And the end is in sight! I may actually finish my 2008 Review posts before the end of January.
I was on holiday for most of October, which explains the massive total of 20 books read during this month.
I had never quite managed to understand why Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files series (urban fantasy) was so popular, having read the first book “Storm Front” a while back and not being too impressed. Nath convinced me to give the books another go, and restart the series from Book 4 (“Summer Knight”) instead. That made all the difference and I’m now an official Dresden Files fangirl. Proved by the fact I read the next seven books in this series during the month. I will say that I’m unlikely to go back and read the second and third books in this series though.
I got my hands on Kristin Cashore’s novel “Graceling” (YA fantasy, first of three linked books) and discovered why there was such a buzz around this debut. One to appeal to Tamora Pierce fans (of whom I am one), with good storytelling, a strong heroine, and a touch of romance. Although in hindsight, I could have done without the cutesy names.
Mercedes Lackey released a new Valdemar book (“Foundation”, fantasy and first in a trilogy, I think), the first one in years, and despite it not really being up there with the Arrows and Last Herald-Mage trilogies, I loved revisiting her world and reading more about the founding of the Heralds’ Collegium.
And I started Richelle Mead’s “Vampire Academy” series (YA urban fantasy), reading both “Vampire Academy” and “Frostbite” (Books 1 and 2 respectively), and found it an engrossing and entertaining series. I’ve enjoyed her Georgina Kincaid books, so I don’t know why it took me so long to get around to reading the VA books.
It was back to work, and I managed to read ten books this month.
Karen Chance is one of my favourite UF authors, and I enjoyed her “Midnight’s Daughter” (urban fantasy, Book 1 of a Cassie Palmer spin-off series). While probably not one for new readers to the series, I liked seeing her world from the viewpoint of a different protagonist, and as always, I love the plotting and non-stop action.
I only read nine historical romances throughout 2008 and my favourite by a mile was Eloisa James’ “When the Duke Returns” (Book 3 of the Desperate Duchesses series). On the face of it, the series premise doesn’t sound that much different from that of other historical romances out there – the duchesses and their recalcitrant, indifferent men – but as it is, I can’t remember when I’ve last enjoyed a historical romance series so much. The opulent Georgian setting, the characters, their chemistry, the angst – it all came together in this one to make an excellent book. I have very high expectations for the final two books out in 2009.
And oh, Juliet Marillier’s “Daughter of the Forest” (fantasy, Book 1 of the Sevenwaters series). I’ve had this book sitting in my TBR pile forever, and was finally moved to read it following the glowing reviews of the new book “Heir to Sevenwaters” set in this world. And I loved. Adored. Passed the book on with a you-have-to-read-this-now recommendation. Ordered the next two books from Amazon. You know, on paper, this wouldn’t be a book that I’d enjoy. I never was keen on retelling of fairytales or Celtic settings or the fey. But Ms Marillier is a wonderful storyteller, and I’ve fallen in love with her Sevenwaters world.
It may have been only ten books read this month, but there were some very good ones there!
A very good reading month to end the year with. I liked practically all the books I read this month and I’m finding it tough to narrow it down to the ones I liked best.
I finished Juliet Marillier’s Sevenwaters trilogy (“Son of the Shadows” and “Child of the Prophecy”) and immediately ordered “Heir to Sevenwaters” (no, I don’t know why I didn’t order them all in one go either). I always start the year hoping to come across a new-to-me author with a marvellous backlist that will capture my imagination, and Juliet Marillier was probably my 2008 author (previous years being Elizabeth Peters, Lois McMaster Bujold, and Georgette Heyer in 2007, 2006, and 2005 respectively).
I read Josh Lanyon’s “Death of a Pirate King” (mystery, m/m romance, fourth in the Adrien English series) and “The Ghost Wore Yellow Socks” (mystery, m/m romance, standalone), and wasn’t disappointed. I’m completely hooked on the Adrien English series and the Adrien/Jake relationship (think dysfunctional yet sooo right at the same time). And Mr Lanyon’s writing is beautifully sparse yet descriptive. I love the way he sketches in the background and atmosphere so easily, and his strong characterisation – his stories are the type where you never want to reach the last page. M/M romance is a new subgenre for me this year, and I’m glad I decided to try something new.
And honourable mentions must go to Jenna Black’s “The Devil’s Due” (urban fantasy, Book 3 of the Morgan Kingsley series), Jim Butcher’s “Princeps’ Fury” (fantasy, Book 5 of the Codex Alera series), and Julie Hyzy’s “Hail to the Chef” (cosy mystery, Book 2 of the White House Chef series), all three of which were latest installments in ongoing series, and which I enjoyed very much.
So that’s my month-by-month review (previous parts one, two, and three linked here)… and err I’m not finished yet with 2008.