Tuesday, January 01, 2008

The Fantasy Review - Part One

My favourite genres for reading have always been fantasy and science fiction. I think science fiction probably came first, but as I have gotten older I have also added fantasy to the mix. Fantasy has sort of taken over as the dominant genre, but science fiction was always my first love. I think I started reading sci-fi when I started to notice I was quite a big fan of Star Trek on television. I also used to read a lot of Star Wars books. Ten years ago, I sort of moved away from the television-related science fiction and started to read some of the big name authors. I think this coincides with reading A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle. I probably read other sci-fi novels before that, but that is the one that stands out. For fantasy, I think the book that really started me on that path was Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley. I have always loved both genres, though, I did read Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia when I was younger, and those are two of my favourite series. A lot of why it took me so long to develop my reading interests was because I tried to be the 'cool' kid in school, but halfway through junior high I gave up caring and in many ways finally became me.

That is my long-winded intro to my post on reading fantasy and science-fiction in 2007.

So, in 2007 I started out my year with a brandnew book by a brandnew author: Colleen Gleason. This required me browsing the romance section, something that I never do, so it shows you how much I wanted to support her! The Rest Falls Away may not be high-brow literature, but she is much better than many of the other paranormal authors I have read. The author is a very nice woman, the romance is not too over-powering, and there is suspense. Works for me!

Next up, I FINALLY read Juliet Marillier. Wildwood Dancing is a fairy-tale retelling, and while not the best book ever and not everyones cup of tea, I found it enjoyable.

One Good Knight is the sequel to The Fairy Godmother, which I read the year before. It was good, but I enjoyed The Fairy Godmother much more. I hope to read the third book this year, if it ever decides when it is coming out in paperback! It was originally February, but when I went to order it with my Christmas money, it had been pushed back.

New Moon was another author that I had read before and decided to read the sequel to. Twilight was enjoyable, I read it last year, but I am finding Bella more and more annoying. It was good, but I have a hard time getting into the books in the series.

Another really good paranormal author is Patricia Briggs. I had read Moon Called by her in 2006, so I was very excited for the sequel in 2007. Just like I am very excited for book 3 in 2008. Mercedes Thompson is one of my favourite female fictional characters, and so far no trashy sex! Yay! (I am thinking Laurell K. Hamilton here.) Great series. Mercedes is a very strong woman who gets the job done, and while she is in all the books, the other focus paranormal group changes from book to book. One of my favs of 2007.

Lisa Tuttle's The Silver Bough was a fun book. I really must try her again sometime. Too bad it is not a real place, I wouldn't mind visiting there!

O.R. Melling has a fabulous series that I really must read the fourth book to this year. Then, I plan to back track and reread the books again because she has rereleased them with added things, and I want to see what is added! The Summer King and The Light-Bearer's Daughter are the two I read in 2007.

One of my favourite new authors of 2007 was Robin Hobb. I just decided it was time to read her and dug one of her books off my TBR pile. I just adore her writing style. She currently holds the place for my favourite fantasy author after reading Fool's Errand. Her books are long, but they do not feel long.

Heir to the Shadows by Anne Bishop is one of the books in her Black Jewels series. I want to love this series, but I am having a hard time with it. I will have to see what book 3 brings with it. I hopefully will read it this year.

The Eagle's Brood is a Jack Whyte novel. I am shocked at myself for only reading one book by him 2007! I really love this series, so I plan to try and read more than one book by him this year. I ended at such a bad time, too, because all the characters from the Arthurian legends have been set up, and I want to know what happens next! Maybe I will try and squeeze him in for January. One of my favs of 2007.

Holly Black's Valiant disappointed me. I have not decided yet if I want to read her next book.

I am so happy that I finally read Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. I adore Tas, and I mean ADORE him. He is one of my favourite literary characters ever, and I look forward to reading more from this series this year. Dragons of the Autumn Twilight was the first time I have ever read Dragonlance, but it is very embarassing to admit how long the book was on my TBR pile. One of my favs from 2007.

Storm Front is the first book in Jim Butcher's Dresdan Files. I plan to read the whole series, and while I like it, it is also not my favourite series ever. I'll read one or two this year, no big rush.

I read a bit of Neil Gaiman this year. First up was Coraline by him. I have had this book for a couple years, so I am glad that I finally read it! While I enjoy him as an author, only Good Omens has ever super impressed me. I wonder what would have happened if I had read another book first... Well, Carl raves on about him, so I probably would have read the ones I have anyways. I did like Stardust, but he just doesn't blow me away.

I read a few books from Shannon Hale this year, as well. The Goose Girl, the first one I read, was probably my favourite. She is almost as good as Libba Bray, but Bray remains my favourite for the moment. And, no one can knock Madeleine L'Engle off my top spot, I am very loyal to her.

Then I read Inkheart by Cornelia Funke. I really love the idea of this book. I can't wait to get to the sequel this year. Totally a favourite of 2007.

Flight of the Nighthawks is my first attempt at reading Raymond Feist. I am glad I started with this one, I like the characters grown up. I am finding myself getting more and more fed up with many books written about children. It is likely just a stage I am going through, but if I had started with a different book, I am afraid I would not have liked it as much.

I decided to start off with Rachel Caine's Morganville Vampire series instead of her adult books, I am not even totally sure why. Glass Houses was enjoyable. If I didn't finish the series, I would not be totally disappointed, but I like it. I plan to stick with it, and have book 3 ordered... actually, that did not come when I got my books last week. I must check that.

I read three Kelley Armstrong books in a row: Bitten, Stolen, and Dime Store Magic. I probably would have read more, but Dime Store Magic annoyed me. I needed to take a break after that. Stolen is probably my favourite right now, and if I had to choose, would be my favourite of 2007 in terms of her.

Greg Keyes is interesting. Sometimes his writing style really annoyed me, but The Briar King really stuck with me. It's surpring, frankly. I think I would have to call it a favourite of 2007, even if it annoyed me at times. I am excited to read the next book, but book 4 is only coming out in hardcover this year, which means I have to wait until 2009 for the paperback, so I am not rushing things.

Magician: Apprentice was Raymond Feist again. Like I said above, I like the characters when they are older better, but I plan to read all of his books eventually.

The Dream-Maker's Magic was the last book in a young adult trilogy by Sharon Shinn. The only Shinn I read this year, which is bad, considering I own all her books except the ones only out in hardcover... bad me! Good book, though.

Frank Beddor's debut, The Looking-Glass Wars was interesting. I liked it better than the original, but I have never really liked Carroll.

Thanks to Buy a Friend a Book week, I now own all of Roger Zelazny's Amber series. I really liked Nine Princes in Amber and The Guns of Avalon, so I look forward to more in the series this year!

Okay, that's enough recap for now! The other half I will post tomorrow. I read more fantasy than I thought I did!


  1. Hi Kailana,

    I hope you had a wonderful '06, and may your new year be filled with lots of fantastic reading!!! It certainly looks like you did quite a bit of reading last year (and how you manage it I'll never know!!!). I'm looking forward to another year of the Written World!

  2. Wow, great first half of your recap. Can't wait to read the rest.

    Sorry you haven't had the same experience with Gaiman that others of us have had. I would encourage you to read American Gods as that is certainly his most award winning and complex novel to date. I certainly feel that it deserves the awards it received as it is a major work of mythology and folklore.

    I'm glad you enjoyed Colleen Gleason's work. She is a very nice person and I'm glad her books are equally as deserving of support.

    Oddly enough, reading your post reminded me that I actually did start a book this year and put it down in disgust. In fact I just got rid of it. And that was Holly Black's book Valiant. I enjoyed Tithe just fine. Found it a bit awkward at first and a bit darker sexually than I prefer in teen-level reading, but I found it interesting. Valiant just started out awful. I'm in no way a prude and character's sexual preferences or proclivities have never caused me to put a book down, but a fantasy book for teens that starts with hints of sexual interest between too teenage girls and then almost immediately has the mother having sex with the teenage girl's boyfriend was just too much. I felt like whatever she had to say from a fantasy perspective was lost at that point and was not going to be regained. I never, ever throw away books but I just tossed that one. I had no interest and didn't want to pass it on to anyone else either. Which is sad because I love her Spiderwick books that she writes with Tony DiTerlizzi.

    Anyway, I hope you have better luck with your computer for the second half of your post. I think your computer woes are catching...as I was typing this entry the first time my PC rebooted on me. Doh!

  3. Needless to say I am really glad you enjoyed Inkheart! It's my choice for best YA book I read this year!

    Sooooo, !! You found Weis and Hickman and Dragonlance eh?!!! I am also glad to hear you like them!! I love Tas too! But I like all the character in that series! I've read the 6 dragonlance books by them and a few others not by them, like the Brothers Majere and Raistlin. I have full intentions on rereading the first 6 dragonlance series again this year, it's been a while. You make me want to push them up on the reread list! lol

  4. Thanks Michelle! Happy New Year to you as well!

    Carl: I do plan to read American Gods this year, so we will see what I think of that. I started it this year, but I tend to have a hard time reading books to completion if they are long. I get bored and want to start something else. Not that I don't read chunksters, making up these lists has shown me I read a lot!

    deslily: Have you read the new books in the Dragonlance series? They take place during the others or something, but they are at least by Weis and Hickman. I have the first one, but since I haven't read the others yet, it will be a while before I get to them.

  5. If you mean Dragons of the Dwarven Depths and Dragons of the High Lord Skies, yes I've read them both. They were pretty good. But then I love their characters so much, they really can't do much wrong in order for me to read them LOL.. The Dwarven Depths was probably better than High Lord Skies, which is all about Kitiara uth Matar, Raistlin and Caramon's evil sister.


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