2018 Reads

Discussion in 'Non-WOT - Literature and Fiction' started by Tallan Daar, Dec 30, 2018.

  1. Tallan Daar

    Tallan Daar Aes Sedai Director of Research and Records Historian Forum Moderator

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    Talk books to me.

    What were your fave or otherwise significant reads of 2018? Books released this year or books you just got around to (or books you reread for the nth time, for that matter).

    I think the conclusion of Yoon Ha Lee's Machineries of Empire with the release of Revenant Gun was the most important book event for me this year. I love that series ridiculously much, and can't wait for Hexarchate Stories (hurry up, June 25, 2019!). RG was not what I expected, and perhaps not precisely what I wanted, but it was still a hell of a lot. I don't know. I probably have to reread it to fully come to grips with it and what I think of it. That's usually the case.

    The book I most looked forward to this year - The Monster Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson, sequel to The Traitor Baru Cormorant which is one of my all-time favourites - sadly didn't live up to its predecessor. I'm not sure how it could have? Yet I'm disappointed. But: it was still a gripping read, I'm still deeply invested in the story, and Baru is still a magnificent character. (Well. She can be again. I have faith. Don't you dare not live up to it, Seth D.)

    Martha Wells' Murderbot Diaries - highly recommended series of novellas with a show-stealing, heart-stealing protagonist. Read read read.

    I read Asimov for the first time this year (Foundation trilogy + The Bicentennial Man). Next year I'll finally get around to Heinlein, I think.

    I also really enjoyed getting acquainted with both Sharon Shinn (her Twelve Houses series is really solid) and Tana French (new goddess in my crime pantheon).
     
  2. Leira Galene

    Leira Galene Mafia Admin Aes Sedai Forum Moderator

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    Well, I finally finished my second readthrough of Wheel of Time! That was pretty significant.

    I read the first two books in Machineries of the Empire, but my library hasn't gotten Revenant Gun yet. But I also enjoyed those. The Becky Chambers Wayfarers series were some of my favorites this year, I think. All three of them are such comforting, lovely scifi. Like Mass Effect without the violence, meaning it includes all of my favorite parts about Mass Effect in a book.

    I listened to two of Carrie Fisher's memoirs (Wishful Drinking and Shockaholic) which holy crap I laughed so hard I cried and then I just cried. So freaking good, and the audiobooks are a must because she reads them herself.

    One newer fantasy series I enjoyed was The Song of the Shattered Sands by Bradley Beaulieu, which starts with Twelve Kinds in Sharakhai. It's got good world building and is set in a desert, which I always love. It's got a lot of good female characters and interesting magic, including blood magic, which is cool. My library just emailed me that they're ordering the third one, so I'm really excited to read it. :D I wouldn't really consider this one super YA, as it's more epic fantasy and doesn't have romance, which a lot of YA fantasy does, but in general I did read quite a lot of YA fantasy this year, most of it good. Children of Blood and Bone was a favorite. I go back and forth on if I love or hate Sarah Maas' books.

    Oooh! Another good scifi trilogy I read! The Indranan War by K.B. Wagers is about a princess of an empire who ran away and became a gunrunner, but then has to return when her sisters are assassinated. It's such a good scifi political series, without being overly complicated like some political intrigue fantasies can get.

    And then of course I read a lot of mysteries. :lol I read so many good books this year! It makes me super happy to look back through my list.
     
  3. Juliya Karisu

    Juliya Karisu Accepted Forum Moderator

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    I finished my Goodreads challenge with 52 books completed. Although I scrambled that last one in yesterday.

    My favourite books this year:

    An Echo of Things to Come by James Islington
    Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Susanna Clarke
    Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens
    The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro

    Also read at least 60 manga volumes.
     
  4. Adanys Wynterwulf

    Adanys Wynterwulf Sparkle Spren Aes Sedai

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    So I've read 35 of 30 books pledged but I failed utterly at finally finishing a reading list. (2019 will be my year!! :horsey)....I hope /sigh

    Favorites:

    The Elemental Trilogy and Lady Sherlock Series by Sherry Thomas
    The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
    Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman
    Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
    The Monk of Mokha by Dave Eggers

    I'd really love to read more of Sherry Thomas but the rest of her novels seems a little too heavily romance centered, so I don't know. The covers are certainly nothing I'd have standing on my bookshelves :look
     
  5. Elia LePhant

    Elia LePhant Aes Sedai Historian

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    Books that stood out in 2018:

    The Divine Cities trilogy by Robert Jackson Bennett
    Crooked Cucumber: The Life and Teaching of Shunryu Suzuki by David Chadwick
    Olive by Dinah Maria Mulock Craik
    Middlemarch by George Eliot
    NK Jemisin as a new favorite author

    I'm looking forward to discovering Yoon Ha Lee in 2019. I bought a few books with my Christmas gift cards. :)
     
  6. Kethaana Nia Khamara

    Kethaana Nia Khamara Aes Sedai Mistress of Novices & Recruits

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    I did not read many books last year :look

    But I started the Farseer Triology by Robin Hobb, which I really enjoyed (or am still enjoying, because I have yet the last book to read) and finished the Shadow Triology by Brent Weeks which was great.

    I also read a book by Stanley Coren who grouped dogs by their character traits and developed a test with which one can find out which dog breeds would be best for them. For me these are the vigilant and the headstrong dogs.
     
  7. Tazren Talamar

    Tazren Talamar Gaidin

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    I read 52 books on my 40-book challenge, so that's pretty good!

    The best read of the year was probably the Vorkosigan saga. I actually read the first book at the end of last year, but I only got properly into it this year, and read about 9 books/novels there I think. Such an amazing series, with truly amazing characters. Miles is probably one of the best characters I've ever had the pleasure of reading about.

    I think Tamora Pierce takes the prize as best prose of the year. I read her Tempest and Slaughter, and even neighter the story nor the characters were amazing, her writing was just a joy, and I enjoyed the casual "life at a magic school" story immensely. It was also just what I needed to read after Blood and Bone (Tomi Adeyemi), which was such an epic failure on so many levels that I almost gave it a single star on Goodreads, but I ended up giving it 2 because it had a nice idea.

    I also did quite a bit of rereading. I reread the good old Anne Bishop books back from when she actually wrote good stories. Black Jewels is still one of my favourite trilogies. Sad that it went downhill after Tir Alainn.

    My casual reading of the year was mostly a lot of Iron Druid books. I'm a sucker for mythology in modern fantasy, so I'll keep reading those even if they aren't exactly amazing. But at least they moved away from the extreme sexism and rape-apologism that the early books had, so that's good.

    Like Tallan I also read The Monster Baru Cormorant, but I was a bit more disappointed in it. It was an okay book, but a catastrophic sequel. I expected epic intrigues, instead we just got a good old fantasy quest. It was good, but compared to the first book that was "Holy crap this is the best book I've read in ages" level amazing, it felt like a huge letdown.

    Oh, and I've been trying to catch up with Rick Riordan. Read his Egyptian trilogy, and am now working my ways through his Norse mythology books. None of those are as good as the ones about Greek Mythology, but still sort of enjoyable. Although, between reading those, the Iron Druid and playing God of War on PS4, sometimes my memory of all the norse stuff blurred together. Where did Loki do this or that ...

    All in all it's been a good reading year! The only thing lacking is that I read very few books I'd rate at 5 stars that weren't rereads. For next year, I really want to read more new books that are truly amazing.
     
  8. Leira Galene

    Leira Galene Mafia Admin Aes Sedai Forum Moderator

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    Taz, what didn't you like about Blood and Bone? I enjoyed it, so I'm curious.
     
  9. Tazren Talamar

    Tazren Talamar Gaidin

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    One part is that is was so hyped for being very non-western, with other mythological inspirations, that it wasn't a typical fantasy setting (and written by an author of color), that the magic system was super cool and unique. I saw so many people saying this was the best book they've read, and of course a lot of non-white people who felt that it was so nice to have something great to relate to.

    But to me, it didn't live up to the hype at all. The world-building is poor. The magic system felt like watered down, worse version of the one I'd just read in a book called From Unseen Fire, so that was utterly unimpressive. I mean just the names of the different people with powers. Lighter, Grounder, Tider, Winder, Burner ... The book itself while set in a non-European setting felt like it could've been a modern YA urban fantasy novel set in the US, and all the Nigerian stuff just felt like a facade put there to make it feel a little exotic. The characters talk and act like they're american teenagers. The book reads more like urban streetlife than most cliché fantasy books. I didn't feel like I was transported to a setting I hadn't experienced, it was just some badly written romance drama dressed up as a Nigerian setting.

    The story is a grand old fantasy quest. Fetch the magic item, bring it to the secret temple at the hidden mountain and perform the mystical ritual at the appointed time. Literally. Only it's over 500 pages of it, and you think "Well, now it's probably about to end" several times, but then it just keeps going. There's absolutely nothing original about it. And I mean, I don't mind a typical fantasy quest. But it's not even a good fantasy quest.

    The characters are sloppy and just unrealistic. The way that the major romance is handled is just ... I just can't accept it. I feel like the two characters that get together do so too quickly, and too unbelievably, like the author had this idea that she forced onto paper, no matter how little sense it makes.

    All of this is just very sad, because I like the idea of the book. The first chapter was great, but then it was just downhill. Adeyemi seems like she can write good action scenes, but only about half the time (and she can't write good character development). The book just feels like it was rushed out without editing, because I honestly believe that it could've been a great story if it had been worked over some more. And made shorter, because there really wasn't enough substance for 500+ pages.

    So, from the hype I went in expecting something like N.K. Jemisin's Dreamblood books, that feel genuinely different from most fantasy I've read and are great at the same time, but to me Children of Blood and Bone was just at best a very, very low level mediocre, western YA fantasy novel. As I said I liked a lot of the ideas, and if it seems she's improved I might actually read the sequel. I mean, it's her debut novel and it can only get better, I hope.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2019
  10. Tazren Talamar

    Tazren Talamar Gaidin

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    Also I cannot helpt but be a little extra critical when I've seen so many reviews that praise it like it's the dawn of a new era of literature, which I simply cannot comprehend. :look
     
  11. Leira Galene

    Leira Galene Mafia Admin Aes Sedai Forum Moderator

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    Fair enough, I totally understand being extra critical when things are really built up. I had never weirdly never heard of it before I picked it up because I liked the cover, so I wasn't really expecting anything other than YA fantasy, which is what I enjoyed it for.
     
  12. Axis m'Troutilas

    Axis m'Troutilas Gaidin

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    Have you read his Lightbringer series yet Keth?

    It's even better than the Night Angel books in my opinion.

    Wow that name rings a bell for some reason. A name I haven't heard in........ probably decades.

    I can't even remember what I know it from to be honest, but I remember like it a lot.

    Will have to look it up and see if something jogs my memory

    Only thing I remember is a girl pretending to be a guy? Maybe? Wow that goes waaaaay back in my memory.


    EDIT:

    Looks like I'm thinking of her Alanna books. Sounds right. Don't think I ever read more than 1 though. Id have been pretty young. Primary school for sure
     
  13. Kethaana Nia Khamara

    Kethaana Nia Khamara Aes Sedai Mistress of Novices & Recruits

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    @Axis m'Troutilas I've finished book 2 of the lightbringer series, so I'm kind of in the middle of it :)
     
  14. Axis m'Troutilas

    Axis m'Troutilas Gaidin

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    Nice

    Gets more addictive from there.


    Last one in the series comes out later this year. So pumped for it
     
  15. Kethaana Nia Khamara

    Kethaana Nia Khamara Aes Sedai Mistress of Novices & Recruits

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    Is there another one? I think we have five (Olli already read them).
     
  16. Roheryn ni Galghandhrei t'al'Djinn

    Roheryn ni Galghandhrei t'al'Djinn Aes Sedai Membership Activities Coordinator Head of the Green Ajah

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    Yes, that's definitely her Song of the Lioness series. I adore her books and can't wait for her next book.
     
  17. Axis m'Troutilas

    Axis m'Troutilas Gaidin

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    Only 4 so far, 5 doesn't come out until August

    I should dig up a copy and read them (and the sequels) for old times sake I think
     
  18. Almira ni'Caldazare

    Almira ni'Caldazare Citizen

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    I really need to re-read the Song of the Lioness.
     
  19. Adanys Wynterwulf

    Adanys Wynterwulf Sparkle Spren Aes Sedai

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    Oh, and my 2018 in books:
    [​IMG]


    I'm excited to see how it's going to change for this year :D
     
  20. Elania al'Manir

    Elania al'Manir Aes Sedai Forum Moderator

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    Ooh, that's really neat, Adanys! Is that through Goodreads or something else?