaging series with tons of twists and turns, and I was on the edge of my seat the entire time (well, after I got through the first 100 pages of the first book). This is such a fantastic read and one of my favorite trilogies I’ve read in the last several years, and in hindsight I’m kind of shocked it didn’t prompt me to check out more scifi sooner.
The Martian by Andy Weir
This is another great scifi read that should have kicked me in gear well before 2019! If you somehow missed the craze of The Martian when it first came out and when the Matt Damon movie was released, it follows an engineer who’s abandoned on Mars as he MacGyvers his way into surviving until help can come rescue him. It’s a snarky, clever book that got me really invested in following Mark Watney’s journey and seeing how he’d be able to survive long enough for his teammates to come back and rescue him. I really enjoyed seeing all of the challenges that were thrown his way and how he managed to solve them, and while I might not love this book quite as much as others seem to, I still really enjoyed it and definitely think it’s worth checking out.
Sleeping Giants by Sylvain Neuvel
Don’t start this book if you aren’t prepared to get totally sucked in! And listen to it on audio, even if you’re not much of an audiobook listener! Seriously, the production quality of this series is amazing and it was impossible for me to put it down once I started. Sleeping Giants follows the story of these metal body parts that were found around the world and turn out to have been made by aliens and hidden around Earth. The first book focuses on the mystery of figuring out what they’re for and how they came to be here, and I just couldn’t stop listening until I had all the answers. Which, incidentally, isn’t until the end of book three! Fortunately the entire Themis Files trilogy is published now, so you can binge it like I did.
Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff
Illuminae is another great scifi trilogy, this one involving corporate espionage, a deadly virus, and an out-of-control AI told in a series of interviews, chat logs, and other alternative formats. It’s such a consuming story, and I had to keep reading to find out what happened next because there were so many twists and turns! Plus it was just really funny, and I found myself laughing out loud more than once. And the alternative format was really neat and added a cool layer to the story. I just had a lot of fun with these books, and I kind of want to go back now and listen to the audiobooks because I hear they’re amazing. And again, how did I not realize how much I enjoy scifi after reading these books?!
Polaris Rising by Jessie Mihalik
Polaris Rising is unlike anything I’d read before I picked it up, seamlessly blending the scifi elements with one of my favorite genres: romance. The book follows a princess on the run who teams up with a notorious criminal to escape her former fiance, and of course the two fall in love while jetting around in space. I didn’t put it on my favorites of 2018, but I think that was a mistake, because even more than a month later, this book has really stuck with me. I just really liked the combination of genres and I thought Ada was a protagonist. And like all good romances, it got me totally hooked and ready for her sister’s story in the next book! Unfortunately, Polaris Rising isn’t out just yet, but it will be soon! Keep an eye out for it on shelves on February 5. I received an advanced copy of Polaris Rising via the Avon Addict program.
Nightchaser ny Amanda Bouchet
I’ll admit, I wasn’t super excited to hear that Amanda Bouchet’s next romance trilogy was going to be a scifi one when I enjoyed her fantasy series so much and wanted more, but after loving Polaris Rising so much and realizing that I enjoy a good scifi novel, I became a lot more interested! Nightchaser follows a smuggler on the run after she steals some high-profile goods and the tall, handsome stranger who wants to help her get her ship back in flying condition. I enjoyed this book a lot and inhaled it in one day, and I can’t wait to see what adventures Tess and Shade go on in the next two books! Definitely another great scifi to add to my shelves.
And now for a handful of scifi books that I really want to read! I’ve been a big fan of Maria V. Snyder’s various fantasy trilogies, starting with the Poison Study trilogy, but wasn’t as enthused when she announced she was switching gears to write a scifi series. I would have gotten around to it eventually, but now that I’ve determined I need to read more scifi, Navigating the Stars has jumped much higher on my list!
I’ve also seen Undying by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner floating around on social media and forgot how fun the first book, Unearthed, sounded. It’s pitched as Indiana Jones meets Lara Croft in space, and that combined with how much I liked Illuminae is making me super interested in picking up this duology soon. I’m really looking forward to Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff’s next book, Aurora Rising, too, which is due out in May.
I’ve been meaning to read Ursula K. Le Guin for a while now, but that need ramped up when she passed away this past year and so many of my favorite authors talked about how much they loved Le Guin’s books. I bought The Left Hand of Darkness on Leigh Bardugo’s recommendation, and while I knew I’d get to it eventually this year as I work my way to a zero TBR, I suspect I’ll read it sooner rather than later.
And of course Dragon Pearl by Yoon Ha Lee (Korean mythology in space!) is on this list given how much I’ve been enjoying Rick Riordan’s new imprint. I’ll admit it wasn’t super high on my priority list given my preference for fantasy over scifi, but I definitely plan to read this one soon now that it’s been released and I’m looking for scifi books!
And last but not least, I want to change it up a bit with some nonfiction and read Packing for Mars by Mary Roach. I’ve heard great things about Roach’s books and have been meaning to get to them for a while. I’ll admit, I recently started this one, and I’m really enjoying it so far!
Honestly, it’s kind of embarrassing that I’ve enjoyed so many scifi books so much but never made a concerted effort to read more from the genre. Fortunately I’ve got some exciting books to look forward to, and of course I’m always looking for more recommendations if you think something needs to be on my radar!
What genres do you enjoy but tend to neglect? Let me know in the comments!