Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Find me Sci-Fi/Fantasy to read

Hi. I'm Kel. I'm a librarian, a nerd, and a geek. I enjoy nothing more than laying out in the sun with a good book to read. Really. I read all the time. Usually to the detriment of getting TV watched (No, Jen, I haven't watched Game of Thrones yet). I most enjoy reading genre fiction. Stuff that you would find as a paperback book. Nothing that would hit the Oprah book club. However, the one genre that I avoid like the plague is Sci-Fi/Fantasy (possibly two genres, but lumped together in the library therefore lumped together in my mind).

Now, to be fair, I haven't read much in the way of Sci-Fi or Fantasy. I really enjoyed Jumper/Reflex/Griffin's Story by Steven Gould. And I read and enjoyed the Hobbit and Fellowship of the Ring. But besides that, I can't really recall reading any SF/F. Like, at all. It isn't that I don't enjoy SF/F altogether. Because I love movies and tv shows that fall squarely into that category. But books...meh.

So...I have a task for you, dear reader. I want you to recommend to me a Sci-Fi or Fantasy book that I will enjoy. I have some criteria for what I enjoy in a book that I would like your recommendation to have if possible.

1) Strong female character(s). I prefer to read books where the main character is a strong, kick-ass, funny/sarcastic chick. It isn't a deal breaker if the main character is a guy or anything (I actually tend to really enjoy books that have two main characters: a guy and a girl), but there has to be at least one really awesome female character.

2) Nothing that will hurt to carry around in my purse. Not to be as whiny about it, but if I book is over, say, 700 pages I'm probably not going to finish it. And really, if the book is over 400 pages, it needs to be something on the level of Harry Potter in readability. I'm a slow enough reader that if a book is too long I forget what happened at the beginning (like when I read IT and had to keep flipping through the front of the book to remember who certain characters were).

3) Nothing super serious or depressing. Why do I read mostly romance novels and mysteries? Because they always have a happy ending. It stressed me out too much to have to worry about if my favorite character is going to die. And trust me...if one character dies in a book, it was probably my favorite character. I like happy endings. Though I am ok with dark books. Have you read Ted Dekker books? I like those! And Stephen King with his no one will live happily at all, if they do in fact live...I'm cool with those. I just don't want a book that is going to make me fall in love with a great character and then kill them *cough*gameofthrones*cough*.

4) Must have some humor. It doesn't have to be a comedy (do they make Sci-Fi comedy books?), but it needs to have something funny in it. A snarky side character. A cute dog that gets into trouble. A sarcastic narrator. Something to make me giggle out loud at least one.

5) I would prefer names that are not ridiculous. I get that for SF/F usually makes up names because it is set in some other world, but seriously. If the names and places are too ridiculous or I have to keep figuring out how to pronounce them, it really pulls me out of the story.

Now...tell me what to read. I'll take any suggestions and if I can find them in one of my libraries, I will give it a go (except Game of Thrones because...I really just don't want to and it annoys Jen that I won't read it). So...Sci-Fi/Fantasy nerds of the internet...tell me what to read!


  1. "A Princess of Mars" by Edgar Rice Burroughs - pure fun sci-fi pulp! Also, I really liked The Han Solo Trilogy by A.C. Crispin - "The Paradise Snare," "The Hutt Gambit" and "Rebel Dawn." It's fun and easy to read because you already know most of the characters!

  2. If you're looking for Star Wars books, I can back Jenny up on The Han Solo Trilogy. That was the first Star Wars fiction I read and it was a good introduction. Also, The Admiral Thrawn Trilogy by Timothy Zahn is stellar.

    I'd also like to recommend "Trouble on the Horizon" (fantasy) by Nick Hayden and "Pandora's Box" (sci-fi) by Nathan Marchand, but those are both by local writing friends so I'm a bit biased. ;-) Plus, you'd have to get them via interlibrary loan or Amazon. I mean, they're worth it, but I know that's a bit extra effort to take on my word alone. ^^;

    1. I may have to look into some Star Wars books...

  3. Kelly, these are the only kinds of books I read, practically!

    Has Sarah shared with you the wonderfulness that is Divergent? I read it right after finishing the Hunger Games and I LOVED IT. Also, the second book (Insurgent) just came out yesterday. Kick-ass female lead.

    Matched is a fun read if you can get it on the cheap.

    City of Bones and that series is decent for a quick Sci-Fi/Fantasy read.

    Poison Study and that series... also good.

    Graceling, awesome!! (Excellent female lead)

    Also, The Runelords is a great fantasy read filled with morals and dilemmas. The Iron Ring, Nick of Time, two awesome quick reads from my childhood. Finally, Ender's Game is a depressing SciFi book about a boy, so while it's not really what you are looking for it's a great book and you can't really read this genre without reading that. It's iconic, and amazing.

    1. Sarah is supposed to let me borrow Divergent, so I should be reading that soon. I read the first Poison Study and enjoyed that, but never read any more. And I always see City of Bones and think I should read that. Urban Fantasy may be more up my alley than straight Fantasy.

  4. Oops, authors...

    Divergent (Veronica Roth)
    Matched (Ally Condie)
    City of Bones (Cassandra Clare)
    Poison Study (Maria V. Snyder)
    Graceling (Kristin Cashore)
    The Runelords (David Farland)
    The Iron Ring (LLoyd Alexander)
    Nick of Time (Anne Lindbergh)
    Ender's Game (Orson Scott Card)

  5. I'd recommend Monstrous Regiment or The Wee Free Men by Terry Prachett. I think you might like Dealing with Dragons by Patrica C. Wrede as well. (And since it's YA, you'll probably finish it in a day.). I've heard that the Betsy the Vampire Queen books (Mary Janice Davidson) are good, but I've never read them. They're sorta of a comical version of Twilight. Charles de Lint also does a lot of Urban Fantasy with strong female characters. And Gregory Mcaguire's Wicked is also very good, and totally different than the musical. And I think you'll absolutely adore The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde. (A strong woman detective of England's Special Ops Literary Division rescues characters kidnapped out of the works of classic literature. It's better than it sounds.)

    1. First...omg The Eyre Affair sounds brilliant! And I've read other MaryJanice Davidson books, but not her Undead series. I've tried Wicked and hated it. But I'll definitely look into Terry Prachett.

    2. Terry Prachett is excellent. And they do make Sci-fi-Comedy, I'm surprised no one has mentioned Douglas Adams yet! The movie didn't do The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy any justice. (Even with Alan Rickman.)

  6. TAMORA PIERCE!!! Mainly Somg of the Lioness Quartet.