Nine novels down, five to go

I read nine novels in my search for planetary awards nominees, so I thought I’d give you a rundown of them before I resume my magazine quest.  I’ll also lay out my plans for reading other bloggers’ nominees.

Traditionally-published, from best to worst:

#1) Son of the Black Sword by Larry Correia was my nominee.

#2) The Oncoming Storm by Christopher Nuttall takes the silver medal. Nuttall was a self-published success story, but has now signed with 47 North, Amazon’s publishing arm, which I’ve decided to place in traditional publishing. The book is space opera / military sci-fi, and gets bonus points for calling a planet’s defensive citadel the PDC. There is a sequel: Falcone Strike.

#3) Armada by Ernest Cline was reviewed here.

#4) Heirs of Empire by Evan Currie (another former self-published guy who signed with 47 North) takes last place, mostly due to writing style. I was planning to discuss that writing style here, but got a bit long-winded myself, so this book will be the subject of a future review.

Self-published / small press, from best to worst:

#1) Rath’s Deception by Piers Platt was my nominee. I’ve since read the two sequels, and will post about them in the future.

#2) Renegade by Joel Shepherd takes the silver medal. Once you fight your way past an unnecessary infodump, there’s an engaging story with lots of intrigue and action. I plan to read the sequel: Drysine Legacy.

#3/#4 tie) Enter the Janitor by Josh Vogt has an interesting paranormal premise — a global struggle between cleanliness and filth instead of good against evil, but there must have been problems with pacing, as I often found my mind wandering rather than focusing on the story.

#3/#4 tie) Monsterland by Michael Cash is the story of a theme park where live vampires, werewolves, and zombies are the attractions. As expected, there’s a Jurassic Park-style containment breach, with lots of humans getting munched. Unfortunately, there’s too much character background before anyone even gets to the park, and the villainous bad guy is kind of dumb.

#5) The Awakening by Adair Hart will get its own post on this blog, as it has a specific problem that is worth warning authors about.

Future reading plans:

I plan to read all of the other Planetary Awards nominees, partially to see if I’ve missed out on good stories, and partially to give every author a fair chance to swing my vote.  It’s possible I won’t be able to finish them all, as April 30th is the voting deadline, and I expect my free time in March and April to be extremely limited.

Slow Bullets and Luna: New Moon will be easy to finish, as they’re both available as audiobooks, and I have plenty of commuting and lunch time for listening.

For Kindle reading, I’ve started with Torchship, since I generally prefer science fiction to epic fantasy or urban fantasy.

Once I finish Torchship, I haven’t decided which of the remaining two nominees I’ll tackle. Reviews of Blood Toy indicate it has sexual content I’d be uncomfortable with, but The Lost Mask is much longer (listed as 468 pages vs. 262 pages for Blood Toy) and is also book two in a series. Any suggestions?


  1. Enter the Janitor does sound like it has an intriguing idea behind it. It’s nice to see something different!

    1. Definitely different, but it just didn’t hold my attention.

  2. Sue Bridgwater · · Reply

    Reblogged this on Skorn and commented:

    If, like me, you haven’t yet read enough of these to be able to assess them, this excellent blog will serve as a suggestions-for-reading list!

  3. “Luna, New Moon” was one of the best books I read last year, and one of the best SF books that ever crossed my path: I hope you enjoy it 🙂

    1. I’m about 1/3 to 1/2 through it now. It’s a really detailed world-building example, but I haven’t a clue which things will have any bearing on the plot, or whether the entire novel will just be something like “a day in the life of the moon”. The writing is very skillful, but I wish the crude sexual references were absent, they gross me out quite a bit.

  4. Maybe start with ‘Blood Toy’ because it’s shorter and then read the blurb to ‘City of Masks’ + ‘The Lost Mask’, then try ‘The Lost Mask’ if you get time?

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