Books. Novellas. Short Stories. Scholarly Articles. Comics and Manga.
Fifteen Hours: Mitchel Scanlon
Knee Deep: Mitchel Scanlon
Death World: Steve Lyons
The Thing About Shapes to Come: Adam-Troy Castro
Seven Wonders of a Once and Future World: Caroline M. Yoachim
Ruby Slippers: Susan Wade
The Naturalist: Maureen F. McHugh
Serious Moonlight #2: The Razor Thin Edge: JG Cain
Broken: Maya Goode
Redemption Through Sacrifice: Justin Woolley
Made in Abyss vol. 1-6: Akihito Tsukushi
Dark Son: Gav Thorpe
Void Crossed: JC Stearns
The Curse of Shaa-dom: Gav Thorpe
Left for Dead: Steve Lyons
The Strong Among Us: Steve Lyons
Phoenix Rising: The Gift of Hope: Andy Clark
Sabriel: Garth Nix
Half a King: Joe Abercrombie
Pretty Pretty Boys: Gregory Ashe
Transposition: Gregory Ashe
Paternity Case: Gregory Ashe
Off Duty: Gregory Ashe
Battle Angel Alita: Last Order vol 1-2: Yukito Kishiro
Red Lanterns vol. 1-3: Peter Milligan, Miguel Sepulveda, Ed Benes, Rob Hunter
Daughter of the White River: Depression-Era Treachery & Vengeance in the Arkansas Delta: Denise White Parkinson
Novella: Fifteen Hours: Mitchel Scanlon
Manga: Made in Abyss: Akihito Tsukushi (seriously cried for HOURS)
Short Story: The Naturalist: Maureen F. McHugh
I didn’t read a lot of “deep” literary masterpieces this half of the year (or maybe I did depending on your point of view). My brain wasn’t in it. I needed my comfort literature. Which is Warhammer 40K. Because.
But I have to say my favorite novel of this half of the year is Pretty Pretty Boys by Gregory Ashe, and not just because it’s fresh on my mind because I just finished reading it. This is a self-published book and it is phenomenal. The writing is excellent, the characters are extremely tangible and well developed. The plot pacing and mystery execution are very well done (I’m not an expert by any means in the genre and I can’t tell “good” device formula from a hole in the ground).
But most importantly, this book grabbed me by the collar and shook me very hard. I had to stop and take a break for a minute. I think I even had a nightmare. Because this book also deals with very heavy themes. Bullying, suicide, hate crimes, persecution. It takes serious skill to blend real-world issues with a genre and not have them come together superficially or tacky. I love it when books can grab me in these visceral ways when I’m not expecting it. Ashe is well worth your time. Seriously. Good stuff.
And to the amazing Maureen F. McHugh: a friend of mine and I agree, there needs to be more of The Naturalist. What’s his story? What happened to him? He needs a book all to himself. Thanks.