Expected Favorites that Delivered:
The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch
The Republic of Thieves is one of those books that makes me second guess all the other 5 star ratings I have doled out this year. In some ways it felt very familiar (in a good way) to go back to reading a story by Lynch. Once again, I love his prose. I love the irreverent nature of the Bastards.
Joe Hill quickly became a must read author for me this year, and NOS4A2 helped cement that. It is creepy, disturbing, and unexpected in all the best ways. Absolutely love this story and the characters.
I listened to the audiobook of this and it was absolultely wonderful. Gaiman is such a gifted story teller, if you haven’t heard him narrate one of his own books, you really should try one sometime.
The Cormorant by Chuck Wendig
I don’t know how Chuck Wendig manages to find that balance of brash irreverence without taking it too far, but he is a master. I loved Blackbirds and really liked Mockingbird, but this third one blew away my expectations, or rather maybe Miriam put them in their place with a good dose of foul language and bad assery. In other words, I absolutely loved it.
Joyland by Stephen King
This is a very short book, but it works. It is the story of first love, and the first heartbreak that inevitably goes with it. It is the story of finding your way and place in life. It is the story of recognizing and valuing everyday friends and people. It’s the story of life, love and death and whatever falls in between and possibly after. Pretty much, it is a bittersweet story of growing up.
Blood Song by Anthony Ryan
I have drunk the Blood Song Kool-Aid and join the others in saying this book absolutely deserves the praise and high ratings based on sheer quality. It’s not hype, it’s not based on lower expectations. This book is just an amazing read whether it is self or traditionally published.
Black Feathers by Joseph D’Lacey
I absolutely loved this book, it just resonated with me. It was a dark, grim and haunting tale that gripped me from the beginning and didn’t let me go until the very bitter end.
Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan
Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan is an ambitious fantasy on an undeniable epic scale. I think this was a very strong debut, but honestly, my expectations are that I will enjoy the coming books even more. Especially if I get more of Vlora or Ka-Poel. I would recommend it to any fan of epic fantasy and look forward to the next one.
The Red Knight by Miles Cameron
If you feel you are going to need to rush through your next book, this is likely not for you. There is an investment of time involved to really let Cameron take you about the world and get acquainted with the characters and rising conflicts. But if you have the time, Cameron’s prose is superb and everything does fall into place, and trust me, there is certainly lots of action in the book. And bloodshed. Lots. Cameron’s amazing prose is paired with some horrific events. This is very much an epic book, and is really just the beginning of a much larger story.
Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie
Ancillary Justice by Ann Leckie is a very well crafted debut novel. I think the major component that sets it apart is the truly alien feel that you get from Breq’s perspective. Who is Breq? Well, that is immediately where the story gets interesting. Breq is an ancillary, part of a larger functioning ship that serves the Radchaai Empire. The ancillaries have implants that allow thought communication with each other and the ship’s AI, which is so advanced it seems almost sentient. This essentially creates a hive mind where ancillaries share thoughts, memories, motivations, commands and pretty much anything else you can think of with each other and the AI. They are not individuals, but rather components of the larger whole, the ship they serve. I am just extremely impressed with Leckie’s ability to create such a world, and to pull off such an alien way of thinking and acting. It is an excellent piece of work and I highly recommend it.