Thoughts on best SFF novel of 2017

It’s time for my annual realization that while I read many books in 2017, I read very few novels that were released in 2017.  I generally read a non-fiction book for every work of fiction I read, and my fiction reading tends to jump around the years and decades.

So, it’s time for me to nominate a novel for the 2017 Planetary Awards.  Browsing through my goodreads ratings, it looks like I only read two 2017 science fiction / fantasy books in 2017:

MHI siegeMonster Hunter Siege

I’m a fan of everything in Larry Correia’s Monster Hunter series (which reminds me that I need to put together a series review some time), and I’ve nominated and considered nominating his stories before.  This isn’t my favorite of the Monster Hunter books, although the chapter where Pitt goes on a hunt with the head of a Russian monster-hunting outfit is one of my favorite bits of monster hunting, ever.  The massive amphibious invasion scene is a blast, and there are some scary [OK, I’m getting into spoilers here, time to stop].

Overall, this was a really fun book.  My biggest complaint is that I would have preferred a more conclusive ending.  I probably won’t nominate it as best novel, partially because I don’t like to nominate late-in-a-series books, and partially because the author has a lot of award experience.  If I remember correctly, he’s turned down a Hugo nomination, won a Dragon Award, and asked not to be nominated again in the Dragon Awards, to make room for other authors.

VanguardVanguard by Jack Campbell

Vanguard is the start of a prequel series to Jack Campbell’s Lost Fleet series, which is one of my favorites.  While I’m on the record as anti-prequel, I read this book anyway, and enjoyed it.  I may write a review of it later, or I may wait until additional prequel novels have been released, and review them as a series.

If I had to make my nomination right now, I’d only have the above two books to choose from.  But, since the Planetary Awards nominations aren’t due until February 14th, I’ve got time to do some additional reading, including more indie authors, just like I did for the 2016 and 2015 nominations.

Here’s what I’m thinking of reading:

escape from ozEscape from Oz by Piers Platt

I didn’t realize Piers Platt had a new series out this year.  I nominated one of his books, Rath’s Deception, as the best in 2015, so I’m definitely reading Escape from Oz.

defianceDefiance by Joel Shepherd

I’m also a fan of Joel Shepherd’s Spiral Wars series (again, I need to write up a series review), and didn’t realize a new book came out in 2017.  I’ll definitely be reading this.

vultures 2To Fall Among Vultures by Scott Warren

Another sequel I didn’t realize had come out in 2017.  I discovered the first book during my 2016 indie reading, and I’ll probably give this one a shot as I read for 2017.

Once I’ve finished the books above, I’ll move on to taking a chance on books I might not have picked up otherwise, seeing how many I can get through by February 14th.  Here are two more I’m thinking of:

kingsKings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames

Kings of the Wyld appeals to me because I’m attracted to “I’m too old for this” characters, but I’m afraid its music-industry references may be lost on me.

JadeJade City by Fonda Lee

Jade City is being promoted as The Godfather meets Kung Fu Theater.  I nominated Asian-themed urban fantasies last year for both short story and novel, so it seems like I should try this one out, but something has my spidey-senses tingling.  The people pushing this novel don’t seem like the types who would enjoy either mafia or kung fu stories, so I’m afraid I’ll pick this one up and get a lecture on gender neutrality or climate change or whatever the lecture topic is this week.  I don’t want to fall for a bait-and-switch.

For no apparent reason, I’ve been wanting to read something from the “ragtag band of misfits” trope lately.  Here are some 2017 books that might work:

cascadeCascade Point by Joshua Guess

hellHell’s Rejects by MR Forbes

If you have an opinion on any of the books above, or want to suggest another book from 2017, please let me know in the comments section below.

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9 comments

  1. Well, definitely the MHI book over the Genesis Fleet book. Neither were “fantastic” but Genesis just seemed rather tired. I have a bad feeling I won’t be buying any of the series in hardcover like I have been with all the “Lost Fleet/Stars/Frontier” books.

    I JUST bought Shepherd’s book on amazon the other day. I had gotten a kindle coupon for something or other and had to use it or lose it by the 31st. So while I was browsing I saw book 4 and snatched it up. Coupon paid for it all, but even if it hadn’t, at only $4, I probably would have bought it. I’m really enjoying his drysine books.

    I like that cover of “Escape from Oz” so if you review it and it turns out good, maybe that’ll be another author/series I get into.

    1. I liked Vanguard more than you did, although I felt there was one unnecessary character who was followed for part of the book.

      I didn’t like Shepherd’s book 3 as much as 1 and 2, partially because it was a heist story, which I guess I don’t find that appealing, and partially because I felt it was inconclusive, with the sister still in captivity at the end of the book. I hope book 4 will be a good one.

      I liked Piers Platt’s “Rath” series of books, so I’m hoping Escape from Oz will be just as good.

      1. Well, I think more people agreed with you than me on Vanguard 🙂 At least according to the ratings.

        I concur with you about the Spiral War books. I rated them all at 4, but the final one definitely wasn’t as enjoyable. I like a heist book, so for me it was because of all the off point descriptions and conversations. I’m hoping he cuts some of that out in this next book.

        Is “Rath” finished? and is it a good representative of his writing?

        1. I would assume the Rath series is finished, since he started on this new “Oz” series. The Rath series was basically two trilogies. Book 1 had a nice wrap-up ending to its plot, and Book 3 was a nice wrap up to the first trilogy, so if you didn’t like it much, either would be a decent stopping point.

          Until this new Oz series came out, the six Rath books were all of his fiction writing, and he also had a non-fiction book about his time in the army.

          1. Thanks for the info. I might go check those out to see if his style is something I like.

  2. Three indie sf breakout series this year were Galaxy’s Edge by Anspach and Cole, Terran Armored Corps by Richard Fox, and the Four Horsemen Cycle by Wandrey and Kennedy. Good reads if you want mil-sf or space opera.

    1. I’ve been interested in Galaxy’s Edge for a while, but for the next couple months, my novel reading will have to be in audiobook form, and there’s no audio version yet.

      Looks like Fox’s work is in Audio, and there’s some Four Horsemen content available as well, so I’ll take a look at those.

  3. […] this week, I posted my thoughts on the best novel of 2017, and now its time for short stories.  I’ve been reading lots of them lately, wrapping up […]

  4. […] decided to make it my nominee for best novel of 2017 in the Planetary Awards, edging out the other novels I’ve posted about.  Another novel set in the same world, Bloody Rose, (I’m not sure if it’s a sequel or […]

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