Somehow, I keep thinking we’re still in the first week of July. Spoiler: We are not. If this is a little late, well blame that fact that I keep thinking we’re barely out of June.
I ought to check and see if I always slow down in my reading as the weather gets nicer. 2018 is my 11th year keeping track of the books I read, so I have a fair amount of data about my reading habits. It’s not even that I’m spending significant time outside (although I am outside somewhat more often than when it’s freezing cold), and yet somehow I’m still spending less time with a book.
Also, despite this being my self-declared Year of Rereads, this month I read as many new books as I reread favorites from my list. I knew I would be reading new releases that I was highly anticipating through the year, but I forgot how many of them there are. Authors I love just keep writing new books.
43. Forever Fantasy Online (Forever Fantasy Online 1)* by Rachel Aaron and Travis Bach
I love Rachel Aaron’s Heartstriker series, so of course when I heard about this book I immediately preordered it. This one is a collaboration with her husband, but it doesn’t feel like two people wrote it. While the split POV of the two main characters makes it tempting to believe that each author wrote one character’s parts, it didn’t read that way to me. If that is their method, the styles of the two authors mesh really well. There were little things I didn’t like about both of the characters, but they made some amount of sense, so I was able to accept them. I’ll definitely be reading the next book when it comes out later this year.
44. The Riddle-Master of Hed (Riddle-Master 1) by Patricia A. McKillip
45. Heir of Sea and Fire (Riddle-Master 2) by Patricia A. McKillip
46. Harpist in the Wind (Riddle-Master 3) by Patricia A. McKillip
One of the things I find most intriguing in McKillip’s novels is how she can make the reader suspend disbelief, or make the reader believe something is true, simply because the character does. Her worlds often abide by strange laws, but for the people within those worlds those laws aren’t strange, they’re just normal. So the reader can be almost tricked into accepting those things as normal—which is to say, things that don’t necessarily require explanation—because the characters already accept them. That’s something I would love to incorporate into my own work (and I can think of at least two projects where it might work really well).
47. Starless* by Jacqueline Carey
I was surprised to learn that this book is a standalone, given that Carey’s previous “epic fantasy” books tend to come in a series. While I thoroughly enjoyed the book, I was constantly comparing it to her Kushiel books, and in that comparison this book falls short. This book moves much faster than her Kushiel books, and I think part of where this book suffers is in the character development. There just isn’t enough time spent with some of the key characters to make me really feel for those characters. I think this book could easily have been two books if all that character development had been done, and would have been even better for it.
48. Trail of Lightning (The Sixth World 1)* by Rebecca Roanhorse
After the first chapter I knew this book would be going on my Best of 2018 list. This book doesn’t stop to ease you into the story, and it doesn’t soften the main character for the reader either. I texted a friend I knew was reading it at the same time after the first three chapters with just, “Holy shit, this book goes HARD.” And it does. I think it has all the trademarks of Urban Fantasy, but also borrows from Dystopian Futures and even from Horror. I like the blending, and it’s that and the breakneck pace it sets from the beginning that are the things I would be most interested in emulating.
July is another Camp NaNoWriMo month, though so far I haven’t written much. But I’ll just keep plugging along. I don’t know if that will mean less reading or not (I’ve finished three books already and have started a fourth) but I suppose we’ll see. I didn’t reread as many Patricia A. McKillip books as I thought I would in June, but they’re not going anywhere, so they’re still on the list.