It’s official, the day has come… I’m moving (moved) away from LJ. I’m sad because I’ve used LJ under a couple of different usernames for, oh, 8 or 9 years. To be honest, it’s not even the service outages that finally prompted me to start up a new blog. It’s more that I don’t feel a sense of community there anymore. Maybe this won’t be any better, but here I am giving it a try.
And what better way to kick off a new blog and a new year than by giving a shout-out to some of my favourite books read in 2012? I read 70 books last year, most of them good ones, so narrowing down this list wasn’t easy.
5. SERAPHINA by Rachel Hartman: The lone YA on this list, probably because I only read a few YA in 2012. I know tons of people are singing this book’s praises right now (so listen to them!), but it makes my list for two reasons. First because it was a pleasure to read, a quick easy prose that sweeps you along and gets the job done. I read Seraphina in less than 24 hours, completely unintentionally, and I love reading experiences like that. Second, because unlike many books I’ve read recently, this book acknowledges that it is just as hard (sometimes harder) to look at someone you love and tell a difficult truth as it is to fight a dragon. I loved that.
4. THE GRASS KING’S CONCUBINE by Kari Sperring: Contrary to Seraphina, GKC is not a quick, light read. It’s a book to be savoured, a book with layers. It makes the list for a lot of reasons, so let’s do this point form. Ferret shapeshifting twins. Industrialism in fantasy. Class awareness and class strife in fantasy. Awesome worldbuilding, particularly for the WorldBelow. Gorgeous writing. Characters so interesting that I want entire books for pretty much all the supporting cast. A romance that is a true partnership, with both parties strong, loving, independent people.
3. JONATHAN STRANGE AND MR NORRELL by Susanna Clarke: Another one of those books that lots of people praise, also for good reason. I read this one at the very start of 2012, so I don’t remember much in detail to say about it, but it’s hands down one of the best or the best historical fantasy I’ve ever read.
2. THE CLOUD ROADS by Martha Wells: I found out about Martha Wells because twitter suddenly started raving about her. Thank you, twitter! The Cloud Roads is still the only Wells book I have read, but I got THE SERPENT SEA (sequel to The Cloud Roads) for Christmas, so that will shortly be rectified. This book blew me away for its intense worldbuilding that somehow never once slowed down the story or the writing. Beautiful fantasy world with incredibly complex societies that (the Raksura in particular) are some of the most alien species I’ve ever read in fantasy, in terms of not feeling like a human culture transposed across time and space and with wings added.
1. COLD MAGIC and COLD FIRE by Kate Elliott: Okay yes, I’ve cheated. My Top 5 books list has 6 books on it. Like The Cloud Roads, these books have incredible worldbuilding. Really, they’re incredible all around. I could sit here and keysmash about them all day, maybe even rewrite some of the keysmashing into something more coherent, but the bottom line is if you haven’t read them, do yourself a favour and go. Buy. Read. (Though you may want to wait til closer to June when COLD STEEL, the 3rd book, comes out. I just about had a heart attack when I read the end of COLD FIRE and realized I had to wait a year to start COLD STEEL.)
No surprise, COLD STEEL is my most-anticipated new release of 2013. Here’s to another year of good books to read!