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Top Ten Underrated Books in SF/F

Top Ten Tuesday

Thanks to the gals of The Broke and The Bookish for hosting this meme every week!

Today’s topic was a mix of struggles for me since first I went through my books to see which I push on people and feel like not enough people have read. Unfortunately that’s not quite what today’s topic is, so I then culled the list of 20 books I had to ones that I think people are turned away from initially for one reason or another. In any case, here are some books not as well known that I wish people would give a chance ;-).

Just Ignore The Cover

Where the Rock Splits the Sky by Philip Webb The Ophelia Prophecy by Sharon Lynn Fisher The Waking Engine by David Edison Elantris by Brandon Sanderson

  1. Where the Rock Splits the Sky – I’m conflicted about the cover since it actually is a good representation of the book in some ways, but what you really need to know is that it is a sci-fi western in a crazy awesome rivers-of-sand version of the Wild West ;-).
  2. The Ophelia Prophecy – I have this strange tendency to fall in love with covers if I end up loving the book, but I think this cover probably bothers some people. What you need to know is that there are crazy insect-bioengineered-human critters and one of them is really hot and our heroine is both kick ass and has a healthy sex drive :D.
  3. The Waking Engine – Does this cover bother people? I’m not sure, I’m not in love with it, but I again think it reflects the book well. The thing with this book is that it has some crazy gruesome and difficult stuff in it and lots of swearing, but the writing is possibly the most beautiful I have ever read and the City of the Dead is AMAZING.
  4. Elantris – Yes yes yes, nothing by Sanderson could really be considered underrated, HOWEVER, I think this is the least loved of his books and it makes me sad. Elantris is currently my favorite Sanderson book because the world and magic are so flipping cool. These godlike-humanoids started dying ten years ago and now people randomly wake up with a horrible living-death plague instead of waking up with godlike powers and inside the old city of the gods our heroes have to figure out what is going on while in this living-death plague state! Plus magic with glowing things and spheres >.>.

Just Under-read?

Relativity by Cristin Bishara Mistwalker Saundra Mitchell above world Crash by Lisa McMann

  1.  Relativity – This is a book that came out last year and has parallel worlds so I think it was just a bit ahead of its time? It’s short and sweet and so so addictive. I read it in one sitting :D.
  2. Mistwalker – I have no idea why I saw so little buzz about this one because it was awesome! It is very atmospheric as the cover suggests and has a cool new “fairytale” about the Grey Man who haunts the lighthouse and controls the fog in this small fishing town. Plus the ending just downright rocked my socks.
  3. Above World – I think I’ve already screamed my excitement about this series enough, but seriously, it is an awesome mermaid/growing up/adventure/sci-fi/fantasy story with great girl and boy friendships and cute kid crushes!
  4. Crash – I feel like I’m cheating a bit by putting this in the under-read category since I do know I’ve seen some reviews of this series but I think very few people continued it. This series gets better and better as it goes and it flipping rocks.

Indie/Small-Press and so so Good!

Destiny Binds White Witch by Trish Milburn

  1.  Destiny Binds – No list of under-read/rated books would be complete unless I show my love for Tammy Blackwell’s series. There are teen werewolves yes, but Tammy’s writing is witty and sharp and will leave you sobbing in a puddle or laughing hysterically depending on how evil she is feeling.
  2. White Witch – This is one of those books that I requested on NetGalley when first starting and was so so lucky to find. It is small press but the books are fast and have a very cool spin on witches :D.

So those are the books you probably haven’t heard much about but I think you should read if you like the premise ;-). What are books you love that are underrated/underread? I feel like I’ve been quite the black sheep lately by liking books that are generally disliked, so let’s all just celebrate our love of reading off the beaten path eh? :D

Anya from On Starships and Dragonwings -Anya

© 2014 – 2016, Anya. All rights reserved.


  1. Great list!! And lovely mini-reviews. I am now very interested in Above World- I’ve only read (less than) a handful of mermaid SF/F that have been well done so I am very curious to take a look at this one. Thanks for compiling this list :D
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  2. That reminds me that I still need to read Mistwalker. I was so excited before it released, but other books got in the way and then….you know. Stuck on wishlist hell.
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  3. Sci-fi western? SOLD.
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  4. I love the cover for Waking Engine, and agree, there’s some beautiful prose as well as freaky stuff in that book! :) Relativity and Mistwalker both sound like I should add them to my TBR list
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  5. Thanks for reminding me I still need to read The Ophelia Prophecy. But why would the cover bother people, I wonder? I mean, sure, it’s nothing special and a little boring what with just a person’s face on it, but I’m not seeing anything too jarring. Maybe I’m missing something by just looking at the smaller thumbnail!

    • I was suspicious that the fiery/shiny special effects might turn people off, but I have a horrible time estimating the general opinion of covers ;-).

  6. I haven’t read any of these yet. Crash has been on my TBR list for a while. I definitely need to check it out! Great list!

    Sandy @ Somewhere Only We Know
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  7. Parallel worlds sounds interesting! It’s not something that I usually see in books. I think I’ve only read one book like that. so I wouldn’t mind reading more. I really need to try that Sci-fi Western, because I like Western and Sci-fi, but have never read both at the same time.

  8. Ooh nice! A few of these are new to me but have seen some, but have yet to read any! Great picks!

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  9. I love The Waking Engine and its cover is so pretty! And I completely agree about Elantris. It is Brandon Sanderson’s most underrated book. I loved it!
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  10. YES, I already own Elantris – but I still need to read it >.< For some reason, I thought it was one of Sanderson's most popular books, but it makes sense that it's overlooked. Can't wait to experience the awesomeness for myself :D Oh and Above World and Crash are both on my tbr shelf! I need to check some of these others ones out, thanks for the recs ^^
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  11. Looks like you chose some great books! I actually love THE WAKING ENGINE cover and The Ophelia Prophecy one isn’t bad. Like you maybe I end up liking them more after but I always loved TWE – but I agree with you Beautifully written!
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  12. With how big parallel worlds are lately, I would have thought Relativity would be more popular! But it’s been sitting on my GR shelf for months now and I’ve never looked at it again – oops :P I’ve thought about reading Where the Rock Splits the Sky as well, but never got around to it. I actually do like that cover!
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    • Yeah, I definitely think that Relativity was just a bit ahead of the trend. Yey, I also actually like Where the Rock Splits the Sky’s cover since it captures the setting and tone really well I think ;-)

  13. Yay for SF/F (chose fantasy for this week myself) & for Brandon Sanderson’s Elantris (and its cover ;))! I also think the cover for The Waking Engine is gorgeous, it’s on my want-to-read pile :)
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    • Yey :D Apparently I’m not such a black sheep on my love of The Waking Engine cover like I thought ;-) Oh well, good excuse to get it on more TBR piles hehe

  14. To be honest, I hadn’t heard of many of these but there are a few that I am going to look into further. Sometimes a cover can really make a book easy to overlook.
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  15. I have at least four of these on my TBR list, but alas, they must remain “underrated” until read. Great list! :)
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  16. So I literally just added all of these to my TBR list, THANKS

    BUT YES ELANTRIS! I finished that two weeks ago and it was AWESOME. Even though I know his other book Way of Kings was an upgraded version of it, I liked how it was more fast paced and not slow burn. For a debut, it was really really REALLY good :D
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  17. I think the cover for The Waking Engine is beautiful. But as your list is full of examples I have never read, not one, then I think you nailed the topic.
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    • I am also quite fond of the cover for The Waking Engine, like I said, I have a hard time knowing what covers other people generally like haha. Thanks!

  18. I had a hard time with this and ended up not making a list. But, I do have a few of these on my TBR — The Ophelia Prophecy, The Waking Engine, Mistwalker. I’m going to have to look into these others because they do sound interesting. Thanks for some new finds!
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  19. I have Elantris on the shelves, so that’s going to be the first Sanderson book I’ll read. I’m also curious about Mistborn. Mistwalker has a pretty cover! This book was on my radar a while ago (it was one of my WOW picks), but I kind of forgot about it.. Thanks for reminding me!
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    • Yey, I hope you like Elantris, but definitely keep in mind that it was his debut so his writing has matured a lot ;-). I hope you get the chance to read Mistwalker, it was so lovely!

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