Monday, March 30, 2020

The Sinner by J. R. Ward: review

4/5 stars on Goodreads

The Sinner by J. R. Ward

The Sinner is the eighteenth book in Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood series of a brotherhood of vampires and their partners. It marks a final of a sort for the series too, although there are several books already announced. Unfortunately, it didn’t do it with a bang.

Since the first book, the main plot has been about a war with the Lessening Society, evil creatures made by Omega, the counterpart of the Scribe Virgin who created the vampires. The war has sort of ended a couple of times already as the series has reached its peaks and then continued. A constant, however, has been a prophecy of the end of Omega delivered by Butch, one of the brothers.

Butch had an own storyline in this book, which built towards the conclusion of the prophecy. All was set for the great showdown. And then it didn’t happen. The glory of ending Omega was robbed from him, supposedly in order to save his life, but basically in a cop-out that made the entire story deflate like a bad soufflĂ©. A great disappointment, even if it introduced the new great evil who will continue the tormenting of the brotherhood.

But these books aren’t only about war. There’s always a love story too. Here it was between Syn, a tragic male with a compulsive need to kill, and Jo, a half-vampire about to go through the transition to a vampire—not that she knows about it. And the revelations are dragged almost to the end of the book where they didn’t make as great an emotional impression as I would’ve liked.

Like often in these books, the couple falls in love almost instantly. Syn is hired to kill Jo by mobsters, but he is drawn to her instead. From there, he begins a change to a romantic hero, with a good redemption arc. Jo is a more boring character. Her role is to wait for an event she doesn’t know is coming. In the meanwhile, she searches for clues of her past, but it’s not her actions that reveal the truth in the end.

It’s difficult to see why Syn finds her so special that it brings a change into his centuries of existence, but somehow it doesn’t matter. He is so earnest in his need to do right by her that it elevates their story to a true romance. And then there’s the added anxiety of not knowing whether she will make it through the transition.

The book isn’t without flaws, but I loved it anyway, like always. It’s the little things; the bonds between the brothers combined with a few truly emotional moments. And in a way it was a good thing that the war with the lessers came to an end, as it had turned boring. The new baddie is much more interesting than the old one, even if she wasn’t the character I would have wanted to move to this series from the Fallen Angels series. So there’s something to look forward to in the upcoming books too.


With this book, Im finally in schedule with my Goodreads Reading Challenge, having read 16 books of 60.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

The Emperor’s Edge 1, 2 & 2.5 by Lindsay Buroker: review

4/5 stars on Goodreads (each)

The Emperor's Edge by Lindsay Buroker

I’ve been on a Lindsay Buroker binge this past week, after getting hooked on her Death Before Dragons series. I subscribed to her newsletter and was given a four book bundle of her fantasy books (she writes sci-fi too) as a thank you. I picked The Emperor’s Edge, which starts a series with the same name. It’s her first book, and while it’s not perfect, it’s interesting and good. I instantly continued with Dark Currents, and then read a short story The Assassin’s Curse.

The Emperor’s Edge is set in Turgonia, a steam-punkish empire, but not an alt-history/pseudo Victorian one. Technological advancements are based on steam; there are trams, cars and factories among other things, but society’s norms aren’t Victorian. Women handle the commerce and have consequently more freedoms, and men the war. Society is divided to the warrior caste and the rest. Magic exists, but not in Turgonia where it’s been banned.

Dark Currents by Lindsay Buroker

The main character is Amaranthe Lokdon. She’s an up-and-coming enforcer, one of only a few women in the police force. She comes to the notice of the young emperor Sespian and through him the man who is holding the emperor’s reins. The regent sends her to kill Sicarius, the most notorious assassin of the empire. Things get a bit out of her hands and before she knows it, she’s a wanted criminal running from the emperor’s soldiers. But she also discovers a plot to kill the emperor and decides to clear her name by saving him. For that, she enlists Sicarius to help her.

During the course of the book, Amaranthe builds a team of very different people to assist her, and they become the heart of the series. In the first book, they manage to save the emperor, but end up all being wanted by the law. The second book sees them attempting to clear their name by thwarting a plot to poison the drinking water of the Turgonia’s capital. They face magic wielding shamans and weird magical beasts and machines. And form tight bonds.

The Assassin's Curse by Lindsay Buroker

The main relationship is building between Amaranthe and Sicarius. He’s a very difficult person to get a hang of, but she’s persistent. Already in the second book she confesses her feelings for him, which was faster than I anticipated, considering that there are nine books in the series. But it suits her character. His answer definitely suits his.

Based on two books and a short story, the plots evolve around economy, which is a refreshing change to all the fantasy series about conquer and war. The main villains don’t come from the outside, but from within the city. There’s a faction of business leaders who are plotting to overthrow the emperor. I’m guessing the truth of the organisation won’t be unravelled until the last book. And I’m guessing it’ll take that long to clear Amaranthe’s name too. I’m not sure it’ll be possible to clear Sicarius’s. The plots are a bit all over the place and the pacing is slightly odd; the books tend to end before I would expect them to. But these are minor details that haven’t marred my enjoyment of the books. I already have the third one waiting.

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Battle Bond by Lindsay Buroker: review

4/5 stars on Goodreads

Battle Bond by Lindsay Buroker

Battle Bond is the second book in Buroker’s Death Before Dragons series. It starts almost right after the first book with references to it and the aftermath still going on. Val is as sarcastic and kickass as ever, but her sessions with the therapist are starting to have a hold. She even goes to yoga, although that doesn’t end well. Zav the dragon is his arrogant self, but he starts to warm up to Val a little. We also learn that dragons are perfectly capable of relationships in their human form, which gives hope for a future romance between Zav and Val. There is some build-up to it in this book, but nothing major yet.

The plot is full action from the start. A new dragon shows up, killing humans, and both Vals boss and Zav want him gone. And a group of shifters is harassing Vals weapons supplier, so shes helping her too. Neither task goes well. Val gets her ass handed to her many times before everything is solved. Luckily she heals fast. However, the way she deals with the dragon causes a rift between her and Zav, which might spell trouble for her in the future. I can’t wait to read what happens next.

Monday, March 16, 2020

Honor among Thieves by Rachel Caine and Ann Aguirre: review

5/5 stars on Goodreads

Honor among Thieves by Rachel Caine and Ann Aguirre

Occasionally Amazon manages to recommend a book that is spot on. Honor among Thieves grabbed me from the start and took me on a ride through stars. It’s a YA sci-fi by authors Rachel Caine and Ann Aguirre set on near future earth. The earth has been saved by an alien race of sentient spaceships, and in return a hundred humans are selected every year on a trip around space inside them. It’s considered a huge honour to be selected, but when the protagonist, Zara, is chosen, she has other ideas.

Sentient spaceships that look like huge whales aren’t a new concept, and calling them Leviathan isn’t exactly innovative either. Giving the spaceship a personality, whether it’s an AI or other kind, is a well-used idea too. Still, there is something about Nadim, the ship Zara is assigned to, that makes him stand out as a person among the other characters.

Zara is a fairly typical YA heroine, ill-treated and angry. She starts as a thief living on streets, but she begins to heal on board of Nadim and grows to be a hero. She also turns out to be a veritable technical genius, which I found a bit far-fetched, considering she hadn’t studied much. But I could move past that.

At the heart of the story is the friendship and bond between Nadim and Zara. Both have suffered psychological trauma and abuse that gives them common ground and ability to understand each other even though they come from such different worlds. Reading the reviews, some found their bond creepy. YA readers are used to there being a love story at the heart of every book; the authors tease with this with an early character that turns out to be something completely different. They view the bond in romantic light and are repulsed by it. I’m not sure the bond between Zara and Nadim is romantic, although their connection is often described like two people falling in love, but I could be wrong.

The story is exciting too. It’s divided into four separate parts, each with its own arc that leads seamlessly to the next part. Stakes get gradually higher from one part to the next, until the great revelation at the end. The main cast of characters is fairly small, which is good, and none of them is solely black or white, not even the sentient ships. I’m not entirely sure how the title fits, as there are no other thieves than Zara, but the authors made a valiant effort to integrate it to the plot. The story ends at an exciting place and I definitely want to know what will happen next.

Book 11/60

Friday, March 13, 2020

Love Hard by Nalini Singh, A Lovely Drop by Darynda Jones: reviews

4/5 stars on Goodreads

Love Hard by Nalini Singh
Love Hard by Nalini Singh is the third book in Hard Play contemporary romance series featuring four rugby playing New Zealand brothers. Jake is the second youngest, a single dad of a six-year-old after his teenage sweetheart suddenly died right after giving birth. His counterpart is Juliet, a wild-hearted best friend of his former love. They didn’t like each other at school, but years later, they are different people and sparks fly. 

I love romance novels with lots of happy tears, and this one made me cry an ocean. Jake and Juliet were a great, balanced and grownup couple despite their young age. Both came with package, on top of which they had the shared past they needed to work through too. All problems got solved fairly easily, but in a satisfying way. And the entire Bishop-Esera family made me want to be adopted by them. This was perhaps my favourite in the series so far, but there’s one more book to come and I have high hopes for it.

4/5 stars on Goodreads

A Lovely Drop by Darynda Jones
A Lovely Drop by Darynda Jones is a novella or a short story of about eighty pages. Despite the length, the story is fully developed, and I didn’t feel like anything was missing. The premise is interesting: Andrea has the ability to ‘drop’ twenty-four hours into past and observe everything that has happened. She has operated under radar, helping anonymously to solve difficult crimes. But now she has been caught by the Homeland Security who demand she help them. She’s not entirely willing, a memory of her mother’s downfall in the hands of law enforcement clear in her mind. The agent assigned to her case is compelling, however, and so she complies.

The crime(s) are fairly easily solved. After all, all Andrea has to do is go to the past to see what happened. But there are some twists and turns that stem from her ability, which keep matters interesting to the end. And there’s a romance developing between her and the agent, which spiced things up too. Andrea is an interesting character, as is Agent Strand. The book ends at a good place that makes me wish that there are more stories or even a complete series featuring the two in the works. I’d definitely read them.

Monday, March 09, 2020

Catching up: a review roundup

I’m over a month behind posting book reviews here on my reading blog. I spent a better part of February without finishing a single book I began to read. Partly it was because the books were disappointing and I had to give them up. Partly it was because I had other commitments that ate into my reading time. Because of that, the previous post here is from January 21st, and the first book I finished since that was on February 19th. The gap in posting is just laziness. I’ve managed to read five books, so here’s a recap.

Shatter the Earth by Karen Chance

4/5 stars on Goodreads

This is book ten in Chance’s Cassandra Palmer series. Despite the length of the series, apparently only three months have passed, which is difficult to believe, considering everything that’s happened. In the past couple of books there has been a major war brewing, and this one ended with a big battle, though not the war-ending one. All the books do. Other than that, it was slightly mismatched. It began with one plot that was made out to be a big deal, but ended up as something completely different, with the original plot brought up as an afterthought in the epilogue. Still, it was better than some of the books in the serieswhich I love, by the way. It was evenly paced with slower chapters here and there where the reader can catch their breath, and there was an exciting development considering the main trio, Cassie, Pritkin and Mircea. And now that Chance is publishing the books herself, we dont have to wait years until the next one.

To Be Taught if Fortunate by Becky Chambers

3/5 stars on Goodreads

Becky Chambers’ books are always lovely. Nothing dramatic ever happens, there’s no drama between characters and everyone is always nice. Small frowns are dealt with hugs. There’s very little plot in them too, but since I know to except that, it doesn’t usually matter. But this book is basically a report of what four people sent on a scientific mission to exoplanets did and saw. Nothing else. There’s a small build-up for drama when the earth stops communicating with them, but it’s soon brushed over. What disappointed me with this one, however, was the ending. It tries to be ambivalent, to leave the fate of the characters to the reader’s imagination, but it comes across as a copout, as if the author hasn’t bothered to take responsibility for her creation. Other than that, it’s an imaginative, well-written book like all her books, and kept me entertained up until the disappointing end. 

Betwixt by Darynda Jones

3/5 stars on Goodreads

This was the first book in Jones’s new series toted as women’s paranormal romance, a crossover between women’s fiction and paranormal romance where the heroines are over forty. It was a fast-paced and easy to read. The main characters, Defiance and Annette feel familiar from Jones’s excellent Charlie Davidson series, with a similar friendship dynamics than Charlie and Cookie and a habit of drinking all the coffee, so I loved them instantly. And if Defiance isn’t an ADD personality like Charlie, she isn’t exactly fully focused either. This isn’t a laugh-out-loud kind of book like the other series, but it has its funny moments.

However, the book feels incomplete. It’s like I was reading the first third of a longer book, with the characters being introduced and the basis of the plot set. And then it ended. There are two more books coming and Im guessing the main action happens in those, but I can’t judge this book based on what I don’t have.

I also have a small issue with Defiance’s age. She's supposed to be forty-four, which is fine (I like reading characters my age). But she has no past and she behaved like a twenty-something, with no wisdom or experience gained. If the point of this series is to have middle-aged heroines, I’d like them to show the life they have lived. They should feel and act differently from the twenty-year-olds. But I liked Defiance and if I imagine her to be twenty-something, I can forget all the rest. And since the book ended with a whopper of a cliff-hanger, I’m definitely going to read the next book.

Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse

4/5 stars on Goodreads 

It’s refreshing to read about a culture that I know nothing about, DinĂ©/Navajo in this case, even when it comes added with apocalyptic and fantasy elements (or especially then). Maggie was a great main character, damaged and angry, and she didn’t miraculously heal during the first book—at least not without a heavy price. Kai started as a one-dimensional hunk and turned out to be much more. The mystery plot was a bit light and somewhat confusing, but it got solved in the end too. And luckily there was the first chapter of the second book added to the edition I read, so that I didn’t have to wait in agony to know what happens next. I will definitely continue with this series.

Sinister Magic by Lindsay Buroker

4/5 stars on Goodreads

This was invigorating like dragons blood. I really like a tough heroine who goes through a book kicking arse, and getting hers kicked in return. Val is as tough as they come, but she pays for it too: her stress-levels are so high she has developed asthma and needs therapy, both of which are well integrated into the story. She has some other issues as well, mainly that she has had to abandon everyone she loves, a daughter included, so that they won’t be killed because of her job as a monster slayer.

The story itself is fairly straightforward. Val needs to find a cure for her boss who has been poisoned with magic, and clear both of their names in the process. Her path to it is littered with creatures from other realms who are bent on killing her. Making matters worse is a dragon who wants to use her as bait to lure in more creatures who want to kill her. It is action from the beginning to the end.

As this is the first book in the series, there is some world-building and character introductions, but everything is done organically along the story. No backstory is given for why the world is populated with creatures from other realms; it’s a fact of life for the characters. As a first person narrative, we get only Val’s thoughts on things, and other characters remain slightly distant. But they are all interesting. My favourite is Zav, the arrogant dragon law-enforcer. The book hints that some sort of romantic bond will form between him and Val, but there was no romance yet. All in all, a great start for a series and I’ll definitely read the next book too.

Books 4-8 of 60 (Ive had to lower my reading challenge target from the original 65.) 

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo: review

4/5 stars on Goodreads

Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
Ninth House is the first book for adults by the highly popular (YA) fantasy author Leigh Bardugo, and her first that is set in the contemporary world. It’s not a non-fantasy book, however, but full of magic and ghosts. Despite the hype, it’s not Bardugo’s best work, and I’m not entirely sure I would call it adult fiction, despite the themes of abuse, addiction and rape among other things. Characters are more immature than in her books labelled for young adult, and the story and the stakes are lighter.

Galaxy Stern, Alex, has seen ghosts her entire life, which has brought nothing but trouble for her, because the only way she is able to block them out is with drugs. Her life is a complete mess before she is twenty and then a violent attack sends her to a hospital. There she is given a chance to change all that. She is offered a place to study in Yale. Magic is abundant there and to make sure the secret societies wielding it don’t abuse their powers, there is a society to oversee them, and they need Alex’s skills.

For a person who hasn’t been to school since she was twelve, Alex manages to make a passable effort at being a student, although most of her time is taken by Lethe and her duties in overseeing the magical societies. For a person who has recently survived a brutal attack that left her best friend dead, Alex functions surprisingly well. And for a person who has used drugs all her life, she does perfectly fine without them now.

Alex’s personal struggles aren’t the main focus of the story, however. There are several mysteries that need solving. The most important of them is a murder investigation that Alex can’t give up despite orders to otherwise. Another mystery deals with a disappearance of her tutor, which is unravelled slowly in chapters from his point of view. And then there is a murder mystery from a century and a half ago that a ghost makes Alex investigate.

The mysteries are not simultaneous, but the narrative presents them at the same time. The story starts in the present with a teaser of what has taken place so far, and then jumps back and forth between two earlier points in time, plus Alex’s life before Yale, until reaching the present again, where all the mysteries are solved. It takes a little getting used to, but after that the pace of the book keeps good with no slack or unnecessary side-plots.

Despite the focus on solving crimes, the book doesn’t feel like a thriller or crime fiction. Stakes are constantly high for Alex, with violence and the possibility of losing her spot in the college looming over her, yet the urgency doesn’t really make itself felt. Partly it has to do with the non-linear narrative; just as the reader is invested in one story-line, the narrative jumps to a different time; and partly it has to do with Alex waffling about with no clear focus until the murder investigation takes up all her time. It’s a ghost story, a story about magic and abuse of power, and homage to the author’s alma mater.

Yet the story compels. The mysteries are suitably mysterious and the final showdown is nothing I had anticipated. There are no cop-outs or easy solutions. And there is a good build-up for the next book too, so I have to assume one is in the making. All in all, a good story, if not a great book.

Book 3/65

Monday, January 13, 2020

The Dragon Republic by R.F. Kuang: review

4/5 stars on Goodreads

The Dragon Republic by R. F. Kuang
The Dragon Republic is the second book in Kuang’s The Poppy War trilogy. The first book ended with such a bang that it was difficult to see how the second could possibly continue from there, and in part, it didn’t quite pick up with the intensity of the first.

The war against the Federation is over, thanks to Rin. Without it, she and her group of shamans are adrift. Her opium addiction doesn’t help, but she is haunted by her actions in the war and can’t function without it. Things pick up when the Dragon Warlord gives them a purpose: kill the Empress and join his quest to replace the empire with a republic. But the Empress is a powerful shaman, so the assassination doesn’t go as planned and Rin ends up having her abilities bound.

The first half of the book is an endless military campaign where Rin is once again a regular soldier, and despite the constant action, it gets rather boring. It isn’t until at the latter half of the book that the story becomes more interesting, and the pace improves. Rin gets access to her powers, but only with the help of her oldest friend from the military academy, to whom she is now bound. Together they win the war against the Empress, only to find out that it wasn’t the war they should have been fighting.

For this second book, Kuang broadens the world the people inhabit (ancient China) by adding a western force that is very obviously Christian Europe. They come with airships and firearms, and with promises of military aid if the primitive people of the East show they are capable of progress. They preach the word of one true god and are intend on purging the heresy of shamanism. That means endless tests done to Rin to figure out her abilities, and if that fails, killing her and her kind. And, of course, in the end, their promises prove false: they are there to colonise, not to help. Rin discovers this too late.

Rin isn’t a very intelligent character when it comes to deciphering the motivations of people around her. She’s constantly looking for stronger persons to rely on whom she could respect and who would give their approval to her. I think it stems from her being an orphan, as she tends to latch onto father-figures. This leads her to place her trust on anyone who is willing to lead her. And time and again, she is let down by these people.

Because of her need for approval and a father-figure, Rin remains a surprisingly immature character despite all the horrors of war she has witnessed and inflicted. She doesn't really create romantic feelings for the many men around her, even if she occasionally mistakes her feelings for it. She's twenty and hasn't even been kissed, so the men don't see her romantically either. Her friendships don't really flourish. She manages to anger or alienate most of her friends in turn, though some of them do come back too. At least the constant change in friends and allies keep things interesting.

At the end of the book Rin finally comes to a conclusion that she is the strongest person there is and the only one worth relying on. Hopefully she’ll stop seeking for validation from the wrong people in the last book. Likely though, it will lead her to use her powers in more destructive manner than before. And another war is inevitable. The setting for the last book is perfect.

Book 2/65

Sunday, January 05, 2020

The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang: review

4/5 stars on Goodreads

The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang

The first book I read this year is The Poppy War by R. F. Kuang, the first book in The Poppy War Trilogy. It’s a great fantasy debut set in a culture that greatly resembles ancient China, with an enemy empire across the sea on a bow shaped island that is obviously Japan.

The premise seems like a run-of-the-mill chosen-one story: an orphan is accepted to a prestigious military academy where she excels against the odds, studies arts no one else does, and discovers she has powers unlike anyone else, so that when a war breaks out, she has the ability to save the nation.

However, the Chinese culture brings a twist to the story. Rin, the heroine, works hard to be accepted to the military school (as opposed to being accepted on a whim/by command of king etc.), works hard to impress her masters, shows respect to her elders, and when her master tells her she cannot use the power of gods, she obeys. When the war breaks out, she is sent to help a besieged town, where she is miserable and frightened, and unable to use her powers because she is afraid of the consequences. Until the moment she isn’t.

During the course of the book, Rin discovers her heritage as a member of people annihilated in the previous Poppy War. Only one other person has survived and he is driven by rage and need for vengeance. She moulds herself after him, with grim consequences. At the climax of the story, she makes a choice out of rage. Unlike in western fantasy, where the hero saves the day in a morally sustainable fashion, Rin chooses differently. When she tries to reason with herself to ease her guilt, she comes to a conclusion that there are no chosen ones; only the choices we make ourselves. The book ends at the point where she has to come to terms with her actions.

Rin is a complex character who struggles with anger issues and insecurity, her low background among the offspring of warlords, and her need for power and revenge. Drugs (opium mostly) play a heavy role in her ability to communicate with gods, which in turn leads to addiction. Side characters are similarly torn by many issues, especially the addiction, which makes them difficult to root for.

The narrative style is slightly distancing, so apart from Rin, I didn’t form a deep connection with other characters. The plot progresses in a steady pace, with no slag (two years in the school is covered in a couple of chapters), and the world comes to life effortlessly with no unnecessary exposition. The point of view is strictly Rin’s, with one exception to show readers who is the true enemy, so that it doesn’t feel like it comes out of the blue when Rin learns of it. The Poppy War was an easy and compelling read that rose far above its premise. And for once, I have no idea how the second book in the trilogy will turn out to be.

Book 1/65

Friday, January 03, 2020

A new year, a new reading challenge

Last year, I pledged to read sixty books in Goodreads’ yearly reading challenge, but ended up reading sixty-five. I had compiled a list of sixty-nine books, but in the end I read only twenty books from it. It wasn’t that I had selected uninteresting books to my list, but there were so many new books that I discovered and absolutely had to read right away, that the list ended up to be completely different.

Not everything I chose to read was to my liking. There were a number of books, by my favourite authors even, that I began to read and then didn’t finish. Some because they were disappointingly boring, others because a new book that I absolutely had to read pushed them aside, never to be picked up again. I discovered a couple of new series that I binged, like The Others by Anne Bishop and The Winston Brothers by Penny Reid, and new authors, like Susan Ee and Robyn Bennis, both of which I hope to read in coming years.

Twenty-nine authors, many with multiple books, were women, and only five were men, although I began a couple of books written by men that I then didn’t finish. Only nine authors were other than white westerners, so I clearly have some improving to do on that front.

My favourite books of the year were A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer, a Beauty and the Beast retelling that completely changed my mind about retellings; The Guns Above by Robin Bennis, a steampunk military saga that kept me captivated despite being basically a long description of a military campaign; Written in Red by Anne Bishop that sent me on a binge of a brilliant urban fantasy series that was unlike most series out there; The Queen of Nothing by Holly Black that finished her brilliant The Folk of the Air trilogy; and Unnatural Magic by C. M. Waggoner, a unique take on trolls, magic, and gender relations and norms. On top of that came the perennial favourites, Nalini Singh and J. R. Ward with several books each.

This year, I pledged to read sixty-five books. Since I had slight trouble finishing the challenge last year, I’m not entirely hopeful that I’ll manage to read that many books, but it won’t be for lack of trying. I’ve compiled a list of eighty-one booksso far—so I have plenty to choose from.

Some books, mostly those I already own, were moved from the previous list—or even the one before that—to this year’s list. There are books belonging to series that I want to finish. Then there are a number of books that will be published this year.

One that I’m definitely looking forward to reading is A Heart So Fierce and Broken by Brigid Kemmerer, a follow-up to her brilliant book that comes out next week. City of Stone and Silence is the next book in Django Wexler’s unique Wells of Sorcery series. There will be a new Peter Grant book, a new series from Darynda Jones, and also a new, long-awaited Dresden Files book, not to mention several books from Nalini Singh and J. R. Ward that will keep me occupied. On top of that I added new authors to me that I hope I’ll finally have time to read this year, Elizabeth Bear and Tamsyn Muir among them.

The year began with The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang, a brilliant fantasy debut set in a world much like ancient China. I already have the second book in the trilogy, The Dragon Republic, waiting, and the last book, The Burning God, will be published at the end of the year. Although it tells a story of a young woman who discoveres she has powers unlike anyone else and will likely turn out to be the chosen one, the culture is so unique and Rin so unlike western heros that it makes the story feel new. A perfect start for my reading year.

How about you, what will you be reading this year?