I read a ton of books last year. I spent so much time on planes and in travel last year that I was able to read quite a few stories. I set a goal…then blew it out of the water! My goal last year was to read 40 books. Somehow I was able to read 48 books the year before and thought that 40 would still be a good goal without being too easy. Only I read 55 books last year demolishing that goal. Goodreads presents my book reads better than I ever could, so checkout that page first and see what I did. Then come back as I highlight of few things here.
Golden Son and Pierce Brown’s previous book, Red Rising is in my opinion the best post-Apocalyptic young adult series I’ve read. This includes beating out Hunger Games and Maze Runner (I’ve decided to stay away from the Divergent series…). I was really worried that Brown would suffer “The Sophomore Slump” or “Book Two Syndrome”. This is the part where the author slumps because he either writes for the publisher now instead of what captured people from the first book, or is so excited about the climactic ending to the full story arc that book two is a dull prep book for the next in the series. But Brown falls for neither of these issues. It’s a great read and I’d really recommend it!
Marco Kloos puts together a spectacular Sci-Fi Military series with waring humans, a dynamic alien, and all the commentary from grunts to special forces. Once I started this series, I couldn’t stop. Like above, Kloos doesn’t stop or slump when he issues his next novel. Lines of Departure is a strong book on it’s own. I’m worried that the series will over stay it’s welcome, but if Kloos keeps going like he is, I doubt it will. I’m still desperately waiting for the next book to hit shelves, but I guess I’ll have to wait until April.
If you like Science-Fiction or Military-Fiction, you’ll probably really enjoy this series.
Dead Wake is the story of the Lusitania’s last voyage across the Atlantic ocean before being attacked by a German U-boat. Larson takes his research and not only tells the story, but creates a narrative that is addicting and engrossing. This book is probably Larson’s best book since writing Devil in the White City, a book of which is probably my top 2 or 3 favorite non-fiction books of all time.
Larson approaches the events from both sides. Don’t think you’ll just be overwhelmed with the affluent passenger’s depictions of the voyage. Much of the story involves the German U-boat captain that gave the order…how the German Navy’s current state of power struggles gave way to the order…and how British Intelligence could have stopped the attack.
This was a toss-up between David Shafer’s Whiskey Tango Foxtrot and David Wong’s Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits. I had little to no expectations for these stories, just ran across them on some recommendation page and read them. WTF was entertaining, a good read, and well written. I was very surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Fancy Suits was funny…it was in bed trying not to shake my wife awake from my laughing funny. It was very refreshing to have a good story wrapped around such funny situations.
“Carlton made me an Elvis. [Deep fried PB&Banana sandwich]” Andre squinted at Carlton and said, “You gave her a bunch of Quaaludes and made her eat them on the toilet? That’s a new low, Carlton.”
- Futuristic Violence and Fancy Suits
I almost don’t want to write about these. I’m not linking to any of them. But two books that came highly recommended from various lists were absolutely awful. Welcome to Night Vale is a novel based on a popular podcast. But the novel was horribly weird…and not in a good way. It just wasn’t any good. Additionally, Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer was another just bad book. There was nothing good about the story. Events happened…no one know why…characters have no depth…lazy author… I’d avoid these two books if at all possible.