2015 Reading List Retrospective

I 2015, I set myself an ambitious slightly insane reading goal: 100 books.

My final count: exactly 100 books (from ~30 different series), totaling 38,048 pages. There were a few short stories in there (Pimpf by Charles Stross was the shortest at 25 pages) to offset a couple epic fantasies (1,048 pages in Brandon Sanderson's Words of Radiance). Overall, I averaged 388 pages/book, which sounds about right to me.


Drowned Wednesday

The world of the Keys to the Kingdom continues to get more interesting and weirder all at once. This time around, we have a sort of Multiversal Ocean and the Morrow Day that governs it. It’s an interesting world all itself, with ships that were once other things, uplifted rats, and a very Nix’ian version of the Jonah and Whale story.

It’s neat to finally see one of the Morrow Days that actually wants to help. I’m guessing we won’t see much of that with the other half.


Grim Tuesday

Of course they’re all going to take place over a week (Earth time)…

There’s really not much different between Mister Monday and Grim Tuesday. Arthur is starting to accept his fate while at the same time learning more about the rules of the House. It interesting to see him change even in just the first two books thus far.


Mister Monday

I’m pretty sure that Arthur died. He had a massive asthma attack, and, as his oxygen starved brain struggled its last, he hallucinated all of the rest. How else do you describe just how … odd this book is.

That being said, I liked it. It’s weird. Garth Nix really does his Proper Nouns. Everything felt like it Meant Something, although we never quite got a perfect idea what Anything was. Most of them were close enough though; so it goes. It’s quick and the action picks you up and pulls you right through the story. When it’s over, there’s something of a feel of getting off a roller coaster, but in a good way.


Necroscope V: Deadspawn

I think I’m done with the Necroscope series, at least for the time being. And hey, technically this is the end of the first Necroscope series.

On the negative side:


Necroscope IV: Deadspeak

Oh hey, turns out there is another Ferenczy. Or rather, that’s what a lot of this book felt like. Don’t get me wrong, it’s interesting to fill out a few more of the possibilities of what might happen if a vampire spawns a mostly human child who then desperately tries to learn to be a Vampire. But at the same time, it’s starting to feel like the same story again, just with different players.

Another twist this time, which I at first appreciated was that Harry has lost his powers (stolen from him by Harry Jr). So for a large chunk of the story, he cannot speak to the dead except in dreams–which he doesn’t remember upon waking–and cannot access the Moebius Continuum at all. Given how often I’ve complained about how overpowerful the latter made him, I thought it would be good for him to lose the power, but of course I guessed he would at some point get it back. And just in time for the final battle too, making it feel like an echo of the final battle from Necroscope I . So it goes.


The Source

The Source follows a nuclear accident that manages to blow a hole in between our reality and the homeworld (more accurately home universe, since Harry cannot Moebius his way there) of the Vampires.

It’s interesting watching this series progress from espionage mixed with urban fantasy and horror in the first book to a more historical urban fantasy (if that makes sense) to this one which veers a bit more into almost science fiction. We have a parallel universe, a tidally locked planet, and some really weird vampire biology. The world building around vampires continues to be the strongest part of this series (which is amusing, given that I find the Moebius Continuum and the various ESP powers to be among the weakest).


Vamphyri!

So that’s how the series will continue.

Basically, we get a bit more of Harry who is now sharing bodies with his infant son (it’s about that weird) and communicating with the now dead main characters from the first book.


Necroscope

I don’t know if I’ve ever read anything in quite this genre before. It’s basically urban fantasy, except set during the Cold War (which makes some sense, given this book was released in 1986) and with an extra helping of espionage (ESPionage) thrown in. It’s an interesting change and the two styles complement one another.

I don’t know if I’ve read many books where the first two chapters go quite so strongly back and forth between this is cool and that’s gross. It evened out a bit over the course of the book, but there was still a good amount of each.


Zoo City

Basically, if you kill someone (is that the only way?) you end up with a literal animal manifestation of your guilt. On the plus side, they come with free magical abilities (like the main character’s ability to find lost things). On the down side, people know how you got your animal (your zoo) and discrimination is rampant.

It’s a really interesting concept; something that I haven’t quite seen anywhere else (The Golden Compass is vaguely similar, at least in the animal companions). And the world is just gritty and dark enough that it felt like a dark echo of what our world could be / have been. Unfortunately, a lot of details are left unclear. What exactly is the Undertow? How do people get which animals? What did the main character actually do to get her Sloth? How different are the animals from their wild brethren?