Summer is not only upon us, but sitting on most of our faces at this moment. Wouldn't it be nice to put something else a bit closer to your face? Well how about some good books? What a novel idea!
Below are my Summer picks, which also amount to what are some of my favorite reads of the year thus far. I left off novels from series in progress as I like to think of this as a list I'd rattle off to a friend I haven't seen in a long time who might not be down the genre hole as deeply as I. These are in no particular order.
The Age of Ice by J. M. Sidorova
This one is definitely the most challenging read of the bunch, but it is worth it. If you're feeling the heat then the cure is surely The Age of Ice with a protagonist who has not only a cold disposition, but whose icy skin leaves him at arms length from everyone in his life. Placed during the late 1700s in Czarist Russia it is both a wonderful historical look at the period as well as a beautifully told story about feeling out of place wherever you are.
Love Minus Eighty by Will McIntosh
This is exactly what I want my Sci-Fi to be. The story centers on a future in which good looking women who die are kept cryogenically frozen and can be reanimated if someone is willing to pay the exorbitant costs involved. In less capable hands this could have easily turned comic, but McIntosh has infused his characters with such believable depth you can't help care for them. The future McIntosh envisions is telling about the direction of our own hyper connected society and the direction that we're headed towards.
The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker
As the title intimates a Jewish golem and a genie out of Arabian lore both end up in New York City in search of a place they fit in. One is as blank slate driven by simple desires while the other is already hundreds of years old, but far out of their own time. The New York City of the early 1900s is not only beautifully explored but so are the communities of Syrian and Jewish these character inhabit. It's a fantastical love story that had me from its opening pages.
Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan
Guns and magic have finally hit their stride with McClellan's opening salvo in the Powder Mage Trilogy which we enter in the middle of a coup d'état with the King and his mages of old being silenced to usher in the age of the Powder Mages. My only real complaint is that there are very few women of substance in the telling. Hopefully this will be fixed in the subsequent volumes. Still McClellan's got me hooked and I need my next fix. Someone pass the snuff box.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
Yes, it is on everyone's list, but it deserves it for more than the author's name on the cover. A month removed and my mind still wanders back. The tone is highly personable which makes it feel like your own tale of childhood as you fight against an ancient evil mistakenly released.
Lexicon by Max Barry
Words of power are not necessarily a new idea, but Barry breathes life and high action into them with his secret society of Poets who have access to a lexicon that will have you doing back flips if they so desired. Simply a page flipping good yarn that hits far more often than it misses with a tight plot and humor in all the right places.
The 100 Year Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared by Jonas Jonasson
This is one falls into the "fun" category and lives up to the publisher tagline, which basically boils down to a European Forrest Gump. If you like road trip stories than consider this a world trip movie as the old man in question Allan Karlsson lives a rich full life and likes to blow things up. But this isn't just the story of an old man jumping out the window, but flips back and forth to the life of a young Allan who meets some of the most influential people of the last 100 years.
One thing is clear from this list: I have a thing for Historical fiction this year. So what have you really enjoyed this summer?
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