Tuesday, December 19, 2017

KAK's Top 3 Most Memorable Books of 2017

For 2017's Most Memorable list, I'll start with a bit of brownnosing our Thursday blogger, Marshall.

I absolutely loved A Murder of Mages with "Tricky" and "Jinx." The mystery was crisp, the guilty party unexpected, and the world richly built without being intrusive. Most important was the character development of the detectives. Their introductions, the formation of their partnership, the conflicts inside the station and at home, all of it served the story well and made me care so much that I'm itching to dig into An Import of Intrigue, the second book in The Maradaine Constabulary prong of the larger Maradaine world. It wasn't too dark, bleak, or depressing as some of the fantasy mysteries I've recently read. It was more in the vein of Guy Ritchie's spin on Sherlock Holmes...with less snark.

American Gods by Neil Gaiman makes the list because of Shadow Moon, the protagonist. With all the hype of the show, I figured I'd read the book first (I'm weird like that). 85% of the book is told from Shadow's POV. What stuck with me after I'd finished was how Gaiman crafted Shadow to be the moral gauge while being an unmoored lackey in a divine mob war. Shadow wasn't the king of emoting. In fact, he was a bit of a wooden plank. He had a personal code from which he did not veer, and that was his sole redeemable value. It's easy to classify Shadow as a beta male, a hair's breadth from being dopey...and yet something I haven't quite identified kept him in the "stoic hero" role. Pegging how an author made a character "work" is one of the things I like to do to help me better my craft. In this story, I haven't been able to crack it; perhaps that's why American Gods remains memorable to me.

Call of the Wilde by Jenn Stark, Book 8 in her Immortal Vegas series shows the street-smart artifact hunter who inherited a crime syndicate finally taking the reins and rising to the challenge of her new position. Instead of tiptoeing along the line separating magic from magical realism, Sara Wilde becomes a bridge between the two worlds forcing parties to work together who historically tried to kill each other. It's a fun romp that shows the stakes being raised in the great War on Magic.