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Take a trip across time and space with the latest Sci-Fi titles; head to another universe with the latest and greatest Fantasy novels and get your heart pumping with a brilliant selection of Horror.
As the tenth Hunger Games plays out, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes explores the life, trials and roots of eighteen-year-old Coriolanus Snow, President of Panem when we reach the story of the original The Hunger Games trilogy. With the formally powerful house of Snow now teetering on poverty and ruin, Coriolanus is set on mentoring the winning tribute to escape “the endless dance with hunger that had defined his life”, go to university and then “embark on some lucrative profession”. But in a devasting blow, he’s assigned the task of mentoring Lucy Gray Baird, the lowliest tribute from District 12, and “everyone knew what happened if you went to the districts. You were written off. Forgotten. In the eyes of the Capitol, you were basically dead.” But with their fates now interlocked and their survival in his hands, Coriolanus vows to do his best to take care of Lucy. What a twisted, conflicted assignment this turns out to be, and all the more engrossing for being apparently doomed. Though more meandering and meditative than the original trilogy, fans will be fascinated to discover the complex causes of President’s Snow’s villainy, and it’s shot-through with core themes - friendship bonds, betrayal, power and oppression – that devoted readers will relish.
It is the morning of the reaping that will kick off the tenth annual Hunger Games. In the Capitol, eighteen-year-old Coriolanus Snow is preparing for his one shot at glory as a mentor in the Games. The once-mighty house of Snow has fallen on hard times, its fate hanging on the slender chance that Coriolanus will be able to outcharm, outwit, and outmaneuver his fellow students to mentor the winning tribute. The odds are against him. He’s been given the humiliating assignment of mentoring the female tribute from District 12, the lowest of the low. Their fates are now completely intertwined — every choice Coriolanus makes could lead to favor or failure, triumph or ruin. Inside the arena, it will be a fight to the death. Outside the arena, Coriolanus starts to feel for his doomed tribute . . . and must weigh his need to follow the rules against his desire to survive no matter what it takes.
The Eighth Titan is a highly descriptive fantasy epic telling the story of one boy destined to save the realm. A prophecy foretold that Jack would be the one to seal the Eighth, a powerful being that was trapped centuries ago by seven titans. But magic has been made illegal, and when Jack has grown up he must travel to each realm, trying to unite them and learning what no one else has been allowed to, magical skill so that he can trap the Eighth once more. This is a very detailed fantasy story with aspects of modern and older time periods merged into one. Each chapter starts with an excerpt of other books within this world, telling the stories of the titans and their struggles, as well as the other beings Jack, Ewen and Gwenevere meet along the way. I think these were a nice touch as it expands the reader's understanding of their environment. While the main plotline mostly follows Jack’s quest, The narration style used gave an opportunity for the reader to learn more about the other characters and see the perils ahead through their eyes too. I think this gives the book an added depth, it rounded out all of the characters nicely and allowed me to become more interested in the side characters throughout the book. It also raised questions and suspicions that you just have to keep reading to find answers to. In all, I found The Eighth Titan to be an intricate story and would recommend it to fans of fantasy epics.
I think that Game of Gnomes: The Necrognomicon is a cheeky, fun, irreverent fantasy adventure. It is a bit sweary in parts and there is dark and adult humour throughout, I did chuckle aloud as I read. Gassy’s life of crime has rewarded him with a quiet dream home in which he can retire. Until he is roped into traveling to the revived criminal convention to compete in the Crimicompetion, the ultimate test of criminal ability by his friend Borty. I liked the fourth wall breaks and the wordplay between the three gnomes as they head to Crimicon and participate in the Crimicompetition to find and steal the Necrognomicon (try saying that six times fast!). This entertaining fantasy adventure sees everything go wrong, it’s like Despicable Me crossed with Deadpool, and would be good for fans of the latter. This book is not for children but did seem to me to be a mischief-making adventure story adapted with adult language. In the early chapters, I found that there could be a slight rebalancing with the erotica jokes (for my personal preference there was maybe one too many). However, I did enjoy the reaction to the garden gnomes as well as the inclusion of other fantasy creatures throughout the story. I think this book is a bit of daft fun, it feels like a children’s adventure rewritten for adults and is lighthearted, harmless and entertaining.
So, so readable, Of Ants and Dinosaurs with the lightest and brightest of touches, made my brain itch with its creativity and klaxon alarm. Perfect for readers from young adult on, this sets itself as a “satirical fable, a political allegory and ecological warning”. In a time long long ago ants and dinosaurs joined forces to build a magnificent civilisation, when doom threatens will the dinosaurs listen to the ants? Cixin Liu is China’s number one science-fiction writer and his The Three-Body Problem was the first translated novel to win a Hugo award. I just love the cover, and the ants marching across the chapter pages had me smiling. As soon as I started to read my attention was well and truly caught. The prologue sets the scene with wonder and I read and believed without a moment's doubt. While portraying the ant and dinosaur alliance, there is very much a warning to the human race here. Deceptively simple and brilliantly clever, Of Ants and Dinosaurs just has to sit as a Liz Pick of the Month and a LoveReading Star Book, I simply adored it.
Inside the Sun is book three of the 8th Island Trilogy. As this is the third and final instalment of Ella’s story I would recommend starting with book one to fully understand the story, there are too many different characters species and quick references to what I assume are events in previous books to read this as a standalone. However, there is a Glossary of characters, creatures, plants and places at the back to help. A teen fantasy book which includes portal jumping, other worlds, strange creatures. This series also handles very real challenges, as Ella is suffering from Cancer and the divide between the races on Jarr-Wya reflect the divisions that can be found in our own society. Facing the ultimate battle against evil and their nemesis the Milia sands, will Ella and her friends be able to stop everything they love being destroyed. And will Ella and her family be able to find a cure for her cancer? I like the map at the start of the book and the illustrations throughout. I don’t often see illustrations in YA fiction, so I thought this was a nice addition. I also liked the illustrations as they help you to picture the different creatures, which I found useful, and also helped to drive the plot forward. I also liked the detailed descriptions of the places and creatures. The author is very good at world-building and it must have taken a lot of time and imagination to come up with the 8th Island worlds. I found the relationships between the characters interesting and the prominent place of Ella’s mum in this book different from the other YA Fiction I’ve read. The group aren’t strangers to peril and it would seem that what they face in the final book may be their biggest challenge to date. Everything is tied up satisfactorily in the final pages and the epilogue and in all, I think this is a good finale to a teen fantasy trilogy.
John Cranston is a simple gardener, he isn’t interested in things like global domination but a simple meeting with a friend turns his world upside down. Pandora’s Gardener is a funny adventure story with a piece of computer hardware at the heart of a secret battle for technological domination. Based on the myth of Prometheus stealing fire from the gods and Zeus’ revenge with Pandora’s box. Democracy itself is under threat and this humble data card could lead to a technological Dark Age. This book is set in a typical, modern criminal society and as you meet the characters you aren’t sure who the good guys are or who should be trusted. There’s some witty chapter heading that made me smile and plenty of twists and turns throughout the narrative as both sides fight to find the data card and a trail of death is left behind. The narrative is engaging and easy to follow, with easy character development and wry humour. The third-person narration allows the book to jump perspective and provides the reader with an in-depth knowledge of each storyline as they meet and diverge. This is a book that will keep you interested and amused right through to the final page. Charlotte Walker, A LoveReading Ambassador
An English Apocalypse explores a world that faces extermination by infected meteoroids that turn people into rabid killer zombies. As I was reading I thought it was ironic that a virus was the cause of humanity’s downfall, but having researched the book, I understand that it isn’t such a coincidence. We read a record of events by Paul Collins and the journals of Francisco as their paths cross and they end up working as a part of a team to save the human race. I liked finding out how Paul misleads his team initially to get the compound built. I think this adds an aspect of realism to the story. I also enjoyed the practical details at this stage - the effort and thought required to convince people to work on the compound, how they were going to build it and what would be needed to sustain life for years on Summer Haven. I thought these details were a very nice touch that helped to make the plot believable and must have required a lot of time and research by the author. On top of the work towards surviving a potential extinction, there’s interesting character relationships and strong side-storylines that I’m not going into too much detail about to avoid spoilers. This is a well-written science fiction story with dual narration following Paul and Francisco as life as they know it ends and they try to help their people survive the end of the world. It’s set up with the intention of a sequel and may be of interest to fans of The Walking Dead.
IN THIS WORLD, PERFECTION IS EVERYTHING 'Terrifyingly plausible' Louise Candlish 'Devastating and brilliant' Woman & Home 'Thought-provoking' Alice Feeney 'Shocking . . . A powerful tale' Cosmopolitan 'Timely' Kia Abdullah Elena Fairchild is a teacher at one of the state's new elite schools. Her daughters are exactly like her: beautiful, ambitious, and perfect. A good thing, since the recent mandate that's swept the country is all about perfection. Now everyone must undergo routine tests for their quotient, Q, and any children who don't measure up are placed into new government schools. Instead, teachers can focus on the gifted. Elena tells herself it's not about eugenics, not really, but when one of her daughters scores lower than expected and is taken away, she intentionally fails her own test to go with her. But what Elena discovers is far more terrifying than she ever imagined... What readers are saying about Q 'To everyone that loved Vox and wants to read another like it this is just for you!!' 'I love Dalcher's books, they grip me from the beginning and I find them impossible to put down' 'I read this book in 24 hours! I loved it.' 'An amazing read . . . thought provoking and made me eager to know what is coming next from this brilliant author.' 'This book had me hooked from start to finish. 'Both timely and chilling. Q is a thrilling read'
A collection of four uniquely wonderful long stories, including a stand-alone sequel to the No. 1 bestseller THE OUTSIDER. News people have a saying: 'If it bleeds, it leads'. And a bomb at Albert Macready Middle School is guaranteed to lead any bulletin. Holly Gibney of the Finders Keepers detective agency is working on the case of a missing dog - and on her own need to be more assertive - when she sees the footage on TV. But when she tunes in again, to the late-night report, she realises there is something not quite right about the correspondent who was first on the scene. So begins 'If It Bleeds', a stand-alone sequel to the No. 1 bestselling THE OUTSIDER featuring the incomparable Holly on her first solo case - and also the riveting title story in Stephen King's brilliant new collection. Dancing alongside are three more wonderful long stories from this 'formidably versatile author' (The Sunday Times) - 'Mr Harrigan's Phone', 'The Life of Chuck' and 'Rat'. All four display the richness of King's storytelling with grace, humour, horror and breathtaking suspense. A fascinating Author's Note gives us a wonderful insight into the origin of each story and the writer's unparalleled imagination.
The third part of J.R.R. Tolkien's epic adventure THE LORD OF THE RINGS The armies of the Dark Lord are massing as his evil shadow spreads even wider. Men, Dwarves, Elves and Ents unite forces to battle against the Dark. Meanwhile, Frodo and Sam struggle further into Mordor in their heroic quest to destroy the One Ring. The devastating conclusion of J.R.R. Tolkien's classic tale of adventure, begun in The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers.
One of my favourite books of all time, my copy is well-thumbed and a little crumpled now, but still sits in pride of place. I can disappear into the pages for hours and not come up for air. This isn’t fantasy for me, it’s a reality. Book in The Lord of the Rings Series: 1. The Fellowship of the Ring 2. The Two Towers 3. Return of the King Serial Reader? Check out our 'Fall in Love With a Book Series' collection to find amazing book series to dive in to.
If you prefer your worlds dystopian, check out our Dystopian Fiction category too!
Whether you want to join Jonathan Strange on the magic-haunted streets of London or Jon Snow and the rest of the Night’s Watch on the wall Fantasy is the genre for you. Authors from Joe Abercrombie to Zen Cho have turned the modern fantasy genre into one of the most exciting and imaginative genres around. They’ve brought magic and wonder, heroes, heroines and people like you and me, together in stories that will delight, scare and mystify you. Whether you want the romance and deceit of court, the shadows of a great city’s alleyways, the clear air of a mountain range, the terrors of a bloody field let fantasy take you to new realities.
There are characters for everyone; Scott Lynch’s charming conmen, Liz William’s artful magicians. Fantasy has worlds for all; Ursula le Guin’s Earthsea, George RR Martin’s brutal Westeros, Ben Aaronovitch’s contemporary London, Naomi Novik’s dragon haunted version of our 19th century. And the genre has a style for each and every reader; whether the playful literary trickery of Angela Carter or the imaginative epic adventures of Peter Brett. Somewhere here there is a story for everyone, so follow us and let your imagination run wild.
Established names like Stephen King and new stars like Lauren Beukes alike have taken horror into the mainstream. And it’s no surprise why – we can’t help ourselves we love a good scare from the safety of our armchairs. But there are any number of authors out there ready and willing to confront you with your darkest fears and, if you’re lucky, take you through them and out into the light again.
There’s always a fresh take on whatever has scared us down through the years. Whether the dark thrills of the demons that haunt the paranormal romances of Cassandra Clare or the hunger of the vengeful ghosts and vampires of Joe Hill. Or the high concept terrors of Sarah Lotz’s work, the insidious chills of Adam Nevill’s urban horrors. Horror can be stealthy like the classic chills of Susan Hills’ ghost stories or screaming in your face like Max Brooks’ terrifying zombies. So step this way and let us put the frighteners on you; scares that are subtle and literary or full-on ‘slap the book shut and turn on all the lights’. Or scares of the best sort – where you don’t know WHAT to expect.
If you’ve ever dreamed about the world our grandchildren will live in, thought about how life could be different, looked at a star and wondered if there’s someone or something there looking at our sun you’ve been wondering about the same things as the great writers of Sci-Fi. Or perhaps you’ve simply wanted to share the excitement and danger of life on an alien world or in the harsh expanses of space? Maybe you’re so busy you wish you had a clone of yourself to do the work while you had the fun of exploring new places and experiences – how would that feel? For both of you?
Sci-Fi is all about these questions and thoughts. And it’s about things we can never experience, perhaps not even thought about yet. It’s about putting you at the centre of wonder and excitement. Whether the wide-screen excitements from the likes of Peter Hamilton and Suzanne Collins, or the noir thrills of cyberpunk by authors such as Pat Cadigan and William Gibson or the intricate speculations of authors like Ian McDonald and Nnedi Okorafor Sci-Fi really does have something for everyone and you’ll find the very best of it here.