This is a re-post from my part of World Weaver Press’s Reading Recommendations . . . and in the next few days, watch for more reading recommentations, because I can’t stop thinking about all the great books I read in 2013!
Sunshine by Robin McKinley (Berkley, 2003)
I re-read this book every year or two—I just finished the latest re-reading in November. McKinley does a beautiful job of setting up a world that is almost, but not exactly, like our own. The eponymous protagonist almost seems to ramble sometimes, but the voice is perfectly her own and the things she reveals about herself are beautifully woven back into the plot. Also, the vampires are creepy as all get-out!
Also, a quick shout-out for McKinley’s Shadows—a 2013 release from Nancy Paulsen Books. Good stuff! I especially like the uneasy relationship between Maggie and her stepfather Val.
Quiver by Holly Luhning (Pegasus Books, 2011)
Unlike most of the books I read, Quiver is not speculative fiction. It’s a psychological thriller about obsession—specifically, obsession with Elizabeth Bathory, the psychotic sixteenth-century Hungarian countess who bathed in the blood of her (many!) victims in an attempt to make herself younger. Luhning’s depiction of a dissatisfied academic pulled further into a world of horror and intrigue is both compelling and unsettling.
Horde by Ann Aguirre (Feiwel & Friends, 2013)
Horde is the conclusion to the Razorland trilogy that began with Enclave and continued in Outpost (and there’s also a novella, Endurance; I just started it!). I recommend all three. Enclave includes one of the most original post-apocalyptic societies I’ve ever read about, and Horde does a great job of wrapping up the issues the first two books set forth. The vampiric/zombie-esque monsters are appropriately terrifying and the research into the vagaries of war is impeccable.
Equoid by Charles Stross (Tor, 2013)
This novella is a great entry in Stross’ Laundry Files series. I always love reading about Bob Howard, a computational demonologist who protects England (and the world!) from Lovecraftian nightmares and navigates the British bureaucracy with (almost) equal aplomb.
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black (Little, Brown, and Company, 2013)
I loved Black’s short story of the same name and was initially a little disappointed to discover that the novel was not, in fact, a continuation of the same story but rather a new story set in the same world. But that disappointment quickly disappeared as Black’s novel drew me in. The vampires here, as in McKinley’s Sunshine, are horrifying—and being the single (potential) exception to that rule makes the love-interest vampire equally terrifying and attractive, adding up to the kind of vicarious adrenaline rush that draws me to vampire tales in the first place.
I’ll be adding to this information with new posts over the next few days–watch for it!
My own debut novel, Waking Up Dead, came out in 2013, too.
When Dallas resident Callie Taylor died young, she expected to go to Heaven, or maybe Hell. Instead, when she met her fate early thanks to a creep with a knife and a mommy complex, she went to Alabama. Now she’s witnessed another murder, and she’s not about to let this one go. She’s determined to help solve it before an innocent man goes to prison. And to answer the biggest question of all: why the hell did she wake up dead in Alabama?