Friday, December 22, 2017

Favorite Series of 2017

I set my reading goal lower this year. 80 books instead of 100+, after not making my goal last year (and maybe the year before) I wanted to set something I thought I would manage. I am still behind but have hopes of catching up. I thought I would do a post with some of my favorite reads this year, but I think I’m going to break it up into series and non-series.

My favorite series that I read this year was The Invisible Library series by Genevieve Cogman. I read all three books that are currently available in the series in short order and was very sad to have to wait for book 4. The Invisible library is a repository for all the world’s books, but all the world’s books in the multiverse. I felt like Cogman’s world building was fantastic, it sucked me in. It’s a little bit reminiscent of Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next series, with fewer literary references. It is also reminiscent of the TV show The Librarian’s, which I hadn’t watched until a few weeks ago after I read these books. Irene is our main character, and she was raised in the Library, which is relatively unusual in this world. I really can’t say enough good things about this series. The books in order are 
The Invisible Library, The Masked City, and The Burning Page.

The second series I enjoyed was the Lady Julia Gray series by Deanna Raybourn. And the Veronica Speedwell series also by Raybourn. I had read the first couple of books in the Lady Julia Gray series before, but I re-read them and decided to finish the series, which was up to 5 books and a couple of novellas. Lady Julia Gray is just a fun historical mystery series with some romance thrown in. Well, maybe it’s historical romance with a mystery thrown in, either way, an enjoyable series. And sometimes it’s exactly what I need. The first book is Silent in the Grave followed by Silent in the Sanctuary, Silent on the Moor, The Dark Road to Darjeeling, and The Dark Enquiry. The novellas are Midsummer Night, Silent Night, and Bonfire Night.

The Veronica Speedwell series is more mystery perhaps, with a couple that isn’t a couple yet, but the sexual tension is thick. Veronica Speedwell is a lepidopterist, and she also likes to solve crimes, especially if she can’t be in far-flung places chasing butterflies. I had previously read the first book in this series, so this year I read the second book, A Perilous Undertaking. I enjoy Deanna Raybourn’s writing, and I appreciate her on Twitter also. If you like Victorian mystery, give this series a try.

I also read V.E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic, which is the first book in the series. This is another book with some excellent worldbuilding, and it also plays on the idea of multiple universes. In this book, there are at least four distinct worlds, in all of them London exists, and there are a very few people that can move between them. The magic in this world was fascinating, and the book was excellent. I have not yet read the next book in the series, but it is high on my TBR list. I’m not even sure what this book reminds me of the most, maybe a more fantasy version of Harry Dresden. I would say it’s closer to fantasy than urban fantasy, but it is somewhere in between.

I started the PC Peter Grant series by Ben Aaronovitch; the first book is Midnight Riot (The Rivers of London in the UK). Hmmm….this book had magic too; I like books with magic. Peter Grant is a newly minted PC in London and while guarding the perimeter of a murder scene, talks to a witness of the murder, who happens to be a ghost. This ghostly sighting ends up getting him assigned to a special police unit that deals with crimes involving the supernatural, and Peter Grant learns there are more things in heaven and earth, and all that. The first book, Midnight Riot, has some reasonably gruesome crimes and comes off as fairly hard-boiled. There is some lightness in the books, and the world is very interesting. I enjoy the side plot involving the Thames very much. The second book, Moon over Soho is less grisly in the crimes being investigated and more character building for Peter and many of the supporting cast. I enjoyed both books and will be continuing the series.

The final series I’m going to talk about here is the Pine Cove series by Christopher Moore. Somehow I hadn’t gotten around to these yet. I was going to read The Stupidest Angel and noticed it was book three in a series, so I started with Practical Demonkeeping. Practical Demonkeeping was very good, it was Moore’s first book and established his unique sense of humor. The second book, The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove takes place about ten years after the first book. It has some overlapping characters, but you don’t need to have read the first to follow the second. If you’ve never heard of Christopher Moore, this is your language warning. And a content warning. He doesn’t sugar coat things, and he uses the F-word a lot. So if that’s not your cup of tea, his books might not be. But they are funny. The Pine Cove series aren't my favorite of his books, but they are worth reading while I’m waiting for his newest one. I’m currently reading The Stupidest Angel, so I can’t say much about it yet. It does pick up a little bit after Lust Lizard, maybe five years or so.

I also read the latest in the Royal Spyness series by Rhys Bowen this year: On Her Majesty's Frightfully Secret Service. It is book eleven in the series, and I adore this series and am impatiently waiting for the next one. Gone Gull by Donna Andrews was released this year, and I read and loved it as well. These two series are my favorite Amateur Sleuth series. I finally read Cress by Marissa Meyer, which is the third book in the Lunar Chronicles. I love these books as well and highly recommend them. The first book in this series is Cinder.

Ok, I think that concludes my series round-up for this year. I’ll do another post about standalone books. 

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