Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Reading Lists 2016: Ranked Reading List 4

#10. The Eternal War (TimeRiders #4) 
Alex Scarrow
Heh. Blah. Too many open ends and not enough endearing moments. I actually made "rank predictions" based on how much I liked previous books in the series... But this one came out a bit weaker in the storyline than the rest. Almost like the author was saying, "I know I have spent the last three books focusing on the two forefront main characters and it worked out just fine, but in the interest of fairness I am going to change things more drastically than ever AND I will make a HUGE deal out of the "poor, neglected" secondary characters... Just for a change."
Unfortunately, it didn't work. It was change purely for change's sake, and it fell flatter than I would have liked... Bummer.

#9. P is for Peril (Kinsey Millhone #16)
Sue Grafton
This one is one of the good ones. Considering that among the characters is one from a previous book that I didn't enjoy much. Kinsey is quickly swept up in a soap opera of scandal and drama when a woman comes to her about the disappearance of her husband—and chief among the suspects is his ex-wife, who resents Kinsey's involvement. Throw in a miraculous advertisement for a small studio apartment from two brothers who may or may not have murdered someone, and a nursing home embroiled in insurance fraud, declaring medical expenses for deceased patients.... Kinsey is up to her ears in Peril, but that's never stopped her!

#8. Trigger Mortis (A James Bond Novel)
Anthony Horowitz
Pretty good, felt like a real Bond film... At least, the Daniel Craig version. Fast cars; strong and "independent" women (like the one who simultaneously teaches him motor racing and wins his regard... And the "reporter-not-a-reporter" who sparks his affections), outrageously cold villains who "just want to watch the world burn..." Coupled with a desperate motorbike chase... This could totally be a film and I would not be surprised. Horowitz has done a great job with his tribute novels, first for Sherlock and now Bond--I like to think Sir Ian Fleming would be pleased with the homage, if not gratified for the respect paid to a character he invented.

#7. Grave Peril (Harry Dresden #3)
Jim Butcher
Yet another exciting installment of the Dresden Files! This one felt a little "out of continuity", with the sudden (but understandable) absence of Murphy and the addition of a character named Michael (who, given Harry's occupation and the nature of this series, could very well actually BE a reincarnated Templar knight or something!) with a wife and kid—but then again, there were a lot of things that seemed to directly follow the events of the previous book, so I wasn't sure what to make of the things... But I really liked the book! The way the plot stacked up, the awesome character development moments, the red herrings that seemed so convincing but turned out to be false... Really good! 

#6. United As One (Lorien Legacies #7)
Pittacus Lore
Wonderful ending to a great series! I have been hungering for this moment ever since "The Fall of Five" when I first had to begin the long wait for each successive novel, fully expecting each to be the last... Only to run smack into the cliffhanger at the end... But FINALLY THIS IS THE LAST ONE FOR SURE NOW PEOPLE!! And I could not have asked for better closure for all the characters involved. Great and awesome characters and a neat premise that fits together like a tightly-crafted puzzle. I wasn't sure at about halfway through as it seemed to teeter on the precarious edge of "doing too much", but it all swept into resolve, and I really like the conclusion of the matter.

#5. The Hero of Ages (Mistborn #3)
Brandon Sanderson
Holy crap, that ending, though! I can honestly say that I wasn't ready for this book. Strange that it has felt like "falling action" ever since the end of the first book. It's like certain specific characters die to give closure to the end of the first book, and every single "supporting character" feels the fallout for the rest of the series. I loved the character development that went on. Quite possibly my favorite part of Sanderson's style is he takes a scenario that would otherwise feel like a history textbook for a nonexistent world, so why should we care—then he makes us care about the world because we care about the characters living on it. These locations and place names and interim rulers were so far-flung that many of them would have sailed right over my head—if their existence had not borne special significance to the characters I liked. The ending was a real head-scratcher, I had to read some scenes several times to understand what was going on—but all in all, it came to a close and I liked it.

#4. The Golden Yarn (Mirrorworld #3)
Cornelia Funke
Beautiful, stunning as ever... BUT STILL NOT THE END!! It's been a year (or more) since I read the first two books—and even that was right at the end of my "Cornelua Funke book binge" when I read pretty much all of her other printed works, so it's not as if I had any other stories of hers to read till I discovered this one—my WORD, I love this woman's style! It's beautiful, it's dark, it's ethereal, it's magical—she takes the magic of fairy tale and fantasy and kicks it up to a whole new level. She basically recreates "typical" fantasy magic to fashion her own breed, with its own set of rules and parameters. I quite enjoyed this book, long though it was—right up until the back cover when I discovered that she still has not one but TWO MORE books to release in the series! Be still my heart!

#3. Queen of the Tearling (Tearling #1)
Erika Johansen
Oh my gosh! SO BEAUTIFUL!!! But WHO IS THE FETCH???? This is the book where all the cliches happen in Act 1—and are promptly pointed out by the self-aware narrative and systematically dismantled by a very capable author and fashioned into something quite unique and wondrous to behold. I am completely smitten with this book and all the promises contained therein. It's fantasy of an ornate and medieval nature; it's paranormal magics and dark rituals with shadow creatures; it's noble characters and traitors you don't see coming; it's a simple peasant girl raised with all that she needs to be queen—except the knowledge that she in fact was one. It's a princess having to fight against the legacy left by her mother and struggle through the process of establishing a new legacy—and hoping that the radical changes will gain a foothold before enemy nations roll in to wipe out what is left of her little kingdom. It's so many questions I never knew I had but now I cannot rest until they are answered. It's definitely my favorite "new" book!

#2. Blue Lily, Lily Blue (Raven Boys Chronicles #3)
Maggie Stiefvater
Holy moly. Another left hook to the feels-box. DANG it just keeps right on going! Gansey and Adam and Ronan and Blue... The more Gansey tries to hunt down Glendower's tomb, the more the Grey Man steps in to either aid or hinder them, the more Greenmantle is just a jerk-face who is trying to get there first—the more of Henrietta and Cabeswater secrets they wind up unearthing, the more perilous their lives become... I forget so much when I am reading these books. I forget that Noah is dead, I forget that Ronan's family may or may not actually exist, I forget which boy Blue is actually falling in love with, I forget that there won't be an actual "happily ever after" because literally EVERYTHING THAT OUGHT TO HAPPEN WILL IN FACT KILL THEM BOTH. It is truly some kind of wizardry that keeps me so firmly entrenched in this series. I am a fly on the wall of 300 Fox Way and there is no going back. On to the next (and final) book!

#1. The Wheel of Osheim (Red Queen's War #3)
Mark Lawrence
Superbly satisfying ending to a spectacular series! Should the opportunity present itself, this will likely be the first out of all his series that I would willingly own. Easily Number One on this list!
I loved the fact that Lawrence used Jalan and Snorri to basically explore and expand the world he has projected, in a way that just wasn't possible or practical with a character like Jorg. I love the lightness of it; after the incredible pain and anger and bitterness and dark of the Broken Empire trilogy, the Red Queen's War comes as a welcome extended sequence of comic relief. I definitely laughed many times over the series. I let myself actually enjoy the various characters to the point of attachment—and the addition of such magical entities as Baraquel, Aslaug, Loki, and the revelations they brought were both amazing and awesome. I felt considerably more satisfaction and closure at the end of this one than I did at the ending of Emperor of Thorns—and the tie-ins to the modern world were even more brilliant this time around. Well done!
I am in the midst of amassing the books for the fifth list--Stay tuned! Head on over to my Facebook Page for quicker updates and more pictures! Catch you further Upstream!
Previous Ranked Lists:
List #1
List #2