December 31, 2015 Leave a comment
2015 has been a year of upheaval here, with a house move in between the releases of The Waterborne Blade in May and Waterborne Exile in August. I’m a bit taken aback to realise I’ve been living surrounded by boxes for six months now, between permanent homes. Most recently I’ve been making notes on a new fantasy project – codenamed Fury – and work on that will begin in earnest in January. If all goes to plan I could have a first draft in place before we begin work on out next renovation project. Later in the year I’m hoping to resume work on Waterborne Revenant with a view to exploring other publishing options for it in 2017. I’ve also signed up for the first part of the new Open University Creative Writing MA. Lots of plans, but of course we all know what happens to those.
Anyway, this post claims to be about the books I most enjoyed reading in 2015. Sabaa Tahir’s An Ember in the Ashes was one of my favourites, a high-stakes adventure featuring two engaging protagonists. I’m looking forward to the sequel. In House of Shattered Wings Aliette de Bodard evokes a haunting vision of a broken Paris in the aftermath of a war in heaven. Dave Hutchinson shows us more of the all too plausible future he introduced in Europe in Autumn, with the superb Europe at Midnight, managing once again to surprise the reader as the plot takes unexpected turns. I embarked with caution on Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey afraid the subject matter of dementia might be too close to home, but I found it compelling and immersive. Mark Alder’s Son of the Morning had me wishing I’d taken notes at times – it took me a while to sort my Edwards from my Edmunds, Mortimers from Montagus and Osberts from Orsinis – but the characters were great: Dow, who is utterly ruthless and set in his beliefs, yet plausibly so, and the Pardoner, Osbert, shamelessly out for his own gain. I was fortunate to be able to read a pre-release copy of Peter McLean’s debut urban fantasy Drake, which features a wonderfully foul-mouthed and inept summoner of demons. You’re in for a treat when it’s released next week. Sarah Pinborough’s The Death House was another page-turner that I didn’t put down until I’d finished.
The outstanding read for me this year has to be The Fifth Season by N K Jemisin. This book begins with an absolute gut punch of a scene, the impact of which Jemisin manages to double up with the ending. The writing is superb, the content often harrowing and while it deals with important themes it never resorts to preachiness. I hope to see this book coming up on all the award lists in 2016.
Wishing everyone all the best for 2016, and perhaps less rain as well.