It’s our first wrap-up of the year! And what a crazy beginning to 2019 it has been. The Inn won an r/fantasy Stabby Award for Best Fantasy Site. We’re so thrilled and want to thank again all the people who voted for us, and congratulate the other winners. Promise, we won’t do anything crazy with the award/sword.
Here are our highlights in reading this January:
I have read a LOT of books this month, my dudes. January is always a good reading month for me, and so I managed to burn through:
- The Infernal Battalion by Django Wexler – The last book in Wexler’s Shadow Campaigns was a really great way to end the series, and I’m buzzing to see what Wexler writes next
- Servant of Rage by A.Z. Anthony – A sort of Highlander-esque story in a Mongolian inspired setting. A quick easy read, review for this should be up soon!
- The Armored Saint by Myke Cole – I picked this up as Tor’s ebook of the month. A short story, but a good one. I didn’t really connect with the main character, so don’t know if I’ll read the sequels.
- Black Leopard, Red Wolf by Marlon James – I have been looking forward to this book since FOREVER. Finally got the chance this month thanks to the publisher, but my feelings are maybe a little mixed. Review for this should drop next week.
- The Fifth Season by N.K Jemisin – Why did no-one tell me how good this is? I kid, I kid.
- The Obelisk Gate by N.K Jemisin – Yup, had to immediately dive into the sequel. Maybe wasn’t quite on the level of the first, but it’s still genuinely fantastic – in all senses.
- The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden – WHY DOES THIS SERIES HAVE TO BE FINISHED? Such a good book, such a good series. I hope this isn’t the last we see of Vasya, but I won’t be angry if it is.
- Master of Sorrows by Justin Call – Old-fashioned fantasy with new ideas. Very readable and definitely enjoyable, but not without its flaws. Review Here.
- Dark Forge by Miles Cameron – Sequel to Cameron’s Cold Iron. Much more action-focused than the first, but I did find myself missing some of the more character-focused scenes from the first. Review here.
- The Only Harmless Great Thing by Brooke Bolander – Another novella from Tor. This is a bit of a weird one, tying together the radium girls and Topsy the elephant… who is now sentient. Strangely beautiful.
- Wolf 359 Season 1 by Gabriel Urbina – Travis finally conned me into listening to an audio drama. To be fair, it’s pretty fun. Took a while to hit its stride, but I’ve moved onto the later seasons now and am really enjoying them.
- The Vela by Serial Box (SL Huang, Rivers Solomon, Yoon Ha Lee, and Becky Chambers) – Just look at that cast of authors. This project is insane, and it’s every bit as good as it sounds. Review for this should drop in February.
- Uncanny Collateral by Brian McClellan – McClellan’s addictive writing style meets Urban Fantasy sounded like a winning combination to me, and sure enough, this was a fun book. Review to drop soon.
For next month, I’m hoping to read A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe by Alex White, The Sleeping Dragon by Jonny Nexus, Emily Eternal by M.G. Wheaton, and The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin. Plus anything else that finds its way into my hands, I suppose. Mood reading is crazy.
Okay looking at my goodreads, this month I read 13 books! I will definitely not be keeping up that trend, but it’s a nice start to 2019. It was also my birthday last Saturday. I got my first Kindle and I’m already like how did I live without it!! I also got an absolutely gorgeous edition of Terry Pratchett’s Small Gods (my absolute favourite book). Speaking of Sir Terry, I finally edited and posted my write-up of the amazing Terry Pratchett exhibition I went to last year. Looking through all the photos again was great.
Alright now onto the books.
- Prince’s Gambit and Kings Rising by CS Pascat: Finished off the Captive Prince trilogy and it was great!! The plot may be a little clunky in places but the emotional arcs more than made up for it. Sob.
- Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri: I wish I loved it as much as all my friends did! But I did enjoy the setting so I’m still interested in the sequel.
- The Thousand Names by Django Wexler: Hell yeah flintlock! Full review up.
- Minimum Wage Magic by Rachel Aaron: I’m so glad to be back in the DFZ! Full review up.
- Witches Abroad by Terry Pratchett: I haven’t reread the Witches series in a while, so a lot of the jokes felt fresh again. Great book.
- The Hod King by Josiah Bancroft: I’m a little sad that instead of posting a proper review on Goodreads I just gave it 5 stars and went “YO.” That “YO.” now has 18 likes, including from Josiah. Still, it sums up my feelings neatly.
- The Vegetarian by Han Kang: I don’t know to be honest. It was very good, but I’m still not sure what I think about it.
- A Lady’s Desire by Lily Maxton: My first proper historical f/f romance! Very cute.
- The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy: Hysterical. Also very clearly written in 1900 which added to its hilarity for me.
- Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: Shaddup I’m not late you’re late. Anyway, just as amazing as advertised. Must-read of immigrant lit.
- My Russian Grandmother and Her American Vacuum Cleaner by Meir Shalev: Very charming family memoir! Early 20th century Palestine is a rare setting too.
- A Quiet Life in the Country by TE Kinsey: Well, I found out I’m not into cozy mysteries. But it’s a nice book for people who are I think.
My reading’s a little haphazard at the moment (as always) so no concrete plans for February, but as always there’s a couple books I should probably finish sometime haha. I’d like to continue with Django Wexler’s The Shadows Campaigns, S.A. Chakraborty’s The City of Brass, Diane Setterfield’s Once Upon a River and Elizabeth Gaskell’s North and South. Fuck knows if I’ll actually do that though!
This month in January, I completed a total of 4 books, mostly in the latter half of the month. I’m hoping to read more in February, but we’ll see.
- We Ride the Storm by Devin Madson (SPFBO finalist; well worth it. I loved the three different perspectives and how their stories intertwined.)
- Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons (e-ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley; this was one I was excited for and not disappointed by. Full review to come in February.)
- The Squirrel Squire and the Tournament of Oaks by Erik DeLeo (e-ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley; a fast, fun read. My biggest qualm is that it uses the bad=ugly trope. However, this is still a fun children’s book for anyone looking for a quick, light read.)
- The Psychology of Zelda: Linking Our World to the Legend of Zelda Series, edited by Anthony Bean (e-ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley; highly engaging series of essays which delve into the many psychological aspects of the Zelda games and in turn how they relate to us in the real world.)
Right now, there is one book I hope to get to in February: Middlegame by Seanan McGuire (e-ARC through NG; super intrigued by this one).
As predicted, January was sequels month and I feel almost overwhelmed by the quality of the books I devoured. I was absolutely blown away by how great my reads were.
- The Winter of the Witch and The Girl in the Tower by Katherine Arden: deciding to continue with the series after a “meh” reaction to the first book was one of my best ideas yet. The Girl in the Tower, in particular, was a rollercoaster of feelings. I hope we’ll have more books set in this universe.
- The Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty: another masterful sequel. This series is set to become one of my favourites.
- The Hod King by Josiah Bancroft: the hype was absolutely justified. This book slapped me and crushed my heart and blew my mind and I was begging for more when I was done.
I also read two novellas by Stephanie Burgis, The Wrong Foot (a cute Cinderella retelling) and Thornbound, for which the review will be up soon.
In February I plan on mixing things up a little bit. Binging fantasy books has exhausted me somehow. I will probably read A Labyrinth of Scions and Sorcery by Curtis Craddock, the sequel to An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors (that I liked a lot), but otherwise I’ll throw some SF, non-fiction, and romance into my immediate TBR as palate cleansers.
Apparently, I read quite a lot of books in January, seven, to be exact. They were all really good books too, and I thoroughly enjoyed each and every one of them
- Black Wolves by Kate Elliott – This was an amazing introduction to an epic fantasy series, with a diverse cast, interesting world building, crazy politics, and much, much more.
- Dogs of War by Adrian Tchaikovsky (audiobook) – A very insightful view of war and technological advancements, told from the perspective of a dog. It raises some interesting ethical questions and was a very thought-provoking read.
- Akarnae and Raelia by Lynette Noni (audiobooks) – Two YA books that are a cross between X-men, Harry Potter, and Narnia. They’re quite light-hearted and a lot of fun.
- Minimum Wage Magic by Rachel Aaron (audiobook) – Another companion book to Rachel Aaron’s Heartstrikers series. The narration was amazingly well done, and it was a really enjoyable book.
- Faycalibur by Liam Perrin – The sequel to Sir Thomas the Hesitant and the Table of the Less Valued Knights. Faycalibur was an absolute delight to read to read. Light-hearted comedic fantasy with heart and soul. I highly recommend this book.
- Thrawn by Timothy Zahn – A Star Wars novel, because I was in the mood for some Star Wars. It was pretty good, although I often found the main character to be just a little bit too good at everything. Overall, however, it was a very enjoyable read.
Travis also convinced me to try out an audio drama this month, so I listened to The Strange Case of Starship Iris by Jessica Best and it was amazing. I cannot recommend this enough. It reminded me a lot of Becky Chamber’s Wayfarers series. Amazing characters who you just can’t help but love.
I’m currently reading a few books at the moment too. I’m part way through Foundryside by Robert Jackson Bennett, and just started The Hod King by Josiah Bancroft, both of which I’m really enjoying. I’m also listening to Gods of Men by Barbara Kloss which has been fantastic so far.
January was an amazing month for fantasy book releases…and I have yet to finish reading any of those. I did manage to read a lot of great books, though!
- The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter by Theodora Goss: Loved it. I’m not always a fan of Kate Reading’s audio narration but she breathed life into an already wonderful story.
- The Aching God by Mike Shel: I have to assume that this was a case of a great book that just wasn’t for me. The protagonist was unique and suffered from PTSD (though that had no impact on the plot) and the supporting characters all blurred together.
- Sworn to the Night by Craig Schaefer: I really, really liked this. It’s a fun mix of cop drama and urban fantasy, with a dash of bizzaro weirdness thrown in.
- Bloody Rose by Nicholas Eames: I liked but didn’t love Kings of the Wyld. This was better in nearly every way, though the comedy aspect was dialed back.
- Misery by Stephen King: My second King novel (after Green Mile), and I enjoyed it a good bit. The meta-commentary on the life of an author was interesting and Annie Wilkes was a great villain.
- The Strange Case of the Starship Iris by Jessica Best: A heartwarming found-family space opera perfect for fans of Becky Chambers’ A Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet. I loved this audio drama and can’t wait for the first season’s conclusion.
- The Amelia Project: This was a hilarious audio drama that I just couldn’t get enough of. I binged the full season in under a day. If an unhealthy cocoa obsession and helping people fake their own deaths sound interesting, check this out!
Next month I plan to work my way through many of the recent Orbit releases I’ve missed. The Empire of Sand, The Gutter Prayer, The Hod King, etc. are all downloaded and begging to be listened to.
Wow, January has really set the bar for this year. An impressive line-up of releases, and I’ve had a lot of fun with my reading.
- They Mostly Come Out at Night by Benedict Patrick: This was an enjoyable Grimm style fairytale that was a little rough around the edges but nonetheless a compelling read. I look forward to picking up the sequel.
- Orconomics by J. Zachary Pike: I read this for SPFBO, and found it to be well written but ultimately as a comedic fantasy it didn’t quite work for me.
- Aching God by Mike Shel: Another SPFBO finalist, and a thunderously good D&D style romp with one hell of a dungeon crawl. Creepy, atmospheric and highly recommended.
- The Hod King by Josiah Bancroft: An absolute masterpiece. I was blown away. Bancroft’s work continues to evolve in directions I never expected and it brings me a lot of joy to see him go from strength to strength.
- Faycalibur by Liam Perrin: Out today! Faycalibur sees Perrin relax into his style, resulting in an adventure packed with whimsy, goodness and belly laughs. Brilliant. I’ll be posting a review and cocktail very shortly.
- Smite Me, Oh Dark One by Steve Thomas: A bite-sized tale of peevish gods and their squabbles, reminiscent of all the best pantheons. Loved it.
I’m also currently reading The Ventifact Colossus by Dorian Hart from my request list and finding it to be a fun adventure, another with strong RPG roots.
Travis recommended the audio drama Kalila Stormfire’s Economical Magick Services when I was craving something cozy and witchy and I’ve been absolutely devouring the first season! It’s charming, LGBTQ+ friendly and it gives me the warmest of fuzzies. 🙂
In February I’ll be taking on another couple of SPFBO finalists, Holy Sister by Mark Lawrence, The Absolved by Matthew Binder and Mentor by T.S. Barnett. Hopefully more, but we’ll see!