Top 5 Sci-Fi/Fantasy Picks That Are Out Of This World

Each week, Bookstr will be giving a look at some of the best novels in a particular genre for your continued reading list.


This week we’re going back to sci-fi and fantasy.



5-The Border Keeper by Kerstin Hall

A writer and editor based in Cape Town, South Africa, Kerstin Hall’s debut novel The Boarder Keeper was released this past July 16th and, let me tell you, it’s a trip.


Kerstin Hall | Image Via Strange Horizons


This captivating read takes you on a journey through the mortal realm of Ahri and the mystical realm of Mkalis, the latter guarded by a mysterious woman dubbed “the end-of-the-line woman”. Hall beautifully blends astounding world-building with an emotionally gripping tale. Follow the hero of this tale, Vasethe, a man with a troubled past, as he comes to seek a favor from the end-of-the-line woman. With her aid, he must enter the nine hundred and ninety-nine realms of Mkalis, the world of spirits, where gods and demons wage endless war.


Image Via Amazon


This premise is deceivingly simple. The novel addresses and delves into laws of order and justice, power struggles between the strong and weak, vengeance and hate, and love and sacrifice. Anyone of those themes would take up an entire novel on its own own, but this book manages to take all of those and weaves them beautifully into its story in under 300 pages. Kirkus Reviews praises Hall, calling her “a writer with the skills to create weird and wonderful worlds,” although I’d reckon that’s an understatement.


4-This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone


Amal El-Mohtar

Amal El-Mohtar | Image via Amazon


Amal El-Mohtar is an award-winning author, editor, and critic. Her short story, Seasons of Glass and Iron, won the Hugo, Nebula, and Locus awards. Her poetry collection, The Honey Month, is written to the taste of twenty-eight different kinds of honey. She’s contributed to NPR Books and The New York Times.


Max Gladstone

Max Gladstone | Image via Amazon


She joins with Max Gladstone, author of the Hugo-nominated series Craft Sequence and The Ruin of Angels, the sixth book in the series. Together, this dynamic duo wrote this July 16th release: This Is How You Lose the Time War.


Image via Amar El-Mohtar


A beautifully and poetically written love story, spanning across time and multiverses. Two agents fighting on rival sides in a war across time communicate with each other through letters. What begins as a taunts and battlefield boasts, grows into something more. Something romantic and intimate, and could change the past and the future. Their relationship must remain a secret from their warring factions, otherwise it will end with not only the end of their relationship, but their very lives.

This is certainly a case of opposites attract, as Agent Red is aggressive and calculated, while Agent Blue is cultured and sophisticated, however that does work against their favor at the end of the day. Since these two women have already dug themselves deep into their chosen side of the war. Fraternizing with the enemy, what will win in the end? The war, or their love?

Publisher’s Weekly warns “[t]his short novel warrants multiple readings to fully unlock its complexities”.



3-The Last Astronaut by David Wellington

Image result for david wellington

Image via Amazon

David Wellington is an American author of horror fiction and is best known for his Monster Island Trilogy, but he does write science-fiction as well. In The Last Astronaut, he combines the excitement and intrigue of both genres.


The Last Astronaut

Image via Hachette Book Group


After a mission to Mars ends in disaster, Sally Jansen, NASA’s leading astronaut, hangs up her helmet and isolates herself in shame of her failure. Sally is convinced that her space days are over, until an ominous alien object enters the solar system, ceaselessly advancing toward Earth. With no time to spare and life on Earth at stake, NASA turns to Jansen as their last astronaut. This could be her shot at redemption, or it will be her demise.

“[T]his story’s got everything,” Kirkus Reviews writers, and it sure does. This thrilling space adventure will leave you on the edge of your seat with its high stakes action and terrifying dive into the unknowns of Space. What more could you want?


2-The Hounds of Justice: The Janet Watson Chronicles by Claire O’Dell


Claire O'Dell

Image via Amazon


This author’s been through it all. She grew up in the suburbs of Washington, DC, in the years of the Vietnam War and the Watergate Scandal, attended high school just a few miles from the house where Mary Surratt once lived and where John Wilkes Booth conspired for Lincoln to die, and has spent much of her time in the history and political science departments at college. Who knows what type of stories she could tell?

Well, I could tell you about one of them:


Image via Amazon


In this action-packed sequel to The Janet Watson Chronicles, The Hound Of Justice follows Dr. Janet Watson and covert agent Sara Holmes as they continue their investigation into the belly of the beast that is the Brotherhood of Redemption.

After being placed on leave for going rogue during their previous adventure,Agent Holmes must to clear her name. Meanwhile, Dr. Watson has accepted a new job at Georgetown University Hospital. After a failed assassination attempt on the President’s life, Holmes decides to take on the dangerous case on her own, but subsequently disappears. This brings Dr. Watson back into action to reunite with her brilliant friend and compatriot. With the country in disarray, split by a new Civil War, the dangers for these two women lurch in every corner. To begin to bring back unity, Dr. Watson and Agent Holmes aim to crack the case and bring down the heinous Brotherhood of Redemption.

Fast-paced, action packed, and just plain cool, Kirkus Reviews sums up the novel perfectly with this single sentence: “Read it for the action scenes and savor some sweet friendship moments in between”.

1-Ascent To Godhood (The Tensorate Series) by JY Yang


JY Yang

Image via Amazon


JY Yang, who published the final installment of their genre-blending Tensorate series last month, has a new novel up for grabs…


Image via Amazon


In this fourth installment to the Tensorate series, the whole world is turned upside-down after the Protector dies. Her beloved followers are distraught, her armies lay dormant, and her enemies rise. While the world is flipped around, the Protector’s greatest enemy, Lady Han, who sought the Protector’s head for years, finds herself mourning the loss. This epic fantasy follows Lady Han’s memories the past and how their former romance fell apart.

The series is made up of four short novellas: The Red Threads of FortuneThe Black Tides of HeavenThe Descent of Monsters, with The Ascent to Godhood being the newest addition. Don’t fret, however! Publisher’s Weekly writes that this fantastical fantasy novel is a “thrilling adventure stands alone, as well as providing moving, complicated backstory for the earlier books in the series”. It was released this past July 30th, so you have no excuse not to pick it up!




Featured Image Via