This is part three of my annual survey of the best books I read in the past year. And yes, as this list is evidence, I do read for reasons other than to expand my knowledge or improve my ministry skills. This list is typical of other years, lots of good sci-fi/fantasy with a few thrillers and mysteries thrown in. Of course, the best book I read last year is not on the list, because I have not finished yet. That will be for next year…
Age of Myth by Michael J. Sullivan. (Legends of the First Empire, vol. 1) Sullivan had written a number of great books set in the Riyria universe. This is the first of a new series which is set centuries before his previous books. Great stuff – I am waiting for my son to read volume 2 so he can lend it to me.
The Aeronauts Windlass by Jim Butcher (Cinder Spires, vol. 1) I started reading Jim Butcher’s books last year. The Aeronauts Windlass is the first in a new series featuring an intriguing story, lots of action and cool steam-punk type technology.
The Shadow of What was Lost by James Islington (Licanius Trilogy, vol. 1) This must be the year for starting new series and then waiting (patiently…) for book number 2 to appear. Islington is a new author who had created an interesting and unique world. Volume 1 ends leaving you hanging and waiting for volume 2.
The Witchwood Crown by Tad Williams (Last King of Osten Ard, vol. 1) Tad Williams’ series Memory, Sorrow and Thorn is among my top 5 favorite epic fantasy series of all time. This new series picks up where the last one left off, but decades later. The heroes from the previous series have aged or passed and a whole new crop of heroes have emerged.
Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin. This is a wonderful historical mystery set in the Middle Ages England. The author’s writing style is a bit difficult to get into at first, but it is well worth it to those who persevere. Franklin blends a great historical setting with a unique character – a female, medieval coroner – to build a wonderful story.
Edgedancer by Brandon Sanderson. Edgedancer is a novella set in world of Sanderson’s Stormlight Archive. Written to fill a few plot holes and provide a transition from one major novel to the next, it stars Lift, one of Sanderson’s best (and funniest) characters yet. Recommended for anyone who enjoys Sanderson’s books.
2nd Tier books – good but not quite great:
The Emperor’s Blades by Brian Staveley (Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne, vol. 1)
Blue Labyrinth by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
Academ’s Fury by Jim Butcher (Codex Alera, vol. 2)
The Providence of Fire by Brian Staveley (Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne, vol. 2)
Uprooted by Naomi Novik
The Last Mortal Bond by Brian Staveley (Chronicle of the Unhewn Throne, vol. 3)
3rd Tier books – okay, but somewhat lacking:
Prince of Fools by Mark Lawrence (Red Queen’s War, book 1)
Ugh – I cannot believe I finished it. Not recommended.
Dragon Teeth by Michael Crichton (a shell of a book, horrible)
The Shards of Heaven by Michael Livingston (I kept waiting for it to get better…it never did.)