Want by Cindy Pon
I absolutely adore this book. It’s nice if you aren’t a huge sci-fi reader because it is a standalone, so you don’t have to worry about a huge investment. Plus, it has modern day connections…
Here’s what I wrote about it: The best future-set books are the ones that feel the most timely, and let me tell you–this fulfills that criteria. In a world where there is so much pollution that the wealthy live in specialized suits that keep them in their own little clean bubbles, and the poor just have to deal with it. At one point it even is like “WHY NOT JUST TRY TO KEEP THE WORLD CLEAN THO” and it’s met with a “pshha” so it def feels realistic to now.
Also I’m very in love with Daiyu, she is mine. Someone else might fight you about Zhao, who is also great, but Daiyu I will fight you over.
Jason Zhou survives in a divided society where the elite use their wealth to buy longer lives. The rich wear special suits, protecting them from the pollution and viruses that plague the city, while those without suffer illness and early deaths. Frustrated by his city’s corruption and still grieving the loss of his mother who died as a result of it, Zhou is determined to change things, no matter the cost.
With the help of his friends, Zhou infiltrates the lives of the wealthy in hopes of destroying the international Jin Corporation from within. Jin Corp not only manufactures the special suits the rich rely on, but they may also be manufacturing the pollution that makes them necessary.
Yet the deeper Zhou delves into this new world of excess and wealth, the more muddled his plans become. And against his better judgment, Zhou finds himself falling for Daiyu, the daughter of Jin Corp’s CEO. Can Zhou save his city without compromising who he is, or destroying his own heart?
Shadow Run by AdriAnne Strickland & Michael Miller
Hey you do you love tight knit groups of friend-families? How about princes in disguise? How about girls who are the youngest ever captains of their own spaceship? How about Basra? Don’t know who Basra is? Well, Basra is the best, and about 80% of the reason you should read this book. Action sci-fi while still keeping amazing character relations–this is bound to be a long term favorite of mine.
Nev has just joined the crew of the starship Kaitan Heritage as the cargo loader. His captain, Qole, is the youngest-ever person to command her own ship, but she brooks no argument from her crew of orphans, fugitives, and con men. Nev can’t resist her, even if her ship is an antique.
As for Nev, he’s a prince, in hiding on the ship. He believes Qole holds the key to changing galactic civilization, and when her cooperation proves difficult to obtain, Nev resolves to get her to his home planet by any means necessary.
But before they know it, a rival royal family is after Qole too, and they’re more interested in stealing her abilities than in keeping her alive.
Nev’s mission to manipulate Qole becomes one to save her, and to survive, she’ll have to trust her would-be kidnapper. He may be royalty, but Qole is discovering a deep reservoir of power–and stars have mercy on whoever tries to hurt her ship or her crew
That Inevitable Victorian Thing by E K Johnston
This is another great one if you aren’t normally a sci-fi reader–it’s a near-future based on alternate history and I am in the middle of it right now and have loved every second of it. Not only are the characters great, but it’s one of those books where you know that you’ve never read anything that you can quite compare it to.
Set in a near-future world where the British Empire never fell and the United States never rose, That Inevitable Victorian Thing is a novel of love, duty, and the small moments that can change people and the world.
Victoria-Margaret is the crown princess of the empire, a direct descendent of Victoria I, the queen who changed the course of history two centuries earlier. The imperial practice of genetically arranged matchmaking will soon guide Margaret into a politically advantageous marriage like her mother before her, but before she does her duty, she’ll have one summer incognito in a far corner of empire. In Toronto, she meets Helena Marcus, daughter of one of the empire’s greatest placement geneticists, and August Callaghan, the heir apparent to a powerful shipping firm currently besieged by American pirates. In a summer of high-society debutante balls, politically charged tea parties, and romantic country dances, Margaret, Helena, and August discover they share an unusual bond and maybe a one in a million chance to have what they want and to change the world in the process —just like the first Queen Victoria.
Warcross by Marie Lu
This is Marie Lu’s best book yet. While actual Virtual Reality games give me absolute anxiety, I adore reading about them. Warcross is a sci-fi thriller, and unlike Marie’s other books, it has just one main character, Emika. Infused with nifty tech, conspiracies, and a hacker with a job to do, Warcross leaves you wanting book two immediately.
For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life. The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. Needing to make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.
Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.
Empress of a Thousand Skies by Rhoda Belleza
I am a sucker for multi-POV books, and I adore how in Empress the main characters are connected by an event, but aren’t face-to-face. You get how these two characters are super affected and their lives change because of the existence of the other, long before they come face to face. Plus anytime where there are spaceships but there is also royalty, I am bound to pick up the book (also see above Shadow Run).
CROWN PRINCESS RHIANNON TA’AN WANTS VENGEANCE.
The only surviving heir to an ancient Kalusian dynasty, RHEE has spent her life training to destroy the people who killed her family. Now, on the eve of her coronation, the time has finally come for Rhee to claim her throne – and her revenge.
ALYOSHA is a Wraetan who has risen above his war refugee origins to find fame as the dashing star of a DroneVision show. Despite his popularity, Aly struggles with anti-Wraetan prejudices and the pressure of being perfect in the public eye.
Their paths collide with one brutal act of violence: Rhee is attacked, barely escaping with her life. Aly is blamed for her presumed murder.
The princess and her accused killer are forced to go into hiding – even as a war between planets is waged in Rhee’s name. But soon, Rhee and Aly discover that the assassination attempt is just one part of a sinister plot. Bound together by an evil that only they can stop, the two fugitives must join forces to save the galaxy.
In this exhilarating debut for fans of Marissa Meyer’s Lunar Chronicles and Pierce Brown’s Red Rising trilogy, RHODA BELLEZA crafts a powerful saga of vengeance, warfare, and the true meaning of legacy.
Have you read any YA sci-fi that was released this year? If so, what was it and how did you like it?
What are some of your favorite YA sci-fi books?