Within a few hours on Facebook recently I was “tagged” by my buddy Mike (who doesn’t have a blog but absolutely should, he’s one of the wittiest people I know) to name my ten favorite books, and by friend Kile to name my ten most inspirational books. Because I’m trying to blog more I figure this is a great place to add those lists. This post we’ll do my ten favorites.
Naming my ten favorites is easy, especially since I’m going to cheat a little. I read a lot of books that appear as part of a trilogy/series so I’m going to be mentioning the first book of a particular series in my favorites list while really meaning you should read the whole series. So, in no particular order:
Lamentation by Ken Scholes, which is the first book in the “Psalms of Isaak” series. It is world building at its finest and just about as character driven as a fiction book can be. Great blend of science fiction and fantasy and an incredible story told well.
Monster Hunter International by Larry Correia, the first book in the “Monster Hunter” series. It happens to be, at least so far, the best book in the series in my opinion, but they’re all so well done it’s kind of a “must read” for anyone into either hard science fiction or fantasy.
The Edge of the World by Kevin J. Anderson, the first book in the “Terra Incognita” series. Anderson is known more for his hard science fiction, but he dipped his toe in the water of the fantasy genre and really wrote a winner.
The Hunt for Red October by Tom Clancy. His first book, and it was incredible. Could be the second best book he ever wrote, just behind…
Red Storm Rising by Clancy. Superb book with awesome battle scenes. For me, the book all thrillers are judged against.
Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey, the first book in “Kushiel’s Legacy” series. It’s a bit wordy and sometimes tough to get through, but the next five in the series are flat out awesome. The last three, dubbed the “Moirin Trilogy”, are decent but a ton of story momentum is lost when Carey jumped so far into the future.
The Last Stormlord by Glenda Larke, the first book in the “The Stormlord Trilogy” (also called “The Watergivers”). Fantasy at its finest. Using Australia as a base for her world building Larke really nails the story of a world where rain only comes to the masses if the Stormlord grants it, and what happens to the Stormlords when they bring rain.
The Innocent Mage by Karen Miller, the first in the “Kingmaker, Kingbreaker” series. To be blunt, Miller is a fantasy genius. Awesome story written incredibly well. What’s amazing is the last book (so far) in the series is a prequel, and somehow despite knowing how it has to end Miller still surprises readers with the ending.
Empress by Miller, first book in the “Godspeaker” trilogy. Critically speaking not as well received as the “Kingmaker, Kingbreaker” series but for my money it’s just as good. It’s in my review queue so I’ll have more to say about it later.
On a Pale Horse by Piers Anthony, the first book in the “Incarnations of Immortality” series. An intricately wound story where every major character (the Incarnations) is related in some way to all the others. I discount the money-grabbing eighth book in the series which should never have ben written.
So there’s my ten, but I feel like there should be an “honorable mention” section so I can add:
Hard Magic by Correia, first book in the “Grimnoir Chronicles” series.
Havemercy by Jaida Jones & Danielle Bennett, the first book in the “The Volstovic Cycle”.
The King’s Bastard by Rowena Cory Daniells, the first book in the “King Rolen’s Kin” series.
The Poet by Michael Connelly. Nominally a stand-lone novel, the character Jack McEvoy also “stars” in The Scarecrow.
The Spirit Thief by Rachel Aaron, the first book in “The Legend of Eli Monpress” series.
Looks like my work here is done. Until next time…