One of the problems with the world of Sci-Fi/Fantasy literature is knowing what to read. If you've ever browsed this section of a bookstore (and we're betting you have), you've probably noticed that there is an overwhelmingly large amount of terrible, awful, equivalent-to-stabbing-bamboo-shoots-under-your-fingernails books out there. So, to save you from the trauma of reading yet another book about that one orphaned guy who has is misunderstood and has to save the world from an evil dictator with his misfit band of followers, here's a list of the best books you probably haven't already read...
- The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson. If you haven't read a Brandon Sanderson book yet, you are seriously missing out. But if you haven't read this one, get to your bookstore RIGHT NOW. It's a magical-western-sleuth story—like Harry Potter meets True Grit meets Psych, basically. Who could ask for more? And, to top it off, it's a continuation of Sanderson's last series, which means that his old characters are now legends for his new characters. Which is a really neato idea, we think.
- Across the Universe by Beth Revis. More sleuthing—but this time it's in SPACE! Elder is stuck on a spaceship with lots of frozen bodies and a bunch of morons ... and he's being raised to be there next leader. But! Then someone starts killing off the frozens, and Elder has to figure out who. And get the girl. This book is like a better, more fun version of Brave New World, plus spaceships. And frozen bodies.
- The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making by Catherynne M. Valente. We stumbled across this book quite by accident, and sure, it may be sort-of a kids book, but it's not really. September, a little girl, makes her way to fairyland and—of course—has to complete a quest. And sure, there may be an evil dictator and a band of misfits, but this book is totally worth it. It's full of snarky comments and a witty narrator, plus lots of wordplay and nerdy jokes. So, basically the Phantom Tollbooth, but different. Just trust us.
- The Graceling Series by Kristin Cashore. This series is awesome, and it's about to get awesomer. The third book comes out in less than two weeks! So if you haven't read Graceling and Fire, you need to NOW before Bitterblue comes out. Here's the gist: fantasy world where people have magical gifts that everyone hates because they're jealous. Probably for good reason, since one of the gifted people has an entire kingdom under his grasp. Also, they have pretty cool cover art.
- Assassin's Apprentice by Robin Hobb. If you like Game of Thrones, you'll like this book. And if you don't like Game of Thrones, go re-read it until you like it. Basically Fitz (cool name) is an illegitimate child trained in assassin-ry. Kind of like Jon Snow mixed with Arya Stark.
And sure, most of these books might involve kingdom/spaceship-saving adventures with a band of misfits ... but then, this is Sci-fi/Fantasy. What more can you expect?