The last few years we spent more time writing than we did reading, so one of this year’s resolutions was to read more books.
We surely did.
In fact, we probably read more books this year than we did over that last four years combined. So many, in fact, that we can’t cover everything we liked.
Here are some of those we read and liked. There were more.
Sherylyn’s pick—the classic urban fantasies
She also caught up on some old ones this year as well.
Her favourite? It was hard to pick, but she chose Ilona Andrews’ Nevada Baylor Hidden Legacy series because they were new characters for her.
Karen’s pick—All Systems Red
This is a novella, rather than a novel, and it was so good, I’ve already pre-ordered the next one.
I loved it as a reader, but also loved it as a writer, because our SecUnit’s (Murderbot’s) character was a beautiful example of show, don’t tell. Which is no mean feat, given the story is told from first-person point-of-view.
We’ve had really good finds from reader recommendations. Last year it was Michelle Sagara, this year a reader on our blog recommended The Kingpin of Camelot (A Kinda Fairytale Book 3) by Cassandra Gannon. Thanks, Denisetwin, it was, as you said, a fun, easy read.
We both enjoyed this one. The voice of Midas, particularly, was very strong.
Children’s and young adult
Had to read Kari Maaren’s Weave a Circle Round because over on the Barnes & Noble Best SFF of 2017 blog, Joel Cunningham described it as having “… all the charm and imagination of Madeline L’Engle and Diana Wynne Jones”.
Let me tell you, that was a pretty accurate description..
Also enjoyed Joel Ross’s Beast and Crown, and Paolo Bacigalupi’s Zombie Baseball Beatdown. I read Bacigalupi around the time ICE agents in the US started to pick out the ‘easy’ immigrants to deport, so it was rather surreal, and very poignant. (I know it’s a book about zombie cows, read it and you’ll see what I mean.) Bacigalupi certainly knows how to pick topical issues.
In young adult books, I finally got to read the first two Shattered Sea books by Joe Abercromie. Half a King and Half the World. They were great, and because they were meant for a younger audience, nowhere near as dark as his other stories. Definitely going to read Half a War next year.
Finally got to read (and enjoy)
Curtis Chen’s Waypoint Kangaroo, which I had been trying to get for months. Wasn’t sure I was going to like Kangaroo at first, but ended up liking it so much that I bought (and read) the second, Kangaroo Too immediately after. Same deal. Wasn’t sure I liked the character at the start (still Kangaroo) but after a few chapters I got used to him and really enjoyed both books.
Kudos to Curtis for keeping his character in character.
And a call out to Captain Santamaria, who’s the sort of captain we want on our spaceships.
But wait, there’s more
I can’t not talk about these three books.
Provenance, by Anne Leckie. Really enjoyed this book. Provenance is a story about families, with—for me—the same kind of feelgood feel of Katherine Addison’s The Goblin Emperor (even though the books are not even remotely similar). Tic Uisine is my favourite character of the whole year. (It was a tough call between him and Murderbot.) I loved him when I read the excerpt, still loved him when I’d finished the book.
Ninefox Gambit, Yoon Ha Lee. I read this book in bits. Left it, went back to it. Skipped bits, came back to them. It took a couple of weeks to read, which is a long time for me, and I certainly didn’t read it in sequence. In the end, though, I got it. It’s not an easy read, but if you persevere, it’s a good classic science fiction that makes you think.
Guns of the Dawn, by Adrian Tchiakovsky. This was another book I initially skipped through. One of those stories that you start reading and you want to know what happens, but you don’t want to read it, so you skim parts. Eventually, I stopped skimming and started reading seriously. Then I went back and reread the whole book.
I still reread the end every few weeks. It’s a love story, and a really good one.