I don’t know about you, but I love a good team effort. Personality clashes, slippery loyalties, and found family–I just can’t get enough of these stories, which is probably why I love the Avengers so much. The novels on this Avengers-inspired book list might not all be about superheroes, though some definitely are. But they do all have large and lively casts, and characters who, for the most part, are trying to do the right thing. And isn’t that what ultimately defines a hero?
Nova’s a villain infiltrating the ruling class of superheroes. Adrian’s heir to that dynasty–sort of. They’ve got different views on what it means to be a hero, and both will face major challenges to those beliefs. This series is full of creative powers, eclectic characters, and political tensions–plus a smidge of romance. Very Avenger-y. [Amazon Link]
James Holden and his misfit crew sail through the solar system on a ship named for Don Quixote’s horse, causing as much trouble as they prevent. Still, Holden’s always out to do the right thing, and his naivete makes him a charming hero to follow. One of my favorite sci fi series, the Expanse begins with Leviathan Wakes. [Amazon Link]
You wouldn’t expect space gangsters to share much in common with superheroes, but life of crime aside, Willem Jaantzen and his crew follow pretty strong moral standards. I love the friendship and loyalty this crew have for one another, and the drama hits me right in the feels–particularly Starla’s devotion and Manu’s protective instincts. Full of action, mystery, and family drama, the Bulari Saga begins with Double Edged. [Amazon Link]
Political tensions run rampant in this addictive series by Lindsay Buroker, which begins with Star Nomad. A former Alliance pilot ferries defeated Empire passengers around the galaxy as she searches for her daughter, and she in turn gets drawn into their quest. A mysterious doctor carrying a strange relic, a hunky Imperial cyborg, and a cranky engineer–which side is good, and which is bad? When you’re ruling a whole system, what can that even mean? One thing’s certain: the main characters are out to do the right thing. Star Wars fans will also enjoy this trope-subverting romp. [Amazon Link]
One of my favorite reads of 2019, Skyward features a memorable cast of eccentric pilot cadets on their quest to protect their planet from invaders. Spensa’s mission to prove her courage is irresistible, as are her cadet colleagues. As ever, Brandon Sanderson’s worldbuilding is second to none. [Amazon Link]
One of my all-time favorite superhero books, Soon I Will Be Invincible features cyborg Fatale as she joins the world’s most famous superhero team: the Champions. [Amazon Link]
Everyone loves an origin story. When Gail Godwin gets superpowers, she goes from repeatedly kidnapped Hostage Girl to brand-new superhero–and she gets to join the team. This book is a heck of a lot of fun, and Lexie Dunne’s sense of humor makes it crackle. A must-read for Avengers aficionados. [Amazon Link]
The difference between “hero” and “criminal” can be a narrow one–it’s all in the motivation, after all. Brandon Sanderson’s most famous magic system makes memorable superheroes out of his fantasy world characters. Plus all that personality-clashing, government-up-heaving goodness. [Amazon Link]
What did I miss? Which books remind you of the Avengers? Drop your recs in the comments!
Raised by a heartsick AI, she’s programmed to kill. And desperate to flee. Astra’s been raised to care for no one but herself.
After growing up on an isolated space station, Astra dreams of solid ground. But with an AI guardian plugged into her head–and her nervous system–it’s not like she’s flush with choices. In fact, she’s got just one: use her training to carry out the rogue AI’s revenge. Her first mission? Assassination.