Top 10 Books of 2011

I think there’s a pretty even split between books published in 2011 and those published before. Also, there are more than ten books listed here…that’s what happens when you read a lot of series.

1. The Astounding, The Amazing, and the Unknown, by Paul Malmont

A sequel of sorts to The Chinatown Death Cloud Peril, Malmont’s latest novel focuses on a group of sci-fi writers–Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, and others–who worked on the Philadelphia Experiment during World War II. Like his previous novel, Malmont throws in a load of cameos (look for a young Vonnegut), as well as bringing back the stars of Death Cloud.

2. The Hunger Games Trilogy, by Suzanne Collins

I’m not really a fan of stories set in dystopian futures. But, there’s enough going on in The Hunger Games to make me forget that it’s set in a dystopia. I’d bought the first book shortly after it came out, but had never gotten around to reading it, and I’m glad I waited, since I devoured all three pretty quickly.

3. Warehouse 13: A Touch of Fever, by Greg Cox

I love Warehouse 13 and I love media tie-ins. Admittedly, some tie-ins are better than others, and I think this is one of the better ones. The usual Warehouse banter is there (although, at times, Artie doesn’t feel “right”), plus we get to see artifacts that we’d probably never get a chance to see on TV.

4. The Lost Hero and The Son of Neptune (Heroes of Olympus) and The Throne of Fire (The Kane Chronicles), by Rick Riordan

  

If you slap Rick Riordan’s name on a book, I’m probably going to read it. After finishing up the Percy Jackson series, I was excited to hear that the campers from Camp Half-Blood would be appearing in a second series. In addition to introducing new demigods, Heroes of Olympus plays with the idea that the Greeks and Romans had very similar myths. The second book in the Egyptian-based Kane Chronicles series proves that Riordan’s brain is basically an encyclopedia of world mythology.

5. Ghost Story, by Jim Butcher

The latest book in the Dresden Files series manages to accomplish three things: it places protagonist Harry Dresden in a position where his usual skills are useless, it sheds some light on Harry’s past, and it explores the nature of magic in the Dresdenverse.

6. My Soul to Steal and If I Die, by Rachel Vincent

 

The adventures of teen bean sidhe Kaylee Cavanaugh continue in the latest two novels in Vincent’s Soul Screamers series. Vincent doesn’t make life easy for Kaylee, or the readers who adore her. Without spoiling anything, I will say that I did not see the ending of If I Die coming…and I can’t wait to read the next book.

7. Unfamiliar Fishes, by Sarah Vowell

I don’t read a lot of nonfiction, but I always make time for Sarah Vowell’s latest book (I have never hidden the fact that I have a giant brain-crush on Vowell). Vowell looks at the annexation and eventual Americanization of the Hawaiian Islands with her usual dry sense of humor and seemingly endless supply of pop culture references and American history factoids.

8. A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, and A Feast for Crows, by George R. R. Martin

  

I’m going to assume that I don’t have to explain what Martin’s fantasy epic is all about. Thanks to HBO, I think everyone knows about A Song of Ice and Fire by now. I’ve tried to spread these books out, so I don’t have to wait too long for the next book, but now I find myself in the unfortunate position of needing to decide if I want to get the newest book from the library or wait until the paperback comes out. Since the first book in the series, Martin never fails to surprise me–and both A Storm of Swords and A Feast for Crows have some series WTF moments.

9. The Snow Queen’s Shadow, by Jim C. Hines

This is the final book in Hines’s series that blends fairy tale princesses with Charlie’s Angels. I was really nervous going in, since for most authors “final book in a series” usually means “KILL ALL THE THINGS!!!!” While the bittersweet finale had a fair share of heartbreaking moments, it ends on a hopeful note.

10. The Trouble with Demons and Bewitched & Betrayed, by Lisa Shearin

  

There are a lot of series out there that mix fantasy elements with modern detective stories. Shearin’s series was the first one I found that took a typical fantasy world and infused it with elements of detective fiction. Raine Benares is an elf, a mage, and a seeker (her world’s version of a private investigator). She’s tough, sarcastic, and wanted by every dark mage, demon, and corrupt politician on the Isle of Mid and beyond.

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2 responses to “Top 10 Books of 2011

  1. I’m so glad to see you recommend Heroes of Olympus. I’ve been eyeballing them forever and with your recommendation I’ll start them RIGHT NOW.

  2. To be honest, I was worried that Heroes of Olympus was just going to be some shoddy cash-grab… I’ve never been more happy to be wrong.

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