And now there are four!
Hyperion vs. Deathless
Not an easy choice, but still, in the end, I didn't bend myself into knots over this one. I loved Deathless a lot, which I am sure is absolutely apparent by now. But Hyperion is the one that feels like it rewrote my brain. I don't want to belabour The Priest's Tale, but if you can read that and not be hooked and immensely creeped out, I don't know who you are. It's got just the right mixture of religion and science fiction for me. It's truly masterful. And I love what Valente does with Russian folklore, but in a year of some very good books, Hyperion blew my mind.
The Lies of Locke Lamora vs. Luka and the Fire of Life
Winner: Luka and the Fire of Life
Another choice that doesn't seem that difficult. Like Deathless, I thoroughly enjoyed The Lies of Locke Lamora, but Luka and the Fire of Life was the one that I felt hit me on a very personal level. As I've been very upfront about, that's probably largely because it's about the impending death of a parent, which is something that has particular resonance for me these days. I wonder sometimes if it will never not have that resonance, if once you've gone through that particular crucible, it will always colour your responses to fiction. I am quite sure Luka and the Fire of Life is probably not for everyone. It's messy and haphazard, but beautifully and skillfully so.
Only one more battle to go! Tune in tomorrow for the grand finale!