Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Dust Cover Dust-Up 2014: My Favourite Books of the Year

We're down to three books now, one contest, winner takes all.  Then I'll put together a list of my top 10 books, from the last couple of rounds.

Railsea vs. Red Seas Under Red Skies vs. Memory

Winner: Railsea

The first book I read last year was also the best. There were other books I loved, but nothing that quite ever lived up to the wonderfulness that is China Mieville at his best. I truly don't know if this is a book for everyone. I feel like maybe it isn't. But is definitely a book for me, and I love it beyond all reason.

So, in summary, my Top Ten Favourite Books of the Year:

1.  Railsea by China Mieville
A land-bound Moby Dick, with captains hunting their philosophies, giant moles, on a world that seems fantastic, but is rooted in subtly fascinating ways firmly in science fiction.

2. Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch
The second Locke Lamora book, taking place mostly on a pirate ship, with wonderful new characters, fantastic new scams, and an ending that ripped my heart out.

3. Memory by Lois McMaster Bujold

I loved all the Miles Vorkosigan books I read this year, and this was one of my very favourites. Miles has to deal with an entirely new disability, one that threatens all he's accomplished.

4. How The Light Gets In by Louise Penny

The storyline that has been boiling beneath the surface through all the Gamache books finally comes to the forefront, and it is intense and indelible. Oh, the duck! Even if you're not a mystery reader, you should be reading this series.

5. Tooth and Claw by Jo Walton
Victorian dragons. With class and gender and inheritances and the eating of the poor. Trust me. Try it.

 6. Black Swan Green by David Mitchell
I have very much enjoyed every David Mitchell book I've read so far, and this is less strange than the others, but no less enjoyable. Turns out, when he's writing about boyhood in 1980s England, it's almost as interesting as his more experimental works.

7. A Civil Campaign by Lois McMaster Bujold
Of course there's going to be more than one Miles book on this list. This was perhaps even more my favourite than Memory, although the tournament format worked against it. It's Miles at his most manic, up against an entirely new enemy - figuring out courtship.

8. The Broken Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin
I have very much enjoyed both of Jemisin's books I've read so far, and this one, about power and its effects, about retribution, justice, and sometimes how mercy is impossible, really grabbed me.

9. The Imposter Bride by Nancy Richler
Quiet gets me sometimes, and this book, with its examination of pain was so quiet, so complex, so compassionate, that it really captured my imagination. It's about a woman who immigrates to Canada in the wake of the Holocaust, and is not who her papers say she is.

10. Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
I came to it late, but I thought Thomas Cromwell was as great a character as everyone else did. It's fascinating, and takes historical fiction up a level.

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