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Tina's Reading Books

Genre fiction lover:  Romance, Sci Fi, Fantasy, Mystery, Urban Fantasy

Best of 2014 - Part 2 - The Overachievers

The Way of Kings - Brandon Sanderson Words of Radiance  - Brandon Sanderson Written in Red - Anne Bishop Murder of Crows  - Anne Bishop

I really love my e-reader.  I do.  But I think someone needs to do some sort of study that looks at the reading trends  of people who use e-readers vs. dead-tree books.  Anecdotally, i believe that the convenience of having literally hundreds of books at the ready with one touch can not but help affect how one reads.


I noticed that my tendency to read really long books has waned.  Or rather, my tendency to stick with books that are slow to start has waned.  I wonder if I would have stuck with, say,  Gardens of the Moon - Steven Erikson , if I had 300 other books waiting in the wings?  That was a book started off slow, dropped the reader right in the middle of the story, required a lot of attention and some struggle to understand the world.  But the payoff was incredible. 


So as I look over my reads this year and compare them to the physical books I've amassed over the last 30-ish years on my shelves, I am struck by the difference in page lengths. 


Which in a round-about way brings me to this segment of my Best of 2014.


The Overachievers are the two authors whose works this year was so good that I had to include two of their books in my top ten.  A rarity for me.


Goodreads tells me that I read 39,992 pages this year.  The first two books in the Brandon Sanderson Stormlight Archive series accounted for 2,095 of those pages.


  I had owned this book since right after I read Elantris - Brandon Sanderson .  So impressed was I by Sanderson's storytelling I read a bunch of his books.  But this one was long and I kinda let it slide...and slide....and slide....I had picked it up, read the first couple of chapters before, but could never get into it.  I did this a few times prior to this year.  I told myself it was a time commitment I couldn't really make.  (The pre-E-reader me would have been appalled by this.)


But then the second was released this year and I figured, why not finally sit my ass down and read the first book?


Never has 1,088 pages flew by so fast.  In my review of The Way of Kings - Brandon Sanderson , I wrote, "One of the things I learned about Sanderson is that he excels in creating a central character who has charisma to burn.  That was Kaladin in this book."


Even into the second book (which I started right on the heels of finishing the first)  -- that continues to build a society and a world that has a wide scope and a fascinating magic system and supporting characters that are as complex as the main characters, the story is driven through the sheer force of personality of the main character.  This was a fantastic fantasy work that held me captive for three days.  Yep.  I read 2,095 pages in three days.  It has taken me longer to slog through some dreary 2,500 word novellas than it was for me to finish these.  I couldn't turn the pages fast enough.  And, gasp, I am planning on re-reading both of them right before the third book comes out.


While not as long as the Sanderson works (only a mere 809 pages combined), the Bishop series was no less enthralling. 


I hadn't read a Bishop book since the end of her Black Jewels series.  And she had never really registered as a must buy.  But this series has changed that for me.


The story of young woman on the run and her "adoption" into a society of Others was a surprise.  A delightful surprise.  I hadn't even read any reviews really before randomly picking this up and thumb through and read it with a new kind of obsession.   This book has a deceptively simple plot.  Meg ran from someone.  And that someone wants her back.  The strength of the book isn't in the plot, though.  It is in the characters and world building that make the story so readable and fascinating.


What I liked was that this wasn't a re-hash of familiar Urban Fantasy or Paranormal tropes with bad ass females and shifters and fated mates as such.  This story takes some of those familiar ideas and resets them into something different.  Care is taken to really make these characters something Other than humans who just turn fangy & furry.  They are alien in a way that has been stripped from most UF or PNR.  I liked that element the most.  It gave me something to sink my teeth into.


  The first book had introduced so many interesting concepts and ended on such an adrenaline high, that I had missed some of the breadcrumbs that had been set to lead to the bigger story.  The second book follows those breadcrumbs and becomes a bit more plot driven, but it also deepens the mythology of the characters in a very satisfying way.  I especially loved how the author conceived the Cassandre Sangue and the properties of their blood and the long ranging effects.  Such good storytelling! Like the Sanderson books, I am impatiently awaiting the third book and plan to re-read these two before it comes out.


Tomorrow I'll do Part 3 of my top ten, The Newcomers

and then finish off with Part 4 - The Honorables  (they didn't make the top ten but came thisclose)


Here is Part 1 - The Reliables