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Sunday, December 30, 2018

The Books of 2018: Fantasy

Fred, the Vampire Accountant series by Drew Hayes

The Utterly Uninteresting and Unadventurous Tales of Fred, the Vampire Accountant (2014)(8/10), Undeath & Taxes (2015)(8/10), Bloody Acquisitions (2016)(8/10), Deadly Assessments (2018)(8/10)

Frederick the accountant was as surprised as anyone else to discover himself a vampire. He had none of the qualities one expects from pop culture as a vampire, and was, in fact quite happy being an accountant. So that’s what he kept doing after being turned.

I recorded my journeys in the hopes that, should another being find themselves utterly depressed at the humdrum personality still saddling their supernatural frame, they might find solace in knowing they are not the only one to have felt that way.

This is just fun series. Fred is a total nebbish, but he’s also totally okay with being himself, which is awesome.

He does change over the course of the series, but it’s not because he wants to become cooler, but because he wants to help protect his friends better. It’s lighthearted and fun and very enjoyable.


The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue (2017)(8/10), The Lady’s Guide to Petticoats and Piracy (2018)(9/10) by Mackenzi Lee

The first book is a YA coming of age, as Monty is sent on a Grand Tour with his best friend Percy (with whom he has been in love for years) and told that if he can’t straighten himself up, he shouldn’t bother to come home, since his father has a new heir.

I had trouble getting into the first book, because Monty initially felt like a spoiled brat, until you discover just why he drinks and carouses so much.

The second book is about Felicity, Monty’s sister, who wants more than anything to become a doctor; except that women aren’t allowed to become doctors or surgeons.

It’s also a story of misunderstandings and acceptance and fighting for what you want.

Both books are wonderful.


The Lady Trent series by Marie Brennan

Voyage of the Basilisk (2015)(8/10), In the Labyrinth of Drakes (2016)(8/10), Within the Sanctuary of Wings (2017)(9/10)

I’d had the Lady Trent series on my wish list for a couple years. I finally got the first book, and used gift cards for the next several, then just broke down and bought the last.

This series has some of THE most beautiful covers I have every seen. But beside that, it’s a marvelous story, set in a universe that is similar to the world after the Napoleonic wars, but still quite different, since the world has dragons.

Lady Trent grew up wanting to know about dragons, but education wasn’t something girls were truly allowed to have, since they were expected to marry and breed more ladies and gentlemen. This is the story of how Lady Trent became a natural historian, traveled the world, and generally turned things upside down in her search for knowledge about dragons.

It’s delightful and marvelous and doesn’t shy away from subjects that are of importance to female adventurers.


Firebug (2014)(8/10), Freaks & Other Family (2016)(8/10), Pyromantic (2017)(9/10) by Lish McBride

I’ve loved everything I’ve read by Lish McBride, yet I’d get a new book and I’d hold off reading it because OMG WHAT IF I DON’T LIKE IT??!!!

Reader, I am an idiot.

Freaks & Other Family follows the characters from the Necromancer series.

Firebug is a series following Ava, who has the unfortunate power of being able to set things on fire. This is unfortunate not just because a failure of control means she can burn down her home, but because the women in control of the local supernaturals likes to use Firebugs to punish those who don’t follow her orders.

It’s technically the same world as the Necromancer series, but there is no overlap of characters.

It is lovely however.

Pyromantic is the sequel to Firebug, and resolves the issues left open at the end of that story.


Sixth Watch (2015/2016) Sergei Lukyanenko translated by Andrew Bromfield (8/10) [Night Watch]

This is the final book of the Night Watch series. Definitely and irrevocably the final book of the series.

I love this series, and regularly re-read it because it’s fun and generally perfect for when I don’t know what I’m in the mood to read.

Arkady, who had only recently started working in the Watch, used to be a schoolteacher. And, exactly as his new colleagues expected, he claimed that hunting vampires was far easier than teaching physics in tenth grade.

If you think that a six-year-old child is nothing compared to an adult, then you’ve never been assaulted by thirty preschool children.

This is, as I said, the final book. Nadia is growing up, and she’s done very well as a teenager. Also, now that Sveta is no longer spending all her time protecting Nadia, she has redeveloped a stronger personality.

It was a good and satisfying ending to the series.


The Myth Manifestation (2018) Lisa Shearin (8/10) [SPI Files]

Our world is populated by a greater variety of creatures than we might imagine, from vampires and werewolves to goblins and dwarves and all variety of creatures considered mythical. For these creatures to hide in plain sight, a treaty was hammered out 100 years earlier, to keep fights that existed on their home worlds from boiling over here, and to make sure that these creatures remain hidden from most humans.

This is another fun series.

Mac is a seer, which means her superpower gives her little-to-no protection against monsters, so she has learned to run away from danger when she can. I LOVE THIS ABOUT HER. She’s not a wimp, she just knows her limitations.

She also has a handsome partner with whom she is NOT romantically involved. I also adore this.

Plus, she’s very southern, and remains a bit of a shock to her NYC colleagues.

But mostly it’s just a very fun series.


Dreams Underfoot (1993) Charles de Lint (8/10)

This was the first Charles de Lint collection I came across, and I immediately fell in love. I like his novels, but I really love his Newford story anthologies. I’ve been waiting for awhile for this book to come out on kindle–when it did I snatched it up.

Dreams Underfoot is a short story collection, and almost all the stories are set in Newford, the mythical northern town, where the seams of the world between the mundane and the magical are thinner than they are elsewhere.

Dreams Underfoot is the introduction to many of the characters who populate Charles de Lint’s later stories and books: Jilly Coppercorn, Sophie Etoile, Geordie and Christie Riddell, Meran and Cerin Kelledy, the Angel of Grasso street, Maisie and Tommy. These are characters you’ll meet again, some of whom get their own books, some of whom drop from sight, appearing later only in passing.


By the Sword (1991) Mercedes Lackey (8/10)

It’s been decades since I last read this book. Partially because I haven’t been much in the mood for straight-up fantasy, partially because I didn’t have it as an ebook, and partially because I was afraid it wouldn’t live up to my memories of it.

So, how did the story hold up? Much better than I feared. The things I loved about the story are just as I remember them, first and foremost how sensible the more mundane parts of war and training are presented.


The Raven King (2016) Maggie Stiefvater (9/10) [Raven Boys]

I’d pre-ordered this book, and then put off reading it because I didn’t really want to series to end. So I decided I should just re-read the entire series so it’d all be fresh in my mind when I read the final book.

I really adore this series. The main characters are teenagers, four of whom go to an elite private school, and one of whom is the daughter of a psychic who lives in a house of psychics, yet who has no psychic ability of her own.

My favorite character of the series ended up being the character I didn’t like at all in the first book. Ronan is extremely complicated, and was struggling with discovering his father’s body and the inheritance of his family.

Yeah, the other characters are also wonderful, but I adore Ronan.


The Books of 2018

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