Thursday, November 26, 2015

Best of 2015: Third Quarter

I recently realized I forgot to highlight my favourite books from the third quarter. Better late than never, right?

In the order I read them, my 4.5-star books from July to September are:

Cover of Half Wild, featuring a whisp of green smoke that forms itself into the silhouette of a howling wolf. The title appears vertically over top the image.
HALF WILD by Sally Green

Intense characterization + nasty magic + bisexual love triangle = very happy Memory (with a side of anguish, because bad shit goes down).

I reviewed this one (and its predecessor, HALF BAD) in some detail, so I’ll direct you there.

Cover of Chime, featuring a white girl with very pale blonde hair. She reclines in a bed of branches that seem to be enveloping her.
CHIME by Franny Billingsley

Wow. Y’all did not oversell this much-hyped book.

Again, I reviewed it in detail so I’ll point you there for Deep Thoughts.

Cover of Station Eleven, featuring four white canvas tents arranged behind a very low stone wall and lit from within. Above them is a dark blue sky studded with a fantastic amount of stars.
STATION ELEVEN by Emily St John Mandel

Another much-hyped book that lives up to everything everyone told me about it. I never reviewed it because my brain was basically just a big mass of !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! over it, but don’t you doubt my love. Not even for a moment.

I mean, it’s got human drama and people trucking on against impossible odds and gorgeous, perfectly-painted emotional landscapes and blatant disrespect for the timeline and a comic book at the centre of everything.

It was the perfect book for me.

And for the record, I'd have read it a hell of a lot sooner if y'all had told me about the comic book thing. Please tell me about any and all books that use comics as a plot device.

Cover of Fool's Quest,
FOOL’S QUEST by Robin Hobb

As if Robin Hobb’s latest book wasn’t gonna be on this list. I mean, come on.

My long-ass review was basically just me waffling on about Fitz for a couple thousand words, because Fitz is my favourite.

Cover of Lair of Dreams, featuring three indistinct people standing on a subway platform bathed in blue and green light.
LAIR OF DREAMS by Libba Bray

This was one of my most anticipated books of 2015, and it did not disappoint. It's got magic and science and people of colour and disabled people and queer people! In the 1920s! In New York! With absolute acknowledgment of how tough it was to live in the 1920s if you weren't a rich, able-bodied white guy! Just thinking about it makes me pleased as punch (even though bad shit happens here, too).

Once again, I reviewed it all proper-like.

Cover of An Ember In the Ashes, featuring the title emblazoned against a dark cliff with a cathedral-like building atop it.

The further I made it into AN EMBER IN THE ASHES, the more I loved it. And the more I thought about it after I’d finished, the stronger that love grew.

(Except one character’s fate utterly sickened me. What an awful, awful thing.)

And yet, I never wrote about it because I didn’t even know where to start. AN EMBER IN THE ASHES is at once solidly wonderful and intent to flee from all descriptors.

All descriptors at my disposal, at least. The closest I can come to expressing it is to say it reminded me of the stories I loved when I was a teenager without being very much like any of them.

So helpful, right? You can hardly believe I never reviewed this.


  1. Oo see, I'd have mentioned the comic book in Station Eleven, but I didn't want to make it seem like there's tons and tons of ekphrasis. I am easily disappointed in ekphrasis, having learned from the best (my man Homer and my man Virgil), so that is why. Sorry bro! Reading friend failure!

    Meanwhile your affection for the Sabaa Tahir book has been noted, and the book is added to my list.

    1. I had to google ekphrasis, and now I have a new word to use often and always.

  2. Chime is a good one. I think I'm due for a re-read of it :D Also, I am very curious about Station Eleven, now. I was not aware it involved comics in any way!


    1. It does cool things with comics and the ways they inspire people.