Welcome to the final instalment of the series in which I’ll be giving short reviews of all 50-something books I read last year, in blocks of 10 (or in this case, the last 6)! I hope you enjoy it, and I’ll finish off the post with my highlight from these 10 books, as well as a look into what 2016 may hold.
Uncanny Avengers vol 1 (2015) – 7/10 … I don’t know why it took me so long to finish this pre-Secret Wars mini-series, but on the whole it was good. As with many of the Marvel comics I read this year, it promised more in the first couple of issues than it actually delivered in the end, but it was interesting nonetheless, with an extended look at Sabretooth in the wake of his inversion post-Axis.
Frankenstein, Mary Shelley – 8/10 … another book I read for coursework, this is a classic that is almost impossible to rate. What can I say other than if you haven’t read it, you should. It might not be what you expect, either. The book is less horror, more sci-fi tragedy, and is simply brilliant.
Midnight Tides, Steven Erikson – 9/10 … this is the final Malazan book that I read last year, and it was again fantastic. This book describes events that, confusingly, took place sometime before the previous book in a completely different location, with only one character crossing over between the two. This book really started to flesh out the mythology of the world, and expanded the world further beyond the lands that the reader had already been introduced to.
The Flash (New 52), vol. 4 – 8/10 … currently the only DC series that I’m reading, I have to say that this was one of the best graphic novels I read. The art, as always in The Flash, is stunning, and the storyline was fantastic. It had all the super-fast shenanigans you’d expect from this comic, as well as twists and turns in the plot, and fleshing out of background characters. Excellent stuff.
Neil Gaiman’s Eternals – 7/10 … having finished The Flash, I wanted to read another graphic novel before the end of the year, so I chose this one, that I haven’t read for a few years. This graphic novel is a little bit bizarre, and to be honest, feels shoe-horned into the Marvel universe. There’s no need for the likes of Iron Man and Hank Pym to appear. But that aside there are good, creative characters, nice art, and a fun concept. A solid read.
Magician, Raymond Feist – 9/10 … I finished the year with a fantasy masterpiece that is nothing if not fun. Where the Malazan books arguably focus on the world and the hugely complex story over character building, Magician does things the other way round. Those complexities and world-building elements are still there, but the main focus is on the two main characters, Pug and Tomas, and the huge changes that they see in their lives. If you like epic fantasy, you can’t miss this book.
I’ve got to hand the honour of this part’s highlight to Magician. It’s just so much fun as a book, and Feist’s imagination seems boundless.
To wrap up 2015 then, here are the highlights from each part of the review:
1 – American Gods by Neil Gaiman
2 – The Plausibility Problem by Ed Shaw
3 – Hyperion by Dan Simmons
4 – Memories of Ice by Steven Erikson
5 – A Nearly Infallible History of Christianity by Nick Page
6 – Magician by Raymond Feist
So what will I be reading in 2016? Well it’s impossible to say for sure. I hope I find new gems that I can’t even imagine now! But I do know that there’ll be plenty more comics, fantasy and sci-fi! I’m hoping to finish the Malazan and Hyperion series, as well as start on Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time, of which I have the first book sitting on my shelf now. I’m also hoping to find some more good books by Christian authors, with my eye currently on some of Ted Dekker’s latest fiction. Ultimately, I don’t know what next year’s reading list will look like, but if it shapes up anything like the 56 books I read this year, then I’ll be happy with that.