Books for September, October, November and December 2008

Now that 2009 is officially underway, I thought it might be a good idea to say a few things about the four books I managed to read during the last four months of 2008. Which isn’t quite as bad as it sounds, as it only counts the books with covers, and not the drafts and other manuscripts that I read for various friends, but one book a month still feels like a pretty sad number.

Alphabet Of Thorn by Patricia A. McKillip [4/5]

A wonderful book, with McKillip’s fine prose and a very good sense of setting. I don’t think it’s among my very favorite of her books, but I still recommend it.

The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle, Day 1) by Patrick Rothfuss [2/5]

A lot of people seem to really love this book, but I didn’t end up being one of them. It was almost as though the author took the slow start that plagues far too many fantasy epics, stretched it out into a whole book (and a long one at that), and added a framing device (the protagonist telling his story). The setting has some interesting aspects, and the prose is good, but I didn’t like Kvothe much at all, so overall I’d have to say that this book didn’t work for me.

Best New Fantasy edited by Sean Wallace [4/5]

This excellent collection has great stories by Theodora Goss, Nick Mamatas, Holly Phillips, Kelly Link, M. Rickert and others. I got it as free bonus when I bought other books at the Prime Books table at Readercon, and I’m glad I did. Recommended.

Lamentation (The Psalms of Isaak) by Ken Scholes [5/5]

Wow. I ‘m glad I got my hands on an ARC so I could read this early. I should probably include the disclaimer that Ken is both one of Jenn’s clients and a really cool guy, but even if he wasn’t, I would still be tremendously impressed by this book. The prose is excellent, the setting is creative, the characters are great, the pace is quick, and the whole novel is just packed with things actually happening. Very highly recommended.

As-yet-unpublished manuscripts read:

  • Gideon by Alex Gordon (early draft)
  • Locomotive to Crimea by Ekaterina Sedia (draft)
  • Journey to the East by Mary Robinette Kowal (draft)
  • a few other projects

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