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Book Review: Cytonic (Skyward, #3) by Brandon Sanderson

Book Review: Cytonic (Skyward, #3) by Brandon Sanderson

Cytonic by Brandon Sanderson

My rating:  4.5 of 5 stars

Series: Skyward (Book 3 of 4)

Genre: Science fiction, young adult

Published: 23rd November 2021 by Gollancz (UK) and Delacorte Press (US)


No surprises, Cytonic was a superb read filled with brilliantly creative worldbuilding and compelling characterisation that I’ve always expected, and received, from Sanderson.

It all started with a novella that he wrote and submitted to a magazine way back before he was even published. That piece of work received an honourable mention at the Writers of the Future contest in 2003, and after substantial re-editing in 2008 won first place in the UPC Science Fiction Award in Spain, and was published in the Oct/Nov 2008 issue of Asimov’s Science Fiction.  However, for the most of the past decade, most readers have only known Sanderson as a bestselling fantasy author as aside from a few short stories, he had not really written a science fiction series.  That is, not until Skyward came about – and it was just as fantastic as his fantasy writing. The fact that it’s YA took away nothing from his ability to spin the most incredibly engaging stories set in the most imaginative settings.

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Audiobook Review: Ever Winter by Peter Hackshaw

Audiobook Review: Ever Winter by Peter Hackshaw

I received a copy of the audiobook from the publisher, Monolith Books, in exchange for an honest review.

 

Ever Winter by Peter Hackshaw (Narrated by Dan Stevens)

My rating: 4 of 5 stars/

Genre:  Dystopia, post-apocalyptic, sci-fi

Published:  9th Jan 2020 by Monolith Books, & 26th Jan 2021 by Podium Audio


Ever Winter is a great revenge story that starts slow, but engages with the gritty realism of its wintry post-apocalyptic dystopian setting.

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TS’s Top 20 Books Read in 2020

TS’s Top 20 Books Read in 2020


2020 has been such a strange, stressful and complicated year.  I took a one-year sabbatical leave from work from mid-2019 and managed to do quite a bit of travelling for about six months before the world got completely turned upside down.  I’ve read/listen over 120 books this year, 73 of which was completed during the first half when I wasn’t working and the entire world was on lockdown.  Getting back to work during the second half in the midst of a global pandemic and a new challenging role did affect my ability to read and also write reviews on a regular basis.

Despite 2020 being such a watershed/dumpster year, it’s been an incredible one for my reading as I’ve completed a lot books ranging from great to masterpieces.  In fact, I can’t remember the last time I’ve added so many books onto my favourites shelf (many of which were from the same series).  If you’re curious/interested, you also can see my year in books for 2020 right here.

Similar to my previous list, I do not limit this to only books released this year.  There are simply too many great books that have been published prior and that I’ve yet to read, so there will always be older books included.  Below are the parameters that I’ve set for the list.

  • Rereads don’t count
  • One book per author
  • Not limited to books which are released this year.

None of these are ranked except for the top five.  The rest, I’ve listed them in the chronological order of when I’ve read them this year.  Almost all of these have been reviewed by me on Novel Notions and Goodreads, albeit some are quite brief.

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TS’s Top 11 Books Read in 2020 So Far (1st Jan to 30th June)

TS’s Top 11 Books Read in 2020 So Far (1st Jan to 30th June)


2020 has so far been a truly strange, stressful and complicated year, but reading wise it has been pretty incredible for me.  I’ve read/listen to 73 books during this first six months of the year and quite a sizeable chunk of these garnered 4-stars and above.  In fact, I can’t remember the last time I’ve added so many books onto my favourites shelf in the same period of time.  If you’re interested, you can see my year in books for 2020 right here.

Similar to my previous list, I do not limit this to only books released this year.  There are simply too many great books that have been published prior and that I’ve yet to read, so there will always be older books included.  Below are the parameters that I’ve set for the list.

  • Rereads don’t count
  • One book per author
  • Not limited to books which are released this year.

None of these are ranked except for the top three, of which two are tied for first place.  The rest, I’ve listed them in the chronological order of when I’ve read them this year.  All of these have been reviewed by me on Novel Notions and Goodreads.

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Book Review: Fid’s Crusade (The Chronicles of Fid, #1) by David H. Reiss

Book Review: Fid’s Crusade (The Chronicles of Fid, #1) by David H. Reiss

Review copy received from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Fid’s Crusade by David H. Reiss

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: The Chronicles of Fid (Book 1 of 3)

Genre: Superhero, science fiction

Published: 23rd March 2018 (self-published); Re-release with new cover: 1st January 2020 (Atian Press)


I can’t say that I’ve read many superhero/villain stories.  But for what it’s worth, I’d say that Fid’s Crusade was a great read; an engaging anti-hero story that balanced fascinating character work with clever plotting and cool action scenes.

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Book Review: The Last Emperox (The Interdependency,#3) by John Scalzi

Book Review: The Last Emperox (The Interdependency,#3) by John Scalzi

ARC received from the publisher, Tor Books, in exchange for an honest review.

The Last Emperox by John Scalzi

My rating: 4 of 5 stars.

Series: The Interdependency (Book 3 of 3)

Genre: Science fiction, space opera

Published: 14th April 2020 by Tor US & 16th April 2020 by Tor UK


The Last Emperox is a satisfying conclusion to one of the more entertaining and accessible space operas I’ve read.

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Book Review: The Consuming Fire (The Interdependency, #2) by John Scalzi

Book Review: The Consuming Fire (The Interdependency, #2) by John Scalzi

Review copy received from the publisher, Tor Books, in exchange for an honest review

The Consuming Fire by John Scalzi

My rating: 4 of 5 stars.

Series: The Interdependency (Book 2 of 3)

Genre: Science fiction, space opera

Published: 16th October 2018 by Tor US & 18th October 2018 by Tor UK


The Consuming Fire feels like a middle-book, but in a good way. Just as entertaining and accessible as the first, this sequel took the plotline of The Interdependency trilogy in an interesting direction.

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Book Review: The Collapsing Empire (The Interdependency, #1) by John Scalzi

Book Review: The Collapsing Empire (The Interdependency, #1) by John Scalzi

The Collapsing Empire by John Scalzi

My rating: 4 of 5 stars.

Series: The Interdependency (Book 1 of 3)

Genre: Science fiction, space opera

Published: 21st March 2017 by Tor US & 23rd March 2017 by Tor UK


I think two words perfectly describe The Collapsing Empire – entertaining and accessible. This is science fiction for the masses that is fun and riveting.

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Book Review: The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories by Ken Liu

Book Review: The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories by Ken Liu

The Paper Menagerie and Other Stories by Ken Liu

My rating:  4.5 of 5 stars

Genre:  Science fiction, fantasy, magic realism, dystopian

Published:  March 2016 by Gallery/Saga Press (US) and Head of Zeus (UK)


I’ve been meaning to read Ken Liu’s first collection of short stories for a quite a while. His translation for two of Cixin Liu’s books in the Remembrance of Earth’s Past trilogy was excellent and I’ve heard a lot of great things about the titular short story of this collection.

In my opinion, the preface alone warrants at least a 5-star and an award. Liu’s writing is utterly beautiful and profound, and one can clearly see how talented and intelligent this author is just from reading his preface to the collection. I’ve highlighted at least half of it because it was so well-written.

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Book Review: The Fold (Threshold, #2) by Peter Clines

Book Review: The Fold (Threshold, #2) by Peter Clines

The Fold by Peter Clines (Narrated by Ray Porter)

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: Threshold (Book 2)

Genre:  Science fiction, mystery, Lovecraftian horror

Published: 2nd June 2015 by Crown (US)


The Fold is yet another utterly absorbing and entertaining genre-bending novel by Peter Clines, which was impeccably narrated by Ray Porter.

I didn’t even realise that I’ve read the first book in the Threshold series, 14, almost exactly a year ago. It must be something related to this bizarre universe that Clines have created in his series of connected stand-alone novels which triggered such a coincidence. The Fold is the second book in the series, with a completely different story and new cast of characters in the same universe.

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