It’s my first monthly favorites list, and there have been some great books this month! Below are my top 5 favorites – they’re all unique in their own way and I wholeheartedly recommend them.
Passing Strange, by Ellen Clages
Review excerpt: This book surprised me. I expected a fantasy novel filled with magic. What I got was a beautiful love story set in 1940’s San Fransisco, with every word masterfully written. It’s light on the fantasy, but manages to add in a very interesting depiction of the artistic process behind the fun and shocking art plastering pulp novels in the early science fiction/comic book era. Read the review here.
Sea of Rust, by C. Robert Cargill
It’s a dark future where humanity has been wiped out by robots. Actually wiped out, not the “just kidding, there are humans hiding in the sewers and they’ll take the world back now” kind of wiped out. Robots won. Sucks to be human. It was a truly brutal past, especially for the main character who fought in the war first-hand. The author did a great job of weaving the past into the present story, giving a very detailed history without it seeming like an information dump. We got to see how people interacted with robots, how they were created in the first place, how the war began, and how it ended. Tidbits were sprinkled throughout most of the book, keeping my drive to know more alive until the very end. Read the review here.
Free Chocolate, by Amber Royer
Say the words “Space Opera” and I’m there with the popcorn, ready for the ride. Free Chocolate is everything I could have wanted and more, complete with intricate and dramatic characters, dozens of twisting plot lines that lead to a slam-bang finish, and an absurd resource at the center of all the drama: chocolate. This is an outstanding debut novel in a universe I can’t wait to dive deeper into. Read the review here.
Artificial Condition: The Murderbot Diaries, by Martha Wells
I was already a big fan of Murderbot after reading All Systems Red. It’s such a brilliant concept – a security robot capable of horrifying violence who only wants to watch soap operas and avoid human contact. Its introversion is admirable. In this next entry to the Murderbot Diaries, it’s opening up a bit and becoming more human, something that it loathes. It tells itself that it just wants to watch feeds until the end of time, getting up to date on its stories, but in reality, it can’t handle leaving innocent humans in the lurch when it could be helping them. It seems as though it’s moving beyond the typical feelings of anger, frustration and annoyance – something that would make it human for sure. After this entry, I’m just as excited to continue reading Murderbot stories (two more entries to the series are scheduled for later this year). Read the review here.
Gods, Monsters, and the Lucky Peach, by Kelly Robson
A complicated future awaits, complete with invasive technology, time travel tourism, and a world stripped of natural resources. In this masterfully written novel, the author has given us a fascinating set of characters determined to help the world regain the life it once knew by visiting a past filled with life. By raising questions on ethics, generational differences and a world run by banks, Robson has given us a glimpse of a possible future our current reality could become. Read the review here.