Monday, May 30, 2016

3 for 3: Three nerd-tastic trilogies to check out this summer

A post by Mary Fan
Hello again! Resident nerd blogger reporting for duty! And today, I'm nerding up this blog with
recommended sci-fi/fantasy reads, just in time for summer. Of course, these aren't your traditional beach reads, your chick lit and crime thrillers and such (not that there's anything wrong with those). But if you're a nerd like me and would rather bring swords and cyberspace to the Jersey Shore than such fare, then check these out.

They say the best things come in threes, and so here are three fabulous sci-fi/fantasy trilogies I'm recommending. Now, I have a serious case of Series ADD, where I have trouble reading past the first book in a series (even if I really liked that first book) because I'm just impatient for new worlds. So the fact that I read these trilogies all the way through means I really, really like them, so you should really, really check them out :-)

And now, gentlefolk of the web, the trilogies...

The Non-Compliance Trilogy by Paige Daniels

Sci-Fi (cyberpunk/dystopian)

Books in the trilogy: 
  1. Non-Compliance: The Sector
  2. Non-Compliance: The Transition
  3. Non-Compliance: Equilibrium

In the not-so-distant future, the government orders all citizens implanted with a chip that tracks them. Those who obey reap the benefits of a technologically advanced society. Those who refuse are herded into the lawless Non-Compliance Sectors, which are run by mob bosses and treated as second-class. Shea Kelly once had a brilliant career in technology, but, since refusing the chip, she now works as a barkeep in a Non-Compliance Sector and uses her computer skills to hack for goods on the black market. The trilogy follows Shea's efforts to both survive and fight for the little guy within the Wild Wild West the sector has become, facing off against ruthless thugs and government goons alike.

Why it's awesome:
  • The kick-ass, tough-as-nails heroine, Shea Kelly, is the type of underdog protagonist everyone loves to root for. The story is written in her blunt, often foul-mouthed voice, which gives the book a lot of personality and spunk. Yet she can also be vulnerable and sentimental, making her a brilliantly well-rounded character.
  • The world of the Non-Compliance Sector oozes from the page, its grittiness sharply contrasting the gleaming sci-fi technology of the compliant.
  • Fast-paced plot full of danger and action
  • A memorable supporting cast with some good folks, some bad folks, but mostly folks in between. Particularly noteworthy is Quinn, a tough-guy enforcer who turns out to be more than he appears.
  • Related: Moral complexity and ambiguity
  • Did I mention that the main character is a female engineer?
Disclaimer: Paige Daniels is my Brave New Girls co-editor/partner in crime. I was a fan of her books before we embarked on that venture. That being said, I cannot guarantee that there was not some bias involved here. THAT being said, this is a list of favorites, and all is fair in the game of favorites :-P

The Chaos Born Trilogy by Drew Karpyshyn


Fantasy (high fantasy/dark fantasy)

Books in the trilogy:
  1. Children of Fire
  2. The Scorched Earth
  3. Chaos Unleashed

Centuries ago, the gods chose a great warrior, Daemron, to protect the mortal world from the demonic spawn of Chaos, gifting him with three magical Talismans: the sword, the ring, and the crown. Corrupted by power, Daemron instead challenged the gods themselves and sided with the Chaos spawn in an epic battle against the gods. Though he was ultimately defeated and trapped behind a magical barrier called the Legacy, he vowed to return again someday.

Now, the Legacy is fading, and four children are born to embody one aspect of Daemron: wizard, warrior, prophet, and king. These four are destined to either save the world from Daemron or free him to wreak havoc upon the mortal world. The Chaos Born trilogy follows these four as their lives, which start out seemingly separate, are intertwined by fate, bringing them together in a joint destiny.

Why it's awesome:

  • Absolutely AMAZING world-building and mythology, where everything comes together in unexpected ways. Great depictions of the various cultures and civilizations living within this world.
  • The four main characters, the Children of Fire, are each fantastic and memorable in their own ways. My favorite was Scythe, a kickass street-urchin-turned-warrioress
  • Super engrossing writing style that had me flipping pages nonstop (I think I read the whole trilogy in a weekend)
  • Engaging plot that alternates between lush world-building and heart-pounding action without ever losing the pace
  • Multiple female and POC characters within this epic fantasy. WHAT!
  • Dark fantasy elements with touches of horror that give the whole thing a creeptastic feel
  • If you love Lord of the Rings-type stuff but get annoyed at outdated things like lack of diversity, dei ex machinae (did I Latin that right), and religious overtones, then this one will really hit the spot. Dare I say it? IT'S BETTER THAN TOLKIEN. *runs from the nerd rage*
The Reckoners Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson


Young Adult (sci-fi/superhero)

Books in the trilogy:

  1. Steelheart
  2. Firefight
  3. Calamity

There are no superheroes--only supervillians. In the not-so-distant future, a star called Calamity appears in the sky, granting superpowers to a select few. But these few, known as Epics, are invariably evil--arrogant and power-hungry individuals who wreak havoc upon the world, killing millions and millions without a thought. Only a few dare stand up to them: a scrappy band of rebels called the Reckoners. David Charleston was only a kid when he witnessed his father's death at the hands of an Epic. Now 18, he's dedicated his life to studying Epics and finding ways to defeat them. Soon, he finds and joins the Reckoners, joining their foolhardy quest to free humanity from the tyranny of those with superpowers.

Why it's awesome:

  • An exciting new take on superheroes within a really well-drawn world
  • Fascinating characters with interesting backstories
  • Main character, David, is a charming nerd with a wry sense of humor, which makes the narration fun to read
  • Lots of unexpected twists and turns in the plot
  • Related: Stuff that gets set up in Book 1 is perfectly resolved by the end of the trilogy
  • Ending was a great payoff to 3 books of build-up

P.S. I'd be a terrible marketer (not that I'm a great one, but hey, I'm trying!) if I didn't at least attempt a shameless plug here. There's one more nerdy trilogy I'd like to point your eyeballs to...

The Jane Colt Trilogy by Yours Truly


Sci-Fi (space opera/cyberpunk)

Books in the trilogy:

  1. Artificial Absolutes
  2. Synthetic Illusions
  3. Virtual Shadows


Firefly meets The Matrix in this interstellar adventure through the lawless corners of space and the depths of the cyberworld. Jane Colt's once-ordinary life is upended when her best friend, Adam, is kidnapped--a crime she witnesses but is unable to stop. Furthermore, only her brother, Devin, believes her account. The next day, she learns that someone shot her father--and Devin is the prime suspect. Her trust in the authorities shaken, Jane races to find answers herself. Her quest for the truth takes her on galaxy-spanning adventures that unearth more than she bargained for - conspiracies surrounding artificial intelligence, secrets from the past, and dangers her once-ordinary life could never have prepared her for.

Why it's awesome:
  • Because I wrote it? *sheepish grin*


Kimberly G. Giarratano said...

Where to start? Where to start? I'm determined to read outside my typical genres this summer.

Mary Fan said...


Stephen Kozeniewski said...

I did an Amazon search by author for "Yours Truly" and that last one didn't come up. Is the name spelled right? Maybe it's Youers?

Carrie Beckort said...

Artificial Absolutes is on my list to start this summer! Can't wait :)

Mary Fan said...

Yayyyyyy!!! THANK YOU!!!!

Mary Fan said...

Yayyyyyy!!! THANK YOU!!!!

Jonathan Schramm said...

These look awesome! Right up my alley!

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