It's ridiculous how difficult I find it to update this blog. The only excuse I can offer is being far too busy, and that (while true) sounds lame even to me. Still, one of the things I have been working on this past year is getting my annual reading back up to my own standards. I like to clear between 125 and 150 books a year, and I'm closing in on that pace once again.
So, without further ado, I thought I'd share some very brief thoughts on some of the books I've read recently - and no, I don't mention books I didn't like. Authors have a tough enough go of it without me piling on. These are presented in no particular order or sequence.
THE BROKEN EMPIRE TRILOGY by Mark Lawrence (Prince of Thorns, King of Thorns, and Emperor of Thorns): Aside from the fact that long before Mr. Lawrence published his series, I had a short story with the title "King of Thorns", there's a lot to like about this series. I read the first two titles, waited for the third, and then reread all of them at one go. The story of Jorg Ancrath as he rises from the ruins of his youth to the top of a massive empire is one that will stay with me a long time. Time and again, Lawrence delivers on multiple levels, especially in terms of character and world-building. This is primarily a fantasy series, but there's also a touch of science fiction. I don't want to ruin it for you, so let me just say this: go forth and buy it. You won't be disappointed.
THE DRESDEN FILES by Jim Butcher (Storm Front, Fool Moon, Grave Peril, and Summer Knight): Obviously, if you follow this series at all, you'll immediately recognize that this isn't even close to all of them. I stopped after four because I needed a break. Butcher's popularity is well deserved, though I actually like his Codex Alera series a tiny bit better. In any case, smooth writing and plotting make for enjoyable reading in the urban fantasy arena and following the harrowing adventures of wizard Harry Dresden is a good time.
THE LINE by J.D. Horn (Book 1 of the Witching Savannah series): An enjoyable, fast read about a witching family in Savannah, Georgia. At times, it suffered from a bit too much deus ex machina, but it made up for this with its genuine charm and engaging main character - Mercy Taylor - the only one in her family who isn't a witch.
CINDER by Marissa Meyer (Book 1 of the Lunar Chronicles): A futuristic riff on Cinderella, featuring a cyborg mechanic and a world where class is everything, I was quite intrigued by this novel. It's a little slow at the beginning, but more than makes up for it as the story moves along and introduces more and more complexities as Cinder gets caught up in the intrigue of international politics and a plague that could kills thousands.
THRONE OF GLASS and CROWN OF MIDNIGHT by Sarah J. Maas (Throne of Glass series): A fantasy novel featuring an 18-year-old assassin named Celaena Sardothien in a contest to become the royal assassin, and what keeping up the charade of serving an evil king will ultimately cost. I really like this series so far, and look forward to reading the next installment.
In addition to those listed above, I've read a number of other enjoyable books recently, including: Legacy: The Arthurian Saga by Mary Stewart, Odd Apocalypse by Dean Koontz, The Warded Man by Peter V. Brett, the first two installments in the Vampire Academy series by Rachel Mead, a couple of Richard Castle novels, The Winter Witch by Paula Brackston, the first three books in Kim Harrison's Hollow's series, and the most recent Sandman Slim novel by Richard Kadrey.
Back in the days when I was a full-time editor, I found that reading for pleasure - just for the joy of finding a story to get lost in - was being slowly sapped away. Now that I don't edit full time, I've been able to resume reading for just that reason, and I must say I've missed it quite a bit.
And with that, let me encourage you to read on and share your own recent reads in the comments below.
New Books and ARCs, 12/19/14
1 day ago