V.E. Schwab

Kat’s 2017 Most Anticipated Reads

It’s apparently the year of the sequel, at least for my anticipated reads. But three of my current favourite series are wrapping up this year and I’m very, very excited about that. I didn’t even come close to finishing my 2016 TBR list, but since the whole point of a TBR list is to keep adding more to it, here we go!

January Releases:


The Bear and the Nightingale, by Katherine Arden

One of the few on my list that’s not part of a series, Arden’s debut novel draws heavily from Russian folklore, and is perfect blend of mythology, history, and magic, with fully realized characters and an incredibly well-captured setting. If you liked Uprooted, definitely read this one next. It’s a perfect winter read, although its Medieval Northern Russia Winter setting means that warm blankets and tea while reading this one are a must.

bintihome Binti: Home, by Nnedi Okorafor

In this sequel to 2015’s Hugo and Nebula-award winning novella, Binti – who left home abruptly to attend an off-world university against her family’s wishes – now returns home with her unlikely friend Okwu, and humanity must truly face whether it’s possible for the two races to truly exist peacefully.


conjuring A Conjuring of Light, by V.E. Schwab

This is the finale to Schwab’s brilliant trilogy (which includes A Darker Shade of Magic, and A Gathering of Shadows), where there are four separate worlds with four Londons. Each of the Londons have a different relationship with magic, but there is only one magician left who can travel between them. This chapter in the story promises to wrap up the trilogy in a pretty spectacular fashion, and I’m hoping we get to learn lots more about the fallen black London….


collapsingempire The Collapsing Empire, by John Scalzi

I love John Scalzi, and not just for the twitter account he made for his kittens (@scamperbeasts), even though it’s adorable.  In his new book, humanity has gone to the stars and has colonizing many other planets, but only because of access to the Flow – a phenomenon that allows them to bypass faster-than-light travel (which doesn’t exist). But when it’s discovered that the Flow moves, and may soon cut humanity off from travel between its worlds, they must scramble to save their empire from collapse.


wakinggods Waking Gods, by Sylvain Neuvel

This is the sequel to 2016’s Sleeping Giants, a sci-fi/conspiracy story of of a team of scientists and military personnel discovering and assembling a colossal robot, who’s parts were scattered all over the earth. The book was quickly optioned for a movie last year. In this follow-up it looks like the now-assembled robot has some company, and Earth may be facing invasion. If you like straight-forward sci-fi that still manages to balance plot and character development, this series is a great pick.

borneBorne, by Jeff VanderMeer

I never actually read VanderMeer’s Southern Reach Trilogy, but I heard so many good things about it that I’m going to try his new one. It’s dystopian/post-apocalyptic fiction about a world destroyed by bio-engineering run amok, and a scavenger who discovers a strange biotech creature which she immediately feels strong, inexplicable bond with.


downamongthesticksDown Among the Sticks and Bones, by Seanan McGuire

This is the second book in McGuire’s Wayward Children series. The previous title, Every Heart a Doorway, was one of my favourite books from 2016, so I’m really excited for this one. It’s not really a direct sequel though; it follows the back-story of two of the most interesting characters from Every Heart, but promises to be much darker, as the world that sisters Jack and Jill found themselves was like a horror movie, filled with mad scientists, vampires, and death.


wardedmanThe Core, by Peter V. Brett

This is the final installment of Brett’s Demon Cycle, which is so far one of my all-time favourite fantasy series. There’s no cover for this book yet, so I’ve posted the first book in the series – The Warded Man. In this last book – The Core – Arlen and Jardir travel down for the final face-off with the demons who have plagued (and decimated) humanity for so long. This series is exciting, fast-paced, featuring some great world-building and a really fascinating system of magic, so if you’re an “epic fantasy” fan I’d definitely recommend this one.

stoneskyThe Stone Sky, by N.K. Jemisin

The first in this trilogy – The Fifth Season – was brilliant, and the second opened up the world and characters even further, so I’m very excited for this concluding volume. In this last one, Essun’s daughter Nassun has fully come into her power, and now between the two they will either save or destroy the world.




communication Communication Failure, by Joe Zieja

The first in this “Epic Failure” series, Mechanical Failure, was the funniest, most ridiculously silly book I’d read in a long time; while that can be a tricky thing to maintain in a series, I have high hopes for this one.  It’s a military sci-fi, which is not normally my favourite, but the snappy dialogue, ridiculous (but unfortunately not too far out of the range of realism…) characters, and unrelenting chaos and absurdity won me over and I can’t wait for more!


Of course I am continuing not to mention The Winds of Winter, The Doors of Stone, and The Thorne of Emberlain here because that’s asking way too much in a year already packed with sequelly goodness, but I can still keep my fingers crossed for at least an official publication date. What SF/FAN are you most looking forward to this year?

Happy Reading!






Kat’s Top Reads of 2016

My Top Reads list this year is admittedly a little short. While 2016 hasn’t been as bad a reading-year as it has been a year in general, I did get stuck on several books for way too long, and had more than a few misses from titles I’d had high hopes for. That being said, it’s definitely not all bad! I did find a few books that I really truly loved among those that I…. didn’t quite love as much.

arcadia Arcadia, by Iain Pears

I’m starting with my number 1 pick for the year, because it’s just that kind of year. This is an ambitious mix of sci-fi and fantasy, following 10 separate characters in 3 different timelines. It’s a little confusing and slow at first, but it’s completely amazing when all the pieces start to fit together (which they continue to do right up until the last few pages, making for an increasingly page-turning read). The book also has an app version, which allows you to put the whole story together in different ways. The plot is difficult to describe (and I don’t think the book blurbs do it justice), but it involves a lot of time travel, and explores the relationship between past and present, fact and fiction, in ways you would never expect.

everyheartEvery Heart a Doorway, by Seanan McGuire

A close second on my 2016 favourites list, this novella is set in an unusual school that takes in children who at one point in their lives have discovered a doorway to another world. These worlds usually fit the children perfectly, but then they were somehow cast out and forced back into our world where they don’t fit anymore.  The story is lyrical and beautiful, and I adored the characters and the worlds they found, and then heartbreakingly lost. My only complaint was previously that it was too short, but fortunately there’s a sequel due out next year! This is a great pick for teens, or adults like me who are still convinced there’s a doorway to another world out there somewhere…

mechanicalfailureMechanical Failure, by Joe Zieja

This book finally allowed me to add a new title to my list of the best in ridiculously funny sci-fi & fantasy for the first time in years (it’s still a very small list. I’ll promise I’ll share when it’s bigger). In this story, Sergeant-turned-smuggler Wilson Rogers is forced to return to military service, only to find that the easy going, peacetime military of his younger days is a thing of the past, and things are about to go seriously, catastrophically wrong. It also features an ill-tempered robot whose programming won’t allow him to swear, and the phrases he comes up with to compensate earned me a lot of funny looks in the airport when I kept giggling. Another great pick for teens, and of course for very silly adults.

summerlongSummerlong, by Peter S. Beagle

A novel by the author of The Last Unicorn, this is a great pick for fans of magical realism. It features a vivid (and relatively local!) setting and characters who feel truly real and whose growth and are wholly believable, along with a bit of mythology and magic thrown into the mix. A short but beautiful and bittersweet read.


gatheringofshadowsA Gathering of Shadows, by V.E. Schwab

V.E. Schwab has had a great year between this title and her teen book This Savage Song (written as Victoria Schwab). This is the sequel to A Darker Shade of Magic, and it definitely lives up to the high standard set by its predecessor, with a fascinating world, interesting characters, and a fast paced plot. I particularly loved that we got to see so much more of Lila in this one. This is a great pick for series readers, as they won’t have long to wait for the final installment – A Conjuring of Light – which is due out in February.



Infomocracy, by Malka Older

In a year dominated by politics and elections, this title a timely read. In this quasi-utopian vision of the future, the world votes for a single government via a global system of micro-democracies. Keeping this system running is the Information, a global organization that controls and disseminates data in order to keep the electorate informed.  The plot of course centres around an election, but the strength and intrigue of this novel lies more in its political and informational world-building. It’s a fascinating read, full of big ideas that are worth exploring.

Well, I guess that makes this my top 6 for this year! Next year my reading resolution is to put down the book if it’s not keeping me up past my bedtime. While that might not be the healthiest approach for my sleep cycle, it should result in a healthier-sized best of list for 2017.

What were your favourites this year? Any sci-fi / fantasy you feel I’ve missed?

Happy holidays, and happy reading!

Kat’s Anticipated Reads: 2016 Fantasy & Sci-Fi Series

While my 2016 reading-resolution is to broaden the scope of books I take home with me, that’s certainly not going to stop me from devouring the latest releases in all of my favourite Fantasy and Sci-Fi series that are coming out next year.

While there’s still no sign of a release date from two out of my top five current series (Doors of Stone from Patrick Rothfuss’s The Kingkiller Chronicle, and The Core from Peter Brett’s Demon Cycle), three out of five should keep me sated for now!

stakedThe Iron Druid Chronicles, by Kevin Hearne
2016 Release: Staked (January 26)
Start With: Hounded

Atticus O’Sullivan is a 2,100-year old Druid hiding out with his Irish wolfhound in Arizona, while masquerading as a New Age shop owner.  It’s equal parts humour and action, mixed with a romp through mythology; it’s is one of the funniest, most enjoyable series I’ve come across in a long while (it’s tied with The Parasol Protectorate series for my “All-Time Most-Fun Fantasy” award).
The Red Rising Trilogyby Pierce Brownmorningstar
2016 Release: Morning Star (February 9)
Start With: 
Red Rising

In this world, society’s classes are rigidly divided by colour, and each colour has a specific role: Red are labourers, Browns are servants, Greys are military and police, Golds are the rulers, etc.  A Red, Darrow was willing to work and serve until tragedy struck home, and his quest for revenge drives him into becoming a revolutionary. Dark, gritty, and thrilling, the first two were definitely up-past-your-bedtime page turners.



A Darker Shade of Magic, by V.E. Schwab
2016 Release: A Gathering of Shadows (February 23)
Start With: A Darker Shade of Magic

Featuring four parallel-world Londons with varying degrees of magical influence, Schwab’s first story featured one of the last magicians who could travel between the worlds. The characters were perfect, and I loved this concept. The mystery of what happened to Black London is definitely going to send me running for the next book when it comes out.



Chronicles of the Unhewn Throne, by Brian Staveley
2016 Release: The Last Mortal Bond (March 15)
Start With: The Emperor’s Blades

The Emperor’s three children are spread across the world, each following very different paths. But when the Emperor is murdered, his children will each attempt to unravel the conspiracy in their own way, while trying to stay alive and complete the destinies their father laid out for them.  This is for the epic fantasy fan, featuring rich world-building, intriguing, strong characters, and a steady pace up to what promises to be an exciting conclusion.


halflostHalf Bad Trilogy, by Sally Green
2016 Release: Half Lost  (March 29)
Start With: Half Bad

Nathan is the son of two witches – one white and one an infamous, violent black witch.   It’s been assumed he’ll be just like his father, so he’s been beaten and kept in a cage for years, planning escape after escape. This one gets pretty dark, but I loved Nathan and the desire to see more of the world and the magic, and find out more about Nathan’s family, kept me reading. I burned through the first two in a couple of days….


tearlingThe Queen of the Tearling Trilogy, by Erika Johansen
2016 Release: The Fate of the Tearling (Expected June 7)
Start With: The Queen of the Tearling

A part coming-of-age story, this features a Queen who has just come of age to take the throne. She’s smart and courageous but has everything stacked against her, and her choices may save or destroy her kingdom. This one has really been a surprise for me – I didn’t know what to expect, but I ended up loving the first one, and the second one has started to bend genres in the most fascinating way. I can’t wait to see where Johansen is going with it!


The Gemberlainentlemen Bastards Sequenceby Scott Lynch
2016 Release: The Thorn of Emberlain (Expected July 21)
Start With: The Lies of Locke Lamora

This is probably #2 or #3 on my current Top-Five list (although it’s so hard to choose, let alone rank!). Think of a Robin-Hood style band of thieves, but then add incredibly elaborate, long-term cons, and of course keeping their ill-gotten gains for themselves because why on earth would you go to all that work and then just give it away? Exciting, unpredictable, and equal parts funny and serious, it’s made its way into my all-time favourite series list.



The Broken Earth Trilogy, by N.K. Jemisin
2016 Release: The Obelisk Gate (August 16)
Start With: The Fifth Season

The Fifth Season is tied for my #1 read of 2015 (with Naomi Noviks’ Uprooted), so I’m very excited by the short wait for the second one.  This is a challenging and unusual fantasy, using three entirely different narrative styles to tell its story, which takes place in a world where the ‘seasons’ are divided by the environmental disaster that starts and defines them. The narrative choices can feel really strange at first, but stick with it and I promise it’s SO worth it!

Add the potential of a Winds of Winter release, and it looks like 2016 will be a great year in SF/FAN! So if you’re looking for a new series to dive into, give one of these a try and you’re (pretty much) guaranteed a new release this year.