Friday, June 13, 2014

Summer Reading List: Jemmy

Today, Jemmy--a SF/F fanatic, a failed wall gazer, and a Nerds of a Feather contributor since 2012--presents his summer reading list. 

This summer I plan to dedicate wholly to my first love, fantasy. I have been trying to work up the courage to go back through the books that inspired my love for fantasy as a junior high school student--the original Dragonlance series by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman. But to be honest, I am super concerned that re-reading Dragonlance might be akin to seeing a picture of "the one that got away" more than 20 years after the fact. One glance at that picture would no doubt bring shock, dismay, and wonder why you were so into that person in the first place! Basically, I fear I might realize that they are all really, really bad books, with cookie-cutter-esque unidimensional characters, a tired plot, and all that I dislike as a reviewer of contemporary SF/F. So before I kill my first love, it's time to gorge on the good stuff!

1. Half a King by Joe Abercrombie [Del Rey, 2014]

This is my next review for Nerds of a Feather, one that I look forward to beginning. I have always been a fan of Joe Abercrombie, who gets better with each book he writes. While I think his books as of lately have become somewhat repetitive and formulaic, I am really interested to see how he tunes down the "grit" and darkness of his world for more of a YA crowd.  

2. The Shadowed Sun by N.K. Jemisin [Orbit, 2012]

To be honest, I have been a bit worried about this one. The first book of Jemisin's Dreamblood Duology, The Killing Moon, is so good and ends on such a perfect note that I wonder whether she can even come close with this, the second volume of her duology. But I hear from reputable sources that not only is The Shadowed Sun top-notch, it might even be better than The Killing Moon! I'm salivating just thinking about this right now...

3. The Tyrant's Law by Daniel Abraham [Orbit, 2013]

Welcome back, Daniel Abraham. You have the dubious honor of having the same book on my summer reading list two years running! Perhaps I was too ambitious last year, when I promised to read 23 books over the summer. Whatever the case, The Tyrant's Law is now on my desk, waiting to be read. I really appreciate the way the series has progressed thus far, and thinks that Abraham is close to genius in his portrayal of the simple, childlike quality of evil and depravity. His writing of horrible atrocities in almost an aloof manner--without celebrating their grit, their blood, or their gore--makes them even more disturbing! I am really looking forward to this installment of the series!

4. Forge of Darkness by Steven Erikson [Tor, 2012]

Steven Erikson is another writer who just keeps getting better. Forge of Darkness is the first prequel to his Malazan Book of the Fallen, a prequel that takes readers to Kurald Galain, the warren of Darkness. I can't wait to take a bite out of this novel... if not for the story itself, then for the fact that there is no writer in fantasy who makes me laugh as hard as Steven Erikson (Scott Lynch does come close). 

5-7. The Witcher Series (The Last Wish, Blood of Elves, Time of Contempt) by Andrzej Sapkowski

The G has constantly sung the praises of this genre-subverting masterpiece. So it's high time I join him for the ride. Given how Sapkowski creates a dark world that both embraces and parodies the conventions of high fantasy (and fable), I am looking forward to checking them out...