Jan 5, 2011

The books I'm expecting in 2011

This is just a short list, and I haven't put that much thought into it, but I felt the need to write down the books I'm most eager to read in order of their anticipated awesomeness.

1. The White Luck Warrior by R. Scott Bakker
Even though I was slightly disappointed with The Judging Eye (there will be a review soon, after I reread it), I still can't wait to read this one. The Prince of Nothing trilogy is by far my favorite work of fantasy, and I trust Scott Bakker to deliver again with The Aspect Emperor.

2. The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
For whatever reason, it's always been extremely hard for me to explain why I like The Name of the Wind so much. It is more or less a generic "orphan goes to school to become a great magician" story, but it felt neither generic, nor cliche. I am planning to reread this one as well, and I hope I can pinpoint what makes it so good. That said, The Wise Man's Fear took its sweet time, risking to put Pat Rothfuss in the same basket where George Martin is happily writing A Dance With Dragons with one hand, while supposedly programming Duke Nukem Forever with the other or something like that. Which would not be an issue, had the series not been promoted as an "already written" kind of deal, and had Rothfuss not been a writer with only that one successful book under his name. Still, the waiting is almost over and The Wise Man's Fear will be awesome. I just know it.

3. Embassytown by China Mieville
Probably not for the first time, I have to admit to the terrible shame of having never read an entire China Mieville book. It's not that I don't want to, I actually crave to! I just never seem to be able to get around to it. So, apart from about 250 pages from Perdido Street Station, read before the dawnatime, I have no experience with Mieville. However, I know enough to know that I have to read Embassytown. This writer, doing a space opera? Yes, please!

4. Home Fires by Gene Wolfe
Gene Wolfe is the greatest living writer in the speculative field area. That doesn't always make him the most interesting or approachable one, but it's a nice thing to be, none the less. I am not always in love with his fantasy, magical realism and mystical works in general, but his SF is always spot on, and terribly, terribly engrossing. Home Fires promises the usual Wolfeisms - confusing identities, stories within stories, and weird romance. In a futuristic setting. What more can the heart desire?

5. The Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson
Say what you want about Sanderson, his Mistborn trilogy was one of the best fantasy works I've read in years. So, when he announced that 2011 will see the publication of a stand-alone novel set in the same world, but 300 years in the future, in a society much more technologically advanced than the Final Empire... well, appetites have been whet. There is still very little information about this book, particularly concerning its release date, but I am fervently hoping it's around the summer. The Alloy of Law would make for awesome summer reading!

6. The Crippled God by Steven Erikson
Had you asked me three years ago, this book would be at the top of the list. However, the Malazan series is not what it once was, and I have utterly lost faith in Steven Erikson's ability to deliver a satisfying conclusion to it. I have been so disinterested lately, that I haven't even gotten around to reading Dust of Dreams (that will happen soon, however, followed by a review of the book here). Still, it has been a long ride, and at least the first half of it was quite memorable. Hoping against hope has always been appealing to me, so here's to hope!

7. The Scarab Path by Adrian Tchaikovsky
Yes, yes, I know this book is already out in the UK. But the Pyr editions are so much more... well, beautiful. Plus, I am yet to finish Blood of the Mantis, so there's no rush. Tchaikovsky's Shadows of the Apt series is slowly finding its pace, and getting better and better with each installment. I have been told that Salute the Dark marks an ending to the current story-arc, which means that The Scarab Path would be the beginning of a new one. I admit I'm curious as to how Tchaikovsky will handle that with the experience he's acquired since Empire in Black and Gold.

8. The Cold Commands by Richard Morgan
Just like Mieville, the next two places on my list are left for writers I am really interested in, but haven't had the chance to check out. I've been meaning to read something by Morgan ever since Altered Carbon, but never got around to it. I am definitely planning to try The Steel Remains however, and if it's half as good as everybody says, then The Cold Commands should go a lot higher on my list.

9. The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie
I've heard so many good things about Abercrombie, that I just couldn't not put The Heroes on my list. The reason for it being so far back is that I am yet to even start The First Law trilogy, and considering my reading speed lately, it would be a long time until I get to this particular book. But I will get there! One has to believe in reaching for the stars!

10. By Light Alone by Adam Roberts
My first and only contact with Roberts was through one of his parodies - The McAtrix Derided. I did not fall in love with the book, and although there were a few really funny moments, the overall feeling I got was that the writer wanted to mix serious SF with a movie spoof, and it hadn't really worked. That said, since then I've read a lot of Adam's posts in his blog, and I have gradually warmed up to the idea of reading more of his work, preferably not spoofs, but his own stuff. By Light Alone seems like a wonderful place to do that, with its promised "Fitzgeraldian" futuristic New York atmosphere. I will be checking it out, that's for sure.

Honorary mention: A Dance With Dragons by George R. R. Martin
Yeah, I know. But for what it's worth, I think we have an actual shot at reading this book in 2011, even if it's a Christmas present. I wouldn't mention it though, if it weren't for the fact that I am currently rereading A Game of Thrones, due to the HBO show coming up (there will be review of it, btw, followed by other cutting edge reviews such as The Lord of the Rings and Conan the Barbarian! Stay tuned!). It was a good ten years since I last read it, and that wasn't in the original language either, so I am thoroughly enamored with it. As for Dance... well, time will tell.

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