I had other plans for my Friday post, but when OneBearPig pointed out that “Meh” was my 99th post, I thought maybe I should talk about my “Good” books for my 100th. Plus, I’m about to mention both unicorns, the official site mascot, and zombies, which everyone knows are my thing, so it all comes to together in a big ball of awesomeness. Or something. Definitely something.
Part 3 – The Good: (Put These on Your To-Read)
Books 1 and 2 of the Inheritance Trilogy, these two titles were among the novels I was most excited about last year. I heard about them from two glowing reviews on IO9 and picked up Hundred Thousand when I happened across it at my library.
This is exactly what happened: I came home from the library at 9 in the morning. I then read the entire first book in a breathtaking couple of hours, immediately left my house, drove back to the library and checked out the second one. I literally could not wait another day to read the next part of the story.
For the fantasy readers among us, please note this: it is a fantasy world with a POC lead, a non-Greek based mythology, with strong and vibrant female characters. Frankly, this should be enough of a selling point, but the books are fantastic in their own right.
The third book, The Kingdom of Gods, has been released but I was not finished reading it as of this writing.
Urban noir mage novels are a dime a dozen these days. Some of them, like the The Dresden Files, are quite good, while many of them are horrible, horrible novels that are excuses for uninventive soft core porn. I am certainly looking in your direction, Anita Blake.
Sandman Slim falls into the former category, which you might have guessed from me including all three novels published on the good list. Kadrey understands that noir is more than fog-clouded streets, treats his femme fatales as more fatales than kittens, and has an inventive look at the concepts of Heaven, Hell, Lucifer, magic, and everything that falls in between. I think Kill the Dead is my favorite of the bunch, but your time isn’t going to be wasted no matter which one (or all of them) you pick up.
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot DÃaz
Oh, what a book this is. It’s a love letter to nerd culture by a bona fide nerd – you know how some authors try to short hand when a character is a “loser” by saying he plays D&D and reads Tolkien? You’re not going to find that here. Oscar is a nerd, and maybe even a kind of loser, but so is the author, and the book is filled with a lot of love and empathy towards its main character.
You will not go wrong reading this. The book is brilliant. It won the Pulitzer! It might be my favorite thing I read last year. Hell, it’s my favorite thing I’ve read in the last two years.
Zombies vs Unicorns edited by Holly Black
Ok, I swear this isn’t a joke. Maybe the concept of the book was a joke, but the quality level is shockingly high. The book is a collection of short stories written by authors who are either Team Unicorn or Team Zombie. And honestly, I wasn’t aware that it was possible to write such interesting stories about unicorns.
Holly Black is one of my favorite urban fantasy writers to have hit the scene in the past few years and she’s proving herself to be a great editor as well. Meg Cabot, Garth Nix, Libba Bray, and Carrie Ryan? Yes, please.
Ignore your distaste for anything so achingly hipster-ish and get the book. I promise you that it is relevant to your interests.