Top 5 Wednesday is a group on goodreads that you can find here. Every week - or less for some of us ;) - the members get together and post five books that pertain to a specific topic.
Just as I was getting read to stop posting this meme, I was hit with two topics this month that I can't resist. This week I get to talk about five of my most favoritest sci-fi and fantasy books!
Valor's Choice 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: This is the first in the series and, even after reading three sequels, still my favorite. It was everything I didn't realize I was looking for in a sci-fi story and I absolutely adore it!
An Accident of Stars by Foz Meadows
When Saffron Coulter stumbles through a hole in reality, she finds herself trapped in Kena, a magical realm on the brink of civil war.
There, her fate becomes intertwined with that of three very different women: Zech, the fast-thinking acolyte of a cunning, powerful exile; Viya, the spoiled, runaway consort of the empire-building ruler, Vex Leoden; and Gwen, an Earth-born worldwalker whose greatest regret is putting Leoden on the throne. But Leoden has allies, too, chief among them the Vex’Mara Kadeja, a dangerous ex-priestess who shares his dreams of conquest.
Pursued by Leoden and aided by the Shavaktiin, a secretive order of storytellers and mystics, the rebels flee to Veksh, a neighboring matriarchy ruled by the fearsome Council of Queens. Saffron is out of her world and out of her depth, but the further she travels, the more she finds herself bound to her friends with ties of blood and magic.
Can one girl – an accidental worldwalker – really be the key to saving Kena? Or will she just die trying?
Notes: This book is so perfect - at least, for me. It's got a brilliantly realized fantasy world, compelling characters, lots of strong women, diversity (racial and sexual) and is just one of the best surprises I've had in years. (This book is a total recommend if you like fantasy at all.)
The Cloud Roads by Martha Wells
Moon has spent his life hiding what he is — a shape-shifter able to transform himself into a winged creature of flight. An orphan with only vague memories of his own kind, Moon tries to fit in among the tribes of his river valley, with mixed success. Just as Moon is once again cast out by his adopted tribe, he discovers a shape-shifter like himself... someone who seems to know exactly what he is, who promises that Moon will be welcomed into his community. What this stranger doesn't tell Moon is that his presence will tip the balance of power... that his extraordinary lineage is crucial to the colony's survival... and that his people face extinction at the hands of the dreaded Fell! Now Moon must overcome a lifetime of conditioning in order to save and himself... and his newfound kin.
Notes: I'm not really sure that this is my favorite of the series - but I have given each of the first three books five stars, so who's to say? However, this is definitely a series that needs to be read in order, even if the plot per book is rather self-contained. Stellar characters, truly alien fantasy races, great world building, diversity... What more could I want?
The Child Prince by Honor Raconteur
Sevana Warran, reigning prodigy Artifactor of the age, has absolutely no desire to selflessly serve her fellow man. She wants, in fact, to be left alone so that she can putter about in her workroom.
But her efforts in avoiding other people prove to be in vain. The reigning family of Windamere is no longer sitting upon the throne and the Council has instead taken power. The sole hope of avoiding the evil machinations of the Council is Bellomi Dragonmanovich, Prince of Windamere. As a twenty-one year old cursed into the body of a perpetual eight year old, he lacks the power and ability to stop the Council.
Sevana, after a judicious review of the situation, decides that she cannot let things continue. If she did, she’d never be left alone and would instead be buried in paperwork if the Council has anything to say about it. So she kidnaps the prince from where he was locked away in the palace and sets about breaking his curse.
Prince and Artifactor quickly realize that simply breaking the curse won’t be enough to free Windamere from the Council. It will take training, cunning, allies, information and more than just a little magic if they are to reclaim the throne.
Notes: This whole series is wonderful - mostly because of the perfect leading woman. Okay, so, she's not really perfect, thankfully. She's kinda surly, doesn't really like people or touch-y feel-y stuff. Would much rather be working all night than anything else. Has a brilliantly sarcastic sense of humor. And I love her for all of it.
Earth Girl by Janet Edwards
Jarra is stuck on Earth while the rest of humanity portals around the universe. But can she prove to the norms that she’s more than just an Earth Girl?
2788. Only the handicapped live on Earth. While everyone else portals between worlds, 18-year-old Jarra is among the one in a thousand people born with an immune system that cannot survive on other planets. Sent to Earth at birth to save her life, she has been abandoned by her parents. She can’t travel to other worlds, but she can watch their vids, and she knows all the jokes they make. She’s an ‘ape’, a ‘throwback’, but this is one ape girl who won’t give in.
Jarra invents a fake background for herself – as a normal child of Military parents – and joins a class of norms that is on Earth to excavate the ruins of the old cities. When an ancient skyscraper collapses, burying another research team, Jarra’s role in their rescue puts her in the spotlight. No hiding at back of class now. To make life more complicated, she finds herself falling in love with one of her classmates – a norm from another planet. Somehow, she has to keep the deception going.
A freak solar storm strikes the atmosphere, and the class is ordered to portal off-world for safety – no problem for a real child of military parents, but fatal for Jarra. The storm is so bad that the crews of the orbiting solar arrays have to escape to planet below: the first landing from space in 600 years. And one is on collision course with their shelter.
Notes: I'm really not sure what prompted me to take a chance with this book, because nothing about it screams that it's for me. But, you know what? I loved it. The planet divides is great, I adore pretty much all the characters and I love the idea of sci-fi archaeology.
And these are five of my favorite spec fic books. Have you read any of them? If so, we can totally fan over them! If not, let me know and I'll do my best to convince you that your life is incomplete until you read them. ;)