The year’s books

I’ve been keeping a list of the books I’ve read this year on Goodreads.

Looking back over them (I read a whopping 28, but I started in March and didn’t remember what I’d read before that), it’s been a weird, wild year in the land of books. Here’s some of the good stuff I read:

The Earth Painter, by Melissa Turner Lee. The story of girl meets boy in your average YA high school setting. Except the boy is this supernatural kind of dude who helped paint the worlds. Now that he’s been decommissioned, he spends his time painting murals and things. There’s all kinds of oddball supernatural things going on in the school, and of course there’s a bad anti-painter. It’s an odd book and touted as the “Christian answer to Twilight”. The only parallel I can see in that is that he shows up in her bedroom uninvited. Aside from that, they’re nothing alike.

Leviathan/Behemoth/Goliath, by Scott Westerfield. A great YA steampunk retelling of World War 1, had there been gas-powered giant robots, giant genetic-engineered monstrosities of war like flying whales, and of course, Nicola Tesla and his Death Ray. Set against this backdrop is the story of a girl who dresses like a boy and joins the Air Force, and winds up traveling on the Leviathan, the aforementioned whale. Meanwhile, the son of the murdered ruler of Austria goes on the run in his kerosene-powered walker, and their paths cross, of course. I enjoyed the heck out of the whole trilogy.

The Dragon’s Tooth, by N.D. Wilson. Imagine if the orphans of A Series of Unfortunate Events had been sent off to Hogwarts, only Hogwarts is actually a safekeeper of killer magical creatures like Fablehaven. That’s this book. It’s a great read, if you can get past the weirdness of the first couple of chapters. He throws a lot of information at you very quickly. I kept going with it, trusting the author to sort out all the important bits, and of course he does. The bad guy is one of the most spine-chilling Middle-Grade villains I’ve read in a long time. Voldemort never pretended he was doing his victims a kindness. Dr. Phoenix is sawing people apart and rebuilding them for their own good. I’m looking forward to reading the next book.

Curse Bearer, by Rebecca Minor. A “high fantasy”, which means it’s set in medieval times. A girl and her family flee their enemy-occupied village, but her father has a curse on him. So the girl goes off to find a cure, only to find out that her use of magic has cursed her, too. Apparently there’s two kinds of magic, and the bad stuff is easier to use, of course. Along the way she meets elves and dragonborn, and goes on a quest to find a magic sword. Knowing that these books tie back into the author’s Windrider series (about a grumpy elf captain who rides a dragon) makes me very curious about future installments. πŸ™‚

Song of the Summer King, by Jess Owen. I haven’t read an animal book in a long time (like the Black Stallion books, for instance). But I used to love them, so this book was a refreshing blast to the past. Also, it’s griffins. There’s all kinds of lovely stuff about these cat-birds, how they live, the weird Iceland-ish geography of their island chain. Oh, and the whole problem with the conquering eagle-griffins, and how the conquered falcon-griffin hero really really wants to prove himself to the king. Also there’s wolves, and if you love wolves, these will have you swooning. They’ve got the whole Native American thing going on. It’s a refreshingly different read, and I can’t WAIT for the sequels!

Seeking Unseen, by Kat Heckenbach. A very tight sequel to Finding Angel, this book deals with the fallout from the previous book. You might want to read that first. Basically, this is about a secret community of magic-users, and about people who want to blend technology and magic, with horrific results. Some pretty grisly stuff happens in the first book. In the second book, we meet a new character who is a rebel to the core, doesn’t have magic, and shows up to make trouble in the peaceful little magical community. She ROCKS. Apparently the next book will star her, and I’m looking forward to it.

Bid the Gods Arise, by Robert Mullin. Hoo boy, where do I start with this one? It’s like if Game of Thrones met Star Wars and they had a party with Dragonlance. Two guys get kidnapped from their homeworld and sold into slavery on another world. Along the way they learn about magic powers, meet other races (like a mute faun-girl), steal airships, and try to evade the clutches of the Reamar, soul-sucking vampires who live in a world-devouring stone tree. It’s wicked awesome.



4 thoughts on “The year’s books

  1. I always enjoy any kind of book reviews. I am so glad that you read lots of different things. Not to mention you remember what you read.
    Are these people your friends? I am glad you have had such a nice group of books to read this year.
    They are all new right? It is funny isn’t it? I am reading books that are all old authors now.
    Well, very nice list.


  2. Kim: I don’t remember what I read, usually. That’s why I’m happy to have my Goodreads list. I can look back and go, “Oh wow, I did read that!” So it’s fun to do a collection of the stand-outs. And yep, these are mostly new books and I’m friends with some of the authors. I only listed the books I really like, too. I’ve rubbed elbows with authors who I didn’t like their books at all. Or worse, I went “Meh”. Which IMO is about the worst thing anybody could ever say about a book.

    Kat: I know you read a lot more books this year than I did. I’d love to see your top book roundup! (Then I can refer back to it next year when I’m looking for reading material. πŸ™‚


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