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I realized that I'd omitted two authors from my previous post: C.L. Anderson and Joel Shepherd.

C.L. Anderson is a pseudonym for Sarah Zettel. I really enjoyed Zettel's first two books, Reclamation and Fool's War. At the time I bought Bitter Angels, I didn't know that C.L. Anderson was a pseudonym, but the writing seemed so assured that I wondered about it. Bitter Angels is sf and the story of a woman who retired from the Guardians. The Guardians try to keep war from breaking out by quietly, and sometimes not so quietly, nudging societies. Terese is called back after a colleague is murdered. There's a lot of political maneuvering and betrayals and definitely secrets. I hope there will be more books set in this milieu.

Joel Shepherd has two series published in the US now. The Cassandra Kresnov series is science fiction. Cassandra is an artificial person built for the military. Designed to be an officer, she ends up breaking away and trying to build a new life for herself in Crossover. There are two sequels, Breakaway and Killswitch. Originally published in Australia between 2001 and 2004, they were released in the US in 2009.
So far I like this series more than his currently fantasy series, A Trial of Blood and Steel, but Sasha, like Cassandra, is a strong, complex female character. She's given up her royal rights to train under a retired general. I enjoyed the fact, that although she's much better than most local fighters, she knows quite well that she can't beat someone by strength but must employ subtlety and precise control. I thought Sasha suffered a little by obviously being the opening book in a longer series, but I'm still looking forward to reading the sequels. I've been delaying on cracking open books 2 and 3 (Petrodor and Tracato) until the final book, Haven, is published in late April 2011. 

A third author slipped in while I was visiting the folks during Christmas. While perusing the shelfs at a Half-Price bookstore, I noticed Sandra McDonald's Outback Stars. I remembered hearing good things about the series, and the Australian and New Zealand aspects seemed interesting. I didn't pick up the sequel, The Stars Down Under, which I later regretted. Humanity has acquired a type of jump technology from a disappeared alien race and has used it to colonize a number of planets. The military has kept a tight rein on the technology and colonists have to pay big bucks to escape a trashed earth. Lt. Jodenny Scott is a logistics/supplies specialist and wrangles a berth on what turns out to be a very troubled ship. Trying to tell friend from foe, solve several mysteries (both related to the ship and its personnel and the alien technology), and figure out what to do with a budding attraction to an enlisted man all combine for a very interesting story. I've since managed to find book 3, but can't decide whether to wait a few weeks until I can acquire book 2 or go ahead and read it. [shakes fist at] Since that package will also include Jo Walton's Among Others, which will take priority, maybe I'll read book 3 now.

Farewell to 2010; welcome 2011!
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I"m going to talk about books with which I was unhappy or that I didn't finish in this post.

When I was young, I would always finish a book. Now, however, life is too short, and with 2 bookcases of unread books, there's always something else to read. Many times, I drop a book temporarily. I'm just not in the mood for this book now, or something shinier arrives.

I've now managed to get about halfway through Hawkwood's Voyage by Paul Kearney. This is my second attempt. I've acquired books 3 and 4 of the series, Monarchies of God, so I'll track down book 2 before I finish the first one. Set in an alternative Europe complete with shapeshifters, the voyage is across the ocean to another continent. Previously trips have ended in disaster, but the countries involved are facing invasion from the east. I prefer his Macht books more. They do have simpler storylines and a lot less characters.

Gail Carriger's Parasol Protectorate series had two entries this year: Changeless and Blameless. They reasonably well-written fluff. I liked the first book the best although I have some reservations about the characterization of Alexia (I like Amelia Peabody better). Blameless didn't hold my attention, although I did finally finish it. 

I do plan to finish The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin as it's strikingly well written. Something shiny showed up and I just haven't gotten back to it. This is the book that included an excerpt from Celine Kiernan's Moorehawke Trilogy and I think I diverted to read The Poison Throne.

I also stalled about a third of the way into Cast into Chaos by Michelle Sagara. Set in another world, humans are late-comers into a medieval world with several races. Another influx appears imminent. Sagara has some authorial tics that drop me right out of the story. Normally I can ignore them as I like the characters and the world. In this book, after reading a bunch of pages of Kaylin and Lord Nightshade being all philosophical and oblique and realizing I had another 20 pages of mumble-jumble discussion to go, I put it aside. I will finish it, but maybe I'll skip the drawn out conversation. Ugh.

Two books in long-running series have caused me to reconsider buying any new entries. MaryJanice Davidson's Undead and Unfinished took a shocking turn. I absolutely hated it and will probably not read the next book. Two friends who read this series agree and were very disappointed. I believe I will buy the next Anita Blake book, but this series by Laurell K. Hamilton is now approaching the chopping block. I have really enjoyed this series and have stuck out the latter books because there is some forward plot movement and I just want to know what happens to the characters. I adore Anita's sheer bloody-mindedness. In Bullet, the widening of possibilities for partners and combinations finally overwhelmed my open-minded leanings. I mean, whew. I'll read Hit List, but that might be the end.

Surprisingly enough, I also dropped Mary Robinette Kowal's Shades of Milk and Honey. It appeared to be a book I would love--Regency with magic by a respected author. I did finish it later and enjoyed it. Thinking about books set in a similar time period, I liked Patricia Wrede,  Caroline Stevermer, and Kate Elliott (Cold Magic) books more.

melita66: (ship)

I haven't been keeping a book log for the last few years, so this won't be complete. Books will be given in no particular order. Books include fantasy, mystery, and science fiction. NO SPOILERS

I really enjoyed Guy Gavriel Kay's Under Heaven. Always an excellent writer, Kay's previous books, Ysabel and The Last Light of the Sun, were not my favorites. I'm much more interested in characters than plot or tech. If I don't find the main characters interesting, there's a good chance I'll drop the book. I can't remember any of the characters from LLotS, and liked late-arriving supporting characters in Ysabel more than the main characters. Anyway, UH is set in an alternative ancient China and has some great mythic moments.

Information on the publisher's page for UH also led me to Liu Fang, a simply amazing pipa player.

I also reread Kay's Sarantine Mosaic books which are set in an alternative Byzantium. Great characters, although I found the fact that three main female characters all find Crispin to be so interesting a bit hard to take this time through.

Megan Whalen Turner's latest in the Thief series, A Conspiracy of Kings, was released in the spring. I wholeheartedly [heart] this series, but feel that this is one of the weaker of the series--still excellent though! I can only hope for more stories. The Thief series is set in an vaguely eastern mediterranean setting. There's a mountain kingdom (queendom), Eddis, and two lowlands/coastal countries, Sounis and Attolia. All are jockeying for power and are under a looming threat by an overseas power.

The sequel to Scouts Progress, Mouse and Dragon, by Sharon Lee and Steve Miller was released in June. A Liaden Universe novel, it continues the story of Daav yos'Phelium and Aelliana Caylon after their lifemating. If you've read the Agent of Change sequence, you have some idea of the story's outcome. I consider Scouts Progress to be one of their strongest books. I think I need to reread Mouse and Dragon!

Saltation, sequel to Fledgling, was published a few months before Mouse and Dragon. These 2 books are about Daav's young daughter. They're back story to the end of I Dare where Theo shows up and announces she's in some trouble. The upcoming Ghost Ship will merge the two series' storylines.

Sharon also published Carousel Tides, a contemporary fantasy set in coastal Maine.

Elizabeth Peters had a new Amelia Peabody book out. It has a certain level of quality, but was so reminiscent of earlier books in the series that I kept thinking that I'd already read it. I would be happy if she wrote another book focusing on Ramses, Nefret, David, and Lia (the younger generation).

The God of the Hive is a direct sequel to The Language of Bees by Laurie R. King. King writes about Sherlock Holmes after he's retired via Mary Russell, a young woman of American and British parents, who becomes his apprentice and later partner. These two books are set post-WWI. I reread several other books in the series this year: Justice Hall (my favorite), The Game, and Locked Rooms.

Lindsey Davis released Nemesis, the latest in her Marcus Didius Falco series. I thought it was a good entry and finished off a long-running plotline. I usually buy the British version as it's often released several months before the US edition.

A fantasy series that I ran across this year and just ripped through was Celine Kiernan's The Poison Throne, The Crowded Shadows, and The Rebel Prince in the Moorehawke trilogy. I first encountered the series via an excerpt in the back of The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, and was prompted to think, "I want to read this now!" The well-drawn main characters are all young, and a bit...emotional as some reviewers have pointed out. I chalked it up as a different cultural background (characters and author) and/or the time setting which is late medieval. I am looking forward to more books by Kiernan.

I was also happy to read Corvus, sequel to The Ten Thousand, by Paul Kearney. I want more novels about the Macht. Corvus is set several years after the events of The Ten Thousand. The first book is a re-telling of Xenophon's Anabasis--mercenary force has to fight its way out of a country. Corvus felt like a re-telling of Alexander the Great. I'm happy to see there's another book scheduled for 2011, Kings of Morning.

S.J. Rozan released a new Lydia Chin/Bill Smith novel, On the Line. She alternates books between Bill's and Lydia's POVs. This book was Bill's. I prefer the Bill books, while a male friend prefers the Lydia books! This is an excellent mystery series and I always enjoy reading one.

Diane Duane started a new contemporary/near-future series with Omnitopia Dawn. Set at a software company running *the* MMORPG, it's really a big set-up for future books. I do hope for future books in the series. What I thought was going to be the main plot of the story ended up rather minor. I assume it will be brought out more if there are sequels. We also got a new Wizards books, A Wizard of Mars. It's more Kit's story than Nita's but very welcome. Now if I could only get the next Door Into... book.

Cold Magic is the start of a new series by Kate Elliott. It postulates that an ice age into a pseudo-Victorian age still grips Europe and a plague in Africa has caused wide migrations. Interesting characters and milieu. I look forward to the sequels. The books feels more like young adult than her earlier series.

Sharon Shinn published Troubled Waters, which I hope is the start of a new series. When I asked her if she planned more books in this series at WFC, she said that a lot of people have been asking. The world and its religion are unusual.

Moira J. Moore released the lates in her Heroes series, Heroes Return. The books are set on a lost colony world. The technology level is probaby medieval, shading into Renaissance, with a few bits of more advanced tech. The main characters are a source and shield. The world has strong storms and earthquakes. Sources can channel the power of the 'disaster' and shields keep them from burning out.

Cryoburn just came out. It's the latest Miles Vorkosigan novel from Lois McMaster Bujold. While not one of the amazing books in the series (Memory or A Civil Campaign), it's a fine entry and I'll read anything that LMB writes.

Upcoming in my next post: another set of books from 2010 that I didn't find as exciting.

Wish me luck--I have to go to the post office.


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