Wednesday, January 29, 2014

[Lisa's Take] Year Review 2013

2013.  Better known as: the year in which Lisa barely posted any reviews at all because the fantasy landscape was so gorram bleak.  I made it to 50 books this year, by the skin of my teeth, but only because I did a boatload of re-reading - 20% of the books I read this year were re-reads, because I needed something to keep me invigorated.   Did anyone else feel let down by 2013? 

By the statistics, I read 19839 pages in 2013, an average of 55 pages a day - both up a bit from 2012, against all odds.  Average book length was 389 pages.

Anyway, my top picks for the year.  Um.  I'm going to skip on re-re-re-mentioning Daniel Abraham/James S. A. Corey, since they've topped my list for the last couple of years.  Suffice to say they still do, but there's no need to beat a dead horse.  So in no particular order, things I enjoyed:

1) Mark Lawrence's Broken Empire Trilogy.  These were gorier and darker than I usually like, but to some extent I felt like Lawrence accomplished what Abercrombie is always shooting for (and generally missing).  I loved the setting, and the slow dawning realization that the setting maybe wasn't what you were set up to believe it was.  The ending was a bit odd, but overall it was solid.
2) Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline. It's a love story written to everything that comprised my childhood. I couldn't resist it, even though the writing was dubious at best.  Endearing characters, a clever set-up, and heaps of nostalgia made it work.
3) Mary Robinette Kowal's Glamourist Histories, of which I slurped down 2 in a row while on vacation before deciding I needed a little break.  I was reading these in juxtaposition to The Broken Empire, so you can imagine that the difference was a bit jarring.  I loved these books, in no small part because they filled a hole left in my shelf by the completion of Galen Beckett's Mrs. Quent trilogy.
4) The Rook by Daniel O'Malley.  Love, love, loved this for the main character, the world, and the storytelling.  I'll be interested to see how book 2 comes together without the memory-loss trope employed by the first.
5) River of Stars by Guy Gavriel Kay. Predictable?  Me?  Naaah. Honestly I spent most of this book wondering if I really was going to like it as much as the rest of Kay's body of work.  Everything felt so understated and sedate... though undeniably beautiful, of course.  I spent quite a bit of the book going "this is too slow..." and then suddenly it was the last 40 pages and I was just crying and crying.  He has a way of sneaking up on you.

I'm tempted to rant a bit about the books that were disappointing or left unfinished, but instead I think I'll just shut up and cross my fingers that 2014 is a better year for books.  My full reading list is below!

Throne of the Crescent MoonbySaladin Ahmed
The Lies of Locke LamorabyScott Lynch
The Human DivisionbyJon Scalzi
The Rise of Ransom CitybyFelix Gilman
Unclean SpiritsbyMLN Hanover
Darker AngelsbyMLN Hanover
The RookbyDaniel O'Malley
The Daylight WarbyPeter V Brett
Great north road byPeter F Hamilton
GreenbyJay Lake
Vicious grace byM L N Hanover
The Windup GirlbyPaolo Bacigalupi
Ready Player OnebyEarnest Cline
River of StarsbyGuy Gavriel Kay
BendingbyGreta Christina
The Magicians GuildbyTrudi Cavanaugh
The Tyrant's LawbyDanile Abraham
Variable StarbySpider Robinson/Heinlein
The RithmatistbyBrandon Sanderson
Abaddon's GatebyJames S. A. Corey
The Stranger's ShadowbyMax Frei
Prince of Thorns byMark Lawrence
Shades of Milk and Honey byMary Robinette Kowal
Glamour in GlassbyMary Robinette Kowal
King of thornsbyMark Lawrence
Ship breakerbyPaolo Bacigalupi
TiganabyGuy Gavriel Kay
The Foundling byD. M. Cornish
From the dust returned byRay Bradbury
The New Watch bySergei Lukyanenko
RequiembyKen Scholes
Stations of the TidebyMichael Swanwick
Cold SteelbyKate Elliott
The Ocean at the end of the lanebyNeil Gaiman
Red Seas under Red SkiesbyScott Lynch
The Incrementalists bySteve Brust and Skyler White
The republic of thievesbyScott Lynch
The inexplicablesbyCherie Priest
Killing RitesbyM. L. N. Hanover
Emperor of ThornsbyMark Lawrence
HildbyNicola Griffith
Innocent MagebyKaren Miller
SteelheartbyBrandon Sanderson
DodgerbySteve Brust
TaltosbySteve Brust
Dragon bySteve Brust
Yendi bySteve Brust
TiassabySteve Brust
Jhereg bySteve Brust
TecklabySteve Brust