My annual shameless plug of other authors’ work, and why. These are things I read in 2014. Note that the books weren’t necessarily published this year, I just read them for the first time in 2014.
There are minor spoilers below.
Ancillary Justice, Anne Leckie
I loved the cover. Interestingly, it’s not Sherylyn’s favourite, and while we were looking at covers in bookstores around the time our own was being designed, most of the booksellers here in Australia said it didn’t attract attention at all.
I wanted to choose ancillaries, from Anne Leckie’s Imperial Radch series. They’re dead(ish) humans, thawed out and controlled by an AI.
But no-one could call Breq anything but human.
My second-favourite creatures were the mistwraiths in Mistborn. And the ‘grown-up’ mistwraiths, the kandra.
The story that makes you think long after you’ve finished the book
No surprises here. This book made a lot of people think.
Ancillary Justice, Anne Leckie.
I know a lot of the talk around this book was how Leckie dealt with gender, which was refreshing and well done, but I got used to that very early. For me, the thing I loved about the book was how she took a truly repulsive regime and turned it into something sympathetic. I mean, the Radch destroyed whole races, they took people and effectively killed them, storing their bodies in deep freeze, then thawing them out and plugging them into a computer brain as required.
Biggest surprise book (most unexpected)
Fuzzy Nation, John Scalzi
I like John Scalzi’s books. They’re clever, they’re fun, they’re easy reads. But for some reason, Fuzzy Nation particularly resonated. It’s good, old-fashioned science fiction with a modern twist.
And I still can’t work out if Jack Holloway was just a bad guy who did good deeds, or a good guy I didn’t really like much. Either way, it was excellent characterisation.
There are some books you love so much that you pick them up again and re-read them. Often more than once. Often, not long after you’re read them the first time.
Sage Blackwood’s Jinx’s Magic
I love the repartee between Simon and Jinx in the Jinx books, and the way you know, without being told, that Simon cares for Jinx. Any author who wants to study up on ‘show, don’t tell’ should check out how Blackwood does it.
Anne Leckie’s Ancillary Sword.
We both re-read Ancillary Sword. Not Ancillary Justice, which was surprising.
Looking forward to next year
Based on the above, I think you can tell that the two books I’m looking forward to most next year are
Anne Leckie’s Ancillary Mercy
Sage Blackwood’s Jinx’s Fire.
Last year, the book I was looking forward to most was
Katherine Addison’s The Goblin Emperor
It lived up to expectations.