As usual, Top Ten Tuesday is brought to you courtesy of Broke and Bookish. This is the big one folks, the one we’ve all been waiting for…er…uhm. The one I’ve been waiting for. Obsessing over, really.
This was a hard list to make, and it went through several iterations. Its a fact that I’m, uh, stingy with my 5-Cthulhu ratings. Its fairly easy to get a 4 from me, but getting a 5 takes something special. So special, in fact, that I outright don’t have 10 science fiction OR horror novels, published in 2015, that have top ratings from me.
So… below are my top 10 best “Scifi and Scary” novels, ranked in order of how much I enjoyed The Story. I’m going to completely disregard technical issues and such like I might have addressed in my reviews, which frequently knock books down a star, and rank them based on the enjoyment factor of the story alone.
Unlike my previous lists, which are mostly “in no particular order”, this countdown is specifically ranked, and only includes novels that (to the best of my knowledge) were released for the first time in 2015. (That knocked so many good ones off this list, unfortunately!)
Best “Sci-fi and Scary” Novels
10. The Betrayal of Ka by Shea R. Oliver was a book that I had initial problems with upon reading (and still do, to a point), but the fact is Oliver took science fiction to a place it hardly ever gets taken. The best description for his work really is “gritty” and how often do you hear that word associated with science fiction? It was a unique read that definitely will appeal if you need something a bit different to renew your interest in science fiction. See my review here
9. Alive by Scott Sigler was amazing. There has only really been one other time where I was reading a book and had my opinion do a complete 180 on it. This book leads you down path thinking you know exactly how its going to end, and then takes that left turn at Albequerque so darned fast you get whiplash looking over your shoulder to see how in the world that happened. So while the whole book wasn’t completely awesome, the trick he pulls at the end definitely ears Alive a place on this list. See my review here.
8. Bleed by Dax Varley. This is a book that was pure fast-paced entertainment. Bleed definitely deserves attention for a couple reasons. What still stands out to me most is that the author is not afraid to tackle ‘sensitive’ issues, ones that most people avoid addressing as a matter of course, head-on from the get-go. Well-written, quick-moving, and with some truly memorable scenes. See my review here.
7. The Voyages of the Seven, 2nd in The Star Agency Chronicles by R.E. Weber. While it is not as good as the first one (lets be honest, how many 2nd books in trilogies ever are?), it was still an amazingly good read that smoothly continued the story of Theo and crew. It rings strongly of Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card, and indeed I recommend this to everyone who read Ender’s Game and has been looking for another book like it since then. See my review here.
6. Zer0es by Chuck Wendig was just a good read that immensely appealed to my nerdier side. I loved that even though it was definitely science fiction, it wasn’t reaching to the stars, space pirates and blaster guns type science fiction. An Underdogs Overcome story that’s well worth its inclusion into this list, though one people who aren’t interested in computers may not enjoy as much as I did. See my review here..
5. Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson – This basically defines hard sci-fi. If physics scare you, stay far, far away. If you thought The Martian had too much science, stay far, far away. However, if you love hard sci-fi and enjoy having your brain actively engaged to the point you’re pretty sure it might leak out of your ears on occasion, I highly recommend this book. I loved it. You have to adjust your time-scale, you have to accept the fact that you can’t really attach yourself to any of the characters, and you have to be enamored with the logistics of space travel, but it is so, so worth it. See my review here!
4. Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff had so many different
stories being told within it that it easily captivated me, and (as I listened to this as an audio book) I put off my normal paperback reading time just so I could sit there and enjoy this book. An epic tale, indeed. While it wasn’t as much of a ‘fun’ read, or one that impressed you right from the beginning, it was a very satisfying read. I can’t wait for The Illuminae Files #2. See my review here.
3. Beneath Claire’s House by Corey J. Popp – You’ve seen this book appear on other lists of mine before, and I stand by it. It truly is the best YA Horror I’ve read in a long time (perhaps ever) and the lack of traditional horror trapping such as drug use, promiscuity, and lots of lots of gore along with a decidedly psychological bent should appeal to lots of people. As much as I love this book, the reason it’s not holding my number one slot is that even though this is the best YA Horror, when weighed against all the other books I’ve read, its not the most entertaining. See my review here.
2. The Beast of Barcroft by Bill Schweigart. Promos for this book compared Schweigart to King, so while I was fascinated, I was also worried because King’s a bit wordy for my taste. However, I saw the page count and decided to give it a go. Definitely did not regret it. This was a fantastic read that I zoomed right through! The basic story line is very King or Koontzish, but Schweigart doesn’t suffer from word inflation the way the more well-known authors are, so I definitely appreciated this. The characters are interesting, the story was fast paced…just go read it already! See my review here.
….and finally, for my number one… Okay, the fact that this particular book is in this place surprised me. I honestly expected a horror novel to take first place. Or one of the harder science fiction books that I love. I mean, review-wise, I didn’t even give this a 5-Cthulhu rating! However, in terms of stories that I just outright enjoyed reading, even as just a one-time read, it definitely stands out from everything else. So, I guess if its topping my list of most entertaining reads, I need to go back and give it a 5-Cthulhu review, don’t I? Is that even done? Upping the rating of a book after you’ve already read and reviewed it? I mean, the reason I didn’t give it a 5 initially was because it wasn’t a book I had the desire to rave to others about. I guess this counts as a heck of a rave though. Hmmmm…...
1. Treasure of the Black Hole by S. Evan Townsend. A sort of noir slash science fiction mashup that worked wonderfully, it was pretty much the perfect afternoon read. It is definitely the most entertaining read from books I’ve read that were published in 2015. See my review here.
Well, I hope you enjoyed this posting of the best “Scifi and Scary” novels of 2015. I definitely can’t wait to see everyone else’s rankings!! Feel free to leave your link!