“One does not want glory accepted as a matter of course. One wants to shock and astonish people with it.”
Diana Wynne Jones
For clarity, this is going to be a list of Top Ten New Reads in 2014, because otherwise it would be pretty much exclusively Tolkien and Pratchett. And I think I’ve run out of coherent things to say about those two.
- House of Leaves – Mark Z. Danielewski. This was the first book I read this year, and nothing yet has surpassed it for sheer creepiness, or for its mind-twisting inventiveness. I feel like I could re-read it endlessly.
- Perdido Street Station – China Mieville. I keep wittering about this, because it’s really, seriously awesome, dark and intelligent and deep; the best kind of fantasy.
- The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making – Catherynne M. Valente. Just, like, the perfect little fairytale: magical plot, wonderful worldbuilding, prose that sings like a perfect combination of all the old, old fairytales you read as a child, yet remarkably modern in its outlook. I can’t begin to describe how lovely this book is.
- The Girl Who Fell Beneath Fairyland and Led the Revels There – Catherynne M. Valente. Ditto everything I said above. This one is darker, more disjointed perhaps, but also more fascinating in its worldbuilding.
- Jack Glass – Adam Roberts. I give this to everyone who ever asks me for something to read, and some who don’t, because, well, MURDERERS IN SPACE. Jack Glass is an amazing character. Roberts’ prose is facetious, precise, dancingly witty and precocious and IT’S TERRIFIC, GUYS, JUST READ IT.
- A Madness of Angels – Kate Griffin. The first urban fantasy I’ve enjoyed fully as much as I thought I would. I just loved its evocation of the magics of the city, the trash-monsters and the Underground spells and the voices in the telephone. That deep connection to the city was one I really related to.
- The Luminaries – Eleanor Catton. See? See? I like literary novels too! What I really liked about The Luminaries was its carefulness, how it examined its central mystery from every possible angle and changed it, every time…
- The Mysteries of Udolpho – Ann Radcliffe. Hypnotically claustrophobic, and very, very Gothic.
- The Wind Through the Keyhole – Stephen King. It was great, and heartbreaking, to visit the ka-tet again, one last time. (Wait, isn’t that a hashtag for something?)
- Power of Three – Diana Wynne Jones. Another excellent book, with a fiendishly clever narrative structure.
(The theme for this post was suggested by the Broke and the Bookish’s weekly meme Top Ten Tuesday.)