Welcome to Smugglivus – Day 24!
Throughout this month, we will have daily guests – authors and bloggers alike – looking back at their favorite reads of 2009, and looking forward to events and upcoming books in 2010.
Today’s Guest: Doug Knipe, aka the SciFiGuy. Doug runs the Speculative Fiction/Urban Fantasy/Paranormal blog SciFiGuy, and it’s a fantastic resource for upcoming books, giveaways and author interviews and news. Doug covers so much on his site, we’re in awe of all that he’s accomplished!
Please give it up for Doug!
I was thrilled when Ana and Thea asked me to participate in the amazing Smugglivus Event and share with you some of my favourite reads in 2009 and what I am anticipating in 2010. In 2009 I think I reviewed a little over 100 books and read perhaps half that again. Here are some of the books I enjoyed the most.
My favourite debut of the year was Mark of the Demon by Diana Rowland. This fast-paced, urban fantasy police procedural knocked my socks off. Tightly plotted and full of surprises, this none kept me engrossed to the last word. The follow-up Blood of the Demon is on my watch list for 2010.
There were a great number of debut novels in the exploding urban fantasy marketplace in 2009. Annette McCleave’s Drawn Into Darkness impressed me with it’s creepy villain and the grounded Rachel, an ordinary character thrown into extraordinary circumstances.
Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs by Molly Harper was a fresh, laugh out loud, light-hearted foray into urban fantasy that promises to deliver more enjoyable hijinks from the librarian turned vampire as the series develops.
Seanan McGuire impressed me with Rosemary and Rue, an urban fantasy where the hidden fae world intersects with ours in modern day California. McGuire’s October Daye is a dark, fascinating protagonist not quite fitting in either world.
Young adult novels had a breakout year. I was enthralled by Skinned and Crashed by Robin Wasserman, books that explored the theme of what it means to be human in a world where consciousness can be transferred into cybernetic body replacements.
Rachel Vincent’s My Soul To Take introduced us to Kaylee, a banshee that foresees impending deaths. I like dark and dangerous and applauded the atmospheric YA debut of Lilith Saintcrow writing as Lili St. Crow with Strange Angels.
There were numerous standout books in ongoing series over the past year. My favourites included Bound to Shadows by Keri Arthur in the Riley Jensen Guardian series, perhaps its’ best book to date. Rachel Vincent also had a banner year because in addition to her YA debut, Prey in her Shifters series was a thrilling read. I discovered UK author Mike Carey this past year and the nourish urban fantasy series featuring exorcist Felix Castor presented a droll and engaging voice, particularly in Dead Men’s Boots.
Veteran’s Kim Harrison and Charlaine Harris continued to delight with White Witch, Black Curse and Dead and Gone in the Hollows and Sookie Stackhouse series respectively.
Standalone novels that make my best of 2009 list include Charles de Lint’s haunting and beautiful ghost story The Mystery of Grace, The Enchantment Emporium by Tanya Huff, an inventive, funny and charming novel about an unusual family of witches and Santa Olivia by Jacqueline Carey an urban fantasy which was a total departure from her Kushiel fantasy series.
My most anticipated urban fantasy read for 2010 is Black Magic Sanction by Kim Harrison, closely followed by Changes by Jim Butcher and Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris.
Next year also has some auspicious fantasy titles I am anxious to read. The long-awaited Dances with Dragons by George R.R. Martin, the fifth book in the Ice and Fire cycle should finally hit shelves as well as the delayed sequel to Patrick Rothfuss’ Name of the Wind – Wise Man’s Fear. I routinely give Name of the Wind as a gift to anyone I know that reads and the response is unanimously positive. Under Heaven, a new novel by fantasist Guy Gavriel Kaye is coming next year and promises to be extraordinary.
2009 was a banner year for urban fantasy and paranormal romance and 2010 is already lining up as another year of fantastic reads. The best of the holidays to everyone and remember to give the gift of books.
Thank you Doug!
Next on Smugglivus: KatieBabs of Babbling About Books, And More!