Morning Star

by Pierce Brown

In the Red Rising finale, Darrow recruits Martian Vikings for an epic space battle! I stayed up super late to finish all of the Red Rising books so far, and this was a satisfying conclusion to a fun series.

(There are actually three more books in this series, but the fourth book picks up ten years later for the start of another sub-trilogy.)

Red Rising

by Pierce Brown

What if people were super racist about hair and eye color instead of skin color, with blondes (“Gold” superhumans) at the top, and redheads (“Red” laborers) at the bottom? Also Golds are really into cosplaying Ancient Rome. Plus a healthy bit of Ender’s Game. Set on a terraformed Mars. Worked for me.

Son of the Storms

by Suyi Davies Okungbowa

An exiled and naïve young scholar discovers a forgotten people and their magic, and holds the key to even greater power. But so does his ruthless fiancé, who seeks power. Echoes of Dune, I thought, but to explain why would probably spoil the plot.

I never really connected with the characters, and somewhere in the middle the story started dragging for me. It was just OK, but not OK enough for me to want to continue the series.

The Book of Joan

by Lidia Yuknavitch

Humans living on a space station run by a twisted demagogue cover themselves in grafted-on skin flaps to make up for the loss of their reproductive organs. While they die out from an inability to reproduce, a few humans survive on the Earth below in isolated underground pockets, and one of them may have the ability to restore the planet. One skin-grafting storyteller begins branding herself with the story of Joan, fomenting a rebellion on the station that spreads to the surface.

This book is just weird. Not good-weird. Just weird.

The Core

by Peter V. Brett

I think the hard part about a savior narrative is coming up with a plausible way for the savior to defeat the amassed forces of evil in the final battle. It’s always a little disappointing to me when the savior just has to dig deeper to get access to Ultimate Power and that’s that. It’s a little too predictable—and in the case of a story with a well-developed magic system, Ultimate Power often feels like it breaks the rules of that system. Am I talking about this book? Maybe. But I mean if you’ve made it this far you might as well find out how it ends.

The Warded Man

by Peter V. Brett

Demons rise from the Core every night to hunt humans. Humans are few and scattered, and survive only by warding their homes and villages. One boy figures out wards work if you draw them on your skin, and learns to fight back. It’s very magic-system-y, but it works—especially in this first book.

(I started this series in 2010 but I saw that all the books were out and I decided to finish it.)