on February 7th, 2012 at 01:20 pm
Return of Booklog!
2012 edition, now. (How can it possibly be a month into 2012 already?)
1. Anna Dressed in Blood, by Kendare Blake
YA--well, it isn't really urban fantasy, considering it's set in a small Canadian town. That was a nice change, and it had some interestingly creepy ghosts. Also, a romantic interest that did not make me gnash my teeth. I like Guys Doing Violent Things for the Common Good, such as for instance killing murderous ghosts, so this was an enjoyable read.
2. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, by Ransom Riggs
This made an interesting contrast to Anna Dressed in Blood--both first-person present-tense narrative by teenage males, and yet utterly distinct in personality and path. It wasn't so much my thing, mostly because Secret Enclaves of People Hiding Special Powers is not one of my main interests. People with Special Powers Fighting Monsters And/Or Crime, now that is. I was a lot happier by the book's end.
3. The Monstrumologist, by Rick Yancey
I loved this book. It was full of carnage-perpetrating monsters, and also the sort of people who might dedicate their lives to hunting them. No one except the narrator is anyone you'd trust to babysit a hamster, but they're all fascinating and very human. The primary relationship is between the twelve-year-old narrator and the brilliant, erratic, extraordinarily self-absorbed doctor who took him in after his parents' deaths (the fault for those deaths could be easily laid at the doctor's door).
I picked this up after reading Maggie Stiefvater's recommendation, and she is absolutely right: there was an entirely logical twist partway through that made me gasp.
4. The Curse of the Wendigo, by Rick Yancey
Second monstrumologist book. Probably not the sort of book you should read until you're alone at 2 am in the dark. (It was hard to turn the light off after that.)
5. The Isle of Blood, by Rick Yancey
Third one. I'm glad there's going to be a fourth, because I am dying to read on. It's not a cliffhanger, but these characters keep you horrified and fascinated and with your face pressed to the glass to know what happens next. These books have just enough light to make the dark tragic rather than pointless.
6. The Folk Keeper, by Franny Billingsley
This is the author who wrote the gorgeous Chime, and a lot of the elements are present in this earlier book: unusual yet charming narrative voice, harsh and beautiful settings, dangerous magic with prices. Chime is much deeper and richer, but one can hardly complain about an author improving over time.
7. New Cthulhu: The Recent Weird, edited by Paula Guran
Several of these stories were stand-out--Caitlin Kiernan's "Pickman's Other Model (1929)", all the Sarah Monette and Elizabeth Bear shorts (which I had read previously), Neil Gaiman's "A Study in Emerald." Otherwise it ranged from 'interesting' through 'tolerable" to 'downright annoying.' I don't know why so much Lovecraft-inspired material tends to have unpleasant narrators. One only enjoys reading their comeuppance the first couple times; after that it grows wearying.
8. The Night Circus, by Erin Morgenstern
I...am not certain how to describe this book. I've seen comparisons to Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, but it didn't strike me that way at all. It reminded me more of Genevieve Valentine's Mechanique, except where Valentine is carving your heart out with a diamond knife, Morgenstern shows you the knife and through the whole book you're wide-eyed wondering if she's going to use it, and if you hope she will or not.
9. The Lock Artist, by Steve Hamilton
A book without any speculative fiction or mystery element! I know: Sparky, you say, are you feeling well? But this book is quite worth it: an engaging narrator, an interesting criminal world, and a humane heart.