Six of Crows (Six of Crows #1) by Leigh Bardugo This is so much more satisfying to read than the main Grisha trilogy, although new readers might be confused by the terminology. I want to chalk it up to Bardugo becoming more skilled as a writer, as not only are the characters of SoC more interesting and emotionally resonant, but the flow of her writing itself is stronger. Bardugo's never been too shabby with her action scenes, but I always felt that they weren't properly fleshed out, sometimes I would find myself already in the middle of a complex scene wondering how we had gotten there. A lot of the story feels more accessible: Her characters are more developed, and their interactions feel more honest and relatable as well. There are still a few iffy patches in the book, but over-all it was satisfactory as a heist novel, and it makes me eager to read the succeeding novels in the Six of Crows series.
Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson After the epic nature of the first Mistborn trilogy, I found Alloy of Law, the novel preceding Shadows of Self, to be a letdown. It was a well-written letdown that totally renewed my perspective on the world Sanderson had showed us in the first trilogy, but something more "cute" than anything else. If I had to compare it to anything else, it was sort of like watching the first season of Korra after the AtLA series, except you know, cooler. And because I haven't learned my lesson over the two years since I started reading Sanderson's books, I thought Shadows would be more of the same. Of course it wasn't. I was stupid and entitled, and I see that now. Apparently Alloy was slow to like, protect my fucking heart or something. But even though I am unworthy, Sanderson has seen fit to release the next one, Bands of Mourning in January 2016, and salve the shreds of my mind, because EVERYTHING HAS BEEN UPENDED. That nice utopia (of crime) Harmony built for us isn't going to be around for long, because no-one deserves nice things because we, this includes the characters not just e royal we, have become complacent. The epic nature of the first trilogy is back, and with it are beloved characters, now mythic figures in the context of the narrative, who have to save the world all over again. It was so good that I ended up calling M twice in the span of ten minutes because of the last two chapters. AMAZING. Another cool thing though, Sanderson seems to have smoothed out the sudden drop that comes before a Sanderson Cascade, and his writing's evened out as well. Cannot wait until January!!!
The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth #1) by N. K. Jemisin I admit that I went into this series with a little trepidation, as someone whose enjoyed The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms trilogy and is a heartbroken fan of the Dreamblood Duology, the stakes were a little high for me. I had been looking forward to this release since it had been announced, but had been unable to read it until a month after the release due to nerves. I knew that it would have to be all right at that every least, and end d up purchasing a copy for my friend on her birthday. She loved it, of course. I finally got to read it during an especially grueling nine and a half hour wait to register for next year's elections, and it was so worth the wait. It was literally the only thing keeping from going ballistic on my neighbouring registrants. The conceit of Jemisin's new series is that the characters live on a world that is plagued by repeating cataclysms that destroy every civilisation they build. Humanity is surviving, but only because of two things: the reviled "roggers", people with the power to calm or incite the wild movement of the earth, and the Lore, survivalist advice passed down from generation to generation with the intent to help people survive. The world building (breaking) would be interesting enough, but the best part of this novel is the amazing way Jemisin delivers her story. It's so well-executed that I think that describing it would spoil for everyone else. So let that be a mystery for you. Good shit.
Dawn, Adulthood Rites, and Imago (The Xenogenesis Trilogy) by Octavia E. Butler The Xenogenesis Trilogy deserves its status as a classic. It seriously fucked me up. I'd only meant to read Dawn, the first in the trilogy, but holy fucking shit it was so good that I blazed through the whole thing in less than six hours. It was so immersive that every time I had to stop reading, it felt as though I was coming up for air after a long swim. I've long been low key obsessed with the idea of humanity spreading out through the stars, and this series addresses that idea, and is a long meditation on what exactly we would need to do, how much we would need to give up to become the kind of people who could do that. The premise is simple: humanity nearly destroys itself through nuclear holocaust, this was of course written during a time when nuclear weapons were the most likely thing we'd use to kill ourselves, and the remainder of he species is picked up by aliens. These aliens are a spacefaring race that value differences: they look for compatible people whose characteristics they can take into themselves to renew their species. They trade those characteristics with physical and mental enhancements that would be a gift for any other group as well as by breeding into our species, ensuring that the next generation of both groups would be chimaeras. However, since humanity is so diminished, accepting their help would mean the complete dissolution of humanity as a single and unique entity. This is the ethical problem that survivors have to deal with. AND YO, BUTLER KNOCKS IT OUT OF THE PARK I AM NOT EVEN JOKING. All three books are so well-written and developed that I could've cried from the sheer BEAUTY. I am going to read every fucking book Butler has published and I am going to take her bibliography into my brain and FIX MY LIFE. AUGH.
The Gardens of the Moon (The Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson
Diaspora by Greg Egan
Abarat: Days of Magic Nights of War by Clive Barker
Next 20 Reads:
1. Briar Rose by Jane Yolen
2. Genocide of One by Kazuaki Takano
3. The Man Who Knew Too Much by G. K. Chesterton
4. Lives in Ruins: Archaeologists and the Seductive Lure of Human Rubble by Marilyn Johnson
5. The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat by Oliver Sacks
6. Cloud and Ashes: Three Winter's Tales by Greer Gilman
7. She of the Mountains by Vivek Shraya
8. Atonement by Ian McEwan
9. Sans Moi by Marie Despleschin
10. The Angel's Game (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books #2) by Carlos Ruiz Zafon
11. The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell
12. The City and the City by China Mieville
13. Rose Daughter by Robin McKinley
14. Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky
15. A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller Jr.
16. Life During Wartime by Lucius Shepard
17. In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex by Nathaniel Philbrick
18. Thank You, Jeevesby P.G. Wodehouse
19. Descent of Angels (The Horus Heresy #5) by Mitchel Scanlon
20. Kindred by Octavia Butler