I’m ashamed to admit it, but I never really used to be much of a sci-fi person, at least not when it came to books. I’ve loved Doctor Who for as long as I can remember and I’m a massive Star Trek nerd, but somehow that love of sci-fi never infiltrated my reading habits. The few books that I attempted to pick up that were set in space always seemed to be lacking something, and it was only recently that I found a few sci-fi novels that I actually adore. There are some terrible YA books set in space out there, but there are also some brilliant ones. So today I’d like to share my top five sci-fi novels with you!
This trilogy was the first series that I actually liked that was set in space. Before that, all I tried to read were cliched novels about love being stronger than gravity or sexy aliens falling in love with humans. Even my younger teenage self — a smaller and more annoying version of my present self — couldn’t have been fooled into thinking that these novels were worthy of my time. But that all changed when I read These Broken Stars and found that there was actually some quality YA sci-fi novels out there. This series wasn’t just enjoyable — it was thrilling and fast-paced and blew me away with how phenomenally-written these different worlds were. I loved how each of the three books were centred around different protagonists and I adored them all equally. You really don’t have to be a sci-fi person to enjoy this series, but you’ll definitely be a sci-fi person afterwards.
After hearing amazing things about this sci-fi novel, I knew I had to pick it up. There’s never a time where I’m not at least a little bit hesitant picking up a novel set in space, and this time was no exception, but I’m definitely glad I did. While reading an adult sci-fi novel can sound daunting to those of us that usually only stick to YA — myself included — this is a must-read for everyone who enjoys a bit of space in their lives. The writing is absolutely beautiful and the characters are vibrant and ready to leap right off the page. It’s thrilling in parts, but it also feels like a contemporary novel set in space because of the way the relationships between characters are explored and the depth of connection I felt with each of them. Also, I can’t say no to queers in space.
Forgive me if I’m wrong, but I’d say this is the most loved YA sci-fi novel of our time. Written as a series of interviews and emails and instant messages, this book took me on one heck of a rollercoaster ride. Everything about this book is one-of-a-kind, including the formatting and the illustrations in the second of the series, Gemina. I can’t even express how much I adore this series, and how desperate I am to get my hands on Obsidio. Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman are two stunningly talented writers, and I loved being taken on two incredible space adventures so far. Illuminae is the kind of novel that will stay with you long after you’ve turned the final page.
As I’ve been getting into audiobooks recently, I chose to listen to Sleeping Giants. I’d heard that it was a sci-fi novel told through a series of interviews, and with a full cast, it was amazing to experience it through audio. I know people who’ve read the book and listened to the audio, and they’ve said that the audio experience is 110% more exciting, so I definitely recommend that medium. The characters come to life through the audio and I found myself falling in love with every single one of them — but most of all, the interviewer. While this novel isn’t set in space, it’s about a team of people who’ve discovered a giant robot of alien origins underneath the Earth and their endeavours to discover what this dormant being is capable of. It was simply spectacular, and if you’re looking for a new audiobook, I can’t recommend this one highly enough.
Not only is this book the winner of the 2015 Ampersand Prize, it’s also a new #LoveOzYA sci-fi novel, meaning it was one that I just knew I had to pick up. I didn’t expect this novel to be as beautiful as it was. It was about different species and lost loved ones and survival, but it was also about learning not to fear what is different and finding out what it means to be human. The alien race that was so prominent in this novel was fleshed out and felt incredibly realistic, like they do exist somewhere out there. In the Dark Spaces was as much thought-provoking as it was exciting, and I raced through this novel wanting to find out how everything would end up. This phenomenal novel poses questions about humanity, fear, and even our own morality, and it’s equal parts heart-warming and confronting. This heartfelt and powerful novel should be on every reader’s TBR, and it deserves all the stars in the galaxy.
What are your favourite sci-fi novels? Do you like to read books that are set in space? Have you read any of the ones I’ve mentioned? What other sci-fi books should I read? I want all your recommendations!
Thanks to Hardie Grant Egmont for providing me with a copy of In the Dark Spaces in exchange for an honest review!
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