67. (67) – Jade City, by Fonda Lee

Jade City is a unique twist on fantasy with the plot taking place in a modernish world, where gangs dominate the city at issue and a mysterious magical mineral called Jade is at the center of it all. Lee does an incredible job of playing into the mystery of Jade, not info-dumping all at once, but allowing the reader to understand it by various characters’ interactions with it as the story moves forward.

The characters all feel unique and real and the universe feels lived in and truly fleshed out. The story moves, wasting little time, particularly once through the first section where it moves at a breakneck pace. Combining fantasy, gangster stories, and family dramas, Jade City is a unique modern fantasy, the first in a series I look forward to continuing soon.

(Felan’s Rescue Available in all formats August 19, 2022. E-book Preorders Available now)

68. (68) – The Moon is a Harsh Mistress, by Robert Heinlein

Heinlein is one of the classic science fiction authors that gets the most praise and I firmly believe this is his best work (among his novels I have read at the very least).  The Moon is a Harsh Mistress is so close to being a special book (among the all-time best). I greatly enjoyed Mike and his relationship with the narrator. I liked the idea of the Lunar Colony rebelling against Earth by “throwing rocks.” The unique social constructs in the Lunar Colony as a result of their own issues were well thought out and logical (the emergence of polygamist families made sense and was treated in such a way as to make the reader believe this was the best way for these people to live).  

Yet, Heinlein’s great fault in this book was his need to be very preachy about his views on the uselessness of government and its inherently oppressive nature. The professor, in fact, is a not very subtle mouthpiece for these viewpoints and it’s distracting amid an otherwise great novel. It’s perfectly reasonable for political/religious viewpoints to come out in fiction, but Heinlein does it in a distracting way that takes away from the story. It’s this fault that holds this novel back, but the rest is so good that it is still worth your time and secures a good spot in my top 100. 

(Felan’s Rescue Available in all formats August 19, 2022. E-book Preorders Available now)

69.  (69) – Red Seas Under Red Skies, by Scott Lynch

This is the sequel to Lynch’s The Lies and Locke Lamora and the general consensus among readers seems to be that it does not reach the level of its predecessor.  While I do tend to agree, this is more a compliment to Locke Lamora and not a critique of Red Seas Under Red Skies. This is a very entertaining novel in its own right.

Though not as fresh in terms of its thief plots, Locke and Jean’s dealings at the casino alone are worth the read. The scenes on the high seas can be very entertaining as well. I missed the more active involvement of the Bondsmage, but nonetheless I feel this is a worthy sequel.

At some point, it would be nice to see Locke and Jean in more control of their destinies…to see them back as the manipulators and not subject to the whims of multiple characters throughout the course of the story. Still, I would highly recommend this book to those who enjoyed The Lies of Locke Lamora.

(Felan’s Rescue Available in all formats August 19, 2022. E-book Preorders Available now)

70. (70) – Reaper’s Gale, by Steven Erikson

This is the 7th book in Erikson’s Malazan Book of the Fallen and Erikson continues to deliver at an exceptional level.  He always manages to give you something new that you’ve never read before.  My critiques of Reaper’s Gale are small in that I think some of the build-up took a bit too long and one of the plot threads ended up being pretty disconnected from everything else (though that thread was interesting enough). That’s pretty much it.

Everything about the Malazan invasion was amazing. I continue to love reading the Hellian stuff in particular. Tehol and Bugg are the funniest duo in epic fantasy, making me smile or laugh nearly every time they are on the page. I blasted through the last 300 pages as everything converges (a common theme in an Erikson novel). This series makes you work but it is one rewarding book after another.  

(Felan’s Rescue Available in all formats August 19, 2022. E-book Preorders Available now)

71. (71) – The Windup Girl, by Paolo Bacigalupi

The Windup Girl is Dystopian Science Fiction at its very best. The world created is vivid and incredibly interesting. The biological epidemics that scare everyone and the paranoia that results are very well drawn out. Bacigalupi creates a fascinating picture of future Thailand, a country that continues to pride itself on its ability to keep the foreign “calorie” companies out. Calorie companies make their money by creating new strains of food. In this world genetic engineering is not only the norm, it seems necessary.

The story is told from multiple perspectives but the title character is a genetically engineered person, brought up to obey. Every instinct inside her is to do what she is told. Her journey throughout the book is just one of many fascinating plots, but there are plenty of others. My personal favorite character was the Tiger of Bangkok. Nearly every scene involving him was excellent. I highly recommend this book to any who have a love of Dystopian science fiction. I think it’s better than Brave New World, better than the Hunger Games, and better than 1984. Just a tremendous read.

(Felan’s Rescue Available in all formats August 19, 2022. E-book Preorders Available now)

72. (72) – The Hero of the Ages, by Brandon Sanderson

This is undoubtedly a very satisfying conclusion to a very fun and interesting fantasy series. The juxtaposition from how we view Lord Ruler in book 1 v. how we view him in book 3 is a great illustration of how Sanderson managed to build on his ideas while keeping the logic of the magic and worldbuilding consistent. Sanderson continues to write incredible action sequences and interesting characters we care about.

I must admit I sometimes skimmed through some of the internal monologues but everything else is so enjoyable and the series as a whole fits together like a perfectly constructed puzzle. I waited to plow into Sanderson for several years because fans of fantasy swear by him and this series did not disappoint. This is a fun series that all fans of the genre should read. I look forward to diving into more Sanderson in the years to come.

(Felan’s Rescue Available in all formats August 19, 2022. E-book Preorders Available now)

73. (73) – Catching Fire, by Suzanne Collins

Catching Fire was a very fun read and a worthy sequel to The Hunger Games.  Frankly, it is my favorite in the trilogy.  The story really begins right where The Hunger Games leaves off and meanders around a bit, taking some time to get going. It was clear from the beginning that events were transpiring to get Katniss back in the game, but I thought the time it took to get there was not always well spent. That is not to say it was written badly, or boring, just that it could have been handled better.

Despite that Catching Fire managed to build on the many strengths that made The Hunger Games such a fun read. From the reaping on Collins absolutely nails it to a point where many scenes packed a more powerful punch than in the original novel. All the scenes between Katniss and Peeta meant so much more this time around and the way Collins handled the common bond between all the tributes was perfect.

Once the games started the action was every bit as good as in the first novel. And though the morality issues Katniss was wrestling with in the games were tweaked slightly they still worked well. I thought the scene involving Katniss, Peeta and a locket really hit at the emotional core of the story. Catching Fire is another very fun read in which the reader’s connection with the characters continues to really stand out. 

(Felan’s Rescue Available in all formats August 19, 2022. E-book Preorders Available now)

74. (74)- The End of All Things, by John Scalzi

Scalzi never fails to produce fun, easy to read Science Fiction.  The End of All Things, much like his previous book, The Human Division, is divided up into separate stories (fewer of them than the Human Division) that connect to tell a longer story.  I enjoyed The Human Division more, but this was fun as well, particularly the opening story.

If this is the conclusion to the Old Man’s War universe (and I don’t actually think it is) then Scalzi did well.  If you enjoy Scalzi and have finished the prior OMW novels than this should be must read for you. If you haven’t read Scalzi you should probably start with Old Man’s War as so much of this is predicated on knowledge of the universe from prior stories. 

(Felan’s Rescue Available in all formats August 19, 2022. E-book Preorders Available now)

75. (75)- Babylon’s Ashes, by James S.A. Corey

The nine book Expanse series can really be divided into two separate series.  Babylon’s Ashes is book 6 in the 9-book series, but it also is really the conclusion to much of the build from the first 6 novels.  After Babylon’s Ashes we get a massive reset.  It’s also the second half of what can kind of be viewed as a two-book narrative that starts with Nemesis Games (book 5, and in my opinion the best novel in the series).  As a conclusion to the first 6 books and the narrative plot started in book 5 it works well. 

As with its predecessor, the novel is largely focused on the core Rocinante crew.  By now they know the opposition they face as they work to quash the rebellion from the Belt that has cost far too many lives already and deal with their personal connections that are at risk in the process.  It’s exciting, funny and touching all at the same time.

(Felan’s Rescue Available in all formats August 19, 2022. E-book Preorders Available now)

76.  (76) – Cibola Burn, by James S.A. Corey

This was book four and the series just kept hitting on all cylinders.  In Abaddon’s Gate, the ancient gates were opened up to thousands of worlds.  This story deals with the mysteries of one of those worlds and the competing interests of people trying to claim ownership of it.

Like all of the books in the series, there is plenty of action, mystery, and intrigue. The characters continue to be engaging and the plot moves along very quickly.  We get great resolution to a lot of the Miller/Holden stuff and this novel has some of my favorite Amos Burton moments in the series.  The mysteries and much of the way they are resolved in this book and Abaddon’s Gate are central to huge arc of the last three novels at the end.  That’s just great series planning from the authors. 

(Felan’s Rescue Available in all formats August 19, 2022. E-book Preorders Available now)