Monday, January 2, 2017

2016 Year In Review


The Aeronaut's Windlass by Jim Butcher (Jan. 2016)

Steampunk by one of my favorite authors! See my full review here!

The Enchanted Forest Chronicles by Patricia Werde (Jan. 2016)

An old favorite from my bookshelf. See my full review here!

The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen (Feb. 2016)

I really liked this book, and I hope the upcoming movie does it credit. See my full review here!

The Black Magician Trilogy by Trudi Canavan (March, 2016)

The main character Sonea was interesting, but by the end of the trilogy, I was completely skipping the parts focused on Dannyl. Not only did he turn out to be gay (a lifestyle I have trouble identifying with) he had no impact on the central plot.

Sonea was engaging and level-headed--a trait I appreciate in a female lead. However, her romantic involvement with High Lord Akkarin came at the tail end of the third book with no previous hints of interest on the part of either of them. Not only was he over ten years her senior, he was the antagonist of the first two books and the even the beginning of the third. She hated him, felt dread and scorn towards him, and could not comprehend her classmates' interest in anything other than his great power. When he died, I didn't care. At the end when she announced her pregnancy, it felt contrived to imbue the conclusion with a sense of hope.

Brokedown Palace by Steven Burst (March 2016)

Didn't find it worth my time. See my full review here!

Girl Genius series by Phil & Kaja Foglio (March 2016)

Loved it! Went out and bought it after finishing the library's copy. See my full review here!

Uprooted by Naomi Novik (April 2016)

Novik is a great writer, but I was disappointed with this story. See my full review here!

The Chathrand Voyage Quartet by Robert V.S. Redick (April 2016)

A compelling series. I enjoyed most of it, but it seemed to lose momentum in the final book. I just didn't feel the sense of urgency any more, so I took longer to finish it. See my full review here!

Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire (May 2016)

The first in the October Daye series. An Urban Fantasy novel about a female changeling who is a detective making friends and enemies among the fae. Vaguely interesting story, but lacking the drive of the Dresden Files.

The Just City by Jo Walton

I really disliked this story, largely because I disagreed with its central themes. See my full review here!

The Summer Dragon by Todd Lockwood (May 2016)

A really compelling story. Loved it! See my full review here!

The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater (June 2016)

Interesting premise, but a lot happened that was merely weird rather than intriguing. There wasn't enough structure to the magic or drive to justify putting more explanations in a sequel. I thought the climax fizzled. It was unclear what was accomplished.

Traitor's Blade by Sebastien de Castell (June 2016)

Swashbuckling fun! Read my full review here!

The Woman Who Died a Lot by Jasper Fforde (July 2016)

As many fantastic ideas about the world of books crammed into a story as possible. See my full review here!

The Rain Wilds Chronicles by Robin Hobb (July 2016)

About half of the story is good. The parts of the books dedicated to the dragons' struggle to the city in their memories and overcoming their deformities was great! The parts about the humans and their various depressing relationships, not so much. See my full review here!

Age of Myth by Michael Sullivan (July 2016)

Loved this one, too! One of my new favorite authors. See my full review here!

Stormdancer by Jay Kristoff (Aug. 2016)

A fun blend of steampunk, and feudal Japan! See my full review here!

Theft of Swords by Michael Sullivan (Aug. 2016)

Two books in one, loosely connected by characters and swords. I have yet to be disappointed by Sullivan! See my full review here!

League of Dragons by Naomi Novik (Aug. 2016)

A satisfying conclusion to the Temeraire series! So much better than Uprooted.

The Waking Fire by Anthony Ryan (Sept. 2016)

Another great dragons story! Ryan has a refreshing take on the concept of ingesting drake's blood, and the setting--particularly the lost civilization in the jungle, was well developed and interesting.

A Natural History of Dragons and The Tropic of Serpents by Marie Brennan (October 2016)

Enjoyable, although the narrator removes much of the drive and emotional investment. See my full review here!

One of Our Thursdays Is Missing by Jasper Fforde (Oct. 2016)

More convoluted language barely decipherable as a plot. Still fun if you're a book nerd.

Servant of a Dark God by John Brown (Oct. 2016)

It was certainly dark, but I can't say I really enjoyed it. Face paced, but too dominated by ideas of betrayal, ignorance, and hopelessness. Ended well enough, but not as decisively as would make it pleasurable.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelly (Nov. 2016)

Always a good reread!

Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux (Nov. 2016)

I always enjoy how monsters are treated with more than horror in their original texts. Erik is given nearly as much admiration as hatred in this story. He isn't merely scary; he has some depth of character.


Non-Fiction (a small sample)

On Writing by Stephen King

"Starting with the questions and thematic concerns is a recipe for bad fiction. Good fiction always begins with the story and progresses to theme; it almost never begins with theme and progresses to story." (208).

Second Thoughts by David Galef

"But even with immediate rereading comes change, at the very least a loss of spontaneity, at the most a series of distortions that seem at odds with the structure of the text. The first losses are the surprises in the plot." (19)

"The sacred and Profane in Fantasy Writing: Who Gives a F--?" by T.O. Munro

"It may bother others more than it bothers me, but the f-bomb is just another word. The test of authorship is not whether to use it, but how to use it, for each word must fight to justify its place on the final printed page." (fantasy-faction.com)

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