Author: Naomi Kritzer Publication date: November 19, 2019 Genre: young adult, sci-fi, thriller My rating: 4.5/5 stars
Excellent queer rep. The coolest, quirkiest, most awkwardly badass AI. A ragtag team of internet friends, a road trip, a reprogrammed sex-education robot (not the AI), a literal cat…this book has a bit of everything, and it works so well. In under 300 pages, this tiny page-turner covers an impressive span of topics, with a delicate balance of fun and dread that will ring true for all of us who grew up alongside the internet.
Author: Megan Angelo Publication date: January 14, 2020 Genre: science fiction, dystopian My rating: 4.5/5 stars
A curious blend of incisive perception, dark humor, and horrifying prediction, Followers is a worthy addition to the rapidly expanding canon of Black Mirror-esque dystopian fiction, shining a critical lens on our fascination (obsession?) with technology, social media, and how far we will go to get what we think we deserve.
“I’ve done the actual math. There are eight million people here, and all of them want something as bad as I want what I want, as bad as you want what you want. We’re not all going to get it. It’s just not possible, that all these people could have their dreams come true in the same time, same place. It’s not enough to be talented, it’s not enough to work hard. You need to be disciplined, and you need to he ruthless. You have to do anything, everything, and you need to forget about doing the right thing…Leave that shit to people in the Midwest.”
Author: Danny Tobey Publication date: January 7, 2020 Genre: science fiction, thriller My rating: 4/5 stars
Welcome to The God Game! This book, and the game within it, feels like something straight out of a Black Mirror episode–“Shut Up and Dance” (the one with the blackmail text messages) especially comes to mind. Prepare yourself for moral dilemmas, the horrors of technology, the complexities of teenage friendship and high school life, and above all, a riveting plot that makes this book’s 450+ pages absolutely fly past. Just remember, even as you read this review: G.O.D. is always watching.
Usually, I would do a Top Ten Tuesday post since, you know, it’s a Tuesday. But this week’s theme is “Favorite Books I Read in 2019,” and I’ll let you in on a secret (which isn’t really a secret): I’m not very good at choosing favorites. I agonize over making selections of which books were the “best” I read each year, especially once I try to account for things like literary merit vs my own personal enjoyment, different criteria for books of different genres, new books vs classics, what to do about multiple good books in a series, and so on. Plus, with 105 books under my belt from this year alone, there’s just such a high chance that a generic “top ten” would leave out books that deserve more love. So instead, this is a little clustered “list” of my thoughts from the year, across different categories, genres, and more, with both favorites and least-favorites galore. (Hey, that rhymed.)
Being off from work for the holidays has set me behind a little on my audiobook listening, but I’ve finally gotten through another round of three, and you know what that means: more mini-reviews! This time, we have a nonfiction, feminist, data-driven book; a queer sci-fi romance; and an #OwnVoices YA contemporary/rom-com about two Indian-American teens at a summer coding program. Let’s get started!
Author: Seanan McGuire Publication date: October 31, 2019 Genre: short stories, fantasy, science fiction My rating: 5/5 stars
Most of all, this book is for all those fools who laughed at me in the academy. I may not be raising the dead yet, but I still know where my shovel is.
It’s no secret that I think Seanan McGuire is pretty great. I’ve only read a few of her books, but I’ve massively enjoyed them all. I knew she was great before I started on this collection, but boy howdy, she has outdone herself. Twenty-two short stories, all filled with her signature wit, wistfulness, and love for all things strange and disturbing.
Time for another set of mini-reviews for my most recent audiobook listens! I’ve decided I really like this format for audiobook reviews–it is way easier to write and doesn’t require me to flip back through the story as much. Hopefully you like it, too! Today, we have a nice mix of titles, I think, so let’s get started.