My Top 3 of 2014

The Girl with All the Gifts, by MR Careygirl in the road

The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August, by Clair North

The Girl in the Road, by Monica Byrne

…just in case you were wondering, so you can set your taste and/or baseline against mine.

The Girl in the Road is the only novel I’ve read in the past few years that I would give a 5/5. It was perfect. It was also difficult, disturbing, lyrical, and non-linear. Not the sort of book one understands completely with just one read, but haunting enough that I’ve already read it three times, and upon each read it was a different book. Still deeply disturbing, but also beautiful.

Other recommended reads from 2014:

Neptune’s Brood, by Charlie Stross – I’m not a big fan of Stross, but he won me over with this one. A space-opera mystery featuring an accountant clone. What’s not to love?

The Ocean at the End of the Lane, by Neil Gaiman – This one was actually published in 2013, but I read it last year. I am starting to recognize Gaiman’s voice as a novelist. If you like him as a YA writer, you’ll probably like this novel, marketed towards adults. If you like him as an adult writer, there is no earthly reason you won’t enjoy The Ocean.

Ancillary Justice and Ancillary Sword, by Ann Leckie – Tomes have already been written about Ann Leckie’s debut space-opera trilogy. Fortunately, I didn’t know there was a “controversy” until I had already thoroughly enjoyed the first two volumes. Swashbuckling good fun, with lots of manners and politics, tea and china. Kinda Regency, actually, now that I think of it.

Fortune’s Pawn, Honor’s Knight, Heaven’s Queen, by Rachel Bach – Ripping good military SF, super fun, not a lot of depth or complexity, but who cares? Bang, bang, bang!

Lock In, by John Scalzi – Scalzi has frequently commented that he flipped a coin for the genre of his first novel, and it came up SF, instead of mystery. 2014’s cross-genre Lock In demonstrates that he can definitely write a mystery novel, and may arguably be better at mystery/procedurals than the mil-SF/space opera that he’s know for.

Lock In happened to trigger a six-month binge of mystery and suspense reading. I reread all of Lawrence Block, Agatha Christie, and the Nero Wolfe novels, sprinkled with some newer novels, most notably: Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn; Under Your Skin, by Sabine Durrant; and The Silent Wife, by ASA Harrison. (The Silent Wife was by far my favorite of the three, by the way. Perfect ending. Mwahahahahahaa…)

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