10 Fantastic Spec-fic Reads For Summer

A list of top-notch spec-fic books to enjoy reading over the summer.
on May 30, 2017 · 3 comments

The warming weather and lengthening days means summer’s on its way. Time to break out the books.

Us bookworms know the problem. A mound of unread novels growing faster than a pack of Catholic rabbits (kudos if you got that reference 😉 ). Summer is a fantastic time to launch into that TBR (to-be-read) pile with gusto.

Or explore the bookatorium (that magical depository where every book is gathered) for thrilling tales waiting to find new readers. Here are some top-notch choices (and yes I slightly cheated because most of them are full series’).


YA dystopia, but without the annoying clichés and petty characters. Lots of high stakes, intense action, a tasteful amount of romance…and oh my word the worldbuilding. Clocks that tell you when you’ll die? Can it get any better?


The first two books, King’s Folly and King’s Blood have released. This is a world of intrigue, treachery, secrets, filled with fascinating characters and plagued by portents of doom. Add in a much different setting than most fantasy, and this series hits all the sweet spots.


I don’t think I’ve read a more unique fantasy series. The stories aren’t afraid to take wild twists, keep the reader guessing, all the while launching the characters from daring escapade to daring escapade. It’s riveting in all the right ways. And the magic system…prepare to have your mind blown.

The end of book two—The Well of Ascension—is literally the most heart-stopping cliffhanger invented.


The only standalone in the list, and one of the few steampunk novels I’ve read. I loved this book because it takes place in a totally uncommon, highly creative world filled with danger, love, heroism, and magic.


The first book was outstanding, its style so beautiful and flowing, yet potent enough to drill into the heart. Nym, the main character, had such a tragic story it was impossible not to connect with her. All the fun fantasy trappings were present, spiced up with a cool magic system.

A devious cliffhanger sent the entire story rocketing off on a new path, and I’m super excited to see where books two and three lead.


An epic fantasy series if ever there was such a thing. Equal parts brilliant, annoying, ponderous, and thrilling. The series was way too long (eliminate books 6-10 and everyone would be happy), but the buildup, the war against the Dark One, the climactic finish of impossibly enormous proportion. Totally worth the time.


More Brandon Sanderson. Yay! An inventive world, crazy cool powers, a spin on so many tropes that brought a refreshing vigor to the plots, and a main character whose inability to create metaphors should win him an Oscar. This action keeps you mowing through pages.


I actually haven’t read this series. But every time I mention it, people’s response goes something like this: “You. Must. Read. You’ll cry and laugh and cry some more, and have your heart torn out and get hit so hard it he feels you won’t know what to do and it’s beautiful and wrenching and prepare to have your emotions rocked.”

Apparently it’s good.


Can’t have a reading list without a bit of C. S. Lewis. The books are heavy, and definitely not action-oriented. But some philosophical ponderings, big words, and deep truths never hurt, right? 😉


I literally could rave about this series all day every day. It simply is the best thing ever. And as an avid Lord of the Rings fan, I don’t say that lightly. But what Sanderson has already accomplished and is setting up (only 2 of the 10 books have been published) is incredible.

The plot is so big and beautiful and mysterious it gives you that insane, riveting feeling where you must know what happens and are in awe as the threads gradually weave together in a tapestry too stunning for words.

Don’t forget the characters, each of whom are individualized, with pasts, hurts, goals, fears. The list goes on. They’re so real it wouldn’t surprise me at all to see Kaladin marching down the street or come across Shallan while on a stroll in the park.

And then there’s the worldbuilding. So bold, creative, compelling, detailed, and soaked in imagination that it just isn’t fair. I could spend a lifetime in stories set in the world of Roshar and never get bored.

What’s on your summer reading list, and what books would you recommend?

Zachary Totah writes speculative fiction stories. This allows him to roam through his imagination, where he has illegal amounts of fun creating worlds and characters to populate them. When not working on stories or wading through schoolwork, he enjoys playing sports, hanging out with his family and friends, watching movies, and reading. He lives in Colorado and doesn't drink coffee. He loves connecting with other readers and writers. Find him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google Plus, Goodreads, and at his website.
  1. Lisa says:

    Thanks for the recommendations! I have Way of Kings on my Kindle and am looking forward to diving in to it this summer. I loved the first few of the Wheel of Time but it just got so sloooowwww….and when I read a whole book and realized that really, nothing happened in it (forget which one it was) I kinda gave up. You don’t have the Rothfuss books here (Name of the Wind is #1) – I would recommend that for those who haven’t read them. Big huge “Yes!” for the Space Trilogy. Really love the Temeraire series, too, for those who enjoy dragons (Her Majesty’s Dragon is the first book). And who doesn’t, really. 😉

  2. Abby says:

    The Tales of Goldstone Wood is an absolutely amazing series. The world building is beautiful, the way Anne Elisabeth Stengl writes is gorgeous and very fairytale like, and the stories all weave together with so many details the series could continue on forever. This is the book series I choose to say is my favorite when I have to pick a favorite. I would highly recommend it.

  3. Jason Brown says:

    Reading the Dark Trench Saga, Kinsman Chronicles, The Dark Tower series, the Airel Saga (only one book left to finish there), and The Radiance this summer.

What do you think?