These are my top reads in 2016 (so far…)
This book makes it onto the list pretty much purely because there is one scene so devastating that it made me cry. Yup. The second book ever – and within weeks of reading Pax Imperia (below) – to make me cry. Given that me crying over something in a book is such a rarity (though it may have been enabled by my lowered resistance to pretty much anything at the time of reading), it’s definitely notable. That aside, Hidden in Ashes being the fifth instalment of Smith’s ongoing A’yen’s Legacy series gives further insight into the complexities of the Marcasian empire and the people who live with the effects of slavery and social stratification. And an excellent budding romance to boot.
Pax Imperia by Mike Smith
This book was probably one of the toughest reads so far this year. This is the final book in the trilogy, and Smith did such an excellent job of getting me invested in the two main characters, Jon Radec and Sofia Aurelius, in the first two books that, when he started tearing things apart in this final instalment, I struggled to cope with the onslaught. Nevertheless, I had to keep on keeping on reading it, bit by tortuous bit, so that I could learn what happened, and boy am I ever so glad that I did. Smith’s writing is audacious, and this was as fitting a conclusion to the Redemption trilogy as I could ever think of. Despite the love-hate relationship I had with this book, the climax totally won me over, and I was able to complete the book satisfied with the outcome. And this is possibly the first book ever that’s made me have tears in my eyes.
This is the final book in The Extinction Cycle, and boy, has it been a ride. Only some weeks after finishing reading this did I realise that the start of the entire series was based on the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. A gripping series – not for those with queasy stomachs, however – with very plausible science – a little too plausible?? – and action that is relentless. A must for lovers of horror, medical thrillers and action. Military too, with a bit of SF thrown in.
This book came to my attention amid a furore over the author being blacklisted by his publisher. So I nabbed the book to review prior to Cole self-publishing it. Little did I know I was letting myself in for a cyberpunk gamer novel that pulls no punches, tells no lies and will, when I get myself a paper copy, stand right alongside 1984 on my bookshelves. A scary, potentially prophetic glimpse into the near future of the real world.
Probably not much surprise that this is one of my top reads for this year. It was mentioned in my circles last year, and when it came up as a book club read on TSBC and I spotted it on a special, I nabbed the book – and the opportunity to read. Very well written with a beautiful theme. Excellent characterisation and fantastic images. I think I’ll stop there. Just go read it. Oh. It’s WW2 fiction.