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A Work in Progress

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

2011 Fantasy Reading Challenge

My absolute favorite genre,  can't resist this one!
I am going with the "Obsessed" level 20+ books in the genre.

Challenge Completed May 30th 2011 , still adding books as I read them.
No surprise, I had a blast with this challenge.  
Fantasy has been my favorite genre since I was 13, got my first job and signed up for the Science Fiction Book Club.  When that first box arrived, you know the one, buy 7 for $1.99 and 2 more for half off?, I was hooked.  Piers Anthony's Blue Adept series,  Anne McCaffrey's, Dragonriders of Pern,  Roger Zelanzy's, Amber,  Marion Zimmer Bradley's, Darkover were all in that box.  And I was swept away to other places and times that enthralled me, exited me and transported me.
During this challenge I was thrilled again with some new friends and new places and reminded of why I loved some old ones.
It is only May 30th and I will be reading many more books throughout the year.  Below are some comments on the ones I read for this challenge.
Thanks and see you next year!

Read Brandon Mull's, A World Without Heroes, Beyonder's #1.  I enjoyed it but I am not invested as yet. I loved Fablehaven once I got past the first one, so I will reserve judgement and wait for the next in the series. There was a lot to like, it just never really picked up for me as yet.
Enjoyed Across the Universe , by Beth Revis.  It was a strange book, kind of like One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest meets 1984 but with a young adult slant.  I think, oddly, it may yet be a sci fi classic in it's own right.

Read through the first three of the  Iron Druid Chronicles and loved them.  I was looking for some humorous fantasy and saw this recommended on MobileReads. Love my Kindle for immediate gratification.  Atticus is an ancient druid, the last of his kind and he hangs with an Irish Wolfhound that goes by the name of Oberon. He looks twenty-something and owns a book/herbal shop. With an enchanting cast of characters (sometimes literally) Hounded was a pleasure from start to finish.  Hard to write a review without spoilers but these are funny and fun, a good romp and I recommend them

I read the first 4 books in the Sookie Stackhouse series. By book 4, this was the review I wrote on GoodReads. "Still not a fan. I like so much about these, especially her supporting characters. (Bubba), but they are getting more R rated in each book and that doesn't work for me. And they still just don't have that, "I'm hooked" factor.  Think it is time to move on."
Dead Until Dark, Charlaine Harris
Living Dead in Dallas, Charlaine Harris
Club Dead, Charlaine Harris
Dead to the World, Charlaine Harris
(can I mention here how pissed I am at Blogger's upgrade and the loss of my Amazon widget?)
Maximum Ride, The Angel Experiment, James Patterson 
Maximum Ride, School's Out - Forever, James Patterson 

Maximum Ride, Max, James Patterson

Maximum Ride, Fang, James Patterson

Maximum Ride, Angel, James Patterson

The Mercy Thompson series were recommended by a friend who is also a Dresden Files fan.   While technically in the same genre and quite enjoyable so far, they are no Dresden Files.  On their own merit though, Mercedes is a highly likable character with a great supporting cast.  Interestingly, the fae have "come out" to some extent in these books and the consequences are only just beginning to reverberate through as the werewolves also reveal themselves.
I am now in the third book and will happily continue the series, they are a nice addition to the paranormal genre. I also very much appreciate that the content, so far, is 'PG". I like to share good stories with my teenager but a lot of paranormal crosses a line I am not ready for her to cross as yet.
I plowed through these and loved them and went right into Brigg's Alpha and Omega series when I was done.  Mercy is a fabulous character and I can't get enough of these.  While they don't have all the humor of the Dresden Files, these are stand out books, especially as you keep reading.  Great fun, highly recommended.
Bone Crossed
Silver Borne

River Marked

From Patricia Brigg's website, the seventh and last in the series is due out Spring 2013

Alpha and Omega series

Cry Wolf

Hunting Ground

Due out  January 2012,  Fair Game
After the 2nd one, I couldn't put these down.

Rise of the Evening Star

Grip of the Shadow Plague 

Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary  

 Keys to the Demon Prison.  
Brandon Mull is a masterful storyteller with great characters, he has a real gift for making his supporting cast memorable.  He  also excels at the plot twist and the bad guy twists.  Also it seems satyrs are always funny.

Just started this series and so far I am a fan. Indiana Jones, Laura Croft, Daniel Jackson and Amelia Peabody rolled into one exciting character. A little history, a little paranormal, a little action adventure and you have a winning combination. Can't wait to read the next in the series. I gave it 3 stars because it takes me a little while sometimes to fall in love with a series but I did enjoy it very much.

I re-read Game of Thrones, A Song of Ice and Fire Book 1 as the 5th book is coming out at long last and HBO is about to launch a new series based on the books on April 17th. It has been forever since I read them and now seems a good time to do so. I'd forgotten how good they were. Epic fantasy in the classic style of all good epic fantasy. Did I mention Sean Bean is in the series? Be still my heart.

A Clash of Kings, Book 2, A Song of Ice and Fire - George RR Martin
This is book two of the epic fantasy series and I read them years ago.  It is worth the re-read even though they average about 700 pages.  These are fantasy at it's finest.  The first book came out in 1991 and here at last, the 5th, A Dance with Dragons is finally available for pre-order on Amazon with a July publication date.  I have just done a little research on the series and am almost wishing now that I had waited to read these again.  With a track record of 6 years between books these days, George R.R. Martin plans to have this series go to 7 books all told.  I hope it doesn't end up being another Wheel of Time. 
*this is not kids reading, lots of adult themes

City of Bones, Mortal Instruments Book 1, Cassandra Clare
 City of Ashes, Mortal Instruments Book 2, Cassandra Clare
City of Glass, Mortal Instruments Book 3, Cassandra Clare
 City of Fallen Angels, Mortal Instruments Book 4, Cassandra Clare
Clockwork Angel , Infernal Devices Book 1 (prequel series)
I really enjoyed Cassandra Clare's world.  I grew more and more engaged with the characters as they developed more fully.  I quite liked the new twist on the very popular faery, lycanthrope, vampire, and angel fiction that is so very prevalent these days.  In a time where it has begun to be, done to death, so to speak, her work is original and satisfying.  Definitely a fan of this series.
Holly Black, a favorite of mine, said it better than I could,
"Cassie's writing makes my toes curl with envy. She is the rare writer who can write fast-paced dramatic fantasy with gorgeous language and memorable characters that you grow to love and worry about, as well as really funny bits that will make you honestly laugh and remember them and repeat them to your friends. It is rare to find someone who can do any one of those things well; to find someone who can do them all is just dangerous."
- Holly Black, author of Tithe and Valiant

 A friend of mine recommended The Dresden Files series and handed me a bag full of them last week.  I spent a day in the ER and read all day and then didn't stop until I'd read them all.
I am hooked on these.  Harry Dresden is one of my new very favorite characters of all time.  Mixing the Nevernever, paranormal, present day, action, adventure and humor I am plowing through these with abandon.  Harry is one of a kind with his haunted past,  his sense of humor and his oddball bunch of friends.  These  include  Mister, his Garfield-sized cat, Bob, his research helper spirit who lives in a human skull, Murphy the adorable (but don't tell her) hard-bitten Special Investigations officer, and Susan, sexy, loyal companion and syndicated writer for the Arcane.  Vampires, werewolves, ghosts, gangs, and writing reminiscent of my favorite sleuth's creator, Robert Parker make these a hit with me.  Each book has gotten better and better and I couldn't wait to grab the next as I finished each one.

 Butcher is a genius. Action, adventure, characters familiar and fun, humor, sarcasm. loyalty, friendship, pets, these books are some of the most rip roaring fun I have had reading in a long time.  It is Dresden himself that drives the action, these are written in the first person from Harry's point of view.  Reminiscent in flavor of the classic gunslinger spaghetti westerns, at no point do these become predictable. 

And now I am sad, the next book, Ghost Story, won't be out until July.  I will be missing Harry until them. 

Julie Kagawa's Iron Fey Series.
I almost didn't read them when I saw "Harlequin Teen".  I hate Harlequin books, I despise the entire Romance genre.  I don't object to romance in general, but I want it to stem from a great plot line and story, not BE the plot line and story.  
In any case, I couldn't resist these due to their premise.  King Oberon had a half fey daughter who discovers who she is on her 16th birthday when her 4 year old half brother is exchanged for a changeling.
An avid Shakespeare lover, who could resist delving into a world with Oberon, Titania, Queen Mab and the irrepressible Robin Goodfellow?  
Add into the Nevernever a plot twist stemming from technology and gadgets in our world and you get a whole new world of faery.  Julie Kagawa did an amazing job putting together a highly engaging story and I look forward to reading more of her work.
The Iron King,  Julie Kagawa
 The Iron Daughter, Julie Kagawa

The Wish List, Eoin Colfer
 Because I really enjoyed the Artemis Fowl books I have read so far and because I can't resist the description," Eoin Colfer’s Wish List reads like a head-on collision between Dawson’s Creek and Touched by an Angel."

 Game of Thrones,  Book 1, A Song of Ice and Fire - George RR Martin
 A Clash of Kings, Book 2, A Song of Ice and Fire - Gerge RR Martin
 A Storm of Swords, Book 3, A Song of Ice and Fire - Gerge RR Martin
 A Feast for Crows, Book 4, A Song of Ice and Fire - Gerge RR Martin
Because I own them and either have never read them or can't remember ever reading them

Alanna, The First Adventure, Song of the Lioness Book 1,
In the Hand of the Goddess, Song of the Lioness Book 2,
The Woman who Rides Like a Man,  Song of the Lioness Book 3,
Lioness Rampant, Song of the Lioness Book 4,
These had great reviews and I enjoyed them but would have enjoyed them much more around the age of, oh early teens, I think.  These were old school fantasy.

As I read the above I longed to head back to Privet Drive, where I first met Harry and so I re-read the series.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkhaban
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
As Stephen King so aptly put it, "No ending can be right, because it shouldn’t be over at all. The magic is not supposed to go away." 


Linda December 28, 2010 at 2:01 PM  

I can certainly recommend the Martin, Wrede and Pierce books- loved them all. I'm going to have to look for Marillier, I don't think I've read any of hers.

PS. Martin is supposed to have been finishing the Game of Thrones series for years now- if he ever does, I'll have to reread the first 4!

Debra December 28, 2010 at 10:03 PM  

Hi Lizzie,
Meet your newest follower.
Hope you'll swing by and
visit me too. Company is
always welcome at my place.
Happy New Year, and may
many, many blessings come
your way!

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