Top Ten Tuesday – 10 Books With Odd Premises

For those who don’t know, Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.  Each week is a different topic.  Come up with your list of top ten, post it, and then add the link to the masterpost.

This week’s theme was Ten Books I Can’t Believe I Read.  I’ve adjusted it slightly to Ten Books With Odd Premises, playing with the fact that I can’t believe someone came up with the premise and made it work.

1. Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant – carnivorous mermaids that live in the depths of the Mariana Trench.  Need I say more?

2. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel – she shows how the apocalypse happens but the book’s main focus is arguably the society that springs up ten years later and how people rebuild and get on with their lives.  With hope.  And theater!  Seriously, not your usual post-apocalyptic world.

3. The Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley – love it or hate (and people seem to be one or the other with this novel), Hurley turns a lot of typical fantasy tropes on their head.  When she doesn’t ignore them outright.

4. The Abhorsen series by Garth Nix – necromancy both good and evil, Clariel and its focus on what makes a villain; Nix’s Abhorsen series still feels groundbreaking to me so many years after I was first introduced to it.

5. Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire – we often see the adventures of children but it’s a rare book that talks about what happens after.  Several of C.S. Lewis’s Narnia novels address this to some extent or another, but I found McGuire’s Every Heart a Doorway to be more relatable and unique.

6. The Hyperion Cantos by Dan Simmons – time travel was one of the first ideas explored by speculative fiction writers (H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine) but Simmons takes the concept to 11 with the four novels The Hyperion Cantos, adding in Matrix-esque machines-in-control-of-humanity, world travel, and how religion and compassion can intertwine, among many other ideas.  While far from my favorite series, this is still one that will absolutely remain with me.

7. The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins – a look at what it means to be a god, the difference between the divine and the monster, and how compassion functions, all wrapped up in studies.

8. Six Wakes by Mur Lafferty – clones, murder, and revenge.  How the mind works.  What people are willing to do to each other, regardless of claims of friendship or the chains of law.

9. Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee – math isn’t anything new to sci-fi but the idea that calendars and rituals effect what technology works is fascinating and new.  Ditto the direction that Charis and Jedao’s ‘relationship’ goes in.

10. The Devourers by Indra Das – there is a lot of werewolf fiction out there but I don’t think I’ve ever heard of or read one quite like this, and not just because of the Indian twists or the truly monstrous/other nature of the ‘werewolves’.

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