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Sunday, September 4, 2011

More on 2011 Books (by Liviu Suciu)

In a somewhat unexpected way, 2011 is only 2/3 through and I find myself with only very few high expectation books from this year that I do not have yet, namely this month's Cold Fire by Kate Elliott and The Islanders by Christopher Priest and October's The Heirs of the Blade by Adrian Tchaikovsky.

I am still looking for the unexpected book to really blow me away like last year's The Invisible Bridge or Aurorarama, but so far in 2011 most debuts simply did not work for me, especially since my distancing from traditional fantasy of the past six months or so. Of course if you count Leviathan Wakes by "James Corey" as a debut, that is not quite true, but a book co-written by noted author Daniel Abraham hardly counts as such imho.

It is true that I found some 2011 releases from well known authors that were new to me and were impressive like The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes and The Testament of Jessie Lamb by Jane Rogers, but overall my top books of the year so far have been the expected ones and the trio The Clockwork Rocket by Greg Egan, A Dance with Dragons by G.R.R. Martin and Leviathan Wakes by James Corey that leads my top 25 list is likely to stay there till the end of the year, with an outside chance for The Heirs of the Blade to get into that list if it reaches the level of The Scarab Path.

I read so far two reviews of The Islanders that intrigued me but also made it unlikely the book will be a top 3 novel of mine, while Cold Fire could also get there but as a middle trilogy volume, it is also unlikely since the structure of such usually precludes it, however entertaining the execution is.

Of other major releases till the end of the year, I have a copy of Reamde by Neal Stephenson and I plan to read it when released in digital form since I find it hard to read a 1000 page print book these days; what I read from it is both entertaining as near future thrillers go, but also not at the level of Anathem by quite a lot as my preferences go.

How Firm a Foundation by David Weber was good but also the Safehold novel I enjoyed the least from the series and a surprising absence from my top 25 at least from the way the current list stands at 19/25, though still on my list of highly recommended 2011 novels.

The high profile fantasies - The Dark Commands by RK Morgan, The Legacy of Kings by CS Friedman and A Sacred Band by David Durham - are books I will open when a copy falls into my hands, but I do not have that high expectations based on my distancing from their subgenre. Scholar by LE Modesitt was excellent though and is a top 25 book of mine, so who knows...

My top 25 list - populated with 19 novels so far - stands as follows as of now:

01.The Clockwork Rocket/Egan (A++, r, FBC)
02.A Dance with Dragons/Martin (A++, m, FBC)
03.Leviathan Wakes/Corey (A++, r, Gr, FBC Robert)
04.A Place Called Armageddon/Humphreys (A++, m, FBC)
05.The Hammer/Parker (A++, r, FBC)
06.The River of Shadows/Redick (A++, r, FBC)
07.The Dragon's Path/Abraham (A++, r, FBC)
08.By Light Alone/Roberts (A++, m, FBC)
09.The Sense of an Ending/Barnes (A++, m, FBC)
10.Naamah's Blessing/Carey (A++, r, FBC)
11.Scholar/Modesitt (A++, r, Gr, FBC Nov)
12.The Book of Transformations/Newton (A++, r, Gr, FBC soon)
13.The Soul Mirror/Berg (A++, r, FBC)
14.The Sea Watch/Tchaikovsky (A++, m, FBC)
15.The Last Four Things/Hoffman (A++, r, FBC)
16.Embassytown/Mieville (A++,r, FBC)
17.Vortex/Wilson (A++, m, FBC)
18.The Rift Walker/Griffith & Griffith (A++, r, FBC)
19.1636 The Saxon Uprising/Flint (A++, m, FBC)

The borderline books that may get to my top 25 depending on the rest of the year are:

The Heroes/Abercrombie (A+/A++, r, FBC)
Home Fires/Wolfe (A+/A++ , m/r, FBC)
The Immorality Engine/Mann (A+/A++, r, Gr, FBC Sept)
Camera Obscura/Tidhar (A+/A++, r, FBC)
The Kings of Eternity/Brown (A+/A++, m, Gr, FBC tbd)
How Firm a Foundation/Weber (A+/A++, r, Gr, FBC Sept)
The Testament of Jessie Lamb/Rogers (A+/A++, m, FBC)

After the above 19+7 list, the next 25 2011 novels I strongly recommend can be found HERE, while the complete list of the 2011 novels read by me (99 to date) can be found HERE.

We have a huge list of Upcoming Releases on top of the main page which you also can find HERE


Anonymous said...

Not looking forward to Empire State by Adam Christopher (Angry Robot, December 2011)? Going by the early buzz on this and the extract over at, this book sounds amazing. Not to mention the cover!

Liviu said...

Sorry, but that is a book that is very far from my tastes based on the blurb; maybe Robert will read it

Anonymous said...

This is a great site. One I think my book would make a good addition.


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