2012 Hard to Believe. I just slid into making my goals this year, but I feel pretty good about at least making them. One was to get the first three books of the Alysian Universe published. I have finalized my part of Cosmic Entanglement and am now awaiting the proof. This exciting novel of political intrigue, forbidden romance, murder and mystery will be a great addition to my collection.
Because my focus was on editing and publishing, I did not get to read as much as I usually do. But I will give you my top ten reads of 2011.
Both of these are in the realm of fantasy, but I still enjoyed them. They tell the story of a talented young wizard who is searching to find magical power by learning how to call the wind so that he can find the mysterious and dangerous beings who killed off his family. The first book is a charming story of his struggles to get through the University of Magic while being desperately poor. The second novel continues his life after he leaves the university and encounters the Fae and other mystical beings who teach him fighting and survival skills. Great books.
Again I have a two volume author. This story is a time travel adventure of several time travelers who get stuck in WWII during London’s bombing raids. Some critics called it frenetic and muti-charactered, but I loved the energy and humor that is so Willis. As soon as a character thinks that they have everything figured out, fate/time changes things on them. So my life. I could identify. I was aways wondering what was going to happen next, and was always surprised by what did happen. Love the time travel stories.
Sometimes a book starts off slow, picks up steam and then you can’t get it out of your mind, even after you have finished it. The Windup Girl still haunts me. The story paints a world after genetic engineering has gone out of control and plagues and pandemics are all over the globe. Gene splicers are trying to save a dying humanity, and into this desperate mix of men wanders a genetically engineered young girl who was originally built as a pleasure model. There is desperation in survival and after she is discarded onto the streets and abused, she is forced to counter her programing of obedience and commit murder in order to defend herself. The book raises the question of how far should we should tamper with genetic modification both in plants and animals. Very thought provoking, while still having strong plot and action.
They say readers usually choose authors that they like and are familiar with. Lois Bujold is one of my favorite authors and although this isn’t her best book, it was great to see Miles again and watch him in action. This ADD character is sent by Gregory, ruler of Barrayar’s Galactic Empire, to investigate sneaky plans by the planet Kibou-daini to bring their cryogenic business to Barrayar with a takeover in mind. On Kibiu-daini cryogenics is big business and millions lie slumbering in vaults underneath the surface refusing to die. Unfortunately, this means no one inherits and those alive and running the planet are contemplating patricide, matricide and possibly genocide. They are desperate to get control. Then Miles discovers a possible flaw in the machinery,and the men who are hiding the fact that those in the cryogenic chambers might be dying. Great action and very Miles Vorkosigan.
Here again is a favorite author who writes a series. The Emperor of the Eubian Empire, Jaibriol Qox, and the Skolian Imperator, Kelric Skolia, have finally forced a peace treaty between their two dynasties, but both sides have extremists who want things the old way with the old powers intact. The Traders of the Eubian Empire consider the Skolians beneath them and use them as slaves. The psi talented Skolians don’t trust the Traders, and with good reason. Into this shaky detente comes an explosive song that is an inflammatory response to Eubian atrocities. Jaibriol has a deadly secret that he fights to keep and control. His counterpart, Kelric Skolia is a massive gold giant that intimidates those around him, except for the ones who really know him. A song inflames both worlds and the only way the peace treaty can be saved is through a dice game .
What I like most about Asaro is her emotional resonance and the powerful ties of family that run through all her stories. She puts amazing beings in impossible situations and creates an emotional tension in the reader.
This is actually a young adult series, probably because the protagonists are young adults. Still, Westerfeld takes actual historical events and twists them with bits of fiction. The book has overtones of steampunk, as the action takes place at the start of WWI. The Ottoman or German Empire is called the Clankers because their economy is built on mechanical constructs. Their weapons of war are huge metal robots. The European nations are called the Darwinians because their ships and planes are genetically engineered from living creatures. A floating Leviathan created from the DNA of a whale crashes into the Alps where a young prince has run to hide after his parents were brutally assassinated. By trying to save him, he befriends what he thinks is a young boy his age, but the boy is secretly a girl who is hiding her gender in order to join the military and fly the big ships like her father did. Their adventures touch on historical truth and then veer off into fantastical events and creatures. It all makes for a fun read.
Okay, okay. I threw the book across the room. How can I not list a book that arouses so much emotion in me? Martin isn’t following the rules of story telling, but his stories are hard to put down. I did read the whole book…in two days. So that must say something. I’m still mad at George Martin. This is the most recent book in a series that has been turned into an amazing HBO special and part two will be coming out in April. The series is called “Game of Thrones” and that is what the books are about…the fight for power and the throne. Just let me say that it gets down and dirty. So if you have the stomach and like your action and characters “real”, then this might be for you.
I have always liked the Liaden Universe Series. It is Space Opera that has emotions and adventure. These three are about Theo Waitley, awkward scholar and young girl who slowly discovers her talent for being a pilot of a space ship and her secret genetic heritage. “Fledgling” is the story of her awkward early days on an academic planet. “Saltation” where she trains to be a space pilot and “Mouse and Dragon” where she discovers her true family and the secret of the man she always called “father”. “Ghost Ship”, just out continues her story.
Easy to read, with adventure and good characters, I have enjoyed all the many books written by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller
Oh, and yes, another goal was that I lost over 12 lbs. Yeah. See the new photo? Now on to 2012. Happy New Year and may this be the best ever for all of us. Keep reading and writing.