Saturday, December 05, 2015

Speculative fiction Top 5 of 2015

With 2015 drawing to an end, it's time to look back on the year that was. And in terms of quality SFF novels, it's been another decidedly dismal year. Not as bad as 2014 turned out to be, but by far one of the worse since I created the Hotlist back in 2005. Once more, many of this year's new releases were so lackluster that they often took the love of reading right out of me. =(

Still, although it was far from a banner year, 2015 saw a number of gems get published. Here are the top 5 speculative fiction novels I've read this year! =) Click on each title to read my review. . .

1- Nemesis Games by James S. A. Corey (Canada, USA, Europe)

Here's the blurb:

A thousand worlds have opened, and the greatest land rush in human history has begun. As wave after wave of colonists leave, the power structures of the old solar system begin to buckle.

Ships are disappearing without a trace. Private armies are being secretly formed. The sole remaining protomolecule sample is stolen. Terrorist attacks previously considered impossible bring the inner planets to their knees. The sins of the past are returning to exact a terrible price.

And as a new human order is struggling to be born in blood and fire, James Holden and the crew of the Rocinante must struggle to survive and get back to the only home they have left.

As you know, my review of this one has not been posted yet. Look for it in the next week or so. . .

2- Fool's Quest by Robin Hobb (Canada, USA, Europe)

Here's the blurb:

Ranking alongside George R. R. Martin as a groundbreaking master of fantasy, New York Times bestselling author Robin Hobb delivers the second book in her long-awaited Fitz and the Fool trilogy.

The harrowing adventures of FitzChivalry Farseer and his enigmatic friend the Fool continue in Robin Hobb’s triumphant follow-up to Fool’s Assassin. But Fool’s Quest is more than just a sequel. With the artistry and imagination her fans have come to expect, Hobb builds masterfully on all that has gone before, revealing devastating secrets and shocking conspiracies that cast a dark shadow over the history of Fitz and his world—a shadow that now stretches to darken all future hope.

Long ago, Fitz and the Fool changed the world, bringing back the magic of dragons and securing both the Farseer succession and the stability of the kingdom. Or so they thought. But now the Fool is near death, maimed by mysterious pale-skinned figures whose plans for world domination hinge upon the powers the Fool may share with Fitz’s own daughter.

Distracted by the Fool’s perilous health, and swept up against his will in the intrigues of the royal court, Fitz lets down his guard . . . and in a horrible instant, his world is undone and his beloved daughter stolen away by those who would use her as they had once sought to use the Fool—as a weapon.

But FitzChivalry Farseer is not without weapons of his own. An ancient magic still lives in his veins. And though he may have let his skills as royal assassin diminish over the years, such things, once learned, are not so easily forgotten.

Now enemies and friends alike are about to learn that nothing is more dangerous than a man who has nothing left to lose.

3- The Liar's Key by Mark Lawrence (Canada, USA, Europe)

Here's the blurb:

After harrowing adventure and near-death, Prince Jalan Kendeth and the Viking Snorri ver Snagason find themselves in possession of Loki’s Key, an artefact capable of opening any door, and sought by the most dangerous beings in the Broken Empire—including The Dead King.

Jal wants only to return home to his wine, women, and song, but Snorri has his own purpose for the key: to find the very door into death, throw it wide, and bring his family back into the land of the living.

And as Snorri prepares for his quest to find death’s door, Jal’s grandmother, the Red Queen continues to manipulate kings and pawns towards an endgame of her own design…

4- Gemini Cell by Myke Cole (Canada, USA, Europe)

Here's the blurb:

Myke Cole continues to blow the military fantasy genre wide open with GEMINI CELL, an all-new epic adventure in the highly acclaimed Shadow Ops universe.

US Navy SEAL Jim Schweitzer is a consummate professional, a fierce warrior, and a hard man to kill. But when he sees something he was never meant to see on a covert mission gone bad, he finds himself – and his family – in the crosshairs. Nothing means more to Jim than protecting his loved ones, but when the enemy brings the battle to his front door, he is overwhelmed and taken down.

It should be the end of the story. But Jim is raised from the dead by a sorcerer and recruited by a top secret unit dabbling in the occult, known only as the Gemini Cell. With powers he doesn’t understand, Jim is called back to duty – as the ultimate warrior. As he wrestles with a literal inner demon, Jim realises his new superiors are determined to use him for their own ends and keep him in the dark – especially about the fates of his wife and son…

5- Originator by Joel Shepherd (Canada, USA, Europe)

Here's the blurb:

A quarter of a million people die in the destruction of the moon Cresta. The League civil war is accelerating out of control, but projections indicate that as their technologically induced sociological dysfunction continues, all of humanity may face a similar fate. In the aftermath of Cresta's destruction, Sandy Kresnov discovers the alien Talee operative Cai in Tanusha, there to learn just how far the technologically-induced insanity has gone. The Talee have seen this before, and they are terrified of anything threatening a recurrence.

Meanwhile, Sandy's old nemesis Renaldo Takewashi, the self-proclaimed “father” of synthetic intelligence, comes to the Federation seeking asylum. Takewashi may even have a cure—previously unknown Talee technology implanted into a human child subject—Sandy's little boy, Kiril. But it is exactly this technology that the Talee fear, and they will exterminate anyone caught using it.

Now, Sandy must fight to save her family from a terrible new threat, but doing so may plunge humanity into another destructive war between humans, or worse, against the massively-advanced Talee. And what final secret are the Talee protecting about the origins of synthetic humans like Sandy that could either liberate Sandy’s fellow synthetics from bondage or spell disaster for all humanity?


I'll post my entire Top 10 at the end of the year. . .


  1. TheAmazingButtcrack3:05 PM


    Some people think that I'm you on Reddit!

  2. No offense, but it was more fun when people thought I was Patrick Rothfuss! :P

    I used to post on Reddit until about 2 years ago, if I remember correctly. Because I was mostly linking to stuff from my own blog, my account was suspended. Talked to Steve about this, but even the admins were unable to get it back on. I guess I should create a new account, but the same thing would probably happen again. :/

    And other people like you have a habit of posting whatever you guys feel is good from the Hotlist on Reddit, so it's all good... =)

    1. There's a ratio of link posts so as not to be counted as spam. I think it's something like for every one link post to your own site you have to post 8 other link posts to different sites. Basically if you only do link posta to one site it gets caught as spam automatically. You can always get around this by doing a self (text) post and have a brief description and link to your site inside the post.