Monday, June 13, 2016

Take Five - Books To Read If You Like The Show 'Firefly'

I've been wanting for awhile to do a Take Five topic on what books to read if you like a certain show. And, really, what better show to do this with than one that, after thirteen years (!) still is loved - and has quite a cult following?

There is no better place to start, right?

I'll be honest, though, before we get to the books. Firefly isn't my favorite sci-fi show, but it's one that I did and do truly enjoy. I also chose it because it's one of the few that I really like that is popular. (My unusual taste strikes again.

Enough of me rambling, let's get to the books.

Up first, we have Avalon by Mindee Arnett.
A ragtag group of teenage mercenaries who crew the spaceship Avalon stumble upon a conspiracy that could threaten the entire galaxy in this fascinating and fast-paced sci-fi adventure from author Mindee Arnett.

Of the various star systems that make up the Confederation, most lie thousands of light-years from First Earth-and out here, no one is free. The agencies that govern the Confederation are as corrupt as the crime bosses who patrol it, and power is held by anyone with enough greed and ruthlessness to claim it. That power is derived from one thing: metatech, the devices that allow people to travel great distances faster than the speed of light.

Jeth Seagrave and his crew of teenage mercenaries have survived in this world by stealing unsecured metatech, and they're damn good at it. Jeth doesn't care about the politics or the law; all he cares about is earning enough money to buy back his parents' ship, Avalon, from his crime-boss employer and getting himself and his sister, Lizzie, the heck out of Dodge. But when Jeth finds himself in possession of information that both the crime bosses and the government are willing to kill for, he is going to have to ask himself how far he'll go to get the freedom he's wanted for so long.

Avalon is the perfect fit for teens new to sci-fi as well as seasoned sci-fi readers looking for more books in the YA space-and a great match for fans of Joss Whedon's cult hit show Firefly.

Notes: I'll be honest with you, I really didn't care for this book. But, it reads just like a teen fanfiction of the Firefly crew would. This is a mixed blessing because personality types that didn't annoy me on a show turned out to be insufferable in a book. It is worth a look though, especially if you are a truly huge fan of the show.

Next we have the entirety of the Lunar Chronicles series by Marissa Meyer
Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

Notes: Personal opinion, this series actually gets more reminiscent of Firefly as it goes on - with, of course, the required fairytale additions. To me though, Cress and Winter were the two that made me put the series on here, because they have more space adventure - and misadventure - than the first two.

Next is Valor's Choice (and probably the rest of the Confederation series) by Tanya Huff
In the distant future, humans and several other races have been granted membership in the Confederation - at a price. They must act as soldier/protectors of the far more civilized races who have long since turned away from war... — Staff Sergeant Torin Kerr was a battle-hardened professional. So when she and those in her platoon who'd survived the last deadly encounter with the Others were yanked from a well-deserved leave for what was supposed to be "easy" duty as the honor guard for a diplomatic mission to the non-Confederation world of the Silsviss, she was ready for anything.

At first it seemed that all she'd have to contend with was bored troops getting into mischief, and breaking in the new Second Lieutenant who had been given command of her men.

Sure, there'd been rumors of the Others - the sworn enemies of the Confederation - being spotted in this sector of space. But there were always rumors. The key thing was to recruit the Silsviss into the Confederation before the Others either attacked or claimed this lizardlike race of warriors for their own side. And everything seemed to be going perfectly. Maybe too perfectly...

Notes: To be completely honest, this series actually makes me think more of Babylon 5 than Firefly (which is about the best compliment I can give any sci-fi series) but it also puts me in mind a little of Firefly. It's a little difficult for me to explain - it's definitely partially the misadventures, but it's also the determination and the humor of the characters.

Next is The Palace Job (and the rest of The Rogues of the Republic series, I'm sure) by Patrick Weekes
The most powerful man in the republic framed her, threw her in prison, and stole a priceless elven manuscript from her family.

With the help of a crack team that includes an illusionist, a unicorn, a death priestess, a talking warhammer, and a lad with a prophetic birthmark, Loch must find a way into the floating fortress of Heaven's Spire–and get past the magic-hunting golems and infernal sorcerers standing between her and the vault that holds her family's treasure.

It'd be tricky enough without the military coup and unfolding of an ancient evil prophecy–but now the determined and honourable Justicar Pyvic has been assigned to take her in.

But hey, every plan has a few hitches.

Notes: Okay, so you're probably wondering what a fantasy series is doing on this list, right? Well, let's see: Main character formerly involved in a war? Check. Puts together a crew of various crooks, thieves and liars? Check. Formerly 'honest' person joins the team? Check. Gets sucked into bigger things than they want to be involved in? Check. Nothing ever goes right until the very end? Check. Misadventures galore? Check. This series is actually the second most similar to Firefly that I've read, even for being fantasy!

Finally, we have Retribution Falls (and the rest of the Tales of the Ketty Jay) by Chris Wooding
Frey is the captain of the Ketty Jay, leader of a small and highly dysfunctional band of layabouts. An inveterate womaniser and rogue, he and his gang make a living on the wrong side of the law, avoiding the heavily armed flying frigates of the Coalition Navy.

With their trio of ragged fighter craft, they run contraband, rob airships and generally make a nuisance of themselves. So a hot tip on a cargo freighter loaded with valuables seems like a great prospect for an easy heist and a fast buck. Until the heist goes wrong, and the freighter explodes.

Suddenly Frey isn't just a nuisance anymore - he's public enemy number one, with the Coalition Navy on his tail and contractors hired to take him down. But Frey knows something they don't. That freighter was rigged to blow, and Frey has been framed to take the fall. If he wants to prove it, he's going to have to catch the real culprit.

He must face liars and lovers, dogfights and gunfights, Dukes and daemons. It's going to take all his criminal talents to prove he's not the criminal they think he is...

Notes: First up, let me say that I love this series. Now, it reminds me so much of Firefly. Everything I said for The Palace Job goes double for this series. (Except this one is steampunk.) Frey is like the double of Mal in most things and that can actually get pretty annoying at time. But this series also captures the general feel an vibe of Firefly - misadventure and comradery and a bunch of misfits.

That's what I was going for in this list, more than exact duplicates - the feel of Firefly, because I think that's what made it last and still be popular. (That and it wasn't on TV long enough to do things to really tick anyone off.)

Anyway, I hope you liked the list. If you're a fan of Firefly, I hope you found some books to check out - and if you just clicked through out of curiosity, I totally recommend the last three books to anyone, even if you aren't a fan of Firefly!