I haven’t done a post on my reading, mostly because my reading this year has taken a huge hit due to exam preparations (that I am thankfully past now). But as of late, I’ve had a big spike in actual reading, which is augmented by audiobooks that I usually devour in the car or while making dinner.
So here’s a list of some of the books that I genuinely enjoyed and would recommend:
(1) Nevermoor and Wundersmith
This is a delightful new fantasy YA series that gets compared, as all YA fantasy does these days, to Harry Potter. But it’s really its own unique beast with a lot of imagination and great world-building. It’s about a cursed girl named Morrigan Crow who lives in a fantasy world but is then transported to a different — and more secret — part of the world to be tested and trained in the Wundrous Society, a collection of specially skilled and talented people. It’s funny, it’s clever, and it’s good enough that I started reading it to my kids at night.
(2) The Hod King
The third book of Josiah Bancroft’s Books of Babel series continued to take the tale of Thomas Senlin — once a mild-mannered school teacher, now a pirate/rebel/criminal — in new and interesting directions. This isn’t a series that stays still but rather takes the reader on a journey that can’t properly be predicted. It’s definitely one of the best fantasy series written in the last five years.
(3) Darker Shade of Magic series
I only recently got into these books after many recommendations (to which I’d pass because I didn’t like the book art). Should’ve read them sooner, because they’re a lot of fun and very imaginative. It tells a story of four worlds — four Londons — that only select few magicians can cross between. Each of the Londons has its own strengths and weaknesses, from the magic-infused Red London to the faltering White London to our magic-less Grey London to the dying Black London. The series also has the best and most cheeky pirate/thief ever, the self-promoting Delilah Bard, and I’d recommend reading it just for her.
(4) Sleep Over
This looks like an easy book to skip — it has an abysmal cover and little promotion — but it’s actually a really gripping post-apocalyptic saga that uses various perspectives and stories to tell about a world that one day woke up… and couldn’t sleep again. What would happen if no one could ever fall asleep? It’s an interesting question that’s teased from multiple angles.
(5) Pilot X
Now THIS one was odd… but kind of endearing, too. It’s a weird sci-fi tale about an alien time traveler who, over the course of his bizarre career, ends up fighting a Dimensional War between the three dominant civilizations of the universe. It doesn’t always make sense or is as fleshed out as it could be, but at no point was it dull or lost my interest.
(6) The Last Dance
I can’t remember the last time I kept toting my Kindle around with me to devour more of a book in any spare minute I had, but The Last Dance ended up gripping me in such a way. It’s a very well-written semi-hard scifi mystery told about a disgraced captain who is being investigated while en route to Mars. Through extended testimonies from the crew, the backstory of the captain and the ship are unfolded and, ultimately, connected. Really amazing work that takes a rather unlikable character and gradually helps you understand his motivations and root for him.