I was very noisy, I admit it. But these book were so damn entertaining and surprising at the same time! I was swearing along with the main characters when they got ambushed; I was exclaiming, ‘No way!’ at inappropriate moments; and laughing dementedly at clever turns of phrases. Let me tell what 2012 reads have had me so engaged in the story that I was laughing out loud, questioning a main character’s decision, or cussing like a sailor.
This year, I took up The Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne. Think desert Southwest and a 2100-year old druid, Atticus, who looks like a 20-something college student, running an herbal new age shop and who talks to his Irish wolfhound Oberon. This series isn’t as intense as The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher, but then, you do find Atticus doing things Dresden wouldn’t do. Oh, and there’s the occasional bare-ass shenanigans. Good stuff. I listened to these on audio and Luke Daniels does an incredible job, especially with Oberon the Irish wolfhound.
This was my first year ever to participate in read-alongs, and the first of the first were the first two books in The Gentlemen Bastards series by Scott Lynch. I have Little Red Reviewer to thank for both introducing me to these works and for organizing the read-along. These are excellent nitty-gritty books about a group of young thieves and the unexpected situations they find themselves in, set in a fantasy world somewhat like 15th century Venice, but far more complicated due to the flying sharks, aggressive flesh-eating crabs, and wraith stone. I truly hope someday to read further tales of The Gentlemen Bastards.
James Maxey, the things I yelled out loud while reading your books would probably…..not surprise you. The Dragon Apocalypse series is like no other fantasy I have read, featuring Infidel, a 30-year old princess hiding in a warrior’s role and her ghosty amorous friend Stagger. The series is told from Stagger’s point of view, and he’s dead. And he still goes through hell on this adventure and is far from a simple narrative bystander. The elemental dragons are also a nice touch, being more forces of nature with wills and brains and tempers that roaring, stomping, farting scaled behemoths sitting on gold. I’m really, really looking forward to Book 3 coming out the end of this month.
Gemma Files, the things you did to me with this series. The Hexslinger series is set in the 1880s desert southwest, with witchcraft, ancient Aztec deities, and some explicit relationships. While I have only read the first two books, they excited me in dark ways and are the definition of cross-genre writing. The characters are complex and Files doesn’t shy away from being explicit in love relationships with these characters, no matter their orientation. I listened to the audio versions produced by Iambik Audio. Gordon MacKenzie is the most phenomenal narrator I have come across. His ability to tackle various accents and languages (think ancient Aztec, Chinese, various American accents, etc.) truly made these books come alive.
Lastly, let me take you into the world of nonfiction and investigative reporting at it’s best. Mary Roach, who first entertained me with Bonk (a very distracting book to drive to), a book about investigations, testing, and analysis of human sexuality. I read that book last year, so this year I went on to read two of her other books, Spook (a study on humans searching for evidence of a spiritual side to life), andPacking for Mars (a history of human attempts to explore space). Last year, I also read her book Stiff, a look at what happens to the body once death has set in. These are all excellent because they are so informative and hilarious because of the attention to small details. Roach doesn’t shy away from being a guinea pig either.
On that note, what where some of your loudest books this year? What had you snickering on public transportation, talking to yourself in the lunchroom, and defying the bad guy in the loo?