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Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Liviu's 2008 Looking Forward to 2009 List discussed

Last year I did an extended Best of 08 list which ended with a moderate length Looking Ahead to 2009, part including 36 books while this year I plan to do a Top 10 sff of 2009 with some comments about extra books and then a Notable Books from August-December post since I did a very extensive Notable Books Post (I + II) for January-July.

On the other hand I did a very extensive Anticipated list for 2010 with 90+ planned to read books plus some maybes (Collated or I+ II + III) and that one will be continuously updated as I read the novels there.

So I thought it will be fun to look back at the Looking Ahead To 2009 list and comment. Note that sometimes my comments have a different slant from the review since I tend to re-evaluate books as time passes, but overall the slant is more in the degree of how much I liked or disliked a book. All the books I reviewed as A's (highly recommended) remained the same in the comments below but some moved up, some a little down as my overall ranking goes...

"LOOKING AHEAD TO 2009:" from the 2008 Year End Post

Gears of the City by Felix Gilman
Read; an A+/A++ novel - #7 in my top 10 sff of 2009 (Robert reviewed it and liked it much less)

Yellow Blue Tibia by Adam Roberts
Read; an A novel and a notable book of 2009; not enough "heft" for top 10 but would be top 20 or so; this is the way an idea sf novel is done (FBC Rv)

The Judging Eye by R. Scott Bakker
Read; partly disappointing and a grade B novel (FBC Rv)

The Sharing Knife: Horizon by Lois McMaster Bujold
Read; very disappointing; a D since it's Bujold otherwise it would have been an F

Dragon In Chains by Daniel Fox
Read; very disappointing since nothing worked for me here; a D but it may just that this novel is not for me (Robert reviewed it and liked it considerably more)

Dragonfly Falling by Adrian Tchaikovsky
Read; an A to A+ novel - would be my #15 or so novel in the top sff and would be in the top 10 fantasy; slightly better narrative transitions a la Blood of the Mantis and it would be a top 10 clearly (dual FBC Rv RT + LS)

Drood by Dan Simmons
Read; an A novel - I was more impressed on first read and thought it would make the top 10 but it did not stand that well the test of time in my memory(FBC Rv)

Steal Across the Sky by Nancy Kress
Read; a B novel; good idea sf novel, but far too sketchy in execution for more (FBC RV)

Storm from the Shadows by David Weber
Read; an A novel; excellent Weber but could do better

In the Courts of the Sun by Brian D'Amato
Read; an A+/A++ novel and #6 in my top 10; the biggest positive surprise of 09 in sf (FBC Rv)

Seeds of Earth by Michael Cobley
Read; an A- novel; expected much more, but the first half is confused; ramps up in the second half and I have very high expectations for the sequel (FBC Rv)

The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch
not published

The Adamantine Palace by Stephen Deas
Read and an A+ novel especially on re-read and after time passed; initial impression slightly less favorable; number 10 in my top 10 sff list (FBC Rv Robert who liked it less)

Hand of Isis by Jo Graham
Read and a B novel; nothing new about Cleopatra (FBC Capsule Rv)

The Dakota Cipher by William Dietrich
Read and an A- novel; very good Ethan Gage and the first third is brilliant, but the last part is too moody for the series (FBC Rv)

The Rise of the Iron Moon by Stephen Hunt
Read and a huge disappointment; a grade D novel just because it's by Stephen Hunt and I loved the previous two books in the series; I will try to give it another chance but very, very pulpy

The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
not published

Corambis by Sarah Monette
Read and an A novel; solid ending to the series but on re-read and after time passed I thought the move away from Melusine was misguided overall; the first 3 novels are better to much better (FBC Rv)

Gladiatrix by Russell Whitfield
Read and an A novel; solid historical (FBC Capsule Rv)

Kings and Assassins by Lane Robins
Started a little so far; not yet dropped from the series but close to, though I may try it

Fall of Thanes by Brian Ruckley
Read and a D for effort but should be an F; another huge disappointment; nuance gives way to cliche and caricature and I thought I was reading Star Wars... (FBC Rv)

The Grand Conjunction by Sean Williams
Read and an A novel; great ending to the series (FBC Rv)

Consorts of Heaven by Jaine Fenn
Read and an A novel; the last part was slightly weaker going too much towards pulp, otherwise it would have ranked in the top 15 at least (FBC Rv)

The Cardinal's Blades by Pierre Pevel
Read and a C novel; disappointing but it's either too much Dumas, Zevaco and the like for me to enjoy an unremarkable pastiche or a so-so translation made it seem flat.. (FBC Rv Robert who liked it more)

Nights of Villjamur by Mark Charan Newton
Read and an A+ novel - #9 in my top 10 sff list (FBC Rv)

Best Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie
Read and all that I expected and more and an A++ novel; I ranked it 5 in my top 10 sff list, but it's actually anywhere from #2-5 since the four novels in cause are equal but I chose an order for definiteness sake and I put the well known authors in the back at 4-5 just because... (FBC Rv)

Jasymn by Alex Bell
Read and an A/A+ novel; a personal favorite also; the way I structured my rankings I gave lots of weight to "heft" so this novel which is lighter would go in the late teens but I just loved it (FBC Rv)

The Ace of Skulls by Chris Wooding - it became Retribution Falls
Read and an A/A+ novel; same comment as above (FBC Rv)

Naamah's Kiss by Jacqueline Carey
Read and all that I expected and more and an A++ novel; I ranked it 4 in my top 10 sff list, but it's actually anywhere from #2-5 since the four novels in cause are equal but I chose an order for definiteness sake and I put the well known novels in the back at 4-5 just because... (FBC Rv)

Shadow Magic by Jaida Jones and Danielle Bennett
Read and a solid A novel (FBC Rv)

Blood of the Mantis by Adrian Tchaikovsky
Read and a solid A novel; the writing of this one and the heft of Dragonfly Falling would produce a top 10 novel for me; the series is already a top-top one.
(FBC Rv)

Red Claw by Philip Palmer
Read and a solid A novel but lacks the panache and ambition of Debatable Spaces (FBC Rv)

By Heresies Distressed by David Weber
Read and a solid A novel but lacks the "what???" twists and turns of By Schism Rent Asunder and while it has some super emotional scenes, BSRA and Off Armageddon Reef did better there too (FBC Rv)

Avempartha by Michael Sullivan
Read and a solid A novel; almost an A+ and establishing the Ryria series as top-notch after the excellent Crown Conspiracy debut (FBC Rv)

The Juggler by Sebastian Beaumont
not read yet; have it since (delayed) publication but somehow never got to it; hopefully will get to it in 2010

Amyrantha's Gods by Jennifer Fallon
- (actually The Gods of Amyrantha)
Read and an A- novel; the weakest of the series but still excellent(dual FBC Rv MW + LS)


Arrgh said...

I'm glad you call em like you see em. I'm tired of book review blogs that never give a negative review because they don't want to lose their free review copies. Being whores for paperback books is quite sad.

Liviu said...

Full reviews (cover,links, cogent arguments that are harder to pick on than throwaway lines, double check on names...) are time/energy consuming so I'd rather do such *full* reviews for books I love and about which I find it *a pleasure* to write, but as opinion goes I have never been shy of expressing it or admitting when I am wrong and I reconsider a book...

Since FBC has been so far more oriented towards full reviews as a "group blog", I tended to talk about *all* the books I read more on Goodreads and sffworld, though I did capsule reviews and "unreviews" here and there; in 2010 and at least for the new releases I look forward to, I will use the collated anticipated post to talk about my experiences with those books here on FBC too with full reviews in many cases of course.

So far I read 10 of the books there and I ranked 7 of them A or better, 2 C and one D


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