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  • Writer's pictureDan

2023 Sci-Fi & Fantasy Must-Reads Prt 2

I surprised myself by brushing off my science fiction and fantasy must-read list for 2023, only seven months into the year. As promised, here's my new list of books I suspect are so good I simply have to read them.


I've seen this YA sci-fi show up in the Libby app, and I'm admit it has an intriguing cover, a figure in a red robe holding, you guessed it, a scythe. The blurb makes the plot sound fascinating. In the future, humanity has overcome natural death, but to keep the population within the caring capacity of Earth, a certain number of people are randomly selected to be "gleaned" (you can take a guess what that means!). Anyway, if science-fiction is the genre of ideas, I have the feeling this book is chock-full of them.

This is the second book in Ashton's excellent Mickey 7 series. I must admit, I picked up Mickey 7, the first book in the series, after coming across a tweet about it on Twitter—I'm not sure if the tweet originated with the Ashton. I wasn't entirely convinced I'd enjoy the book, but I figured what the heck, I'd try it out. Boy, am I glad I did. Ashton presents an exciting sci-fi premise and provides an imperfect protagonist with a unique "voice". Ashton's Mickey 7 series is reminiscent of Andy Weir's novels but with a greater sense of…fun. Hands down, this author's books are fast-paced page-turners.

I'll be upfront, I haven't enjoyed every Sanderson novel I've tackled. Buuuut I have enjoyed the hell out of The Stormlight Archive. After polishing off three tomes that can serve as doorstops to a vault, I'm fully invested in the central characters and look forward to discovering where the storyline eventually leads.

Okay, I have a confession to make. I am a gargantuan fan of Lawrence's Broken Empire Trilogy. The world. The characters. The plot. All top-notch. Plus, in an era where some series go on forever, Lawrence is an author who knows how to end a series while the characters and yarn are still fresh.

Lawrence is one to try out if you are looking for an author who puts a G and D in GrimDark.

My publisher is going to do a YA haunted high school series, which I'm interested in writing a story for. The length will likely be a novella-ish. Anyway, to prep I figured I should read some horror stories aimed at teens. I picked up a Fear Street novel by R.L. Stine. At first, I didn't think I'd like the book—it seemed to teenybopper. But I stuck with it and was pleasantly surprised with how good it turned out. Not only are the horror aspects present, I think the overall tone is perfect for teen readers looking for something spooky without being too frightening. Plus, Stine is a masterful plotter. He throws twist after twist after twist at the reader, which are all surprising without making the reader feel hoodwinked.


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