Andy Weir is back and once again he's putting the science in science fiction. Project Hail Mary is Weir's third novel, after the literary and cinematic sensation The Martian and his second book, Artemis. I enjoyed The Martian about as much as anybody. Weir has a knack for writing hard science in a way that's intriguing. I found Artemis to be a bit of a letdown. The science was there but the story wasn't. That's not a problem in Project Hail Mary. It's not only a return to form, but I found it to be his best work to date by a comfortable margin.
Greater Good is the second book in the Thrawn Ascendancy trilogy by Timothy Zahn. It's a fairly unique entry in the greater Star Wars canon in that it exclusively explores Grand Admiral Thrawn's past in the Chiss Ascendancy. The Ascendancy exists completely outside the realm of the Republic or Empire.
WOW! I feel like it's not often that I'm genuinely shocked by a book the way I was by Sazan & Comet Girl. I read a lot of manga and comic books. Just an absolute ton of both. But I'd never heard of this before. Nor had I heard of the creator Yuriko Akase. I saw this on the "New Arrivals" shelf at the library and picked it up because it looked cool and went in with no other previous knowledge.
Now that I've already made lists covering my picks for the best books and comics that were released in 2020, I figured I'd put together a list of my favorite reads from the year regardless of release year. I decided to exclude things in my other two lists (if only to make it easier to fit more things!). Check out my favorite books, comics, and manga reads below.
★★★ There is a moment in Ready Player Two where one of the primary antagonists mutters the phrase "Don't you kids ever get tired of picking through the wreckage of a past generation's nostalgia." when addressing the heroes of the story. I'm still not sure if it's an attempt at self-satire or a show of... Continue Reading →
The Original is an audio-first story from Brandon Sanderson and Mary Robinette Kowal. I received a review copy through Net Galley. I've read some of Sanderson's previous work but it was my first exposure to Kowal. The Original is a near future sci-fi story where humans have developed cloning technology. If they can afford, people can pay to have a clone set up for if they die. Weekly appointments to back up all memories assure that the clone will be able to mostly pick up right where the authentic article left off. The Original focuses on a woman named Holly whose life is turned upside down when she awakens as what's known as a replica. This special kind of clone is created only when the original human has broken the law and is on the run, with the express purpose of hunting down those they were created from.
Chaos Rising is the latest Thrawn-focused entry in the Disney Canon series of Star Wars novels. Again written by Thrawn's creator, Timothy Zahn, Chaos Rising serves as the first book that truly explores the Chiss Ascendancy prior to Thrawn's encounter and joining of the Empire. The first Thrawn trilogy in the Disney Canon explored Thrawn's rise to power leading up to his inclusion in the Rebels animated series. In this newest trilogy, Zahn will be turning back the clock even further to focus on Thrawn's earliest military days and the political and military inner workings of the Chiss Ascendancy.
Shorefall is the second book in The Founders Trilogy by Robert Jackson Bennett. I had a good time reading the first entry, Foundryside, when it was released in 2018 and I've been eagerly anticipating this follow-up. One of the hallmarks of the series so far is Bennett's focus on building a rich world with a fully fleshed out system of magical objects. Foundryside left the main character, Sancia, and her crew of friends ready to open their own scriving company. Shorefall picks up three years after the events of Foundryside and brings back the same cast.
Coming on the heels of the completion of the final season of the Clone Wars animated series, Disney Lucasfilm has published The Clone Wars: Stories of Light and Dark. The book is an anthology of stories that take place in the same time as the Clone Wars series with contributions from a wide range of authors including Jason Fry, Rebecca Roanhorse, and Lou Anders. Most of the authors have written for Star Wars in some capacity, whether it's full-blown Disney Canon novels or shorter YA and all-ages fare. I love Clone Wars and it was fun to dive back in to stories with some of my favorite characters from the series.