Tuesday, 31 December 2013

So Long 2013...

On the old blog, I used to do ‘Big Fat End of the Year’ posts but this won’t be one of those; partly because I don’t want to rehash stuff like that but also there were large parts of 2013 that I have no interest in dwelling on. I’m leaving the long period of unemployment and the litigious neighbour right where they are and looking forward to a much nicer new year in 2014. That’s not to say that 2013 was all bad though, just that all the good stuff seemed to happen right at the end :o) I’m now in a job that I enjoy, working with good people, and my youngest daughter is about three and a half weeks old, happy(ish) days are here again ;o) I guess that’s one thing I’ve learned over the year, wading through a sea of crap is never good but you will always be able to reach dry land in the end; I feel for anyone who’s going through similar stuff right now (it will get better).

2013 was also the year that I started this blog and it’s been a lot of fun so far, definitely good to be back chatting about the stuff that I love. I’ve posted 70 reviews which isn’t bad given all the other stuff that has been going on; I’ll be aiming for a few more than next year I reckon… I’ve covered a few new books but I’ve actually had a lot more fun re-reading books on the shelf and going back to read books that are a lot older. Covering some Robert E. Howard short stories was a lot of fun (I knew it would be, that’s why I did it) but what was even more enjoyable was checking out Lord Dunsany’s poetry and some short fiction by Clark Ashton-Smith for the first time. I reckon there will be a lot more of that next year too. This blog is already taking a bit of a different direction then, one that felt totally needed if I was to keep enjoying genre fiction. I will still be reviewing the new stuff though so stick around for that. I’m reading ‘The Phoenix and the Mirror’ (not a new release but new in this edition), ‘The Boy with the Porcelain Blade’ and ‘The Barrow’ at the moment and they are all books that I think you will get a lot out of next year.

Like I said, I only posted 70 reviews this year and the balance of stuff that I read makes a ‘Best of 2013’ list a little bit, well… unfeasible really. A ‘Fiction that I Really Enjoyed’ list though… Yeah, I reckon I could do one of those though ;o) Here’s a list of all the stuff that really stood out for me then (in no order), here we go…

‘The Desert of Souls’ – Howard Andrew Jones (Head of Zeus) – An absolutely spellbinding read that has got me hassling the poor publicity lady, at Head of Zeus, for the next two books. If you haven’t read it then you really need to do something about that.

‘The Copper Promise’ – Jen Williams (Headline) – I don’t think I’ve enjoyed reading a fantasy novel so much in a long time. Fantasy that you used to read as a kid but for the 21st century.

‘The Year of the Three Monarchs’ – Michael Swanwick (‘The Sword & Sorcery Anthology’, Tachyon Press) A tightly spun tale that drips with atmosphere and clever bits that make you go, ‘oohhh…’

‘Edgar Allen Poe’s The Raven and The Red Death’ – Richard Corben (Dark Horse Comics) Richard Corben does amazing weird horror art work and it feels like he was born to do the art for these. Corben doesn’t disappoint.

‘The Riders’ & ‘The Quest’– Lord Dunsany. Just because that’s the way I feel whenever I pick up a fantasy book.

‘The Charnel God’ – Clark Ashton Smith. Probably the whole reason why I bought a copy of ‘Return of the Sorcerer’ and am still keeping half an eye open for ‘The Emperor of Dreams’; an amazing slice of the darkest kind of fantasy.

‘Prince of Thorns’ – Mark Lawrence (Harper Voyager) I’m horribly late to this party (and still need to read the other two books) but it is so clear why everyone has been saying good things about these books. An awesome story with a compelling lead.

And that was my 2013 in terms of books that I read; I reckon you could pick up any of those books and not be disappointed.
As far as resolutions for next year go, I’ve got loads of books on my shelves that I planned on reading but never got round to. I’m talking ‘Happy Hour in Hell’ and ‘She Who Waits’ in particular, both awesome books that I never got round to. 2014 will be the year that I do something about that I think :o) There are also a couple of series that I want to re-read just because it’s been too long and way past time I revisited. More importantly though, the plan is to keep enjoying how this blog is going, I don’t think that will be too hard ;

Have a great New Year’s Eve and I’ll see you all on the other side ;o)

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