Books Read in 2009 – Multi-Book Series
This year I read a bunch of books in series. Here I’m going to go through the ones where I read multiple books in a series. In no particular order.
Sandford’s Lucas Davenport series has always been a good read; lately it experienced a bit of a stall. This is expected in a series that has gone some sixteen novels. Last year, Sandford branched out with a side character, Virgil Flowers. Dark of the Moon. I didn’t really enjoy DotM; I missed Lucas, the Twin Cities’ etc. But this year brought Heat Lightning and Rough Country. I loved Heat Lightning, and then liked Rough Country that much more. And when I reread Dark of the Moon? Liked it a lot. Along the way, there was a new Lucas novel, Wicked Prey, which was very nice. I reread Shadow Prey and Invisible Prey along the way. Enjoyable as always. If you haven’t read Sandford, you’re missing out.
Sharon Lee & Steve Miller
A banner year for two of my favorite authors. First, the on-line serialization of Saltation went on, and the adventures of Theo continued to be intriguing. The first online serialization, Fledgling, was published in hardcover by Baen Books. And boy, do I have a new appreciation for the writing process. I really enjoyed Fledgling and Saltation as they were serialized in draft form, but the published version of Fledgling is so much more …. more. It really makes one think.
Unfortunately, I sorta hated the other Lee & Miller novel published, Longeye. Too … boring? Overdone? Pointless? Got me. But two out of three ain’t bad.
Jim Butcher is really good. Really, really good. This year saw two new books, Turn Coat, a Harry Dresden novel, and First Lord’s Fury, the ending (?) of the Codex Alera series.
Turn Coat was wonderful, and led me to reread all the Harry Dresden novels in about a week. I didn’t read them order though, I read them as I found them. Interesting experience that. I recommend you read them all, in whatever order fate decrees. They are fast and fun!
First Lord’s Fury was a good read, but suffers from what I call the “overly-epic” problem. The plot problems are so enormous, the stakes so high, the characters cease to be people. It was a good read, a satisfying ending, great series, but I missed relative-nobody Tavi; Princeps Octavius was not as fun.
Dan Abnett writes some go-to military scifi; if you need to burn some hours with some maniacal comrades, Gaunt’s Ghosts are the folks to call on. Only In Death came out this year, and I enjoyed it throughly. I made sure to read it only at night in the dark — it is very atmospheric. I did not buy and read Blood Pact; my budget for hardcovers is limited, and the book is a bit dimunitive. As is often my practice, along the way I reread all the other Gaunts Ghosts stories. The omnibus collection The Saint is a very impressive work.
On a whim I picked up Imperial Guard Omnibus #1, by a variety of authors. Ok, popcorn scifi — nothing up to Abnett’s level.
Reading Cherryh is always good for you. New this year was Conspiracy, one of the Foreigner novels, with Bren-padi in his normal fix of trouble. Some folks gripe that Cherryh’s novels are too dense, the plots too complicated. Be that as it may, the reward is worth the effort. Chain reaction led me to reread Heavy Time and Hellburner, wonderfully dark, oppressive Company novels. And I reread Chanur’s Homecoming for the hundredth time; it is possibly my favorite Cherryh novel. I usually feel as tired and worn out as Pyanfar and her crew. Good writing, that.
Dog Days and New Tricks. Urban Paranormal fantasy. Hated it. Main character sucked, world-building inconsistent, derivative, generally a waste of my time. Blah.
Gardens of the Moon, Deadhouse Gates, Memories of Ice, House of Chains. These are enormous in scale, but manage (for the most part) to avoid the “overly-epic” problem with exceptional characters. The standout here for me is Deadhouse Gates — the “Chain of Dogs” trek is really interesting. There are a bunch more but after four I took a break. I have the next one; I’ll get to it in 2010 for sure.
Webmage, Cybermancy, Codespell, MythOS. Gee, vampires weren’t enough? We had to go to programmer/elves? They are ok, I suppose; enjoyable in a way. But ultimately a bit hollow. I’m done with them. Also, too short for the money.
Last year, the breakout author for me was Brandon Sanderson and his Mistborn trilogy. Awesome stuff. This year, Joel Shepherd goes him one better. Crossover, Breakaway, Killswitch, which comprise the “Cassandra Kresnov” trilogy, were mind-blowing. When a novel starts off with the main character getting surgically cut into small pieces, and the author pulls it off as being a reasonable plot development, you take notice. I loved these for the depth, the world-building, and the lack of character stupidity.
And then he threw in Sasha as a treat! Take a bow, Mr. Shepherd, that is a very good year.
A Talent for War, Deepsix, The Engines of God, Chindi, Omega. A Talent for War was ok; a good, serviceable read. The rest are part of a series based around and new (to me) idea: scifi-archeology. It mostly works; more so in the the earlier novels than in the later novels. At Omega things start to flag significantly.
This were picked when I found myself traveling with nothing to read; I hadn’t read Feist in years. Honoured Enemy, Jimmy the Hand, and Murder in LaMut are shared world novels. They all take place in Feist’s Midkemia, at different places and times. Honoured Enemy is a good read taken by itself, though it seems to be out of tune with the older Midkemia novels. Murder in Lamut is sort of fun, but bears no resemblance to the older novels. And Jimmy the Hand is just … wrong. Awful. Drek. Sorry. And I love S.M. Stirling usually!
Did prompt me to reread my favorite Feist, Silverthorn, and its sequel, A Darkness at Sethanon. Still love them.
Next time: one-off reads, odds and ends, bits and bobs.