Stef (firecat) wrote,

firecat's 2012 in books

Some of the books I read this year, not in any kind of order.

Ekaterina Sedia, ed., Bewere the Night anthology. I haven't finished it but in the first 2/3 or so my favorites were "Thirst" by Vandana Singh and "The Heavy" by Cherie Priest

Ellen Guon, Bedlam Boyz. Urban/paranormal/faerie fantasy. Includes people of more than one race.

Charlie Stross, Saturn's Children. The protagonist is a sex robot with a "female" body. Mostly I avoid books like that. But I liked this protagonist because she read as genderqueer to me, although I don't think that was the intention. Nevertheless, I got bored about 1/3 of the way through.

Vernor Vinge, Children of the Sky. Third book set in the Zones of Thought universe, sequel to A Fire Upon the Deep. I think the Tines are one of the best aliens there is. But there seemed to be something wrong with the pacing. I got halfway through.

Jo Walton, Lifelode. In a way it's a Le-Guin-ish type fantasy, which is funny because Jo has said she doesn't like Le Guin's writing. [ETA Jo corrected me on that.] I love the way time and thought work in this world. Many characters are poly. Jo works in the word "frubble" and does a great job of describing what it's like to get jealous in a poly situation and have it seem to make no sense but there it is. There's a lot of food in the book, and there should be a recipe book that comes with it.

Carolyn Gilman, Halfway Human. It's about class and gender and slavery and abuse and Stockholm syndrome and hierarchy and PTSD and sociology and psychology. It was nominated for a Tiptree. I loved most of it. The ending didn't work for me.

Nisi Shawl, Filter House. Short stories, science fiction and fantasy. She has a wonderful way of creating mystery. Bits of the stories linger in my head like dreams sometimes linger after you wake up.

Thomas Sniegoski, Dancing on the Head of a Pin (Remy Chandler #2). Remy Chandler is an angel who decided to leave heaven and become mostly human (still immortal though). He is a private eye. I like the character a lot but I keep wanting this series to go in a different direction than it is, and I don't think I'm going to keep reading it because of that. Also the writing is kind of pedestrian.

Laurell K. Hamilton, Kiss the Dead (Anita Blake #21). I have a like-dislike relationship with Anita Blake novels. I usually think large parts of them are boring for one reason or another, but I find it interesting how she keeps developing new powers. This one was boring in a new way: She doesn't get any new boyfriends or powers, and she goes on and on about polyamory and love. The part about actual vampire hunting was good because I liked her relationships with the various cops she works with.

Pamela Dean, The Dubious Hills. This is a very cool, hard to describe book about knowledge and certainty and belief and interdependence and werewolves.

S.J. Day, Eve of Chaos. This is a paranormal romance series. Eve is a woman who has been marked by angels to become a demon killer. Cain and Abel are angels who are romantic rivals for her. The plots have steadily gotten more convoluted and I can't keep enough interest to follow what's going on so I won't be reading more of this series.

Katherine Lampe, Caitlin Ross series (The Unquiet Grave, She Moves Through the Fair, A Maid in Bedlam, The Parting Glass). Katherine is a long-time friend and is publishing her books on Smashwords. This is what I might call a "small-town fantasy" series. Her protagonists are a married couple who are a witch and a shaman, who solve mysteries, fight people who use magic for evil purposes, etc. I really like how different they are, and she writes wonderfully.

Kevin Crossley-Holland, The Norse Myths. He retells some of the myths in his own style, relying mostly on the Prose Edda and some other material. There are lots of chewy end notes.

Sean B. Carroll, Endless Forms Most Beautiful: The New Science of Evo Devo Popular science about figuring out evolution through embryology. Clearly and carefully written. It won lots of awards: 2005 Los Angeles Times Book Prize (Science and Technology), 2006 National Academy of Sciences Communication Award, Top Science Books of the Year (2005), Discover Magazine; Top Science Books of the Year (2005), USA Today; 2006 Banta Prize, Wisconsin Library Association

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Tags: books, reviews, year in review
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