Random (but not really)

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Michelle’s Best Books of 2017: Urban / Supernatural Fantasy

As usual, I read a lot of urban and supernatural fantasy, and most of the series I read as new releases fell into that category, so this is going to be the biggest post (as usual). There are a couple older books here that I didn’t know about or didn’t read when they first came out, but most of these books are from authors I pre-order when I see they have a book coming out.


The Rook (2012) Daniel O’Malley (9/10)

Stiletto (2016) Daniel O’Malley (9.5/10)

I had Rook on my wish-list forever, picked it up on sale, then it sat on my TBR pile forever. Once I started it, however, I wanted more and immediately read Stiletto.

This is an urban-fantasy-secret-agent thriller with amnesia and the British government and foreign spies.

You should really check it out.

The Ghoul Vendetta (2017) Lisa Shearin (9/10) – SPI Files book 4

Lisa Shearin’s SPI Files are an auto-buy for me. It’s secret agents and urban fantasy, which are my catnip, but it also has an intelligent and sensible main character who is NOT having a relationship with her handsome partner.

This series starts with The Grendel Affair.

Battle Hill Bolero (2017) Daniel José Older (8.5/10) – Bone Street Rumba book 3

Daniel José Older is fast-becoming one of my favorite authors. He writes of people and places I have no knowledge of, and creates amazing female characters (second only to Charles de Lint in my opinion).

This is the third book of the Bone Street Rumba, and the closing of that specific story arc.

This series starts with Half-Resurrection Blues but you could also begin with Salsa Nocturna.

Cold Reign (2017) Faith Hunter (8.5/10) – Jane Yellowrock book 11

Flame in the Dark (2017) Faith Hunter (8.5/10) – Soulwood book 3

Faith Hunter has been an auto-buy for me for quite awhile now. She has two series set in the same world: Jane Yellowrock (the Cherokee vampire hunter) and Soulwood (Nell, who left the religious sect/cult where she was raised).

Jane’s series has boinking, Nell’s series does not.

In both series the women are strong but also do not fit into society at all: Jane because she was found as an older child with no memory of her past; Nell because she was raised in an extremely strict and paranoid religious sect. Nell’s main story arc ended with this book. Jane’s is still going strong.

Additionally, if you like audio books I very much enjoy Kristine Hvam’s narration. I’ve been slowly listening to Jane’s series and am just about caught up. I also discovered that this has allowed me to retain the story elements without having to re-read the series to each new publication. (Not that I mind doing so–it’s just that we’re on book 11 now.)

The Jane Yellowrock series begins with Skinwalker. Nell’s series begins with Blood of the Earth.

New Watch (2012/2013) Sergei Lukyanenko translated by Andrew Bromfield (8/10) – Night Watch book 5

I still haven’t read the sixth and final book of the Night Watch series, but did finally get around to reading the fifth.

That’s the problem I have with series I adore–I don’t want them to end, so if I know a book is the final book I’ll keep putting off reading it. Luckily, that’s easy enough to do with the Night Watch series because each book has three intertwining but self-contained stories.

If you’ve missed my previous million recommendations, it’s a Russian urban fantasy series, and I utterly love it. Go get Night Watch and read forward from there.

Who Killed Sherlock Holmes (2016) Paul Cornell (8/10) – Shadow Police book 3

Paul Cornell is quickly becoming an auto-buy. It took me forever to read the first Shadow Police book, but once I got into it, I loved it. But for some reason I put off reading the second book, which was also excellent, and after finishing it, I immediately started the third book. Although this series is clearly not over, a couple of important arcs were tied up in this book (as much as new arcs began).

A word of warning: this series is very dark, and a lot of bad things happen to the characters. But it isn’t gratuitous horribleness–in this book most of what happens to Quill is a direct result of his NOT dealing with the events in the previous book. And that, of course, is what makes me like the series so much.

You definitely want to start with the first book, London Falling, and read forward from there. Each book has a self-contained story arc, but a LOT happens in each book that has tremendous bearing on the following books.

The Furthest Station (2017) Ben Aaronovitch (8/10) – Rivers of London book 6

The Hanging Tree (2017) Ben Aaronovitch (8.5/10) – Rivers of London novella

I love the Rivers of London series: I enjoy the comics, I love Kobna Holdbrook-Smith’s narration, and I adore all the story lines.

My theory is that Ben Aaronovitch keeps writing side-stories that he can’t put into the novels, so those have become the comics, a novella, and a single stand-alone audio short story.

It means there is a lot to keep up on, but is also means that there is generally something coming out to further the story along. Even more importantly, it also means we get to learn more about secondary characters, such as Guleed, who is utterly marvelous.

This series begins with Midnight Riot.

White Hot (2017) Ilona Andrews (8/10) – Hidden Legacy book 2

This is the middle book of Ilona Andrews’ Hidden Legacy series. One reason I don’t adore this series is that there is a lot of boinging and complicated romantic entanglements. I’d have prefered more about the secondary characters and way less boinking. But it’s still a good series.

The Books of 2017

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