It’s that magic time of the year again, it’s 35 plus degrees outside (I live in the Great Down Under), I’ve drank too much, eaten too much and the in-laws are getting on my last nerve. However, these humid, sun burnt days covered in Aloe Vera, unmoving, does give me time to reflect and take stock on the books I have read this past year. There have been good, bad and exceptional, which leads to the inevitable, mournful, pitiable thought: Where did the year go? Can someone please scratch my nose it hurts to move? And I should have read more?
Fortuitously we are given another chance to increase our book tally and plan for the new year as I recover and rehabilitate from the holiday excess, offering alms to the unread soul of 2015 and be like the bear and get stuck in a new.
Down to it, then, my cream of the crop, the duck’s nuts, or if you like the dog’s balls. Of the books I have reviewed (not all released in 2015) my picks for the year would have to include:
The story has its twists and turns, nothing too dramatic or surprising and is told across an expansive kingdom, but there are no flashy fight scenes, dragons or mighty heroes, just a fragile king looking for friendship and guidance, with a desire to make the life of the people he rules better.
It’s this theme that resonates and makes you love the book even more.
Up, up, the winds and mists call the Grimm and wildcats. Duty, freedom and protection of family, new and old calls, as War blazes and the few and dedicated will be required to preserve the many. Another great series for a master of the Genre.
Day Boy is a coming of age story set in a world of harsh truths, blood, death and survival. It is a poetic story of humanity, of monsters living in the Shadow of the Mountain, bitter cold and open to the burning of the clear night sky.
In Shadows of Self you can feel the world, its mists and people. You can smell the horse leather and the coal in the air and you just want more.
The Autumn Republic is everything you want – and didn’t want – for this story. The writing quality, flow and depth of commitment Brian McClellan has put into this final book in the trilogy is no less than the previous two instalments. I cannot see how you will be disappointed.
If you like your worlds colourful but dark, fantastical and adventurous, this is the book for you.
Speak the name of the Library in the Language and the door will open. Step through at your own risk.
The Vagrant is his name. He has no other. Years have passed since humanity’s destruction emerged from the Breach. Friendless and alone he walks across a desolate, war-torn landscape.
A Crown of Cold Silver by Alex Marshall
Twenty years ago, feared general Cobalt Zosia led her five villainous captains and mercenary army into battle, wrestling monsters and toppling an empire. When there were no more titles to win and no more worlds to conquer, she retired and gave up her legend to history.
The middle runners, while not world burners, they provided me a goodly amount of enjoyment and nostalgia,
- Battleaxe ‘20th Anniversary Edition’ by Sara Douglass
- The Man with the Golden Torc by Simon R Green
- No Hero by Jonathan Wood
- Managing Death by Trent Jamieson
- Death Most Definite by Trent Jamieson
- Age of Iron by Angus Watson
- The Shepherd’s Crown by Terry Pratchett
- Hot Lead, Cold Iron by Ari Marmell
- Killing Pretty by Richard Kadrey
- Sleeping Late on Judgement Day by Tad Williams
The not so middle, those riding on the crest of the wave until they reach the shore of the next in their series.
As always there are some books which I did not have a chance to review but do require a mention,
- Hallow Point by Ari Marmell 7/10
The second in Oberon series, is much like the first, a great little read that ticks along nicely. The site has a review from another reviewer, click here.
- Time Salvager by Wesley Chu 6.5/10
If I am being honest, I had high hopes for this book and was somewhat disappointed. Well written, good narrative and engaging in parts, its biggest negative is the story was not very original, sticking to well-worn ideas on time travel and cause and effect.
- Lockstep by Karl Schroeder 7.5/10
The first three quarters of this book are fantastic, unfortunately the last quarter peters out and the finale is unsatisfying. You get the feeling the story ending was rushed a little and that more was intended, but not achieved.
- Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson 9/10
Awesome second installment to the Stormlight series. I tried a few times to get a review on paper, but the sheer size always made my words stumble and fall at the starting blocks. Can recommend this series enough got lovers of EPIC fantasy.
- Firefight by Brandon Sanderson 7/10
While not in the same league as Steelheart, the second installment in the Reckoners series had its highs and lows, but was overall a decent read.
I actually read all of the Secret History series by Simon R Green, The Man with the Golden Torc being book 1 and would recommend them to readers who enjoy funny, dark and on the nose comedy.
Side note on Brandon Sanderson, whose books fill the 2015 and 2016 list.
Have you ever seen the movie Multiplicity with Michael Keaton, if not, the basic premise is Keaton’s character clones himself four times in order to do everything he needs to do in life, work, play, bake, etc. So in that regard I would like to postulate hear and now, due to the SHEER volume of words Brandon Sanderson has been out putting out in the last few years and in the year to come, that he is quadruplets. Three for every day and one for Sunday best. I have even found a raw photo of all four of them together, on the far left is Studious Sanderson, next is the Wiseguy Sanderson, followed by the Scholarly Wiseguy Sanderson and finally Mischievous Sanderson.
It’s either that or he has stolen Shakespeare’s monkeys and has had them working overtime for the last decade.
Side note end.
And now comes the goodies for 2016, including their release dates. Gimme!
- Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson, 26th Jan 2016
- Staked by Kevin Hearne, 26th January 2016
- Calamity by Brandon Sanderson, 16th Feb 2016
- Burned by Benedict Jacka, 5th April 2016
- The Malice by Peter Newman, 24th April 2016
- Peace Talks by Jim Butcher, 10th May 2016
- A Blade of Black Steel by Alex Marshall, 24th May 2016
- Stiletto by Daniel O’Malley, 14th June 2016
- The Hanging Tree by Ben Aaronovitch, 16th June 2016
- The Blood Mirror by Brent Weeks, Mid-Late 2016
- Doors of Stone by Patrick Rothfuss, Mid 2016
(Fingers, toes, legs, arms and eyes are all crossed it’ll happen)
What are you looking forward to in 2016?