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...
So...now you tell us your 2009 raves.