Last month, I did a post on all the new Star Wars books out from Disney. This month, let’s look at some good read-alikes to Star Wars books. As a note, I’m steering clear of dystopians and sticking to more space-related reads.
Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff is a sure fire read-alike. First in a trilogy, it is scifi at its best. The second book, Gemina, comes out this fall. Illuminae follows Kady and Ezra just post their breakup as their small planet is bombarded and the survivors end up on three ships – Kady and Ezra on separate ones. Before long, it is clear that things don’t end with those complications. The fleet’s AI is up to something. No one will talk about what’s going on on the third ship except people are ‘sick’. Kady contacts Ezra for help in solving these issues and things happen rapidly from there. The book clocks in at around 600 pages, but since it’s told via instant message conversations, e-mails, maps, medical reports and more, it reads extremely quickly and is a visually amazing book.
Beth Revis’ Across the Universe completed trilogy is another great recent scifi series for teens. Amy and her parents, among many others, are cryogenically frozen, to be awoken when their ship eventually lands, 300 years later. Instead, Amy mysteriously wakes only 250 years later and finds herself deep in the ship’s world, which she doesn’t understand. Who tried to murder her by waking her early and what’s going on with the ship’s ‘natives’, the people who have never known the outside of the ship?
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card is a classic. For anyone who doesn’t know the basic premise of the novel, Ender’s Game followed Ender Wiggin as he is drafted into the Battle School to receive rigorous military training. He shows a natural talent for leadership and inventiveness but still doesn’t fit in with the older kids who have been at Battle School longer. Add into that the fact that both his older siblings are not so normal themselves – despite having been rejected for Battle School – and they are making their own marks on the world. The world will not be the same by the time the Wiggin siblings are done with it, for good or bad.
Another classic, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams is a must read for all scifi fans. Although infinitely more irreverent than most, it still has the characters end up in space – boy, do they ever! Arthur Dent is plucked off Earth moments before its destruction and ends up traveling with Ford Prefect, who is researching for the newest edition of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The pair, using the Guide to show them the way, meet a whole cast of unlikely characters and get into all sorts of trouble.
Cinder by Marissa Meyer is another completed series. Each book in the series is a retelling of another famous fairytale while also telling one complete story. The novels read fast and are amazing. Cinder is a gifted mechanic but also a cyborg, which means she isn’t really considered a person and lives in the care of her ‘step’ mother and ‘step’ sisters, one of whom she loves and one who hates her. When Prince Kai stops by to see if she can fix his android, things happen quickly and Cinder is thrown into the midst of an intergalactic struggle. Needless to say, things don’t go real well for Cinder, or Kai, in a lot of ways, setting the stage for the following books.