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Friday, February 4, 2011


The Main List (120):

LinkThe Book of Transformations/Newton (A++, r, FBC)
The Hammer
/Parker (A++, r, FBC)
In the Shadow of Swords
/Gunn (D, r, Gr)
The Heroes
/Abercrombie (A+/A++, r, FBC)
/Anderson & Herbert (A, r, FBC)
In Fire Forged (HH Anthology 5)/Weber and others (A, m, Gr)

Sea of Ghosts
/Campbell (B, r, FBC )
The Soul Mirror
/Berg (A++, r, FBC)
The Fallen Blade
/Grimwood (B, r, FBC)
The Midnight Palace
/Zafon (A+, r, Gr)
The Shadow of the Sun
/Friend Ish (C, r, Gr)
The Dragon's Path
/Abraham (A++, r, FBC)

The Sentinel Mage/Gee (B, r, FBC)
The Enterprise of Death
/Bullington (C, r, FBC)
Leviathan Wakes
/Corey (A++, r, Gr, FBC Robert)
1636 The Saxon Uprising
/Flint (A++, m, FBC)
/Buroker (A+, m, FBC)
Equations of Life
/Morden (A+, r, FBC)

Home Fires
/Wolfe (A+/A++ , m/r, FBC)
The Sea Watch/Tchaikovsky (A++, m/r, FBC)
A Discovery of Witches/Harkness (D, m, Gr)
The Oracle of Stamboul/Lukas (A+, m, FBC)
The Curious Case of the Clockwork Man/Hodder (A+, r, FBC)
Madame Tussaud/Moran (A, m, Gr)

What Time Forgets/Redmond (A+, r, FBC)
King of the Bosporus/Cameron (A+, m, FBC)
Guardians of the Desert/Wisoker (A, r, FBC)
Napier's Bones/Murphy (A+, r,FBC)
Naamah's Blessing/Carey (A++, r, FBC)
The Falling Machine/Mayer (A+, r, FBC)

Embassytown/Mieville (A++, r, FBC)
The Wise Man's Fear/Rothfuss (B/A-, m, Gr, FBC Robert HERE)
City of Hope & Despair/Whates (A, r, FBC)
The Tiger's Wife/Obreht (B, m, FBC)The River of Shadows/Redick (A++, r, FBC)
/Shalev (A++, m, FBC) *

The Last Brother
/Appanah (A+, m, FBC)
Among Thieves
/Hullick (D, r, Gr, FBC Robert HERE)
Up Against It
/Locke (C, r, FBC)
/Reynolds (novella, A, m, Gr)
Raven:Odin's Wolves
/Kristian (A/A+, r, FBC)
/White & Gannon (D, m, Gr)

The Shadow at the Gate
/Bunn (A+, r, FBC)
The Sword of Fire and Sea
/Hoffman (A+, r, FBC)
The Immorality Engine
/Mann (A+/A++, r, FBC)
The Philosopher's Kiss
/Prange (B, m, Gr)
The Clockwork Rocket
/Egan (A++, r, FBC)
The Last Four Things
/Hoffman (A++, r, FBC)

The View from the Imperium/Nye (C, m, Gr)
Heart of Deception/Malcolm (B, m, Gr)
Camera Obscura/Tidhar (A+/A++, r, FBC)
The White Luck Warrior/Bakker (D, r, FBC)

The Winds of Khalakovo/Beaulieu (D,r, Gr, FBC Robert)
Mechanique: A Tale of the Circus Tresalti/Valentine (C, m, Gr)

Into the Hinterlands/Lambshead and Drake (A+, m, FBC)
The Big Switch/Turtledove (B, r, Gr)
Song of the Silk Road/Yip (C, m, Gr)

Steelhands/Jones & Bennett (A+, r, FBC)
Desert of Souls/Jones (C, r, Gr, FBC Robert)
Out of the Waters/Drake (B, m, Gr)

Order of the Scales/Deas (A+, m, Gr, FBC tbd)
Theories of Flight/Morden (B, r, Gr)
Degrees of Freedom/Morden (C, r, Gr)
The Departure/Asher (B, r, FBC)

The Map of Time/Palma (B, r, Gr, FBC Robert)
A Beautiful Friendship/Weber (A/A+, m, FBC)

Hannibal:Enemy of Rome/Kane (C, m, Gr)
Crown of the Conqueror/Thorpe (A+, r, FBC)
Ring of Fire III/Flint (ed) (C, m, Gr)
A Dance with Dragons/Martin (A++, m, FBC)
The Kings of Eternity/Brown (A+, m, FBC)
Low Town/Polansky (D, r, Gr, FBC Robert)

Vortex/Wilson (A++, m, Gr, FBC)
The Return of Captain John Emmett/Speller (A+, m, Gr)
How Firm a Foundation/Weber (A+, r, FBC)
Silent Land/Joyce (C, m/r, Gr)
Spinning/Baron (A, m, Gr)
A Place Called Armageddon/Humphreys (A++, m, FBC)

The Rift Walker/Griffith & Griffith (A++, r, FBC)
Anticopernicus/Roberts (A+, m, Gr, FBC)
Heart of Iron/Sedia (B, m, FBC)
A Soldier's Duty/Johnson (C, m, Gr)
Prince of Thorns/Lawrence (C, r, Gr, FBC Robert)
Roman Games/MacBain (C, m, Gr)

Whitefire Crossing/Schafer (B, r, Gr, FBC Robert)
The Night Circus/Morgenstern (A+, r, FBC)
The Key to Creation/Anderson (A, r, FBC)
Debris/Anderton (A+, r, FBC)
The Uncertain Places/Goldstein (B, m, Gr)
Final Days/Gibson (A+, m, FBC)

The Last Hundred Days/McGuiness (F, m, FBC)
Far to Go/Pick (A+, m, FBC)
The Sense of an Ending/Barnes (A++, m, FBC)
The Testament of Jessie Lamb/Rogers (A+/A++, m, FBC)
Der Sternwolker/Meyer (A+, r, FBC)
The Noise Revealed/Whates (C, m, FBC)

Marathon/Cameron (A/A+, m, Gr)
By Light Alone/Roberts (A++, m, FBC)
Scholar/Modesitt (A++, r, Gr, FBC, Nov)
The Days of the King/Florian (B, r, Gr)
The Bloody Meadow/Ryan (A, m, Gr)
The Recollection/Powell (C, m, Gr)
A Shore too Far/Manus-Pennings (A+, r, FBC)
Dancing with Eternity/Lowrie (A++, m, FBC)
Manhattan in Reverse/Hamilton (A, r, FBC)
Cold Fire/Elliott (A++, m/r, FBC)
Pattern Scars/Sweet (B, r, Gr, FBC tbd)
The Islanders/Priest (A+/A++, m, FBC)

The Lovers' Dictionary/Levithan (A+, m, Gr)
All Men of Genius/Rosen (A++, r, FBC)
Touch of Power/Snyder (A+, r, Gr, FBC Dec)
The Beginning of Infinity/Deutsch (non-fiction but very associational) (A++, m, Gr)
The Traitor's Daughter/Brandon (A+/A++, m, FBC
Heirs of the Blade/Tchaikovsky (A++, m/r, FBC)

The Time in Between/Duenas (A+, r, FBC)
The Cold Commands/Morgan (A++, m, FBC)
1Q84/Murakami (A++, m, FBC)
Warlock's Shadow/Deas (A+, m, FBC)
Solaris Rising/Whates (ed) (A, m, Gr, FBC soon)
Firebird/McDevitt (B,m, Gr)

Here I will keep a continually updated post with the 2011 releases I've read with rating (see below), link to Goodreads mini-review/first impressions, link to FBC review when available. For each book I will include in the brackets the way I obtained it - publisher/author review copy (r), or by myself (m). In a few cases I first got the book for myself on its release, only to later get a review copy, so I will mark those books as m/r.

I plan to include only sff/related books - related is a broad term for me and anything I find of interest and I would review here if time/energy would allow counts; in general this means that mainstream novels count while non-fiction mostly does not.

The other main exclusion is that only English language books will be included (I read Romanian, French, Italian, Spanish, the last two languages much slower though, so the book in cause better be an A++ potential one), though this one is rarely restrictive since for obvious reasons of availability, the non-English books I read tend to be older.

As for the controversial issue of ratings, I find them useful as a rough guide as long as they are consistent and meaningful, so I will give a short key for my system which is based on two criteria: book type and how much I enjoyed it.

Generally speaking an A rating means a book I enjoyed end to end regardless of its type. An A+ are the special A books that have an extra something *for me* so in an abstract objective way - whatever that means - they are the same as A books but they have this extra zing - many times first books in the series qualify for newness, while second books which may be better technically do not since they do not expand enough the universe of the series.
In a few occasions, I rate A+ books of A++ potential that fell a little short of "blow me away" though they were still excellent.

A++ depends strongly on type since much fewer books are eligible there - essentially the "heft" novels, epics, adventures that are part of big-picture series so in a way I consider them together with the books that came before or the few rare "truly blow me away" standalone non-epics like last year's Aurorarama or Room. Both the A+ and A++ ratings are very personal, while the A rating is more generic.

B's are books with A+ or higher potential that I mostly enjoyed and read end to end but with which I had significant issues.

C's are books with A potential that were so-so to meh, I generally fast-read them after a while to see what happens but without really caring and which I will avoid sequels to if any. In rare cases, C's can be A+/A++ level books that disappointed me a lot, but had enough to keep me in the series for one more book.

D's are books that I did not care for but I fast read just in case I find a "hook entry" which would get me involved. Sometimes they can be truly disappointing A+/A++ level books with nothing that I cared for in them.

F's are the few books I strongly disliked but I still fast-read them only for the "North Korean movies syndrome" - so bad to be amusing on occasion like the examples HERE.

"Not for me" are books that just did not click with me and I have no current plans for a later try; time and energy are limited while the quantity of available books is truly staggering...

Current Ranked List of A++ level -top - 2011 Releases (18)
Current Unranked List of More Highly Recommended 2011 Releases (32)

The A+/A++ ratings and the lists composition/ranks may change as time passes since there are books that impress me a lot on first read but drop fast from my memory, while others stay with me much longer than I expected. These two lists above are partly time-feedback, partly a short-cut... For many books below, the FBC review will come in due course closer to the publication date and the links will be updated then, so I marked such as Goodreads (Gr) for the current link and FBC to be posted (tbp) in the future.

* Thera is technically a 2010 novel, but being published late in the year and being so awesome, it's included here


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