Thursday, 1 January 2015

Dust Cover Dust-Up 2014: Round Two, Part One

Happy New Year, everybody! This year I resolve to keep reading, without stressing out about how much I'm not reading.

I took the week after Christmas off, a chance to rest and recharge and just read. Well, I wrote a few reviews, but put them on hold for posting until the New Year. And now we start to get into the harder battles of the Dust Cover Dust-Up. Let's see what Round Two holds!

Railsea vs. Ship-Breaker

Winner: Railsea

Ship-Breaker was fine, and certainly good solid YA science fiction, set in the post-climate change worlds that Bacigalupi excels at. I'd recommend it, although it is a little harsh. Railsea, though. Railsea. I can't even express my deep love for this book. It may be my favourite Mieville so far, and that's saying quite a lot. It's the layers in this one, backwards into literature and an homage to Moby Dick, in a world that is all Mieville's own, and roots that are exposed every once in a while to reveal depths unheard of. There isn't a step wrong in this one. Loved it. Loved it so much.

A Wanted Man vs. Ain't Nobody's Business If I Do 

Winner: Ain't Nobody's Business If I Do

This is a tough one. Not because I loved the books - indeed, the exact opposite. Neither of these were books that really stuck with me, so choosing one to move on to the third round? Difficult.  Lee Child's Jack Reacher book was much like all the others in the series have been. A pleasant, violent confection, and not a lot more. Ain't Nobody's Business If I Do was similarly not a book that stayed with me. But I think it has a bit more to it than A Wanted Man. Okay, this round goes to Ain't Nobody's Business.

In The Night Garden vs. Titus Alone

Winner: In The Night Garden

Easy-peasy. One of those contests where I get to weed out a book that I didn't really want to go further in the competition anyway. Titus Alone is a perplexing book, and I'm glad to leave it behind in favour of the nested storytelling of Catherynne Valente, who combines a beautiful writing style, with a dozen or more amazing stories. I may have felt like I almost lost the thread at one point, but the tapestry they weave was well worth the weft. 

The Fall of Hyperion vs. Feed

Winner: The Fall of Hyperion

The first truly hard choice of the round! I loved both these books. Feed kept me up at night, reading a genre I normally steer far clear of. Zombies, not generally my thing. Mira Grant made it my thing, at least as far as her writing goes. But I loved The Fall of Hyperion. Almost as much as I loved Hyperion, and that book won last year's Dust Cover Dust-Up. It answers all the questions the first book left hanging, and while it does it in a more traditional science fiction novel, I was engrossed from first page to last.

Wolf Hall vs. Palimpsest 

Winner: Wolf Hall

Oh, ugh. Another hard one. I liked both of these books a whole lot. Mantel made historical fiction truly something unique, and Valente looked at all the ways people have to having sex and wrapped them into an amazing adult fantasy novel. It may only be the fact that one Valente book has already made it through in this very post that means I'm bumping Wolf Hall ahead by a smidge. Although of the two Valente books, I liked Palimpsest more. Still, Cromwell gets it. By a wolf's hair.

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