This is something I've been keeping under my hat for over a month. I'll be running The Way of Kings Reread for Tor.com! It is a gargantuan task that I hope I'm up to. This is one of the secret projects I've mentioned before. The intro post is up and my first chapter post should be going up on the 28th with a new one to follow every Thursday. So join me in the discussion as we try to make sense of Roshar and by extension the mind of Brandon Sanderson. It should be a hoot and a half.
Also, Tor is running a special on the eBook of The Way of Kings for $2.99 as well as a contest for print copies.
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I'm posting this just in the interest of keeping my reading log up-to-date, but as this goes down my commentary gets shorter.
66. Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff - After a very boring first 100 pages of mostly walking around and explaining the world things finally took a turn for the better in this Steampunk quasi-Japanese influenced tale of a young girl facing off an entire nation with a griffin. Don't let the griffin part throw you off, he's much cooler than you'd think. Think Saphira only with more rage. What Stromdancer does well it excels at (fight sequences, window dressings such as the chainsaw katanas) and what it doesn't do well really shows (such as the use of the Japanese language at odd points and mutilated mythology). Granted this isn't trying to be a true to form Japanese Fantasy like Lian Hearn's work. Even amid all the problems I enjoyed Kristoff's opening salvo in the Lotus War trilogy. Fans of classic Fantasy who are looking for a bit of Steampunk accents thrown in would enjoy this, but don't expect something deeper.
67. "Devil in the Dollhouse" by Richard Kadrey - The first Sandman Slim short story takes us to what is considered the backwater of Hell. The ending felt off since it negates everything that happens, but damn if that wasn't a fun ride.
68. "Box of Devotion" by Anthony Huso - If you've been on the fence about trying Huso's The Last Page and it's sequel Black Bottle then please check out this short which shows off his considerable writing skills in a compact form. Yes, it is a side story from Black Bottle, but you needn't have read it to enjoy it on more than one level. Recommended.
69. Devil Said Bang by Richard Kadrey - I stand amazed that Kadrey has been keeping this series at such high level with blistering action and one of the best anti-heroes of the last decade. He is still holding out on us on the Aelita confrontation though.
70. Irredeemable vol 8 & 9 by Mark Waid - It is over and got a bit convoluted towards the end to the point I wish I stopped a bit sooner. But I needed closure. Sigh.
71. The Troupe by Robert Jackson Bennett - A couple years back I read Bennett's Mr. Shivers and found it to be more than decent, but not my cup of tea. The Troupe on the other hand feels like one of those book tailored to my taste. Believable yet odd setting: check. Endearing yet aloof characters: check. Genuinely original mythology: BIG CHECK. For me this came off as a period American Gods only it was even more epic towards the end. Vaudeville, evil monsters, dark family secrets. Just bliss. Highly recommended. This is also my book of the year.
72. The Twelve by Justin Cronin - Even though it didn't live up to the promise set forth in The Passage Cronin's characters are some of most magnetic and well-drawn people. Things escalate, however slowly and in more telegraphed ways. Recommended, especially if you devoured the first.
73. The Maze Runner by James Dasher - Decent YA Dystopian, but I finished without a urge to continue with the series as the ending was completely opaque to me. Anyone have an opinion on whether I should continue on to The Scorch Trials?
74. The Revised Fundamentals of Caregiving by Jonathan Evison - This bittersweet story centers on a man who has lost everything and has given up searching for a new life. Driven by the need to pay his bills he turns to becoming a caregiver to a young man with muscular dystrophy. At times heart wrenching and other times laugh-out-loud. Recommended
75. Mr Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan - Secrets codes in books, a book cult, and genius use of tech that is on our doorsteps made this a very fun read with an ending that lost the push the rest of the novel had.Highly recommended.
76. Ex-Patriots by Peter Clines - This is the sequel to the Zombie/Superhero mash-up Ex-Heroes. It wasn't as strong as the first book, but still a good time. Recommended. I'll be checking out the third book when it is released.
77. Trapped by Kevin Hearne - The fifth in the Iron Druid series. I'm more than a little bit smitten with Atticus and Granuaile. So if you've been on the sidelines with the series try the first out as the whole series has been on an even level. Highly recommend.
78. The Blinding Knife by Brent Weeks - Even better than The Black Prism and the series veers away from a more predictable path. Highly recommended for Epic Fantasy fans.
79. Two Ravens and One Crow by Kevin Hearne - The author refers to this novella as Iron Druid 4.5. Recommended.
80. The Dirty Streets of Heaven by Tad Williams - This goes in the unexpected book of the year category. Who knew Williams detailed Fantasy skills would translate so well to an Detective Noir Urban Fantasy? Really well done and I can't wait for the next volume.
81. The Boolean Gate by Walter Jon Williams - This is almost a brief history lesson about Sam Clemens and Nikola Tesla with great touches of New York City history. Is Telsa a mad man not working under his own power? Will Sam get his thousand island dressing? You have to read to find out.
82. The Labyrinth of Dreaming Books by Walter Moers - Taken as part of the whole of the Zamonia novels this is the only tedious volume to date. I'm hopeful it gets better because this is the first part in a duology that the next volume something actually happens.
83. The Kingmakers by Clay & Susan Griffith - The third and final volume of the Vampire Empire closes out things very strongly. Series highly recommended. It feels pulpy yet modern with a tinge of romance.
84. Savage Worlds: Explorers Edition - Gaming is afoot! This is a new RPG system for me so I've been studying up.
85. John Dies at the End by David Wong - Like the Evil Dead bucket loads? Then you'll love this. I also bought the sequel before I finished this, which should say a bit all on its own. Very twisted, funny Horror. Highly recommended.
86. The Emperor's Soul by Brandon Sanderson - Recommended and also a good introduction to Sanderson's writing with an Asiatic bent.
87. Sundiver by David Brin - A classic with loads of good ideas. Recommended and I hope to continue with the series in 2013.
88. Rapture by Kameron Hurley - Simply bad-ass. I love this series and this volume gives us plenty of closure. Highly recommended.
89. Red Country by Joe Abercrombie - An all-star cast from the world of the First Law is a fan's delight. It is not nearly as strong as Best Served Cold, but still one of the strongest Fantasy releases of 2012.
90. The Fractal Prince by Hannu Rajaniemi - If you thought The Quantum Thief was a bit of a mindfuck then you haven't seen anything yet. All though very confusing at times I fell hard for what Rajaniemi is doing to Science Fiction. Recommended.
91. The Woman Who Died A Lot by Jasper Fforde - Fforde has brought the series back to form after the last volume left me disappointed. It also seems the series is coming to a close, which is probably the way to go.
92. Jagannath by Karin Tidbeck - A gorgeous collection. The best of the year and perhaps the best of the last 10 years. Dark, strange, beguiling. Buy it.
93. Cold Days by Jim Butcher - See short review here.
94. Santiago by Mike Resnick - A bit too slow for my liking given I went in with high expectations as it is supposed to be a forebearer to Firefly. The Western/outlaw in space feel is definitely there though. Recommended with reservations.
95. Life Among Giants by Bill Roorbach - A very well told story, but the characters felt too detached. Yet there is something about this story that has stayed with me. Recommended.
96. The Inexplicables by Cherie Priest - One of the most "fun" books in the Clockwork Century series this time with a more YA friendly tone and character POV. And again a revisit to Seattle and many characters from the past with big things lurking in the fog. A nice close off to the Seattle storyline overall, but I'm at the point where I want to see what else is going on in this world. Recommended.
97. Osama by Lavie Tidhar - I think Tidhar was channeling Philip K. Dick in this reality bending pulp fiction. A very impressive read that is sure to create controversy and discussion. Recommend.
98. The Siren Depths by Martha Wells - This the third book of the Raksura has cemented Wells' work as a staple on my shelves from now on. Highly recommended for those wanting an exciting and original Fantasy novel.
99. City of Hope and Shadow by Ian Whates - I enjoyed the first book in this trilogy so much (City of Dreams and Nightmares), but second and this, the last volume, never entirely took off further for me. I just kept wishing more more of that discovery magic that happened with the first.
100. Becalmed by Kristin Kathryn Rusch - The latest in the Diving Universe series is actually a prequel on how a certain ship became stuck. Recommended.
101. Star Wars: Scoundrels by Timoty Zahn -See review here.
102. Among Others by Jo Walton - A gorgeous novel about a troubled young girl's experience with books, making friends, and leaving the past behind with some magic thrown in. Highly recommended.
103. Crystal Rain by Tobias Buckell - This was a reread as I wanted to get to the rest of the series. It is still a wonderfully big Sci-Fi adventure with a diverse cast. Cyborgs, gruesome aliens, and warring cultures. Good stuff. Highly recommended.
104. Mockingbird by Chuck Wendig - Our favorite foul-mouthed death-predicting vixen Miriam Black returns and this time she's going back to private school. Hilarity and death ensue. Highly recommended.
105. Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone - Apparently I saved one of the best debuts for last. I was at first put off by the premise of a magic system designed along the lines of the legal system, but this world is so different from common Fantasy I was left wanting for more. Highly recommended.
So that was a lot to cover at once. Hopefully my next update won't be so long in the tooth. It was a heck of year of reading. Check here for my year end best of in case you missed it.
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One of the debuts I've most been looking forward to this year is Brian McClellan's Promise of Blood. It is a meaty looking Fantasy with a society that is working its way towards the mechanical age. You see guns are worked in, but there is still magic in the world. And Gods walk the Earth. This falls firmly in the up-and-coming sub-genre Flintlock Fantasy, which has been starting to come out in the fiction of Abercrombie, Weeks, and Chris Evans, but this appears to be the first to go for it full throttle. Promise of Blood isn't even out until April, but we've already got a chance to see the cover for the sequel The Crimson Campaign, which won't be out until February next year.
|Art by Michael Frost and Gene Mollica, Design by Lauren Panepinto|
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