If we’re talking about favorites, 2018 has been mostly disappointing. I found many new books I really liked, but by this time last year I had found many books I loved. This doesn’t mean, of course, that I haven’t found any.
#5: The Tea Master and the Detective
This is one of the best novellas I’ve ever read, and I’m glad I gave it a chance – I almost didn’t because this is a Sherlock Holmes retelling and I know nothing about Sherlock Holmes. I can’t wait to read more about the Xuya universe, it’s Vietnamese space opera, and I can say that even if you don’t know anything about Sherlock Holmes, “SH retelling in space in which Holmes is a woman and Watson is a spaceship” is a really good premise. I loved our Holmes, Long Chau, and I hope we’ll see more of her in future novellas.
I predicted this would be a five star read, and I was right – and it was both better and more complex than I expected.
This novel is set in a steampunk-like version of Edwardian England, it’s a murder mystery, but it reads like a sweet m/m paranormal romance, and it also talks about PTSD and class privilege.
It’s difficult to find a book that is so many things at the same time and manages to be an easy read that neglects none of those aspects. It was very predictable at times, just like a romance book, but I didn’t care because the romance was lovely.
#3: Space Opera
This is the most over-the-top book I’ve ever read and I usually hate comedy, but this worked for me because the writing was gorgeous, the plot was weird and I loved that, and there was a serious message somewhere between the nonsense. (That sounds negative, but it’s not. I love nonsense.)
Anyway, this is about Eurovision in space and it manages to be even weirder than the premise.
#2: Ancillary Justice
The main character of this story is what’s left of an AI of a spaceship, and she’s basically possessing a human body. The villain is the lord of an evil space empire, and she achieved ubiquity by dividing herself in many bodies scattered around said empire. For a story about an evil space empire that deals with themes of injustice and privilege, it’s surprisingly light and fun, which I really liked. And sometimes it’s also painful, we all love pain.
Anyway, it has the best, most imaginative worldbuilding I’ve read in a long while. I didn’t like the sequels exactly as much but they were wonderful too.
#1: Revenant Gun
The third book in my favorite series is also my favorite book of the year so far, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it ended up being my favorite book of the year.
I have so many conflicting feelings about every character because they’re all horrible and I love all of them? My mass murder magic math friends. Even the ones that have literally no redeemable qualities but manage to steal every scene.
Anyway there’s nothing I love as much as stories that manage to go dark and still be fun, dark stories that never become dragged-out despair. It’s a difficult balance and this series is that for me.
Almost all of these are set in space, and in 2016 I thought I hated sci-fi.
Have you ever completely changed your opinion of a genre?