Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? vs. First Among Sequels
Winner: Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal?
I like Jasper Fforde, but First Among Sequels was not as strong as some of his other outings. It was fun, but not spectacular. Whereas fun is definitely not the way to describe Jeanette Winterson's memoir, but it was powerful. In the second half, this little book shifts gears to become something quite extraordinary.
Redshirts vs. The Computer Connection
These are both books by science fiction writers I like quite a lot, without themselves being books that set my world on fire. When Bester is good, he's spectacular. The Computer Connection, on the other hand, is a weird little book that is interesting, but doesn't have the impact of his best stuff. On the other hand, Scalzi is always entertaining, and this is no exception, although all the codas feels a little hand-holdy. Still, for pure enjoyment, it wins this particular battle.
Tooth and Claw vs. Let's Pretend This Never Happened
Winner: Tooth and Claw
This is an almost impossible choice! I liked both of these books so much, for vastly different reasons. Tooth and Claw is a remarkably good Victorian novel, whose protagonists happen to be dragons. This allows strange and delightful commentary on Victorian society. And then there's Jenny Lawson's book, which made me laugh out loud more than any other this past year. Oh dear. Oh dear oh dear oh dear. I think the dragons take this one, but it's close.
Changeless vs. Hexed
Easy. Changeless was a Victorian-set supernatural romance that tickled me not nearly as much as the dragons of the previous match-up did. While Hexed didn't really do much more than the first in that particular series, I still like Atticus, his snark, and particularly, his dog. Druids over the soulless, no contest.
Red Seas Under Red Skies vs. Doctor Faustus
Winner: Red Seas Under Red Skies
Sorry, Thomas Mann. You're all literary and worthy and a very good book, but you didn't make me weep. Scott Lynch did, with this follow up to Locke Lamora's adventures that perhaps even surpassed the first book, and I loved that book a lot. Classic literature doesn't stand a chance against conmen, a ship, pirates, and tragedy.