And we’re back!
Every well, The Broke and the Bookish host Top Ten Tuesday, which I had had every intention of contributing to last week until I realized I couldn’t think of any books with scary covers.
This week, I have no such dilemma. A couple of hours pouring over my audible and goodreads accounts, if anything I seem to be suffering from a surfeit of books I’m itching to read. The trouble this time was more one of figuring out which titles should be on here in which order, and formulating discrete explanations behind each that didn’t just come out in a giant ball of :
1. Words of Radiance – Brandon Sanderson – (Stormlight Archive #2)
Anyone who sticks with me for very long will quickly learn that Sanderson is one of my favourite authors of all time, and the first book in this new series was as much of a joy as I had expected. The Way of Kings was 45 hours (1000 pages, for those who don’t trade in audiobooks) of delicious exploration of a bizarre new world, and I enjoyed almost every minute of it. Sanderson introduced multiple sets of characters, and spent just enough time to give me a sense of what their overarching plotlines might become, and then had the nerve to end the novel! I love the slow, almost luxurious pacing of the first book, and can’t wait to see what the second in a potentially 10 book series adds.
2. The Doors of Stone – Patrick Rothfuss – (The Kingkiller Chronicle #3)
Patrick Rothfuss was an author I stumbled upon by accident. He’s received fantastic reviews, and all I can really do is add to them: I think he’s a masterful storyteller who knows how to let a tale tell itself in its own time. The first book of this … trilogy? Quadrilogy, if I’m both lucky and right? Sets the stage by showing us the main character after it’s all done. Rothfuss has since spent two books going back to the beginning, and by the end of the second book I had almost more questions than I knew what to do with. I hope that book three won’t be the last, because part of what I love about the Kingkiller Chronicle is that they meander and take their time about things, and if we have to wrap up all of the twisting possibilities in one novel I’m afraid it’ll be tangled and rushed. So I’ll cross my fingers on this one, and hope that some time in the next year I’ll be able to learn how Kvothe ended up where he is now, and will have even more questions about where he’ll be going in book 4!
3. Skin Game – Jim Butcher – (Dresden Files #15)
I’ll admit, this series took a while to grow on me. I think I nearly abandoned it about six times in the first three books, and only continued reading because a good friend promised me that it was worthwhile. Well, I’ve always been a fan of mystery, and of magic, and Harry Dresden as a character won me over from the beginning. Butcher has grown steadily as a writer since he began this series, and both the story and the characters have developed into things I now thoroughly enjoy. Cold Days, the most recent book, has brought with it some significant and IMHO positive changes to the status quo, and I’m really looking forward to seeing how Dresden adapts to the new world! Here’s hoping the January release includes an audiobook?
4. Cress – Marissa Meyer – (Lunar Chronicles #3)
A friend of mine threw this series at me a while ago, and I was totally not surprised to find I loved it. I’ve always enjoyed fairy tales – the novel I just finished involved reinterpreting classic stories, and while I don’t normally go in for sci-fi, Meyer’s story so far has been focused more on the people than on gadgets and space. I really like the way this series mixes classic predictable elements (balls, stepmothers, girls in red with grandmothers) with original plot ideas, and the notion of throwing Rapunzel up in space and giving her mad hacking skills? I’m already fond of the girl, so the giving her a book of her own promises to be awesome!
5. The Broken Eye – Brent Weeks – (Lightbringer #3)
I’m not quite sure how I found Brent Weeks, but my first experience with him was the Night Angel trilogy. That series almost turned me off of the author entirely, which would have been a shame, because while the Night Angel books were a fairly predictable epic fantasy assassin story, the Lightbringer series has been a whirlwind of interesting new ideas mixed with well-crafted staples. The magic system is neat – colour can be made manifest, each shade having its own properties, and if you use too much you go crazy – and most of the characters intrigue me in one way or another. Weeks has managed to turn the unfortunate loner hero into someone I actually want to root for, and he is possibly the first writer I’ve ever met who’s created a powerful bully of an antagonist who I don’t just absolutely hate. (Though I am eagerly awaiting Andross Guile’s downfall, thank you very much.) He’s not afraid of complex politics, he has characters who aren’t all white, and I’m actually rooting for the people I think I’m supposed to be rooting for, instead of finding myself perversely adoring some minor character or villain. If book 3 follows the trends set by books 1 and 2, it will be an awesome read.
6. Shadows of Self – Brandon Sanderson – (Mistborn #5)
This series is what I think of when I think of modern fantasy. Sanderson has created an interesting world, an awesome magic system, and political nightmares that make the poli-sci-and-religion major in me do happy cartwheels. I loved the first trilogy, and felt reassured when I enjoyed Mistborn 4 (Alloy of Law) just as much, in spite of a radical change in era. We see a lot of pre-industrial fantasy, so it was fascinating getting to watch as an author brought his world from the castles-and-lords era into the carriages-and-pistols era. Sanderson has all of the love. That is all.
7. Arram – Tamora Pierce – (Numair #1)
I actually had no idea that Pierce was still writing until I went looking through a list of books people were looking forward to in 2014 and stumbled upon this. I’ll admit, I’m a bit out of touch with Pierce. She was my first real fantasy author, and I adored Alana and Daine, and Circle of Magic, which I think I might be the only person in the world to have read, but Kell didn’t enthrall me quite the same way and I eventually lost track of things. I will openly and unashamedly admit, though, that Numair was my favourite character ever when I was about 13. I had the biggest crush on him a girl could have on someone who doesn’t actually exist, and when I learned that there’s going to be a series about him I might or might not have squealed for two minutes straight. This might not be a sequel in the strictest sense of the word, being as it is the beginning of a new series within the universe and set prior to the Daine novels on top of that, but shut up, I don’t care. Numair was my first love, and now he has books, and I am happy forever.
8. Republic of Thieves – Scott Lynch – (Gentleman Bastard #3)
There’s no good reason why I shouldn’t have read this book yet. This series was recommended to me by the same friend who suggested Mistborn and Dresden Files (I should go see what he’s reading nowadays) so I sort of knew going in that I’d enjoy it. It’s a culture-centric fantasy story that uses magic as an accent, rather than a focus, and that on its own was a nice change from a lot of what I read. I also love stories about scoundrels, so finding a series that’s basically fantasy-Venice-meets-Ocean’s-Eleven is really win-win-win. Less thrilling for me is the part where Audible doesn’t seem to have the title yet, although it had both of the first two volumes. If things don’t change soon, I may actually have to suck it up and buy the physical book!
9. Clariel – Garth Nix – (Abhorsen #4)
This is another book I didn’t know existed until I accidentally stumbled upon it in a book list. Sabriel was one of my favourite books when I was young, and I’ve reread it several times in the intervening years. I didn’t expect to like Lirael, but I think in the end I decided that the series only improved as it progressed! So to hear now that Nix is planning on picking the universe back up is a little bit like hearing that my birthday is coming on a weekend, and I still get paid. His characters always really resonated with me, and I love the quiet, shabby, desperately hopeful feeling of the world – both worlds, on either side of the wall. It will be really, really interesting to see a story set hundreds of years before everything I know, and get to experience a part of history with fresh eyes.
10. Pirate King – Laurie R. King – (Mary Russell #11)
I gushed over the first book in this series back in my Top Ten Tuesday post two weeks ago, so it should come as little surprise that I’m enthusiastic about continuing the series. I feel a little bit ashamed, if anything, that I somehow lost track of what one of my favourite authors was doing to the point that I didn’t realize there were a whole two books that I hadn’t heard of, much less read. Fortunately, that means that I get to dive right into one of my favourite series and read two books in a row, now, instead of having to wait the traditional year-or-more between installments. I love King’s Holmes, adore Mary Russell, and can’t wait to download this tomorrow!
NaNo word count: 8417!
“Tell me: why might someone like me send someone like you to watch over some fluttering noble butterfly?”
Brenn considered for a moment.
“Because you want to make me suffer,” he commented darkly. She laughed at that, equal parts indulgent and expectant, and he obediently forced himself to consider the question from a broader, slightly less personal angle. “Because she’s worth watching over? Because you’ve got some reason to think that something will happen.”
“If I did,” she said, “I’d want someone I can trust keeping an eye on things.”
“So why not just ask me to stand guard?” he asked, ignoring the flush of pleasure and pride at the compliment.
“Firal’s got his fingers in too many pockets. He’s bribing half the clerks in the temple with varying degrees of success, and I’m not sure he hasn’t managed to pull a couple of coursers into his pocket too. I don’t know how much influence he’s really got, but he seems to be using as much of it as he can manage today. I had to pull strings of my own to get myself on the judiciary committee – somehow Sloth was listed as the supervising hunter, because clearly a man who’s been away in Follend for the last six weeks is in a perfect position to offer mediate. Then the time and place of the committee meeting was changed, and the novice sent to inform me was somehow given the impression that I was off in the heights …”
Brenn whistled. Pride’s lips twisted in a little grimace of acknowledgment.
“Nobody seems to know what happened or why, of course, and at least on the surface it seems to be a giant series of unfortunate accidents. Clerical errors, mistakes. For my part, I just happened to be in the right places at the right times to keep anything from going off the rails, and no harm was done.”
“But if you turn around and assign someone who doesn’t normally have to deal with babysitting to watch things,” Brenn picked up for her, “it basically amounts to telling everyone you know what’s going on.”