Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Rave Reads from 2009

by Raelene Gorlinsky

December was full of "best books of the year" lists from everyone and everywhere. So we waited a bit to discuss ours.

Did you have a fiction read or two in 2009 that absolutely blew you away? (A book you first read in 2009, regardless of when it was published.) That you rushed around to recommend to everyone you knew? Not the book that you were "supposed" to love, or that was necessarily a mega-seller, or that all the snooty people said you absolutely had to read and appreciate or you were a Neanderthal. No, honestly, what was your favorite fun and fascinating novel (especially genre fiction) of the year? And of course, why did it hit you like that, why do you think we'd all love it too?

I'll start off with mine. I did indeed rave about these two stories to everyone I talked "books" with. And I loved them both for the same reasons. Oh, and since both were the first in planned series, I am enthusiastically and impatiently awaiting the next books!

Soulless by Gail Carringer: Paranormal steampunk romance. The author's website has an excellent description: "comedies of manners set in Victorian London: full of vampires, dirigibles, and tea. They are either Jane Austen doing urban fantasy, or PG Wodehouse doing steampunk."

The paranormals in this world are vampires, werewolves and ghosts. Humans are now aware they exist, and they are tolerated, at least in England.

Angel's Blood by Nalini Singh: Urban fantasy romance. And she had two novellas out as part of this series, so I scarfed those up too! From her website: "lethal, beautiful archangels hold sway over immortals and mortals both, with the Guild Hunters caught in between, tasked with retrieving those vampires who break contracts with their angelic masters."

These angels are not the religious kind -- they are almost-immortal winged beings with strange powers, control over humans, and the ability to create vampires. They are often cruel, power-hungry, greedy, uncaring of humanity; their motives not something we can comprehend.

So why did I love these two books? Unique and complex worldbuilding. Both series are based on concepts I've not run into before, and I am in awe of the authors for dreaming these worlds up. And most especially for having such detailed, consistent, and believable worlds. I don't want to spoil it if you plan to read these, so I won't go into details. But I just start stuttering in amazement whenever I reread these books -- which I've done several times. And I'll be first in line to read the next ones in both series. Oh, Gail or Nalini, if you need a beta reader in future... you tell us your 2009 raves.


Danica Avet said...

Angel's Blood was simply fabulous. It was such a wonderful twist on the vampire story, as well as angels. I'm already addicted to Singh's Psy-Changeling series and I'm sure her Guild Hunters series won't be any different for me.

Other than that, the 2009 books I simply died for would be: JR Ward's Covet and Lover Avenged, and Kresley Cole's Kiss of a Demon King.

Mel Teshco said...

I've been meaning to get me that book and of course have to read Covet - i adore JR Ward!
Ah well, a few more books in my shopping cart at the Book Depository... lol

Desire Holt said...

My best reads in 2009 were actually rereads, two books, seuels, that I loved from the first time I read them-Joey HIll's Ice Queen and Mirror of My Soul. In my entire life I have never ready a more beautiful erotic love story. The writer uses words as an artist uses paints, creating images and emotions on a bare landscape of white papaer. Anyone who hasn't read these two nbooks is missing a real treat.

Angelia Sparrow said...

The Queer Dimensions anthology (GLBT SF), edited by James Rasmussen and the Like a Corset Undone anthology (erotic steampunk), from Circlet Press. Both of which I'm very proud to be in.

These were amazing. High quality stories, terrific writing and excellent workmanship on the books and covers.

Unknown said...

Angelia, thanks for the recommendation. I love steampunk and erotic, so I'm definitely going to have to try the Like a Corset Undone anthology.

I'm currently reading Steamed by Katie MacAlister, just came out. Alternate universe steampunk, the hero is obsessed with the heroine's corset. Very amusing story, I love the heroine.



Ann Leveille said...

I read two great books last year -- Heart's Blood by Juliet Marillier, and Antonides' Forbidden Wife by Ann McAllister. Both had fabulous characterization and great romantic storylines.

I also started Marjorie M. Liu's Dirk and Steele series. I've read the first three, and really
enjoyed them all.

Angel's Blood was really good too. I'm looking forward to the next one in the series!

Helen W said...

Storm Born and Thorn Queen by Richelle Mead. The "Vampire Acadamy" and "Succubus" series didn't really grab me but my daughter bought these books and forced me to read them. They're good reads. There is movement in the plot, character resolution and growth and while not exactly fast paced there is lots of action. They're excellent adult-geared books by what is commonly perceived as a purely YA author.
Be warned the second book has a rape scene but this series is very tightly plotted and the rape is integral to the plot (and well handled too). It's a 4-book series and the next book is not coming out until 2011 unfortunately.

Diane M. said...

I loved Angel's Blood and can't wait to get Archangels' Kiss this week.

johnny ray said...

These are interesting and I will have to consider them. thanks for sharing this with us.

Johnny Ray

Anonymous said...

Don't stop posting such stories. I like to read articles like that. BTW add more pics :)

Anonymous said...

Not a romance, but Jeff VanderMeer's Finch was great. A blend of noir, fantasy, and literary aspiration. Really good stuff.

Christina Lee said...

I've been wanting to read Soulless--so now I really do after you're review! :)