My Books of 2013 – Part 1: Fantasy

Like I did for 2012, I once again made a list of all the books I read in 2013. I did not read as much as I did in 2012. There are several reasons for this. I did not have a regular train commute. I love reading on the train and my 2-hour commute between Leuven and Kortrijk was ideal for getting a lot of reading done in 2012. I also did not have a nightlight in Paramaribo. This seems like a small thing but it made a big difference. I like to read before going to sleep. This was near impossible without a nightlight because it gets really dark really quickly (and quite early) in Paramaribo.

I ended up reading 32 books total. I have divided them up in categories that I will post over the next couple of days. I changed my rating system this year. Instead of giving books a star review I will use the length of time it took me to read the book. I finish a normal, 300-page book in about 2 weeks. If I finished it faster it usually means I really enjoyed it. If it took longer it means the book didn’t really grab my attention. There are a couple of exceptions which I will explain when I come to those books.

There is one book that I started this year and didn’t finish, The Dark Portal, Book 1 of The Deptford Mice Trilogy. I just could not identify with the characters or get involved in the story.

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Son of the Shadows (The Sevenwaters Trilogy #2) – Juliet Marillier

Son of the ShadowsSecond of the Sevenwaters trilogy of novels about the last days of heroic Ireland, Son of the Shadows takes up the story of the children of Sorcha, who saved her enchanted brothers, and Hugh, the Briton she married. Sorcha’s daughter Liadan is a gifted seer and healer who thinks, in spite of her visions, that she knows what the future has in store for her–caring for her dying mother and then an alliance marriage to Eamonn. A chance meeting on the road carries her off to care for a dying man–one of the mercenaries of the sinister Painted Man, Eamonn’s archenemy and a killer for hire. Liadan discovers that she cannot choose whom she loves and that she and the Painted Man are as bound up in destiny as her mother and father were before her.

I really enjoy this series. The stories remind me of old English or Irish legends (and with good reason, as they are based on old legends). I will definitely read the next book in the series soon (it’s already on my Kindle).

Jan. 01 – Jan. 14

Dragon Wing (Death Gate Cycle #1) – Margaret Weis

2946045Preeminent storytellers Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman have redefined epic fantasy. Since the publication of their Dragonlance series, millions of readers have enjoyed their imaginative world-building, rich characterization, and intricate storylines. Now these best-selling authors bring their talents to one of the most innovative fantasy creations ever in Dragon Wing, the first volume in The Death Gate Cycle.

This was… enjoyable. I used to love reading fantasy books. Now I find the names to be overly complicated and a little annoying. They take me out of the story because each time I read them I wonder how they are supposed to be pronounced. I did like the story enough to read the next book in the series (see below).

June 04 – June 21

Elven Star (Death Gate Cycle #2) – Margaret Weis

28485On steamy Pryan, never-ending sunlight and plentiful rain have created a jungle so vast that humans and elves dwell high in the trees and only dwarves live anywhere near the ground. From the treetops the aristocratic elves sell weapons to the other races, whose incessant warfare sends a steady steam of profits and essential resources skyward. Now, generations of dissent and race hatred will not heal — not even under the threat of annihilation at the hands of legendary Titans. Armed with little more than their wits and prophecy, an elf, a human, and a dwarf must unite to try to save the world from destruction.

I enjoyed this book less than the first one. It all seemed a bit cliché. I don’t know if I’ll read the rest of the series.

Sep. 09 – Sep. 21

Part 2 – Young Adult Fantasy

My books of 2012 – Part Six: Fantasy

Part One – Biography/Autobiography

Part Two – Non-fiction

Part Three – Historical Fiction

Part Four – Young Adult Fantasy

Part Five – Murder Mystery

A Dance With Dragons (A Song of Ice and Fire #5) – George R.R. Martin

10664113“The future of the Seven Kingdoms hangs in the balance.

On all sides bitter conflicts are reigniting, played out by a grand cast of outlaws and priests, soldiers and skinchangers, nobles and slaves. The tides of destiny will inevitably lead to the greatest dance of all…” – GoodReads

4 stars
I really like the A Song of Ice and Fire series, but these books keep getting longer and longer. This one took some work to get through. It’s worth it, but not always easy.

Dead Reckoning (Sookie Stackhouse #11) – Charlaine Harris

7981206“With her knack for being in trouble’s way, Sookie witnesses the firebombing of Merlotte’s, the bar where she works. Since Sam Merlotte is now known to be two-natured, suspicion falls immediately on the anti-shifters in the area. Sookie suspects otherwise, but her attention is divided when she realizes that her lover Eric Northman and his “child” Pam are plotting to kill the vampire who is now their master. Gradually, Sookie is drawn into the plot-which is much more complicated than she knows…” – GoodReads

3 stars
I’ve enjoyed reading the Sookie Stackhouse books, and watching True Blood but the books seem to be more and more focussed on the TV series, with scenes that are not really necessary for the plot but would look great on TV told in a lot of detail.

Daughter of the Forest (Sevenwaters Trilogy #1) – Juliet Marillier

13928“Lovely Sorcha is the seventh child and only daughter of Lord Colum of Sevenwaters. Bereft of a mother, she is comforted by her six brothers who love and protect her. Sorcha is the light in their lives, they are determined that she know only contentment.

But Sorcha’s joy is shattered when her father is bewitched by his new wife, an evil enchantress who binds her brothers with a terrible spell, a spell which only Sorcha can lift-by staying silent. If she speaks before she completes the quest set to her by the Fair Folk and their queen, the Lady of the Forest, she will lose her brothers forever.

When Sorcha is kidnapped by the enemies of Sevenwaters and taken to a foreign land, she is torn between the desire to save her beloved brothers, and a love that comes only once. Sorcha despairs at ever being able to complete her task, but the magic of the Fair Folk knows no boundaries, and love is the strongest magic of them all…” – GoodReads

5 stars

This was a great recommendation from a friend, a beautiful retelling of a classic tale. It’s a story of great strength but also sadness.