I’m always on the lookout for reading challenges and I found this one quite by accident when compiling my post about the reading challenges to watch out for in 2019. Run by the sci-fi and fantasy imprint of Hodder and Stoughton, this has some wonderful prompts that will appeal to both readers looking to start reading more speculative fiction and veterans of the genre like me. I wanted to share my TBR for this reading challenge today that double up as book recommendations because I’ve heard excellent things about all of the books in the below list.
#1 A book based on mythology or folklore
Recommendation: The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden
This highly-praised debut fantasy book is based on Russian folklore and explores the clash of old and new religion with magical elements.
#2 A non-fiction book by a SFF author
Recommendation: The Wave in the Mind by Ursula K. Le Guin
This celebrated SFF author pens her thoughts on identity and writing in this thought-provoking book.
#3 A work of sci-fi or fantasy in translation
Recommendation: The Three-Body Problem by Cixin Liu
One of the most critically acclaimed sci-fi works in Chinese, this is a trilogy revolving around the complex physics problem of its name and has secret defence projects, search for extra-terrestrial life and role-playing games.
#4 A book being adapted for movie or TV in 2019
Recommendation: Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
A childhood favourite for most, this follows a young boy who kidnaps a fairy and gets into all sorts of trouble for it.
#5 A novel featuring dragons
Recommendation: The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon
This is one of the most hyped fantasy books of 2019 and features a dragon prominently on the cover.
#6 A work of sci-fi by a female or non-binary author
Recommendation: The Black Tides of Heaven by J. Y. Yang
J. Y. Yang identifies as non-binary and this series of novellas is inspired by the author’s own Asian experience, packed with rebels and misfits.
#7 A book told from multiple character POVs
Recommendation: The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu
This is loosely based on a particular period in Imperial Chinese history and involves complex political intrigue, war and a huge cast of characters.
#8 A book with a non-human protagonist
Recommendation: Cinder by Marissa Meyer
This is a Cinderella retelling set on the moon in which the main character is a cyborg with special abilities that make her an excellent mechanic.
#9 A retelling of a classic fairytale
Recommendation: Girls Made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust
Touted as a feminist Snow White retelling, it has a queer romance and is told from both Snow White and the Evil Queen’s perspective.
#10 A book set in a dystopian future
Recommendation: Want by Cindy Pon
This book explores a future in which expensive filtering systems have become common due to extreme pollution and is set in Taipei.
#11 A book set on a different planet or space station
Recommendation: Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee
A desperate military officer seeks out the help of a brilliant but mad strategist to win back her honour and this complex, math-based world unfolds from there on – recommended for hardcore sci-fi fans.
#12 A book inspired by real-world history
Recommendation: Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson
This is set in the Gold Rush era and the protagonist has the unique magical ability to sense gold.
Have you read any of these books? Would you recommend them as well? Are you taking part in this reading challenge or any other in 2019? Let’s discuss in the comments section below.