September 18, 2019, 02:53:47 PM

Author Topic: Your Top five books you’ve read in 2018 and the five most unsatisfying  (Read 5403 times)

Online Peat

Re: Your Top five books you’ve read in 2018 and the five most unsatisfying
« Reply #15 on: January 01, 2019, 03:27:06 AM »
Least satisfying

1. First Watch by Dale Lucas - I loved the premise but ultimately pretty much everything about how it was done just missed my taste.

2. Skyfarer by Joseph Brassey - The prose was clunky and offputting, and the character dynamics lacked depth for me; shame as otherwise it was fun and heartwarming

3. Godblind by Anna Stephens - Some great prose and characters, but between the convenience of the plot and the thinness of the world descriptions, I ended up questioning far too much.

4. Throne of Jade by Naomi Novik - Lacked meat

5. The Thief Who Pulled On Trouble's Braids by Michael McClung - Flat character dynamics and worldbuilding

HMs for Prince of Fools by Mark Lawrence and Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames, which were in the main as unsatisfying but had a few golden moments.

Top 5:

1. Age of Assassins by RJ Barker - I'm still raving about this for the quality of the voice. Interesting worldbuilding, an intriguing plot and some great characters seal the deal.

2. Full Fathom Five by Max Gladstone - My favourite of the Craft books since the first; razor sharp intrigue, incredible worldbuilding

3. The Empyreus Proof by Bryan Wigmore - Its like the Wheel of Time, only with pseudo-Edwardian occultism, better writing, and more secrets and less violence.

4. The Poppy War by RF Kuang - I kinda don't want to put it here as a lot of things about it disappointed me, but when it intrigued me it was perfect.

5. Man O'War by Dan Jones - Fun near future Sci-Fi thriller. Shades of Le Carre.

Incidentally, that's almost all of my first reads of SFF this year. There's a lot of books I didn't finish and a lot of rereads. If anyone wants a full list of Raymond E Feist's Riftwar books from best to last, I am your fool.

Offline Elfy

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Re: Your Top five books you’ve read in 2018 and the five most unsatisfying
« Reply #16 on: January 01, 2019, 07:13:49 AM »
5? I can only have 5 best books for 2018? Okay, I'll try, but it will kill me to leave a few out.

Top 5 for 2018 in no particular order:

1) Amberlough by Lara Elena Donnelly. As @cupiscent said it's a fantasy version of Cabaret crossed with LeCarre. No magic, none at all. The sequel Armistice is also great, but couldn't top Amberlough for mine.

2) Space Opera by Catherynne M. Valente. If I had to nominate one best for 2018 it would be a hard run race between this and another book I read later on. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy meets the Eurovision Song Contest with an homage to 70's glam rock thrown in. Valente does comedy and nails it.

3) The Calculating Stars by Mary Robinette Kowal. There's something remarkably human about MRK's love letter to the unsung heroes of the space race. Unputdownable.

4) The Stars Now Unclaimed by Drew Williams. Becky Chambers describes it best on the cover: 'come for the exploding spaceships, stay for the intriguing universe'.

5) The Grey Bastards by Jonathan French. I've gushed all over this in the What Did You Read In December thread. It's the one that ties with Valente's Space Opera for best book I read in 2018. Half orcs on war pigs behaving like the characters from Sons of Anarchy. Bloody and bloody good!

5 books that I didn't get along with in 2018:

1) Everfair by Nisi Shawl. This has been gushed over a lot and has an awesome cover. Unfortunately what's between it doesn't quite match what's on the front. Lacked any genuine imagination.

2) Too Like the Lightning by Ada Palmer. Another one people fell over themselves to praise, but that I just couldn't connect with, Very gimmicky, confusing and ultimately bored me.

3) Emperor Mollusk Versus the Sinister Brain by A. Lee Martinez. Pains me to type this as I really like most of Martinez's work, but he got this one badly wrong in pretty much every way possible.

4) Heroine Worship by Sarah Kuhn. This series started off brightly and the second book wasn't too bad, but number 3 is a case of not knowing when to stop. Sadly I think there's a 4th book planned, I won't be on board for it.

5) Fury from the Tomb by S.A Sidor. I don't know how Sidor did it, but he somehow managed to make a story about mummies and undead cowboys boring. Badly written and plotted. A truly terrible book.

Offline J.R. Darewood

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Re: Your Top five books you’ve read in 2018 and the five most unsatisfying
« Reply #17 on: January 01, 2019, 09:51:05 AM »
Wellllll I don't even know if I read 10 books this year but....

Satisfying
The Way of Shadows-- Brent Weeks: Surprisingly satisfying
City of Brass-- I forget who wrote it: I was loving the whole djinn society politics thing
Shit, there had to be something else I liked...
Oh wait that second book by Islington: It's pretty middling when you step back and think about it, but I enjoyed it and felt satisfied at the end.

Unsatisfying
Kings of the Wyld-- What's his face:  I picked it up b/c I liked the aging aspect, but it was to testosterony for me.  I should have known. I'm actually surprised I finished it.
City of Blades-- Bennett: Okay the first book in the series barely redeemed its fascist protagonist at the end otherwise I would have thrown it across the room like I did this book b/c it's a repeat of the first, but just more fascist. (but at least it's not as biphobic as the first one was)
Shadow and Bone--Leigh Bardugo:  To be fair I liked a lot about this one and plan to read Six of Crows.  But it's a YA fantasy with the all too familiar love triangle trope that makes me want to bang my face into a wall. That said, she used the trope very well to make some interesting statements, and I would totally recommend this to someones daughter which is not something I can say about any other love triangle YA.

Offline Elfy

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Re: Your Top five books you’ve read in 2018 and the five most unsatisfying
« Reply #18 on: January 01, 2019, 10:59:01 AM »
Wellllll I don't even know if I read 10 books this year but....

Satisfying
The Way of Shadows-- Brent Weeks: Surprisingly satisfying
City of Brass-- I forget who wrote it: I was loving the whole djinn society politics thing
Shit, there had to be something else I liked...
Oh wait that second book by Islington: It's pretty middling when you step back and think about it, but I enjoyed it and felt satisfied at the end.

Unsatisfying
Kings of the Wyld-- What's his face:  I picked it up b/c I liked the aging aspect, but it was to testosterony for me.  I should have known. I'm actually surprised I finished it.
City of Blades-- Bennett: Okay the first book in the series barely redeemed its fascist protagonist at the end otherwise I would have thrown it across the room like I did this book b/c it's a repeat of the first, but just more fascist. (but at least it's not as biphobic as the first one was)
Shadow and Bone--Leigh Bardugo:  To be fair I liked a lot about this one and plan to read Six of Crows.  But it's a YA fantasy with the all too familiar love triangle trope that makes me want to bang my face into a wall. That said, she used the trope very well to make some interesting statements, and I would totally recommend this to someones daughter which is not something I can say about any other love triangle YA.
City of Brass is by S. A Chakraborty. There’s a sequel due out this year.
I will expand your TBR pile.

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Online Peat

Re: Your Top five books you’ve read in 2018 and the five most unsatisfying
« Reply #19 on: January 01, 2019, 12:37:12 PM »

Unsatisfying
Kings of the Wyld-- What's his face:  I picked it up b/c I liked the aging aspect, but it was to testosterony for me.  I should have known. I'm actually surprised I finished it.

The characters didn't feel all that old/ageing to me when I actually read it. I wish they had.
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Offline ScarletBea

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Re: Your Top five books you’ve read in 2018 and the five most unsatisfying
« Reply #20 on: January 01, 2019, 05:07:53 PM »
Ok, let me try and do this.

Top 5 (5 stars):
* The Greatcoats series, Sebastien de Castell - a very pleasant surprise of fun, irony, friendship and sword battles
* The 2 Malazan books I've read (books 2 and 3), Steven Erikson - redefining the word 'epic', these books solidified my love for the series
* A time of dread, John Gwynne - his new series, it started with a bang and reminded me why I love his books
* The bitter twins, Jen Williams - book 2 in the new series, it's grander and more encompassing than her previous series
* Here be dragons, David MacPherson - super funny, there can be fantasy books without battles

The big common thread of the books above is "characters": they all have characters I love and want to spent time with, just chatting :D

5 least satifying (3 stars or less):
* The Stonor eagles, William Horwood - a DNF, I just couldn't get into the story
* The city of mirrors, Justin Cronin - book 3 of the trilogy, again I couldn't care less about the people and the story. Maybe if I'd read it right after reading book 2 it would have been better, but as it stands, just meh
* Under the Pendulum Sun, Jeannette Ng - too much theology and'old-fashioned' writing style, it just didn't grab me
* The Court of Broken Knives, Anna Smith Spark - nice book, but I didn't think it was anything special. A bit too much death

My other low-rated books were all non-fantasy, so I guess I had a very good fantasy year :)
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Online Alex Hormann

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Re: Your Top five books you’ve read in 2018 and the five most unsatisfying
« Reply #21 on: January 01, 2019, 05:53:08 PM »
A bit too much death


Speaking as a fan if Court, this is the best review I've ever seen.
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Offline Egg

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Re: Your Top five books you’ve read in 2018 and the five most unsatisfying
« Reply #22 on: January 01, 2019, 06:49:58 PM »
Sadly, I didn't get to read much this year. But that's why I've just joined - such a vast and descriptive list of recommendations, both good and bad! I don't think I can read half of these over 2019, but I can't wait to try!

Of the books I *was* able to read this year:

The Poppy War, by RF Kuang - Got it for free while buying books at a Comicon in March; ironically, it was the one I liked the best. I never sank my teeth into Chinese history and lore before, so it was a refreshing change of pace - but what stuck out to me most was the book's violent themes. Based on accounts of the Rape of Nanking, Kuang was hellbent to make sure her readers learn (and never forget) the horrors and hell that happened when the Japanese invaded China. Warning: She does her job a bit too well.

The Untold Tales of Ozman Droom and Diary of a Gentleman Diabolist, by Robin Spriggs - A series of prose poems and short stories straight from the bizarre and twisted side of fiction, but with a sense of mystery so compelling you could almost swear you're being forced to keep reading. The books were loaned to me by a friend, but after only a couple months of keeping them on my bedside table, I feel like they were almost drawn to me. A note on the poems within the Diary: They're prose poems, not really meant to be read more than two or three at a time, and best read aloud, if only (and especially) at a whisper.

Autonomous, by Annalee Newitz - I'm hard-pressed to find anything I didn't like about this book, except perhaps that it didn't quite tackle its titular issue - the autonomy of sentient AI. To me, for the whole book, the question of what happens when AI begin to ask for, demand, and earn their autonomy was secondary to the central plot of "Big Pharma's" monopoly on drugs. Even so, I enjoyed it thoroughly; the battle between Captain Jack and Big Pharma rose plenty of interesting questions for the future of pharmaceuticals and trans-humanism to keep me interested - and the plot itself was pretty good to boot!

As for books I found unsatisfying, there was only one; for the sake of my mental health, my friends have advised me to stop talking about it. I will only say this much on the matter: if you're going to write a story with 20 main characters and innumerable side-characters for the reader to keep track of, please do not give each one an introduction shorter than a paragraph. And for the love of god, a king who is into BDSM is funny exactly once - don't push the gag further than that.

Pun intended.
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Offline JMack

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Re: Your Top five books you’ve read in 2018 and the five most unsatisfying
« Reply #23 on: January 01, 2019, 08:02:51 PM »
Welcome, @Egg!
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Online Peat

Re: Your Top five books you’ve read in 2018 and the five most unsatisfying
« Reply #24 on: January 07, 2019, 11:55:23 AM »
Actually I should have had The Traitor God by Cam in at number 5. I clean forgot that I'd read it this year because I never entered it into GR. That's what happens when you trust lists to run your memory but don't update your lists.
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Offline J.R. Darewood

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Re: Your Top five books you’ve read in 2018 and the five most unsatisfying
« Reply #25 on: January 07, 2019, 05:11:56 PM »
Actually I should have had The Traitor God by Cam in at number 5. I clean forgot that I'd read it this year because I never entered it into GR. That's what happens when you trust lists to run your memory but don't update your lists.

Good call!! I knew I was leaving some things out!

Online Peat

Re: Your Top five books you’ve read in 2018 and the five most unsatisfying
« Reply #26 on: January 07, 2019, 05:16:18 PM »
Actually I should have had The Traitor God by Cam in at number 5. I clean forgot that I'd read it this year because I never entered it into GR. That's what happens when you trust lists to run your memory but don't update your lists.

Good call!! I knew I was leaving some things out!

Guess that fits for a book that's partially about suppressed memories?  ;)

Offline J.R. Darewood

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Re: Your Top five books you’ve read in 2018 and the five most unsatisfying
« Reply #27 on: January 07, 2019, 09:45:56 PM »
Ha!!

Offline Jake Baelish

Re: Your Top five books you’ve read in 2018 and the five most unsatisfying
« Reply #28 on: January 08, 2019, 09:12:25 AM »
Top 5:

Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch (swashbuckling awesomeness)
Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch (politically intruguing awesomeness)
Rickshaw Boy by Lao She (great insight into pre-communist China and a tragic/funny story to boot)
The Outsider by Stephen King (King like he hasn't performed in years!)
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (geeky indulgent awesomeness)

Disappointing (well, not neccesarily but didn't live up to expectations for sure!)

King of Thorns - after loving Prince of Thorns, and hearing how much better this was claimed to be, it failed as a sequel for me in just about every way possible.

Magic's Pawn - my search for quality LGBT fantasy continues; aside from (contrived) cuteness there was nothing here to make me remotely interested in the rest of the books in its shared universe.

Only those, nothing else I read qualifies as in any way disappointing  :)
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Offline J.R. Darewood

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Re: Your Top five books you’ve read in 2018 and the five most unsatisfying
« Reply #29 on: January 08, 2019, 10:52:35 AM »

Magic's Pawn - my search for quality LGBT fantasy continues; aside from (contrived) cuteness there was nothing here to make me remotely interested in the rest of the books in its shared universe.


@cupiscent was raving about an LGBT book a while ago if I remember correctly.