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The Light Brigade

The Light Brigade

The Light Brigade by Kameron Hurley
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

The Light Brigade is my first sci-fi read of the year (shocking, I know) and it’s also the first time I’ve read a book by Kameron Hurley; I assure you it won’t be the last.

“I suppose it’s an old story, isn’t it? The oldest story. It’s the dark against the light. The dark is always the easier path. Power. Domination. Blind obedience. Fear always works to build order, in the short term. But it can’t last. Fear doesn’t inspired anything like love does.”

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All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries, #1)

All Systems Red (The Murderbot Diaries, #1)

All Systems Red by Martha Wells
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

The introduction to The Murderbot Diaries is simply great fun! All Systems Red is a refreshing and diverting sci-fi novella with wide appeal; a marvellous package of wry humour, suspense and a healthy dose of compassion.

As much as I love science fiction, I don’t consider myself as a hardcore reader of the genre, and there are a lot of popular series or “required reading” which I have yet to catch-up on. In this respect, I find this book to be original; it is not a space opera, cyberpunk and it is not about an alien invasion. This is a first-person perspective narrative of a humanlike bot, a construct of both organic and inorganic parts, who finds it/him/herself becoming weird and messed up with increasing ‘emotions’ while dealing with her human clients even though the bots are not programmed as such. (Okay, I am going to call the bot a ‘her’ because even though it is technically genderless, I can’t help picturing it as a female. The voice of her first-person perspective just sounds feminine, in my opinion).

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14

14

14 by Peter Clines
My rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars.

A fascinating and engaging genre-bending novel with excellent characterisation, elevated by the narrator’s superb voice-acting.

14. Firstly, the number, when spoken in Chinese sounds like “will/must die”. Due to this superstition, there are numerous buildings in my part of the world which do not use this number. You will instead get Level 13a or Unit 13a in place of 14, and sometimes even a jump from 13 to 15. I started the book with this notion at the back of my head. And all I knew about the story then was that the building was strange and mysterious. A potent and thrilling combination, and yet I was still pleasantly surprised with the direction the story took.

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Connections in Death (In Death, #48)

Connections in Death (In Death, #48)

Connections in Death by J.D. Robb
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I don’t know that I’ll ever find another series that feels as much like coming home as this series. Which is pretty amazing, considering all the murder.

I’ve made my love for Nora Roberts and her pen name abundantly clear over the course of my book reviews, but let me just reiterate that I absolutely adore everything she writes. There’s a flow to the prose that, while lovely, sucks me into the story in such a way that the words just disappear. That’s even more abundantly true in regards to the In Death series. Eve Dallas and Roarke and the family they’ve unwittingly built from friends and coworkers are all so insanely well developed by this point that they actually feel more real to me than many living, breathing people. Connections in Death marks the 48th full length novel in this series, and it’s still such a joy to get to revisit the characters and catch up on what’s been going on in their lives since the last book.

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Rejoice: A Knife to the Heart

Rejoice: A Knife to the Heart

Rejoice: A Knife to the Heart by Steven Erikson
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

With Rejoice: A Knife to the Heart, Erikson holds up a mirror for all of humanity.

The Earth, when seen from space, shows no borders.

A First Contact story that examines the path of the human race on Earth, Rejoice nails some very brutal truths about humankind at large; where humanity is heading to and what awaits us in the future without intervention. Once again, Erikson offers up a stunning philosophical discourse, albeit one that is less allusive and hitting much closer to home as compared to his epic fantasy masterpiece, Malazan Book of the Fallen.

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Leverage in Death (In Death, #47)

Leverage in Death (In Death, #47)

Leverage in Death by J.D. Robb
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

There is something about Nora’s writing, both as herself and as J.D. Robb, that hooks me from the first sentence and doesn’t let me go until I’ve read the final chapter. So it’s no surprise that Leverage in Death worked incredibly well for me and broke my first ever (and hopefully last!) reading slump. While I’ve picked up some great books in the past month, nothing grabbed me enough to entice me further into its pages. I should’ve known that Nora would prove to be the cure to my dilemma.

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A Memory Called Empire (Teixcalaan, #1)

A Memory Called Empire (Teixcalaan, #1)

ARC provided by the publisher—Tor Books—in exchange for an honest review.

A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Easily one of the cleverest sci-fi debuts I’ve read so far.

A Memory Called Empire is Arkady Martine’s debut novel and the first instalment in the Teixcalaan series. Ambassador Mahit Dzmare arrives in Teixcalaan only to find out that the previous ambassador from the same mining station as hers has died. Contrary to her belief, nobody wants to admit that his death wasn’t an accident, and now it’s up to Mahit to uncover who’s behind the murder. At the same time, she also has to save the place where she came from—Lsel—from the Teixcalaan expansion. A Memory Called Empire at its core is a murder mystery story. If you start this book expecting tons of action, there’s a chance that you’ll be sorely disappointed. The main charm of the book lies in Mahit’s challenges in navigating the unfamiliar culture of Teixcalaan; it’s a book heavily centered on politics. In my opinion, this novel was a bit reminiscent of The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson. The main difference between the two is that while I disliked The Traitor Baru Cormorant, I highly enjoyed reading this one due to a superb prose that clicked with me.

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Planetside

Planetside

Planetside by Michael Mammay
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Planetside was a very impressive military sci-fi debut.

I’m actually surprised that so few people I know (close to zero) are talking about Planetside this year. Seriously, Harper Voyager and reviewers really should’ve advertised this book more, it’s a fantastic debut and if it weren’t for my friend, Niki Hawkes, I wouldn’t have heard about this gem at all.

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Supraphysica

Supraphysica

Supraphysica by Drew Boudreaux
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received an electronic copy of this novel from the author, in exchange for an honest review.

Christian fantasy and science fiction tend to be very hit or miss for me. While I try my best to support the genres because I really want to see them grow, some the novels tend to feel unoriginal and poorly written. I have read many works of Christian speculative fiction that left me frustrated and underwhelmed. In my opinion, Christian art of any kind, be in fiction or music or visual media, should hold itself to a higher standard than its secular counterparts in order to more powerfully proclaim the message Christians are sent out into the world to share. There are indeed novelists and poets and musicians that hold themselves to said standard, but this is far from the norm.

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Vigilance

Vigilance

ARC provided by the publisher—Tor.com—in exchange for an honest review.

Vigilance by Robert Jackson Bennett
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A powerful and terrifyingly necessary novella; I sincerely hope that it’s not prophetic.

Gun violence and mass shooting, we’ve all heard about it; it has happened way too many times for the past couple of years. I’m not American, I never lose someone close to me to gun violence or mass shooting. Even then, I found that this book was dark, terrifying, and powerful because looking at the state of the world now, I can’t dispute the chance that Vigilance would never happen. I envision this book will be even more terrifying for American or anybody who has lost someone to gun violence or mass shooting. There’s a lot of violent and strong content here. Please remember, this is a work of fiction. Try to be open-minded and let it be a wakeup call instead.

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