This is my favorite book of 2021. Short, sweet, and comforting.
During the height of the pandemic, I was unable to really focus on reading anything. But seeing this one knocked me for a loop, and I had to read it. It was published in 2019, before the pandemic was on the horizon, but it predicted so many things about the change life would take because of it.
This book takes place in space, specifically upon a space ship. It may all be in space, but it's about people, their relationships, and how they get along along traveling through the void in your house that is also where you work and your coworkers are your roommates. I'm not doing it justice, but you should really just read it.
I picked up all three of the books in this series recently, and after reading the first page of this one, I was completely hooked! I devoured all three volumes in less than a week and was so sad to see it all end. Lyra embarks on a journey to find her kidnapped friend, and from that step out of Jordan College comes a world-spanning journey that you'll not soon forget.
I was a little skeptical of this one at first, it seemed just a little too much like cheesy generic fantasy (which I totally love, mind you). I didn't give it the chance that it deserved and I hope that you all learn from my mistakes! Lamentation is an awesome, complex, multi-threaded, nuanced work of mind-bogglingly huge scope. I really mean it, you need to read this if you love fantasy.
Who watches the Watchmen? A must have graphic novel for anyone who enjoys the comic artform. It is the tale of several former superheroes living in a post-superhero world where "masks" are outlawed. Then, someone starts killing the old masks...
*** March 2010 Newsletter Pick ***
The moment I saw this book I couldn't believe my eyes. Michael Ian Black, one of the funniest men to ever live, had written a book... for kids? Mind. Blown. It called to me, and who was I to deny that call? Inside is a monkey, despite the book being titled The Purple Kangaroo. But he isn't just any monkey. This monkey can read minds. He can even tell what you're thinking of! What are you thinking of? Well, a purple kangaroo of course. What else are you thinking of? Ask the monkey, he's the one who can read minds, not me!
*** February 2010 Newsletter Pick ***
I'm not usually one for detective stories, but this one grabbed me right away and pulled me along despite my protests against the genre. Charles Unwin is promoted to being a detective against his will, but he is not a detective, he is a clerk. It is obviously a mistake, but when he shows up to work someone else is at his desk and his boss is dead. Both surreal and absurd, the incredibly tight pacing and gripping narrative pulls the reader along with a mystifying relentlessness. The closest experience I can compare reading it to would be if you could somehow read a dream. If you're looking for a clever twist on hard-boiled noir, The Manual of Detection is for you.
I'm always a sucker for Steampunk, but when I saw that Boneshaker threw zombies into the mix, I absolutely couldn't resist. Happily, I wasn't disappointed at all. It's chock full of zombie slaying action, fantastical inventions, airships, an underground lair, and more gas masks than you can shake a severed arm at. Also, Briar is one of the most ass-kicking sci fi heroines since Ellen Ripley.
Scar Night may be the best fantasy novel I've read in a very long time. Intriguing characters, a fascinating world history, and a compelling adventure to boot. Dill is the last archon of the Church of Ulcis. Relegated to little more than ornament and tradition, he is just a pale shadow of the righteous angels that his ancestors were. He is assigned Rachel as his overseer, to protect and teach him what he needs to know as a temple battle archon. However, for all her prowess within Spine order, Rachel is seen as a flawed creature for her passion and emotion. The city's other angel, Carnival is a relic of a time long past, now more monster than angel, she stalks the shadows of the city, coming out every Scar Night to take her due in souls.
Frank Warren began with a simple premise: Anonymously contribute a secret you have never told anyone via postcard. The response was overwhelming; both hilarious and heartrending, each postcard itself is a unique work of art. An astounding experience.
It's been a long time since I've read such a compelling high seas adventure. A ship the size of a small city, a young man who can understand any spoken language, a kung-fu princess (sorta), a tribe of pixie warriors, talking rats, a dire prophecy that could end the world, and the sinister plot to bring it about is barely scratching the surface of what is inside this wonderful book. Really, I can't say enough good about it.
To me, this is the definitive cyberpunk novel. Practically dripping with style, this tale of a near-future America that is so outlandish and exaggerated that it makes complete sense.
Poor Leonardo is just no good at being a monster! But when the perfect opportunity to scare the tuna salad out of someone comes along, what will he do?
Once, I heard Patrick Rothfuss was speaking and signing in San Diego for an afternoon. I drove three hours there, listened to him speak, got him to sign my book, even got a picture with him, and then I drove home. I hope that speaks the volumes of praise that I have for this book without getting all gushy and awkward about it.
The Prince of Nothing series is a dark, philosophical fantasy epic about the guttering light of humanity in a world full of horror waiting to devour them in the most horrible, messy, traumatic ways possible. It's quickly become one of my favorite book series despite the soulcrushing bleakness to the whole thing. I know full well there'll be no happy ending, but it's just so good, I'm willing to take that hellish emotional ride. Followed by The Warrior-Prophet and The Thousandfold Thought.
The best way to sum up this book is to say that Harry Potter meets Less than Zero and they find themselves in Narnia. A cautionary tale of sex, drugs, and magic powers; the perils of getting exactly what you've wished for; and the terrible consequences of being a hero. Followed by The Magician King.
A grim and gritty fantasy series that turns every fantasy trope you might think applies absolutely on its head. From the captured and tortured war hero crippled and turned into a torturer himself, to the reluctant berserker struggling to leave behind the darkness of his savage half, nothing is what you expect. Followed by Before They Are Hanged and The Last Argument of Kings.
Everything sucks and God lives in your town. This is a very different kind of fantasy. The magic is almost scientific in its exact rules and requirements, and the bad guys have already won the war, and it's just about surviving in the wake of overwhelming oppression. If you couldn't tell by now, I have a thing for horribly dark stories, but Mistborn really is amazing!