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Monday, October 11, 2010

The Top Books of 2008 Revisited (by Liviu Suciu)


Recently I decided to look back at the 2008 books I have read taking into consideration the ones I read later in 2009 or 2010, so 161 as of my last count. I put a top 25 list on Goodreads *based on my feelings today about the books* which I then compared to my FBC Top 2008 List.

The FBC list is of course more elaborate - split into categories for example - but as a rough comparison the two lists make a good example of how books stay in my mind as time passes. The most notable difference is that Anathem which I thought a "once in a decade novel" upon reading it, faded very quickly and I never felt the compulsion to reread it, the way I did Spirit, 2666 or BSRA for example.To a lesser extent Caine Black Knife also faded in my memory, while Night Angel or The Engine's Child stayed strong as core-fantasy novels of 2008 go.

I read Desideria, Omega and The House at Riverton in 2009 and those would have clearly made the list in 2008 as probably The Company would have done too, while several novels stayed in my memory much more than I expected at the time: The Magicians and Mrs. Quent, Empire in Black and Gold, Chaos Space, Red Wolf Conspiracy and The Immortal Prince.

Here are the lists with links to the FBC reviews and when not available to my Goodreads mini-reviews. Since 2666 is on my list of top 00's novels and I plan to start reviewing big-time-favorites of mine from earlier years at least once a month - for October The Notebook qualifies and I hope to review either Use of Weapons or The Kindly Ones soon - I should have a full review of that one here.

On Goodreads and current:

1: Spirit: The Princess of Bois Dormant, Jones, Gwyneth
2: 2666 Bolano, Roberto
3: Desideria Kornher-Stace, Nicole
4: By Schism Rent Asunder Weber, David
5: Omega Evans, Chris
6: Night Angel Weeks, Brent
7:The Engine's Child Phillips, Holly
8:Anathem Stephenson, Neal
9:Memoirs of a Master Forger Heaney, William aka Joyce, Graham
10:The Gargoyle Davidson, Andrew
11:The Magicians and Mrs. Quent Beckett, Galen M.
12:Thunderer Gilman, Felix
13:Caine Black Knife Stover, Matthew
14:The Kingdom Beyond the Waves Hunt, Stephen
15:The Immortal Prince Fallon, Jennifer
16:Empire in Black and Gold Tchaikovsky, Adrian
17:The Company Parker, K.J.
18:The House at Riverton Morton, Kate
19:Serious Things Norminton, Greg
20;The Quiet War McAuley, Paul J.
21:The January Dancer Flynn, Michael
22:The Gift of Rain Eng, Tan Twan
23:Line War Asher, Neal
24:The Red Wolf Conspiracy Redick, Robert V.S.
25:Chaos Space (Sentients of Orion, #2) Pierres, Marianne de

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On FBC Originally posted in early 2009

SF:

1)Anathem" by Neal Stephenson. A once in a decade novel for me, the essence of sf. Reviewed HERE.
2)Spirit: The Princess of Bois Dormant” by
Gwyneth Jones. Count(ess) of Monte-Cristo in space. Reviewed HERE.
3) By Schism Rent Asunder” by
David Weber. Epic fantasy with an AI wizard. Reviewed HERE.
4)The Quiet War” by
Paul McAuley. Solar system space opera with a hard sf tinge. Reviewed HERE.
5)The Temporal Void” by
Peter F. Hamilton. Urban fantasy within a space opera setting. Reviewed HERE.

**********************************************************

Fantasy:

1)Caine Black Knife” by Matthew Stover. Caine as a promising young star and his life 25 years later. Reviewed HERE.
2) Night Angel Trilogy by
Brent Weeks. Individually, none of the books would make it in my Top 5, but as a whole it’s the best debut trilogy since Joe Abercrombie’s the First Law. "The Way of Shadows" reviewed HERE.
3)The Engine's Child” by
Holly Phillips. Most surprisingly superb genre novel for me; magical engineer girl lies, builds, loves. Reviewed HERE.
4) Thunderer” by
Felix Gilman. Music, gods, strange city, flying sea vessel. Reviewed HERE.
5)The Kingdom Beyond the Waves” by
Stephen Hunt. A sense of wonder adventure sf as epic fantasy. Reviewed HERE.

**********************************************************

Mainstream (fantastic)

1) Memoirs of a Master Forger” by William Heaney (Aka Graham Joyce). Fairy tale for adults; superb, heart warming antidote to sadness and depression. Reviewed HERE.
2)El Juego del Ángel” (Spanish language) by
Carlos Ruiz Zafón. Dr. Faustus in Barcelona.
3)The Gargoyle” by
Andrew Davidson. Love and third degree burns across space and time. Reviewed HERE.
4)The Ninth Circle” by
Alex Bell. Redemption by forgetting.
5)Ghost Radio” by
Leopoldo Gout. DJ loves the supernatural and the supernatural likes him back. Reviewed HERE.
5) (tie) “Black Ships” by
Jo Graham. Trojan priestess helps Aeneas found Latium.

**********************************************************

Mainstream (non-fantastic)

1)2666: A Novel” by Roberto Bolaño. Another once in a decade novel; masterpiece of world literature.
2)The Good Thief” by
Hannah Tinti. Darker, adult version of Hector Malot’s classic “Nobody's Boy”. Reviewed HERE.
3)Le Salut de l'Empire” (French language) by Claude Schote. The missing half of
Alexandre Dumas' last novel finished by noted Dumas biographer Claude Schott based on the original outline, including some chapters written by Dumas. Hector fulfills his destiny.
4)Sashenka: A Novel” by
Simon Montefiore. Decadence and revolution in Tsarist Russia, romance and torture in Stalin's USSR.
5)The Minutes of the Lazarus Club” by
Tony Pollard. Victorian science and technology to kill for. Reviewed HERE.

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