Still looking for Christmas gifts? A good book is always in style! For this week’s blog post, here’s a list of some of the really excellent fantasy and science fiction books I’ve enjoyed this past year. Some are new and some are old, but all were ones I would recommend to fellow lovers of good world-building and adventure.
Books by Brandon Sanderson
After discovering this author late last year, I have been eagerly devouring his works and continually amazed at his skill. Brandon Sanderson is a master of creating internally consistent, complex worlds with well thought out systems of magic and realistic characters, as well as gripping plots and well foreshadowed but surprising and satisfying endings. Here are some of the ones I particularly enjoyed:
Steelheart and Firefight, books one and two of the Reckoners series. Basic plot: superpowers exist, but turn everyone who gains their powers bad. We follow our human protagonists as they attempt to take down the maniacal supervillains who have wreaked havoc on planet Earth, while exploring the nature of power and its ability to corrupt.
The Rithmatist, book one of a new series set in an alternate steampunk/magic universe where American universities teach their students to battle monsters using magical drawings made of chalk, and where the “wilds of Nebrask” hold unknown dangers that threaten to wipe out civilization.
Dauntless by Jack Campbell, first book of the Lost Fleet series. This military science fiction series has the unique twist of following a main character who awakens from a century of sleep to find that he is renowned by his society as a mythological military genius. The series is heavy on the strategy of warfare in three dimensions, which may be considered either a plus or a minus, but has enough intriguing world-building and culture-clash issues (think George Washington being brought back to fight in the Civil War) that it kept me intrigued.
The Belgariad by David Eddings, a five-book fantasy epic. This is a favorite series of mine from childhood that I recently reread. It is a single story told over the course of five volumes, following the classic quest pattern of clueless protagonist who turns out to be the Chosen One, with plenty of magic, humor, intrigue, world-building, monsters, and prophecy to keep you turning pages until the end.
Are there any particularly good fantasy or sci-fi books that you read this year? Share them below!