Misty’s Been Reading


Yes, I’ve been writing.  I’m always writing, and you guys who are here because you’re writers know exactly what I’m talking about.  But after immersing myself in worlds of my own imagining for hours, I want to read someone else’s words before I go to sleep.  It’s almost a physical need.  Unless I’m completely exhausted from a day of heavy physical labor, (like moving a kid into his dorm room and then walking around the huge campus on a hot and humid Saturday), I can’t sleep without reading at least a few pages of whatever book has my attention at the time.   So yeah, I’ve been reading.  Fortunately, I’ve found some great books lately, so I decided to share with you all today, in case you’re headed to the bookstore and just don’t know what to buy.*

The Naming of the Beasts by Mike Carey

This is the fifth book in Carey’s excellent Felix Castor series.  Fix is an exorcist in present-day London, a man who can see and communicate with the dead, and who knows how to send them on their way.  Not that he’s crazy about doing that job, since he realized some years ago that he doesn’t know where he’s sending the souls.  His friend Rafi Ditko’s soul is inextricably intertwined with the demon Asmodeus thanks to a mistake on Fix’s part when he was still young and inexperienced.  Now Rafi has escaped from the magical bonds keeping Asmodeus from running wild and is now loose and killing everyone who ever meant anything to Rafi.  And he seems to be saving Fix for last.

These books are dark and magical and I just can’t say enough nice things about them.  Fix is unusual for an exorcist, since he actually cares about the welfare of the dead he’s always asked to dispel.  He cares so much that he let go of a lucrative career to be a private contractor instead.  He’s tortured by the memory of his sister’s ghost and by the suffering Rafi has endured with Asmodeus gripping his soul so tightly.  The money’s always tight, the jobs are rarely simple and the stories are wicked fun.  If you haven’t read any others in the series, you must start at the beginning, with The Devil You Know,  to get the full impact of this book.

The Desert of Souls by Howard Jones

Dabir the scholar and Asim, captain of the vizier’s guard, have been sent into the desert to retrieve a magical door pull which opens the way to the lost world of Ubar.  The pull was stolen by a magician bent on revenge against the city where his family was murdered, and if Dabir and Asim cannot stop him, all will be lost.

Years ago, when I was first discovering fantasy and its wonders, I was intensely fond of Fritz Leiber’s Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, the fighter and thief team who rambled all over the fantasy world of Nehwon slaying monsters and collecting treasure (when they could find it.)  This book is a lovely homage to that sort of sword and sorcery, but set in the medieval desert city of Baghdad.  Jones has done an excellent job presenting the culture without resorting to overdone tropes, and it’s been so long since we had some delicious sword and sorcery fun.

Johannes Cabal the Necromancer by Jonathan L Howard

Johannes Cabal is a necromancer, but not a mystical sort.  Cabal is a scientist, and he sold his soul to Satan to learn the secrets of life and death many years before.  Unfortunately, the only way to understand the information he’s amassed is if he actually has a soul, so he’s determined to buy his soul back from Satan now.  It doesn’t usually work that way, as we all know, and Satan offers a wager to Cabal instead.  If he can hand over 100 willing souls to Satan at the end of a year’s time, Satan will return the soul Cabal sold. To help him, Satan sends an evil carnival for Cabal to use in tempting the wicked.  But is that really what’s happening?

This was a neat book.  Cabal is obnoxious and arrogant, but there’s something innocent about his singleminded quest, especially when he is counseled by his vampire brother Horst on how to treat people.  It’s a little bit Sherlock Holmes, a little bit Carnivale, and a whole lot of fun.

Mistborn: The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson

The world is dark and forbidding.  Ash falls from the sky, creatures haunt the mists and one man is standing up to fight the Lord Ruler and free the world from tyranny.  Fortunately there are others ready to back him up, including the young thief Vin, who is Mistborn, and holds great magical power, if only she can learn to wield it.

This is a wonderful introduction to a fantasy epic, and even though Sanderson killed off one character of whom I was very fond (I’m not telling you who, and if you think this is a spoiler, you clearly need to read more epic fantasy) I’m willing to forgive him.  The world is intriguing, the magic is well portrayed and the story kept me reading all the way through.

The Neon Court by Kate Griffin

Matthew Swift, sorcerer and protector of London’s magical environs, wakes up to find himself on an upper floor of a burning building, lying in a pool of blood that isn’t his.  He escapes by the skin of his teeth, but once he gets back to his offices, he’s told that the Tribe and the Neon Court are ready to go to war over a girl they call the chosen one, and the fire may have been set in order to drive Matthew into joining one side or the other – something he cannot do.  And did I mention he also seems to be the only one who’s noticed that the sun isn’t rising any longer?

This is the third book in the Matthew Swift series, and I am madly in love with this world and this story.  It’s urban fantasy the way I like it.  Swift uses the city to make his magic.  Street lights, blacktop, subway graffiti, balled up bits of paper…all of these things serve as components for his magic.  You haven’t seen a cool magical battle until you read about Swift using the little man on the crosswalk light to hold back his pursuer!

So that’s what I’ve read lately.  What have you found that you’re dying to pass on to everyone else?  Share!


*And apologies to Beatriz, who is probably going to want to beat me up for adding more titles to her Kindle TBR list.  Sorry, hon!


12 comments to Misty’s Been Reading

  • wookiee

    I’m partway through the 2nd Mistborn book and loving it. I got introduced to Sanderson when his Warbreaker came up on my Vine list, and his work on Jordan’s series has made him one of my favorite authors. I like Elantris a lot, too, though I’m hesitant to jump into his new epic series simply because there’s so many other series I’m in the middle of, waiting for the next book to come out.

  • (drops head to hands, rocking side-to-side)
    Miiiiiiistyyyyy. Now I got even more books to read. Good thing I give all my books to the nephew. I’d be a horrible hoarder otherwise. Now *he’s* the hoarder.

  • Well, last night I finished BLOOD CROSS by someone named Faith Hunter. That was pretty darn good.

    My best find of the summer is an ebook written by my friend Stephen Leigh. It is a YA novel, a coming of age book in the style of A SEPARATE PEACE, but with a dark magical twist. It’s beautifully written, incredibly powerful and moving, and one of those books that haunts you long after you put it down.

  • Unicorn

    Two months ago I came upon a magnificent book called GREEN RIDER by Kristen Britain. All right, so it’s not the newest book around (it was published in 1998) but I loved the book and can’t wait to get my hands on the rest of the series.
    Another book that I last read probably more than a year ago, but it’s stayed with me in vivid detail ever since, was THE NAME OF THE WIND by Patrick Rothfuss. Wonderful story and I loved the way it was presented, a sort of story-within-a-story. Once again, I really need to get hold of the next one, THE WISE MAN’S FEAR I think it’s called.
    Thanks for the post, Misty.

  • I was fortunate to win a copy from Tor of the book DISCORD’S APPLE by Carrie Vaughn last year, set in the near-future and dealing with many elements from fairytales and mythology. I only got a chance to crack it open in the past month. It was amazing. I remember trying to describe it to my dad and finding myself at a loss for words to sum up its awesomeness, and eventually said, “It’s about stories.” And storytelling. It made my heart sing.

  • Oh, I just bought the first Mistborn book on Kindle! I was loving it so much I had to stop and write something! (That’s always my problem with good books…)

  • Mikaela

    I have one book I am dying to recommend to everyone I know, but I can’t since it isn’t sold yet. ( You hear that Catie? You better sell Angles so recommend it to everyone I know!)
    If you want cheap, awesome e-books I recommend Lazette Gifford. She writes fantasy and Science fiction that are well researched, and have good plots.

  • All of you enjoying the Mistborn books, I just wanted to tell you that I’m about 1/3 of the way into the last of that trilogy (The Hero of Ages) and it’s every bit as awesome as the first two. You’re going to love it.

  • For those reading Mistborn…. I’ve read them and just wait until the end. It has an ending that you probably will not expect. 🙂

    Great list btw, Misty!

  • Monique

    Thanks for the list! ::opens a new tab to the library’s catalog::

    _Desert of Souls_ really is a great book. Sword and sorcery fans will love it – the setting is incredibly lush and it’s a well-paced book. (Great characters, too.)

    I’ve been currently busy inhaling all books by Catherynne M. Valente; she’s an amazing fantasy author who isn’t as well-known as she ought to be. Her work is heavily influenced by myth, fairy tales and folklore, but is fresh, three-dimensional and heart-breakingly gorgeous.

    Also reading Embassytown by China Mieville. omg – the language!

  • I’ve been reading the Hunger Games trilogy and The Huffington Post Guide to Blogging. Sword and Sorcery is making a comeback. *cheers*

    Thanks for the list, gang.

  • Beatriz

    Work’s been crazy this week so I’m just now catching up on MW.

    And yes, I now have a copy of every one of those books you suggested on my Kindle as well as a few mentioned in the comments.

    At least I’ll have something to read at Dragon Con!