One of the things I like to do at the end of winter is think back to everything that happen and pull out the highlights. In essence answer the question; what were my favorite movies, books and the most enjoyable video game? Keep in mind these are stories I read in the past year, not necessarily ones that were released in that period. Let's get started.
First up is books and at the top of my list was easily Jim Butcher's The Aeronaut's Windlass.
The Aeronaut's Windlass
I've been a long time fan of Jim Butcher from back when he released his first book Storm Front so this one was no surprise. He's become a master of developing nuanced characters for you to fall in love with as well as a faced paced plot and vivid world. This was his first attempt at writing steampunk or his version of steampunk. It's steampunk with a slight fantasy feel but what really makes the story work are the characters. They're cooky and unique without being over done and I am amazed at how well he is able to write from the perspective of a cat and make it totally believable.
Second on the list is one that I had been meaning to read for years but only recently found the time to sit down with was Prince of Thorns by Mark Lawrence.
Prince of Thorns
The number one reason to read this novel is the main character, Jorg Ancrath especially if you are a fan of anti-heroes. I've always been a fan of the anti-hero idea as I think it makes for a more believable and nuanced character. With Prince of Thorns the whole concept of an anti-hero is blown to pieces. Jorg Ancrath the protagonist, if you can even call him that, is a complete asshole, but in a fantastic way. It is abundantly clear that he cares about only one person, himself. He has a cold, calculating nature and would not hesitate to sacrifice his own mother to win. But his cold nature not only wins battles it almost convinces you that he's doing it for the better good..
Sufficiently Advanced Magic
This one was a totally random pick up from when it was on sale but it more than satisfied my expectations. Its from self-published indie author Andrew Rowe so expect some minor errors and things but it seems that Rowe is constantly fixing them based on feedback. It's a straightforward story about a boy searching for his older brother, but it moves fast and jumps right into the action. The story does have a few faults but it held my interest from beginning to end without a doubt.
Wake of Vultures
If you're a strict fantasy and science fiction nut you might want to skip this next one. It falls under probably the strangest genre I have ever seen, Vampire Western, and I honestly can't believe I'm about to say this, I loved it. The writing is vivid with a great western tone, and the main character, Nettie Lonesome, was so unique that I found myself rooting for her right away.
A Dance of Cloaks
This is a solid read although I should warn you it's a long series. Dalgllish seems to like keeping his novels somewhat short but they are all complete stories and action packed. If there is one way to sum up his books it is that they move quick. The characters are unique and likable or hatable if that's what he's going for. There's a great bit of Family drama, which I always love in a story. But the number one aspect of this series that stood out to me was the religious undertone. It's a rare thing to see in fantasy novels as most writers, myself included, shy away from religion in there stories. Dalglish does not and it really helps to enrich the world.
That list for a Quick Reference
1) The Aeronauts Windlass - Jim Butcher
2) Prince of Thorns - Mark Lawrence
3) Sufficiently Advanced Magic - Andrew Rowe
4) Wake of Vultures - Lila Bowen
5) A Dance of Cloaks - David Dalglish