Posts Tagged ‘Genevieve Valentine’

2014 is coming to an end and, as cheesy as it is, I thought I’d post a little about the best books I’ve read this year. It’s taken a fair amount of beard scratching and some serious moustache twiddling but I feel a general top five is probably the fairest way to go as I’ve read some really, truly brilliant novels since I started this blog.

Though my reading has trailed off this month, due in no small part to my son celebrating his first birthday and subsequently forgoing any kind of routine day time naps, my last read Europe in Autumn is an excellent novel. Subtle, engaging and with an intricacy and depth that is quite astounding at times, Dave Hutchinson is definitely a name to look out for in my opinion.

Along with a lot of other blogs, awards and readers, I also have to admit that The Martian by Andy Weir is an unbelievably awesome book. There’s humour, humanity and hardship all packed into a novel that somehow makes potato maths interesting, nay, intriguing. This book had me gripped from the first to the last page and it was such a great read with such a fulfilling end that it’s hard not to recommend it to everyone, everywhere.

My top fantasy reads this year resulted in a dead draw between Joe Abercrombie’s Red Country and Mark Lawrence’s trilogy beginning with The Prince of Thorns. Both authors are clearly some of the best writers in this new golden age of fantasy that we are all lucky enough to be enjoying. Red Country is, in my humble opinion, Abercrombie’s best to date. A rollicking Western-esque tale of revenge full of grit and characterised by a protagonist full of piss and vinegar. Mark Lawrence, a man of supernatural abilities and talent, has produced a trilogy so gripping it’s a must read if you like fantasy. His world building is fantastic, his characters are brilliant and the final revelations are just awesome. I think this work is one of the best new fantasy trilogies out there and I’m not ashamed to say it was an absolute pleasure to read.

Finally, in my top five I am going to mention Fiend by Peter Stenson. I read this during a zombie novel binge and though it isn’t your typical horror fare, it’s for that reason that the book is so excellent. Drug addled protagonists, insane zombie-esque shenanigans and a skin crawling, brain itching ability to convey addiction. Stenson’s book is crazy but it’s a real (excuse the pun) shot in the arm for the zombie genre.

I’ve also read a lot of fantastic short stories this year. It’s not something I’ve done much of in the past but I’m really glad I’ve discovered the medium. Two names that really stick out are Benjanun Sriduangkaew and Genevieve Valentine. Both produced stories that had a touch of the sublime about them but which also stuck in my mind long after I read them. I will also say that, for me, the best anthology of stories in 2014 was Two Hundred and Twenty One Stories From Baker Street. Every single piece of work was a fitting tribute to the Sherlock and Watson cannon and it was just great fun to see how each author reproduced those characters in such wildly different settings.

Starting this blog earlier this year has also been great for me. Not only have I had a place to collate my thoughts on all the books I read I’ve also got to interview a few very interesting authors and editors. I’m hoping to continue in the same spirit in which I began in 2015. Maybe I’ll get a chance to watch all the films I missed out on this year. Maybe I’ll finally get to watch The Walking Dead season 4 (no spoilers please!). But, definitely, I’ll keep on reading, reviewing and blogging about some new stuff, some old stuff and some e-stuff.

Have a great New Year and thanks for reading 🙂



Whilst I received a bounty of reading material this week, I wanted to check out a couple more stories from Fearsome Magics and I’m glad I did.

First up, I read On Skybolt Mountain by Justina Robson. It’s a wonderful little tale that meanders along, sucking you into the world of a seamstress. Her inner dialogue paints the picture of a spinster forced to move from village to village, trying to escape the rumours that she is a witch.

But, a little magical mishap at the local fair, sees her under suspicion once more and it’s not long before the lord of the area is demanding her appearance. Suffice it to say, the lord has some pompous plans regarding a dragon and it’s treasure whilst the little seamstress is so much more than the rumours could even hint at.

Robson’s story is hugely entertaining and subtly written. Plus, its an brilliant take on the notion of dragons…

Aberration by Genevieve Valentine is a weird and ephemeral tale that drifts and whorls like the metaphor of smoke which pervades the story. It’s difficult to describe in terms of a linear plot. Ghostly yet solid, the main character displaces across space and time to witness the end of things. Unseen yet present, she feels nothing but is wrenched from her own existence. Placeless, she seeks only to stay.

It’s a powerful and poetic piece of writing that lingers as you ponder not only the imagery but also the idea behind it. The fractured nature of the protagonist’s experiences mirror the idea of the character herself – something impossible to pin down.

Valentine has created a solemn, strange tale with a stirring vibrancy. A truly odd yet compelling read.

Review copy
Published by Solaris