I’ve always been an avid reader, and the flipping of the calendar is as good an excuse as any to take a look back at the titles I enjoyed most over the previous twelve months. This list is limited to just those books that I especially enjoyed.
I’d love to hear from you if you’ve read and/or enjoyed any of these titles, so feel free to hit me up on Twitter; discussing novels is always a ton of fun.
Links provided are for the Audible.com editions.
The Bloody Jack Series
The Bloody Jack series by L.A. Meyer begins (surprise surprise) with Bloody Jack. That link will take you to the audio book edition on Audible.com, which I highly recommend. The narrator, Katherine Kellgren, provides one of the finest audio book narration performances I have ever heard, and I’ve heard a lot of them.
The series follows the adventures of Jacky Faber, a young orphan girl living as a beggar on the streets of 19th century London. Jacky disguises herself as a boy and joins the Royal Navy as a ship’s boy. The entire series, consisting of twelve fantastic volumes, is pure fun. It ranks, personally, as one of my all time favorite literary series, which is really saying something, since my taste skews decidedly toward fantasy and science-fiction.
I truly cannot say enough good things about this entire series, nor the breathtaking performance of Katherine Kellgren. It’s fun, heartwarming, suspenseful, terrifying, hilarious, and endlessly entertaining.
It’s been a decade since Anne Rice offered up an installment in the Vampire Chronicles. Prince Lestat does not disappoint. It is refreshingly new, taking our beloved characters to new places and experiences that we have not seen hitherto. Judging by a few reviews online, some long-time fans of the series have found this chapter in the saga disappointing because it didn’t retread the old familiar ground, but I loved it precisely because it was new. Not only is it new, but it feels absolutely right. It’s a natural, authentic progression of the universe Rice created, far more so than 2004’s Blood Canticle.
It’s hard to go wrong with Stephen King, and Revival is classic King.
At its core, Revival is King’s take on the mad scientist trope from classic horror tales stretching all the way back to Mary Shelly. Its sprawling timeline, spanning from the early 1960s to present day, feels genuine, with King masterfully capturing the sense and flavor of each era he includes.
The first entry in a projected trilogy by Stephen King, Mr. Mercedes is a mystery/thriller that is one of the most suspenseful stories King has produced in years. It will keep you at the edge of your seat, frantically turning pages, be they of the virtual or paper varieties. The second installment should be released in 2015. Only Stephen King could release two fantastic novels with less than six months betwixed them.
The Silkworm is the second installment in the Cormoran Strike series by Robert Galbraith, better known as J.K. Rowling. The series takes the very classic detective fiction genre, a class of stories most purely embodied by the indomitable Sherlock HOlmes, and places it squarely in 21st century London. Full of Rowling’s trademark wit and clever storytelling, this volume is every bit as good as the first, if not better.
The Etymologicon is a self-proclaimed “”Circular Stroll Through the Hidden Connections of the English Language”” by Mark Forsyth. Told with a light and extremely humorous and entertaining style, Mr. Forsyth explores the origins of everyday words in the English language.