Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty. ★★★★
I’ve always loved science fiction mysteries, and Six Wakes did not disappoint.
Maria Arena is a clone. Whenever she dies, she wakes up in a new body with memories from whenever she last downloaded them. But now Maria has awaken in a new body where her old one is still floating dead — the entire six person crew of the spaceship Dormire are clones, and all of them have woken up with no memories of the last twenty years after they’ve apparently been murdered. Not only that, but the cloning machine is broken. If the killer strikes again, there will be no more second chances.
Raven Stratagem by Yoon Ha Lee. ★★★★
Last year, I read and loved Ninefox Gambit, a stunning military space opera. This year, I had the pleasure of reading the sequel, Raven Stratagem, and may have loved it even more than the first book. I highly encourage you to read these books, but they need to be read in order. If you haven’t read Ninefox Gambit, you may want to skip the rest of this review, since I’ll be mentioning spoilers from the first book.
General Kel Khiruev is leading a fleet to stop the advance of a neighboring enemy, the Hafn, when she loses control of her own fleet to Shuos Jedao. She and all of her officers are frozen, unable to resist due to programmed obedience to authority… except for Lieutenant Colonel Kel Brezan, who suddenly discovers he’s a crashhawk. Can either of them trust Jedao? And if not, is either capable of regaining control of the fleet?
The Stars Are Legion by Kameron Hurley. ★★★★
The Stars Are Legion is quintessentially Kameron Hurley: violent and feminist. This stand alone science fiction novel is as dark as I’ve come to expect from Hurley, but it has an optimistic heart.
Zan wakes with no memory of who she is. She’s told that she’s a great general and the only person capable of boarding the Mokshi, the mysterious world ship that’s capable of leaving the legion of artificial planets. She knows there’s a lot she’s not being told, especially by Jyn, a woman who claims to be her sister.
Dark Beyond the Stars edited by David Gatwood. ★★★1/2
Dark Beyond the Stars is an anthology of space opera short stories written by authors who were all new to me. The only one I’d heard of was Annie Bellet, who I believe writes urban fantasy. The collection came to my attention when there was some kerfuffle over the collection’s line up of all female authors, which some people were apparently upset about. However, sexist reviews tend to encourage me to read something more than dissuade me. Plus, look at that cover art by Julie Dillon! Isn’t it gorgeous?
While Dark Beyond the Stars was the mixed bag typical of anthologies, there were a number of stories I quite enjoyed.
Behind the Throne by K.B. Wagers. ★★★1/2
Behind the Throne isn’t super deep, but this science fiction novel is a whole lot of fun.
For the last twenty years, Hailimi Bristol has been traveling the galaxy making a living as a gunrunner. But Hail was born a princess of the Indranan Empire, and now she’s being dragged back home. With her sisters dead and her mother sick, Hail is desperately needed as an heir to the throne. But her sisters didn’t die by accident, and it will take every scrap of cunning Hail has to survive, find out who’s murdering her family, and protect her empire.
Translucid by Zen DiPietro. ★★★
This science fiction novel never quite clicked for me.
Translucid‘s protagonist wakes up not remembering anything about herself. She is soon told that her name’s Emé Fallon and that she’s the security chief of Dragonfire Station. She can remember basic information and all the tasks she was trained to do before her accident, but everything pertaining to who she was is gone. She can’t even remember her own wife.
Cagebird by Karin Lowachee. ★★★1/2
Trigger warning: rape, self harm, child abuse, child grooming…
Cagebird is the third novel in Karin Lowachee’s science fiction series exploring how a war psychologically impacts boys. The series starts with Warchild, which I still believe to be the best in the series. While each book has a different protagonist, I would recommend reading them in order.
At the age of four, Yuri Kirov’s home was destroyed in one of the initial attacks in the war between the humans/alien war. When the pirates found him, he was a child refugee who became trained as Falcone’s protege. Now at twenty-two he is a killer and a criminal serving out a life sentence on Earth. Then two men from the Black Ops decide that they’d rather Yuri return to the pirates to be their spy and weapon, but their plan puts him in more danger than ever.