In my long road of getting this blog up-to-date here is what I in February. Many of these were read on a short vacation to New Orleans and a work trip to the West Coast.
11. The Sugar Frosted Nutsack by Mark Leyner - This book made my head hurt. A lot. It will go down in history as the most self-referential and recursive book ever. It is an absurd story, with what little actual story there is, but if you like bizarre, gonzo, or just plain odd fiction you've found your messiah in Leyner's Nutsack. Although a lot of people will find the book utter nonsense, which I don't think Leyner would mind as he skewers mythology, worship, and gravy.
12. The Waters of Eternity by Howard Andrew Jones - This short e-only collection is comprised of a half dozen previously published stories starring Dabir and Asim from The Desert of Souls [reviewed here]. Some are stories referenced in the novel fill-in some nice gaps, while others are long after the events of the novel showing this is a duo who will have many adventures. If you're at all on the fence about this Sword & Sorcery series try out this little collection. The title story was the most entertaining and had a very nice twist on the fountain of youth. Recommended. I'm eagerly awaiting the next Dabir and Asim novel The Bones of the Old Ones coming this December.
13. Royal Street by Suzanne Johnson - The Paranormal and New Orleans clash in this very satisfying Urban Fantasy debut. There are plenty of UF cliches, but the setting is done quite well and I did fall for fledgling wizard DJ more than a little. It probably didn't hurt that I read it while on a trip to New Orleans either. This could certainly be the start to a strong series. Recommended. I'm definitely going to check out the sequel River Road in a few months.
14. Ragnarok: The End of Gods by A.S. Byatt - A retelling of the Norse myths framed through the lens of young girl in WWII. This is the most faithful adaptation I've read of Ragnarok. Byatt has done a wonderful job retelling and not reinterpreting or modernizing version of the Norse Gods and Ragnarok. Its very faithful yet approachable. Highly recommended.
15. Arctic Rising by Tobias Buckell - Buckell envisions a very realistic future in which the north pole has become a nation on to itself as temperatures and water levels rise. Highly recommended. Review hopefully to come.
16. Fated by Benedict Jacka - Another Urban Fantasy debut. This one fits in almost too perfectly in the Dresden Universe, which made it standout a little less. There is even a nod to Dresden early on. The pacing and tension were the saving graces. Jacka does a good job at dangling the mysteries out quite well. I'll hold a recommendation until I've read another volume, but if you're a UF addict take a dip in to test the waters.
17. The Serpent Sea by Martha Wells - This is the sequel to The Cloud Roads. Wells again surprised me by broadening an already rich world. Highly recommended. This is a series not to be missed by any Fantasy fan.
18. The Drowning Girl by Caitlin R.Kiernan - Imelda (or Imp to her few friends), an unreliable narrator tells 3 stories about her life. Some are true. Some are mostly true. And some are lies. But she isn't sure which are which. This is a story that messes with your head in beautiful way. Highly recommended.
19. After the Fall, Before the Fall, During the Fall by Nancy Kress - A story told from 3 different points in time. One of the strands doesn't even have any characters while in another people are trapped in a giant shell. Sounds a bit odd, right? But this mix of time travel, first contact, and survival works well together with believable characters and an even if you see it coming wouldn't be any less effective for it.. Recommended.
20. Forerunner by Andre Norton - As far as I can remember this is my first Norton novel despite her very long career. Taking place on an alien world the story comes off as more a Fantasy then Science Fiction. Told in a simple yet evocative style, it reminded me of the style Wells employs with with The Cloud Roads . Highly recommended. This won't be my last Norton, that's for sure.
21. A Princess of Mars by Edgar Rice Burroughs - A brush-up before the movie was needed. Overall, it was a good, action filled time, but certain negative aspect seem more opaque then ever. Recommended if you're in the mood for a classic Sword and Planet adventure. And for god sake read this and not the novelization of the movie!
22. Heartless by Gail Carriger - Relationships are the key to this Steampunk series, which has remained on a even level ever since the start with Soulless. And this is the penultimate volume to the series and it is nearly time for the finale.The series is as witty and charming as its main characters. Recommend, especially if you're in the mood for something light.
Overall, February was one of the strongest months of reading I've had in sometime. 7 out of 12 reads were by women, which is probably higher than average for me in any given month. I think variety was the key. I didn't try to read anything based off publication time frames, but more about what I was excited by or what I've been meaning to read for awhile. And it had a little of everything from Classic Genre (A Princess of Mars, Forerunner) to some that will become classics of the genre (The Drowning Girl, The Serpent Sea).
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REVIEW | The Desert of Souls by Howard Andrew Jones
REVIEW | Swords & Dark Magic edited by Jonathan Strahan & Lou Anders
CHARACTER INTERVIEW | Alexia and Lord Maccon from Gail Carriger's Soulless
INTERVIEW | Martha Wells author of The Cloud Roads