The best books with unique narration

Who am I?

My love of unusual narration probably stems from my rabid consumption of “Choose Your Own Adventure” books in my youth. Why read a book about someone else when the story could be yours? While I’m glad to say that my library has since expanded, I still appreciate the unusual and bizarre viewpoint when I read. Perhaps a self-portrait? In any case, I’ve also used some unique narrative tools in my own writing through the point of view of my fictional WHISPs and also through cryptic journal entries. If you’re looking for something different by way of narration, I’m confident you’ll enjoy these five best books.


I wrote...

Whispers of a Killer

By Jen Haeger,

Book cover of Whispers of a Killer

What is my book about?

“We the jury find the defendant, Rachel Iris Chester, guilty.” And just like that, Sylvia Harbinger’s life as an NYPD detective is over. Sylvia is done with serial killers, done with therapy, and done with a New York City now rife with WHISPs—the creepy, grey shadows of her nightmares. She and husband Ben have a deal, a last-ditch effort to save their marriage. Sylvia retires and they move to Montana to escape the WHISP phenomenon.

Then the phone rings. There’s been a copycat murder, and Sylvia can’t let the case go. If she missed something the first time, this new blood is on her hands. Ben gives her a month to work the case, but can their marriage and her sanity survive that long?

The books I picked & why

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This Is How You Lose the Time War

By Amal El-Mohtar, Max Gladstone,

Book cover of This Is How You Lose the Time War

Why this book?

Just knowing this book has not one, but two amazing authors should tell you it isn’t your usual fiction novel. But just in case you need more convincing, think C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters but without all the religiosity. The story is told not from anyone’s point of view, but from missives left behind by time agents working for rival factions trying to control the future. The reader must piece together the world the agents live in just from the glimpses in letters they leave behind. And how better to tell a love story that spans the test of time and space? Just such a refreshing conveyance of great fiction.

This Is How You Lose the Time War

By Amal El-Mohtar, Max Gladstone,

Why should I read it?

7 authors picked This Is How You Lose the Time War as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

WINNER OF The Hugo and Nebula Awards for Best Novella, the Reddit Stabby Award for Best Novella AND The British Science Fiction Association Award for Best Novella

SHORTLISTED FOR
2020 Theodore Sturgeon Memorial Award
The Ray Bradbury Prize
Kitschies Red Tentacle Award
Kitschies Inky Tentacle
Brave New Words Award

'A fireworks display from two very talented storytellers' Madeline Miller, author of Circe

Co-written by two award-winning writers, This Is How You Lose the Time War is an epic love story spanning time and space.

Among the ashes of a dying world, an agent of the Commandant finds a letter. It…


The Fifth Season: The Broken Earth, Book 1

By N.K. Jemisin,

Book cover of The Fifth Season: The Broken Earth, Book 1

Why this book?

This book grabs the reader from the word “you” and never lets go. I am a complete sucker for non-standard narration and The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin doesn’t disappoint. Many authors might use second person narration as a gimmick, but Jemisin flawlessly integrates this with a totally immersive fantasy world. And if you are a part of the story, then who is the narrator? I just can’t say enough about this book that had me turning every page saying, “tell me more!” [Trigger Warning: child death.]

The Fifth Season: The Broken Earth, Book 1

By N.K. Jemisin,

Why should I read it?

19 authors picked The Fifth Season as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

At the end of the world, a woman must hide her secret power and find her kidnapped daughter in this "intricate and extraordinary" Hugo Award winning novel of power, oppression, and revolution. (The New York Times)

This is the way the world ends. . .for the last time.

It starts with the great red rift across the heart of the world's sole continent, spewing ash that blots out the sun. It starts with death, with a murdered son and a missing daughter. It starts with betrayal, and long dormant wounds rising up to fester.

This is the Stillness, a land…


The Raven Tower

By Ann Leckie,

Book cover of The Raven Tower

Why this book?

Ann Leckie is not an author known for standard narration or gender roles, but she is known for great science fiction. Which is why I was astounded and delighted by her fantasy novel, The Raven Tower. Told in the second person, just when you think you know who is spinning the tale…well, I won’t give anything away except to say this is an amazing book filled with gods and rituals, tradition and sacrifice, that will keep you guessing right to the end.

The Raven Tower

By Ann Leckie,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Raven Tower as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2020 WORLD FANTASY AWARD

A usurper has claimed the throne. Invaders amass at the borders. And they have made their alliances with enemy gods...

For centuries the kingdom of Iraden has been protected by a god known as the Raven. But in their hour of need, the Raven speaks nothing to its people. It is into this unrest that the warrior Eolo - aide to the true heir to the throne - arrives. In seeking to help his master reclaim his city, Eolo discovers that the Raven's Tower holds a secret. Its foundations conceal a dark history…


We Are Legion (We Are Bob)

By Dennis E. Taylor,

Book cover of We Are Legion (We Are Bob)

Why this book?

Love to chuckle-snort while reading a good science fiction book? Then I highly recommend the Bobiverse series. While we’re all pretty familiar with sentient starships (i.e. Ancillary Justice and, of course, there’s Farscape), how about a software geek turned corpsicle turned reluctant, self-replicating starship as part of future Earth’s desperate race to control the universe? I absolutely adored the humor-wrapped science fiction of this captivating novel.

We Are Legion (We Are Bob)

By Dennis E. Taylor,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked We Are Legion (We Are Bob) as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Bobiverse fans: a signed limited edition of all three books in a boxed set, signed by the author, is now available on Amazon. Look for The Bobiverse [Signed Limited Edition] on Amazon

Bob Johansson has just sold his software company and is looking forward to a life of leisure. There are places to go, books to read, and movies to watch. So it's a little unfair when he gets himself killed crossing the street.

Bob wakes up a century later to find that corpsicles have been declared to be without rights, and he is now the property of the state.…


Something More Than Night

By Ian Tregillis,

Book cover of Something More Than Night

Why this book?

A fan of Raymond Chandler and all things noir? How about the strangest angel noir novel I’ve ever read, told from the point of view of a “fallen” angel? I could not put this book down and I cannot stop recommending it. The succulent, noir flavor of the book blends surprisingly well with its heavenly narrator, but be forewarned, not all angels are winged humanoids and not all angelic narrators are reliable.

Something More Than Night

By Ian Tregillis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Something More Than Night as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ian Tregillis's Something More Than Night is a Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler inspired murder mystery set in Thomas Aquinas's vision of Heaven. It's a noir detective story starring fallen angels, the heavenly choir, nightclub stigmatics, a priest with a dirty secret, a femme fatale, and the Voice of God.

Somebody has murdered the angel Gabriel. Worse, the Jericho Trumpet has gone missing, putting Heaven on the brink of a truly cosmic crisis. But the twisty plot that unfolds from the murder investigation leads to something much bigger: a con job one billion years in the making.

Because this is…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in artificial intelligence, murder, and time travel?

7,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about artificial intelligence, murder, and time travel.

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And, 3 books we think you will enjoy!

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