If I remember correctly, the last Star Trek novel I read, prior to James Swallow’s quite good Cast No Shadow last year in June, was some time in 2004 and it was one where the author focused on Spock and his relationship to a niece or some such character who was coming of age quite soon and was intended to be married off soon after in a bit of family politics. So its been a long time, to be generous. Cast No Shadow really got me in the mood for getting back to the setting however, and around the same time I rewatched The Undiscovered Country for like the umpteenth time. Soon after I heard that there was going to be a new series of Star Trek novels, part of a multi-author series and that the first book would be set in the DS9 continuity.
I could not have been more excited, to be honest. All the Star Trek shows, yes even Enterprise which I enjoyed quite highly and have rewatched multiple times, were good and the fact that DS9 was a very action-packed series was all the better. What I didn’t expect when I began reading Revelation and Dust however was all the changes. And there have been many of them. But at the same time, with an almost fresh cast of characters, I found that I did enjoy the novel quite a bit and that I’m really keen to read more. More, more, more.
Last year, I blogged over at The Founding Fields about 25 book series from various genres, science fiction, fantasy, urban fantasy, space opera, etc that I wanted to read in 2013. The intention behind that particular reading challenge was to read a broad variety of some of the most popular names in those genres as well as to try out several new authors and revisit some favourite classics. While I wasn’t as successful in the challenge as I might like, I’ve made it a new year resolution to make sure that I do indeed repeat the challenge in 2014 with new books, new authors, and finish it this time.
To that effect, here are the 25 book series I’ve picked for this reading challenge for this year. You can see the previous list for 2013 here.
The sixth book cover that I pick for the “12 Days of Best Covers of 2013” list is Jon Sullivan’s superb illustration for Ari Marmell’s In Thunder Forged, the first Fall of Llael novel from Pyr Books, set in the Iron Kingdoms setting. I read the novel a few weeks ago and while its not among the best novels I’ve read this year, its certainly been one of the better ones and I definitely loved the setting and the characters book. It makes me wish that I knew more about Iron Kingdoms and that the next book in the series was already out. Now that would truly be amazing, especially if Jon draws the cover once again.
The sixth comic cover that I pick is the cover for writer Gail Simone and artist Walter Geovani’s first issue of the rebooted Red Sonja series from Dynamite Entertainment. The cover itself is courtesy of Nicola Scott, who is one of my absolute favourite comics artists. The first issue was rather remarkable in that Gail put together a team of seriously awesomely talented female artists and got them to do the cover and several variants, one each. The result was pretty fantastic, as was the rest of the issue itself. Gail and Walter have definitely put Red Sonja on the map for me, a dilettante with the character’s comics, and now I’m a full fan.
Without further ado, hit the break to see both the covers in all their glory! The full list of all these covers is available here.
When I compiled my list of “51 Most Anticipated Novels of 2013“, I put Chris Wraight’s Blood of Asaheim on it because I had really liked his first full-length 40k novel, The Battle of the Fang for the Space Marines Battle series. He gave a really nice depth to the Space Wolves with that book, and he brought together the disparate portrayals of the 40k Space Wolves by William King’s classic novels and Dan Abnett’s Horus Heresy piece, Prospero Burns. I love the former, but I detest the latter. Chris Wraight gave me a nice middle ground between the two and that’s what I hoped that Blood of Asaheim would be. It wasn’t.
Blood of Asaheim isn’t tied to Battle of the Fang in any direct way. They are both novels about the Space Wolves Chapter, but where the previous novel is set 1,000 years after the Horus Heresy, Blood of Asaheim is set in the current 40k timeline, one where Ragnar Blackmane is the Wolf Lord of his own Great Company, as per the character’s history as set in the tabletop lore. Chris Wraight offers up several new characters and the premise itself is an interesting one, but unfortunately the execution turned out to be pretty flawed because it was essentially repetitive material.
In recent years, C. L. Werner has emerged as one of my favourite Black Library authors, especially through his short fiction. Primarily writing in the Warhammer Fantasy setting with an occasional foray into Warhammer 40,000 I think of him as one of the more technically sound authors and someone who can tell complex stories and complex characters really well. He showed that with Dead Winter last year, his first Black Plague novel for the Time of Legends meta-series. It was political epic fantasy at its best and showed a cross-section of the Empire and its enemies at one of the lowest points in the former’s history.
Earlier this year the second novel in the trilogy was released, which I got to read last month. I’ve been really neglectful of my Black Library reading this year, so I haven’t had a chance to read all the books that I’ve wanted to. But what little I’ve read has been quite good and Blighted Empire is a great example of that.