I love reading books my friends recommend to me, so at the start of the year I asked a bunch of friends to give me a book recommendation! This will be an ongoing series, but let’s start off with my thoughts on my first five recommended reads.
The Cloud Roads by Martha Wells
Recommended to me by @KitReadsBooks
I love The Murderbot Diaries by Martha Wells, so of course, Kit recommended I read her earlier series. This book follows Moon, a shapeshifter who has travelled alone since his family died, unable to discover more of his kind. He’s tried to fit in with various groups of people, but it never works. When he finally discovers a colony of people just like him, he learns he might be the key to their survival. The worldbuilding in this book is absolutely amazing. If you love new fantasy creatures with complex cultures, this is a book you should pick up. I’m definitely going to be continuing with this series in the future!
The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison
Recommended to me by @rocapri on Twitter
The Goblin Emperor is a thoughtful, kind fantasy that is somehow incredibly complex but also has a slice-of-life feel to it. Rogier made such an amazing choice with this recommendation, it’s easily one of my favourite books of the year. It follows Maia, a half-goblin Prince who is brought back from exile to rule the Empire after his brothers and father die in a horrific ‘accident’. He has to get used to court life while lacking a political education and allies. Instead, he has enemies he doesn’t even know, and he’s desperate for someone, anyone, he can trust. There’s something so heartwarming and lovely about a book where the main character is consistently kind, even in the face of terrible events. Maia isn’t a pushover, but he’s always willing to take the high road, always willing to build bridges. It was such a refreshing fantasy to read.
Omens by Kelley Armstrong
Recommended to me by @lejazzhotbaby on Instagram
I read a lot of Kelley Armstrong when I was a teenager, so it was great that Rosina recommended me such a throwback author. This was my first adult book by her, and I wasn’t 100% sold on it. Olivia suddenly finds out she’s adopted and her parents are actually notorious serial killers. She has to run away from her luxurious life as the paparazzi start harassing her and her family. Omens is part thriller part fantasy. Olivia begins investigating the murders her parents were involved in after finding out they might have been falsely accused. The small town of Cainsville where she ends up staying is filled with strange people who seem to know more about her than they let on. I wasn’t sure how well this book balanced the thriller and fantasy elements. It left me wanting more of both. Despite that, it was a very compelling read and I found myself charging through it in one sitting. I’m not sure whether I’ll pick up the rest of the series!
Chouette by Claire Oshetsky
Recommended to me by @molsbymoonlight
Molly recommended me Chouette, which is a book that’s been on my TBR since its release! This is a strange literary book about a woman, Tiny, who becomes pregnant and knows that her child will be an owl baby. Her husband and the people around her dismiss this, but when the child is born they realise she was right. Tiny knows she has to protect her child from the people who want to change her. Chouette was a fantastic read that looked into being an isolated, disabled, queer mother of a disabled child. It’s about a world that will do anything to force you into a mould of normativity, and one mother’s difficult journey in trying to let her child be herself, as difficult and strange as that may be. This book made me desperately want to read more books with similar themes.
The Old Love and The New by Alistair Caradec
Recommended to me by @thecmcaplan
The Old Love And The New is a melancholic, queer dystopian book set in a world where women have been locked away because of a plague. I was excited when Connor recommended this to me because I haven’t read many books like it. I tend to steer away from gender plague books due to their often cis-heteronormative vibes, but this author is a gay, trans man so I was excited! It follows Sid, a queer man with schizoaffective disorder. He has unrequited love for his housemate, and life isn’t easy, but he has a routine. Until the two of them discover a woman on the run and invite her into their lives. This one’s a very character-focused book. It delves into the impact of the plague on people, rather than the scientific specifics. By using it to explore small, intimate relationships it didn’t slip into any of the more typical problematic elements of the gender plague trope. It’s an emotional read, and at times there’s not a lot of hope, just a bunch of fucked up, messy people trying to survive. I had a great time.