UPDATE! We have our three top picks which will go on to be read by judges of all teams, plus a special honorable mention. Read on below for more!
As promised, here are the ten books for Team Red Stars that will go on to round two of the first SPSFC contest! All of them are deserving of continuing, but we can only pick three. You can see my full list of reviews here, and read Team Red Stars' official final recommendations here!
Our top ten books for the first round are (in no particular order):
#1 - Dog Country
#2 - Extinction Reversed
#3 - Zenith
#4 - Above the Sky
#5 - Refraction
#6 - The Shepherd Protocol
#7 - The Trellis
#8 - Age of Order
#9 - Wherever Seeds May Fall
#10 - Of Cinder and Bone
Out of these, our top picks are:
#1 - Dog Country
This is an amazing book, and a journey you don't want to miss. Told from the view of an engineered hybrid dog/human soldier, this deals with questions of self, identity, gender, and sexuality, to where we fit in the world, to how to those mistreated and cast out by society may reclaim their dignity. Like life, it's not always happy, but it makes you feel.
#2 - Age of Order
This will keep you up and make you turn pages. Come for the class differences and commentary on dystopian society, stay for the jokes and dismantling of oppressive systems. The twists and turns will leave you wondering how far you've come from the beginning of the story. Set in the near future in a divided USA, it's also a scary forewarning of what we can become.
#3 - Of Cinder and Bone
I just keep coming back to the characters on this one. This is one of those stories where the plot could be anything and I would read for the interplay between Jack and Kam, and the other characters. But it doesn't stop there! This is set in an alternative world just like ours, except dragons were real (now extinct) and our heroes are trying to resurrect them. So Jurassic Park with dragons and characters you want to invite to tea. Count me in.
Honorable Mention - Zenith
Oh, how I wish we could have four picks instead of three. I'm alright letting the others of the top ten go, although they were all excellent stories, but this one in particular I would include if at all possible. Once again, the characters are the shining stars in this story, but the space opera element is near and dear to my heart. Added to that the relationships between the characters show a great appreciation of how real relationships work. And then there's that ending! Although this one will not go on to the final judging round, I beg you to pick it up and try it as well.