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Recursion

Recursion

Recursion by Blake Crouch
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Recursion has become the first sci-fi standalone to be included in my favorite shelves.

As many readers probably did, my first experience with reading Crouch’s work was for Dark Matter. I was super impressed by it and after hearing that the author has a new sci-fi thriller that’s highly recommended for readers who loved Dark Matter gave me so much joy; it would be insane for me to not take a look at Recursion. Do note that taking a look at Crouch’s novel can be surmised as reading the novel non-stop until completion. This book was undoubtedly exceptional; it was so good that it made Dark Matter—which I loved and rated 4.5/5 stars—felt like a practice novel so that Crouch has the skill to unleash the full capacity of his brain towards the creation of this cleverly crafted insanity.

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The Martian

The Martian

The Martian by Andy Weir
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“Life is amazingly tenacious.”

Science fiction isn’t usually my thing. There are exceptions; I loved Dark Matter and the Red Rising series and the Illuminae Files. Ender’s Game remains one of my favorite books from my childhood. But usually with science fiction I have to love the characters and plot enough to look past the science, or science has to be barely present. In The Martian, science and math have starring roles, and the book would’ve been less without them. Because in Mark Watney’s situation, science and math were the greatest tools he had with which to ward off death. And Watney’s story is quite possibly my favorite science fiction novel I’ve ever read.

“Astronauts are inherently insane. And really noble.”

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Before They Are Hanged (The First Law, #2)

Before They Are Hanged (The First Law, #2)

Before They Are Hanged by Joe Abercrombie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“We should forgive our enemies, but not before they are hanged.”

I am astonished by how much I loved this book. I went from thinking that grimdark wasn’t for me to being an unapologetic convert to the genre. Whatever the cause for my change of heart, I’m insanely glad it happened, because Before They Are Hanged is absolutely fabulous. Brimming with humor and overflowing with compelling characters, the second installment of The First Law quenched a thirst for high stakes and long odds that I didn’t even know I had.

“Honour, eh? What the hell is that anyway? Every man thinks it’s something different… The more of it you have the less good it does you, and if you’ve got none at all you don’t miss it.”

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Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE

Shoe Dog: A Memoir by the Creator of NIKE

Shoe Dog by Phil Knight
My rating: 5 of 5 stars.

“Let everyone else call your idea crazy.. just keep going. Don’t stop. Don’t even think about stopping until you get there, and don’t give much thought to where “there” is. Whatever comes, just don’t stop.”

In other words, Just Do It!

Nike is the ultimate American dream. And it all started when a twenty-four-year-old Oregonian suddenly had this Crazy Idea of bringing Japanese running shoes, specifically the Onitsuka Tigers, into the country way back in 1962, just less than two decades after the United States of America bombed Nagasaki and Hiroshima.

There had been some unauthorised biographies or stories about how Nike came to be, but this is the first time we have been graced with the words from the creator himself, Philip H. Knight. Shoe Dog is a well-written, captivating and candid account of how Knight’s Crazy Idea came into fruition and eventually metamorphosized into the most recognizable name in the athletic shoe and apparel industry.

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NOTHING TO HIDE (DC CONSTANCE FAIRCHILD, #2)

NOTHING TO HIDE (DC CONSTANCE FAIRCHILD, #2)

Nothing to Hide by James Oswald

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A cracking second investigation for DC Constance Fairchild, promising a hit for James Oswald’s new series.

DC Constance Fairchild is back in London… and back in trouble. Or maybe still in trouble, it’s hard to tell. It’s bad enough that her suspension’s not been lifted, that she’s on the receiving end of serious attitude from other police for rocking the boat, and that the gutter press won’t leave her alone, but now there’s a crime scene right outside her flat. She’s been told to leave it, to keep a low profile, but after finding some poor boy dying beneath the rubbish, she’s not about to let that stand. Especially when she discovers that he’s far from the first. But she has no idea that this is an investigation that’s going to take her to the darkest of places, a fight for her very survival…

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The Poison Song (The Winnowing Flame Trilogy, #3)

The Poison Song (The Winnowing Flame Trilogy, #3)

The Poison Song by Jen Williams
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Poison Song was truly an outstanding conclusion; someone needs to find an antidote to cure the severely underrated state of this series ASAP.

After twelve books in a row, I’m gratified that I finally finished a new book that I can rate 5 stars easily. Here we are, the third and last book in The Winnowing Flame Trilogy. Now that I’ve finished binge reading this trilogy within a week, I can safely say that Jen Williams seriously deserves a much larger readership. C’mon, this last book was a bloody amazing read; it’s easily one of the best concluding volumes I’ve ever read. Even though this is the last of the series, there was still new content—such as Noon’s past, the Fell-witch’s background, the winnowfire’s origins—for the readers to learn about. It has all come down to this installment; the past two books and the first half of The Poison Song were preparations for the heart-hammering second half of this book. I honestly don’t think I’ve read many fantasy series that are as cleverly crafted and imaginative as The Winnowing Flame Trilogy. Williams made sure that each installment has its own main conflicts to resolve and, at the same time, she was able to stealthily build solid foundations for the searing conclusion of this series. The plotlines, the characters and their motivations, have been fully established and Williams was able to utilize them properly to deliver a glorious and unforgettable book; I found myself completely enthralled by William’s storytelling ability.

“What you brought back, darling, was the truth. Which is rarely comfortable and never painless, but often, ultimately, worth knowing.”

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The Blade Itself (The First Law, #1)

The Blade Itself (The First Law, #1)

The Blade Itself by Joe Abercrombie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The Blade Itself is exactly why I believe in second chances. When I first read this book four years ago, I had very little adult fantasy under my belt. I had read Elantris, Mistborn, A Song of Ice and Fire, and The Kingkiller Chronicle. That’s pretty much it. I think I just wasn’t mentally prepared for something like The Blade Itself. Even ASoIaF, by far the darkest of the fantasy novels I had read up to that point, had a number of characters who were mostly moral. Even if I wasn’t sure how long said characters would live, I knew that there was good even in this dark world. Then Abercrombie entered. While even on my first reading I appreciated how fleshed out and unique his characters were, there was a part of me that was horrified to find a core of darkness within those I had thought were basically good. My little brain didn’t cope well with that.

“Every man has his excuses, and the more vile the man becomes, the more touching the story has to be. What is my story now, I wonder?”

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The Poison Song (The Winnowing Flame Trilogy, #3)

The Poison Song (The Winnowing Flame Trilogy, #3)

The Poison Song by Jen Williams
My rating: 5 of 5 stars.

One word. INCREDIBLE.

The Winnowing Flame Trilogy has earned a perfect 5-star rating from me and deserved ALL of it. The Poison Song not only lived up to its astoundingly good prequels, but it also delivered an exquisitely emotional and satisfying conclusion.

I’ve always refrained from mentioning plot points in my reviews for concluding books to avoid inadvertent spoilers.  Instead, I will explain why I believed that Jen Williams’ sophomore trilogy is absolutely worth your time and money.

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The Bitter Twins (The Winnowing Flame Trilogy, #2)

The Bitter Twins (The Winnowing Flame Trilogy, #2)

The Bitter Twins by Jen Williams
My rating: 5 of 5 stars.

The Bitter Twins is a stunning sequel of staggering inventiveness and imagination.

I am in awe with the direction the story took after the unexpected turn of events at the end of The Ninth Rain. Instead of suffering from the middle book syndrome, The Bitter Twins continued to captivate me with its eldritch worldbuilding and engaging characterisation. I had to keep this review a bit shorter than usual, as there’s simply too much potential to accidentally spoil the numerous surprises that I kept encountering during my read.

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The Troupe

The Troupe

The Troupe by Robert Jackson Bennett
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

“What I’m going to do up here, kid, is tell you a story. Like all stories, it’s an attempt to make sense of something larger than itself. And, like most stories, it fails, to a certain degree. It’s a gloss, a rendition, so it’s not exact. But it’ll do.”

I’m going to see Paranormal Cirque this weekend and am insanely excited. In anticipation, I picked up The Troupe. While not about a circus, it is about a vaudevillian troupe, which is similar in feel. And though not exactly in the horror genre, I know from experience with his Divine Cities trilogy that Robert Jackson Bennett often weaves horror elements into his novels, and he does so deftly. I’m so incredibly glad I picked up this book. Because as excited as I am about seeing Paranormal Cirque, I already know that The Troupe will stay with me longer than any performance could. It turned out to be an absolutely beautiful story, and I read the last sixty or so pages through a haze of tears.

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