Monday, January 2, 2017

The Ten Best Science Fiction and Fantasy Books of 2016

by The Wanderer

 

Ranking of 2016’s Best Fantasy and Science Fiction Books


This is our fourth year reviewing and writing about everything that’s related to fantasy and science fiction.  It's been a slower year of reading for me, that's due to spending time acquiring the skills to make a significant career change and getting myself situated in my own personal life. It's been a difficult year to say the least, but personally 2017 is looking up.

As the primary book reader at ATG Reviews, I wish I could have read everything I wanted to, but alas time isn’t unlimited. Nevertheless I took up as many reading projects as I could manage – both classics and newer books.  Our Top 10 List was made using the following guidelines:

  • Books must be related in some way to the genres of fantasy and science fiction.
  • Books must have a word count longer than 40,000 (So no novellas, short stories or anthologies).
  • Books must have been published for the first time in 2016 (Sorry classic SFF books and translations).
  • Books that are published from the same series in the same year are limited only to the best book in that series.

Don’t agree with our list, feel free to list your favorite fantasy and science fiction books of 2016 in the comments below.

———————————————————————————————————————————

10. Necessity - By Jo Walton


The jump from ancient times to the 26th century makes for quite a different book, especially as aliens are introduced to the story with their own set of mythologies and Gods that they worship. The new characters are strong, and the returns of old favorites are fun to see again. Admittedly I liked the other two books in the Thessaly Trilogy better, but this still ends an excellent series in a satisfying way.

———————————————————————————————————————————

9. A Green and Ancient Light - By Frederic S. Durbin


This is a beautiful coming of age story taking place in the country, presumably during World War Two. An unnamed nine year old discovers a grove that contains a series of mysterious statues and inscriptions. He and his grandmother spend the summer figuring out the secrets they may contain. Durbin's story bears a certain aesthetic similarity to Neil Gaiman's The Ocean at the End of the Lane, and I certainly enjoyed its descriptive prose.

———————————————————————————————————————————

8. The Children of Earth and Sky - By Guy Gavriel Kay


Every Guy Gavriel Kay book is a highly anticipated book, and The Children of Earth and Sky is no exception. Kay is one of the best living prose stylists in the fantasy genre today, and this book like so many of Kay's others, has many powerfully written passages and emotional moments. Best known for making fantasy worlds that mimic famous historical eras from our own world, this story takes place in a time shortly after the fall of there world's equivalent to Constantinople. A diverse group of personalities - soldier, artist, merchant, and concubine - are being sent to the newly conquered city to meet it's terrifying conqueror.

———————————————————————————————————————————

7. Nevernight - By Jay Kristoff


Kristoff's new Nevernight series is off to a great start with a main character that bares similarities to Arya Stark and a setting that's similar to Hogwarts. There is some fantastic world building, interesting magical concepts, and some dark twisted characters to boot. This was definitely my favorite page-turner of the year, although it takes about 100 pages for the story to really take off.

———————————————————————————————————————————

6. Jerusalem - By Alan Moore

Buy on Amazon!

Alan Moore is best known as the writer behind some of the best comics ever released. His second novel is a monster. At over 1,200 pages, Moore looks to pay tribute to his hometown of Northampton England in an epic fashion that's not unlike how James Joyce paid tribute to Dublin Ireland. Jerusalem is highly experimental, especially it's final third, which changes literary styles every chapter.

———————————————————————————————————————————

5. The Bands of Mourning - By Brandon Sanderson


Buy on Amazon!

Shadows of Self had me worried that Brandon Sanderson might be loosing control of his Mistborn series. Fortunately this book happened, and the Wax and Wayne saga has never looked more promising. The new technologies, and how they work within the magic system, are a particular highlight. The novella that was released shortly after, Mistborn: The Secret History, is also a must read for any Cosmere fan.

———————————————————————————————————————————

4. The Guns of Empire - By Django Wexler


Buy on Amazon!

The penultimate book in The Shadow Campaigns starts out with a bang.  The plot bears a lot of similarities to Napoleon's march to Moscow ... until it doesn't anymore. Django Wexler's realistically described late 18th century battle scenes and his demonic magic system make for some of the best action scenes being written in the genre today. His characters, especially the women, are particularly well crafted, and Janus's true intentions continue to be a great source of mystery.

———————————————————————————————————————————

3. The Familiar Volume Three: Honey Suckle and Pain - By Mark Z. Danielewski


Buy on Amazon!

Part three of twenty-seven. So far this has been my favorite volume of The Familiar. Danielewski is beginning to step up the horror aspect of his writing, which was one of my favorite parts of House of Leaves. The ending is another great cliff hanger that messed with my head. The crazy text experiments continue to make reading this a fun trip down the rabbit hole.

———————————————————————————————————————————

2. The Obelisk Gate - By N.K. Jemisin


Buy on Amazon!

What an awesome sequel to The Fifth Season, a book I initially believed didn't need a sequel. Essun's story was a heart-breaker last time around, and her suffering continues, but at least she begins to find hope. As great as Essun is, her daughter Nassun, who is now a new narrator, is the true scene stealer. Just like last time, Jemisin has crafted another beautiful story. 

———————————————————————————————————————————

1. The Wheel of Osheim - By Mark Lawrence


A wheel in Osheim is at the center of an apocalyptic event, and it's up to Jalan and Snorri to save the world. First they just need to figure out how to get out of Hell. From there it's one catastrophic event after another as Jalan must finally search inside himself for the courage he so desperately doesn't want to find. The end of the Red Queen's War is hilarious, because that's exactly what would happen to Jalan. I don't think of Mark Lawrence as a writer who uses "twists" but he manages to put in a few good one's here.

1 comment:

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete