While putting together my 2013 list, I realized there were some amazing books I read this year that were published prior to 2013. So, I decided to make a list in case others have missed these books as well.
The Folding Knife by K. J. Parker
The Folding Knife by K. J. Parker is so spectacularly different; I can’t help but love it. This is a book that ties in so easily with the modern-day political and economic issues, crises, war. As much as I enjoyed the book, I have to admit it could get almost a bit dry at points. Almost, but not quite. It could have very easily been dry if done by a different author, but Parker managed to balance all the information, made it interesting, and also inserted a sardonic sense of humor that really gave the book an edge. Honestly, I think that detail is part of the reason why I loved the book. To me, this story is so much closer to reality than any other fiction or fantasy book I have read.
This was a very short, but powerful book about life and loss … and monsters. Absolutely beautfully written. And so touching and heart wrenching. I didn’t review it because I just couldn’t find the words. But, I will say this, if you don’t have an emotional response to this book, I honestly think you don’t have a soul. I just can’t imagine it.
I am Legend by Richard Matheson
I don’t know how I never read this book. But is fantastic. Wow, to sum up I am Legend by Richard Matheson: it is Intense. Robert Neville is fighting to survive every day, or rather night, as the last surviving human. A plague has turned the rest of the population, including his friends, family and neighbors in to bloodthirsty creatures, monsters, zombies, vampires, whatever you would like to call them. They are the plague’s fall out. The undead looking to feast on humans. This is the story of one man trying to tackle the world’s problems. It is very striking, very memorable and very dismal. Also, a wonderfully chilling ending.
Fevre Dream by George R. R. Martin
I absolutely enjoyed this book. My first note is that it has a considerably different feel to it than ASoIaF. I loved getting a chance to see how Martin finishes a story and felt he did a superb job of it. Martin’s prose, imagery and ability to set tone and atmosphere is just amazing. The reader struck by such wonderful imagery that the riverboat era and the Mississippi river come alive before their eyes. It was a slow paced book, even during the ‘action’, but a story doesn’t have to be fast to be intriguing and wonderfully done. I feel Fevre Dream is a perfect example supporting that.
The Steel Remains by Richard Morgan
The Steel Remains is a beautifully written epic fantasy. I enjoyed Altered Carbon, but I can’t say I noticed Morgan’s prose as much as I did in this. This book takes some surprisingly dark turns and the violence in it is not for the squeamish. Also worth mentioning is the fantastical elements. In some epic fantasies being published today, they are used sparingly. That is certainly not the case here. There are a number of creative creatures lurking in this world leaving the reader with no doubt that this is a different world than any that has existed here on earth. Also, the end to this book was utterly fantastic and Morgan has left it set up wonderfully for The Cold Commands, the next book in A Land Fit for Heroes series.