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[personal profile] triadruid
I feel like I 'liked' more books this year.[personal profile] featherynscale sez I'm quite hard to please, bookwise, but I either got better at picking things out this year, or...pants. Jemisin, Bear, and Watts are kinda my holy trinity right now though, so that definitely helps.

Legend: bold means I've read it already, Italics means I'm working on it, and normal text means it's a potential. * means I've read it before. Previously read books/reviews are in the 'read lists' tag.

  1. Margaret Atwood, MaddAddam (7, overly complicated wrapup to an overly complicated trilogy; Atwood has a good voice but this wanted an editor, two books or even one probably would have done it; also why let humanity off the hook in the end?)
  2. Gillian Flynn, Gone Girl (9, daaaaarrrrrk dark psychological thriller where nobody wins but the ending surprises you anyway; she took some risks with character tropes, most of which pay off nicely)
  3. N.K. Jemisin, The Broken Kingdoms (9, another great tale of her terrible people (and gods, and godlings); I still like her style a great deal)
  4. Stephen King as Richard Bachman, Thinner (8, somehow I had missed this one before; he was definitely about 'done' with the Bachman game by now, as this reads very much as Cruel King, but the story is tight and he pulls no punches with the ending)
  5. N.K. Jemisin, The Kingdom of Gods (8.5, still good but a little loopier at the end; still like her storytelling a great deal, and her characters spring off the page)
  6. Naomi Novik, Throne of Jade (8, Temeraire and his crew are both punchy and entertaining, with surprising depth for a story about autistic dragons)
  7. The Arbinger Institute, The Anatomy of Peace (8, probably better than their first book, though you need to read it first to get the whole picture; the made-up story nevertheless rings true in a way so many self-help books do not)
  8. Elizabeth Bear, One-Eyed Jack (8.5, a New Weird story of city spirits and the challenge between rival areas; fascinating use of weaponized egregores, with Bear's usual taut prose and witty banter)
  9. Peter Watts, Blindsight* (10, still practically perfect as a First Contact story, a Singularity story, and an exploration of humanity and sentience; Watts backs up his suppositions with terrific scientific grounding in the endnotes)
  10. Peter Watts, Echopraxia (8, bizarre exploration of free will, transhumanism, and Alien Invasion; not as tight as the first book, but still intriguing)
  11. Thomas J. Ryan, The Adolescence of P-1 (7.5, very early AI-as-virus story from the 1970s; tons of how-the-ship-works detail that are now a time capsule of mainframe and 300-baud modems; the AI itself is a great character, and the programmer is hilariously inept)
  12. David Mitchell, Slade House (5, this would have been a good short story, but as a skinny novel it just went on too long, repetitive and predictable; also Mitchell really wants to make everything connected among his books, but because it's literature he can't actually make them into series, as he could if he admitted it was speculative fiction, so the end just winds up being incomprehensible)
  13. Brandon Sanderson, Shadows of Self (7, kinda done with Sanderson's world-linking; this was slightly more coherent than the first Wax & Wayne novel and pulled in the kandra and other concepts, but without much payoff)
  14. David Mitchell, Cloud Atlas (8, fabulous characters and scenes in a very meandering 'plot'... is this what literature feels like? redeemed and tied together somewhat by the coda)
  15. David Petersen et al, Mouse Guard: Legends of the Guard (7, anthology of three-page vignettes told by guest author-illustrators in a 'No Shit There They Were' style, mostly charming but pointless)
  16. Charles Stross, The Nightmare Stacks (9, a new POV protagonist allows us to see just how deeply screwed up things have gotten even by The Laundry's standards, and another new-yet-plausible-and-by-the-way-hilarious extradimensional threat shows up)
  17. Neil Gaiman and P. Craig Russell, The Sandman: The Dream Hunters (8, Japanese-style story in the Sandman mythos, telling an achingly beautiful and tragic sidestory)
  18. Elizabeth Bear, All The Windwracked Stars (9.5, it begins with Ragnarok, and then things get worse; Bear is up to her usual genre-bending hijinks as we blend sci-fi and Norse mythology, post-apoc meets flying deer-horses)
  19. Elizabeth Bear, By The Mountain Bound (9, a prequel of sorts that fills in terrible and lovely things about the characters we both loved and hated from ATWWS; this entry is much more classic fantasy overall, which makes it a little less compelling but the revelations of the end, pun intended, are heartbreaking)
  20. Jefferson Morley, Snow-Storm in August (9, journalist takes on the 'forgotten' race riot of Washington D.C. a few decades before the Civil War, centered around some free blacks and Francis Scott Key; compellingly written and exhaustively researched)
  21. Image Comics, Invincible, Vol. 1: Family Matters (7, somewhat interesting take on the superheroic family dynamic)
  22. Image Comics, The Walking Dead: Compendium 3* (7, only the first half was a reread as I caught much of this in trade paperback form before it became a compendium; the story is just getting silly, but Rick Grimes is at least less of a catastrophic domineering asshole in the books)
  23. Image Comics, The Walking Dead: Vol. 25: No Turning Back (6, not really sure what to say about the latest escalation of threat; it reads as Kirkman throwing darts at the wall)
  24. Jennifer B. Kahnweiler, The Introverted Leader: Building On Your Quiet Strength (6, self-help book for introverts written by an extrovert who admittedly did her research; still it mostly boils down to "stop being so introverted and put yourself out there", with some basic exercises to help you attempt that, should you actually want to)
  25. Sage Kobold Productions, Dungeon World RPG (7, after some of the recent rules-light games we've played around with, including its successor Monster of the Week, this feels clunky and heavy still, as if it were 2/3 of D&D3.5 with new restrictions and quirks)
  26. Elizabeth Bear, Karen Memory (7, Bear's historical research is still terrific but her voice seems a little weak in this one; I think I prefer her when she's thinking bigger and weirder than just steampunk Westerns)
  27. Michael Sands & Steve Hickey, Monster of the Week RPG (8.5, the game is spectacularly straightforward at what it does (episodic cinematic horror-hunters), but the layout of the book can be a bit confusing, which it mostly solves through repetition like a textbook)
  28. Elizabeth Bear, The Sea Thy Mistress (8, this is a really frustrating book because everyone is being Incredibly Stupid for consistent, character-driven, gut-wrenching reasons; however it winds up the trilogy about as well as could possibly be true)
  29. Michelle Muckley, Identity X (5, poorly edited and predictable ebook about abuse of power, clandestine spies, false families, and genetic whatchamacallits...it's aiming for a sequel but I just don't care)
  30. Jill Cooper, 15 Minutes (7, time travelling teenager, more spies, more false families, but a better narrative here... it's the start of a trilogy that isn't available locally)
  31. Image Comics, The Walking Dead: Vol. 26: Call To Arms (8, somehow we got an interesting thread going again)
  32. Image Comics, Invincible, Vol 2-22 (7, fun but not terrific take on superheroes, family, and growing up... mostly was exploring my new Hoopla account)

Worked on but did not finish...
  1. Steve McGuire, Writing Solid Code
  2. Homer, The Odyssey*
  3. James P. Carse, Finite and Infinite Games
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