Top Ten Science Fiction and Fantasy Novels 2016

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We've got some old favourites and some new names in this year's selection of our favourites. Here they are - in alphabetical order by author:

The Race by Nina Allan

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Who I become from here is for me to decide

The Race is a clever story alternating between our world and that of one set in a future Earth scarred by fracking and ecological collapse. In our world, the story follows Christy, a young aspiring writer whose mother left when she was only 15 and whose life is dominated by fear of her brother, a man capable of monstrous acts. Meanwhile, in Sapphire a world similar to our own yet very different, with the entire economy funded by illegal smart dog racing, we encounter Jenna Hoolman whose young niece is kidnapped at the tender age of 4. We also learn about Alex, a man who can help Christy uncover the truth behind her past as well as Maree, an intelligent young woman who has the power to change the world forever. Full review...

All The Birds In The Sky by Charlie Jane Anders

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All of us have awakenings as teenagers, but Patricia's is more extreme than most – discovering that she is a witch who can speak to animals. Classmate Laurence's awakening is less disturbing but no less impressive – a scientific genius, he creates a two-second time machine. Growing up together, the mutual weirdness between the two bonds them, but life gets in the way, and they end up on very different paths. Meeting as adults in San Francisco, Laurence is an engineering genius trying to save the world, whereas Patricia is a qualified witch, working hard to prove herself and cure those on the planet. As the two are drawn back together, and the fate of the whole world threatened, Patricia and Laurence are forced to consider the fact that maybe they know each other better than anyone… Full review...

Illusion Town by Jayne Castle

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Harmony is a futuristic, post-Alien landscape buzzing with paranormal energy and filled with those wielding peculiar talents. It is here, in Illusion Town, Harmony, that we find Hannah West, who wakes one morning with a gentleman beside her, no recollection of the night before… and a wedding ring around her finger. As the town's motto tells us, in the streets of casinos, bars and mature entertainment the thrills are real, and she is certainly not the first to wake up to such circumstances. Yet for Hannah and her new husband Elias, something is different. As memories resurface and clues are discovered, they realise that recalling their lost night is the key to unlocking a collection of secrets, evading a gang of violent motorcyclists, and solving a series of gruesome murders. Full review...

Children of Earth and Sky by Guy Gavriel Kay

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Two spies employed by the Republic of Seresta are sent to the court of Jad's Holy Emperor Rudolfo, 'The Destroyer'. The first, Leonora, knows what she's doing right down to hiding behind the cover of a sham marriage assigned for that purpose. The second, Pero, is a young artist kidnapped for the task. He has no previous experience but he's expendable so that's not completely necessary. Events transpire to ensure that both spies will need to rely on mariner and merchant Marin and Serjani fighter Danica more than they think. Yet even they can't stop the conflict that's on the horizon. Rudolfo has his eye on extending his empire globally and Jad help anything that gets in the way. Full review...

The Diabolic by S J Kincaid

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This would not happen to me. I would not just disappear into a void as though I'd never existed. I would not accept that I was less than these people just because they'd designed me that way.

Nemesis is a Diabolic, a girl genetically engineered to bond with one specific person and whose sole purpose is to protect that one person at any cost. Bred in a pen and trained to kill, Nemesis is introduced and bonded to Sidonia Impyrean, the heir of a senator of the galactic empire. The galactic empire in question is built on the Helios religion, where the Cosmos is the all-powerful entity, and as a consequence education in science and technology has been banned in all corners of the galaxy. When Sidonia's father is found transferring technological information, in direct violation of the Emperor's commands, to the Excess living on nearby planets, the Emperor summons his only daughter to Imperial Court as punishment. Full review...

Ghosts of Karnak by George Mann

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The superhero market is crowded and sometimes a little boring. Who cares about what a God-like person can do when the rest of us are scrambling around trying to avoid papercuts, never mind trying to repel a rogue asteroid. The best heroes are those that are just normal blokes or ladies dressed up in some fancy outfit. When it comes down to it Batman or The Shadow are just men, but it is their vulnerability that makes them ace to read about. Add to this list George Mann's 'The Ghost', a World War One veteran who returns to New York no longer willing to watch the criminals taking over his home town. Full review...

The Girl on the Liar's Throne by Den Patrick

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Lucien doesn’t want to declare war on Landfall and its Silent Queen, Anea, whom he grew up with as an Orfano. She runs a dictatorship of militant suppression and suffering which is rather unlike her. Unbeknown to Lucien, the throne of Landfall is occupied by Eris, an imposter and puppet used by those with far fewer scruples. Anea herself is imprisoned in the palace oubliette surrounded by Myrmidon, a half-human army created by Erebus. There's little chance of her escaping or getting very far if she did. However, for Anea 'little chance' is a challenge, not a preventative. Full review...

Invasion by Luke Rhinehart

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Super-intelligent furry aliens suddenly appear from another universe. And they've come to earth to have fun. Alien Louie follows fisherman Billy Morton home one day, and he and his family quickly come to love the playful alien. But when Louie starts using their computer to hack into government and corporate networks, stealing millions from banks to give to others, they realise that Louie and his friends mean trouble. As Billy and his family begin a roller coaster ride of fame and fortune, as well as a ranking high on the FBI's most wanted list, the Government soon decides that these aliens are terrorists, and must be eliminated. Whilst the aliens are playing games they hope will help humans to see the insanity of the American political, economic and military systems, they soon come to realise that the Powers that Be don't play games: they make war. Full review...

The Waking Fire: Book One of Draconis Memoria by Anthony Ryan

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Mercenary Clayden Torcreek is blood-blessed, i.e. one of the few able to translate a few drops of drake's blood into an extraordinary attribute. It gets even better than that: Clayden is unregistered, making him unexpected and eminently hireable when the department of Exceptional Initiatives need someone to track the fabled white drake. His recruiter and contact is covert agent Lizanne Lethbridge who is currently gathering intelligence while posing as a maid to the spoilt young Tekela. It's worth it though – Tekela's father has something of interest. The problem is that Lizanne isn't the only one interested and so staying alive becomes increasingly difficult. Out at sea naval officer Hilemore is about to put his training to good use. Meanwhile in the inhospitable interior, Clayden's expedition only has to worry about savages and drakes of the gigantic, man-eating, fire breathing variety. That's alright then! Full review...

The Trees by Ali Shaw

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There is no warning. No chance to prepare. They arrive in the night: thundering up through the ground, transforming streets and towns into shadowy forest. Buildings are destroyed, broken bodies hanging among the leaves. Adrien, a man who has never been much of a hero, is forced to find help when he realises that none is coming to him. He meets Hannah, and her teenage son Seb. Together, they set out to find Hannah's brother, and Adrien's wife – meeting many people along the way. Some good, some bad, and one who stays with them – a young Japanese girl far from home. Their journey will take them to the heart of the forest, to a place of terrible beauty and violence, to the dark heart of nature and the darkness inside themselves… Full review...

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