Best. Books. Ever!

Okay, you know what? Neither this nor the previous post’s title is accurate, because for all I know, I could read something tomorrow that I really like or really hate, but you know what? Screw it. These are some of my favourite fiction books (I should do one for non-fiction these days).  As with the last list, YMMV. These are in no particular order:

1. Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

I had never heard of either of these authors until I overheard one of my classmates in high school talking about “a demon kid that has a dog that he turns into a wiener dog” and I was like “wut” and so they let me borrow this book.

Okay, I know everyone who knows anything about Norse mythology loves American Gods to pieces, but screw American Gods! American Gods doesn’t have an angel and a demon getting drunk and arguing about the size of dolphin brains, okay?

Basically, what you need to know is that according to the Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter (the world’s most completely accurate book of prophecies) the world will end on a Saturday, next Saturday, in fact, just after tea. Fortunately for all of us who like our planet to be apocalypse-free, an angel and a demon really aren’t all that keen on seeing the world end so soon.

By the way, it turns out the Earth is a Libra.

Seriously, if you haven’t read it, do it! It’s hilarious!

2. Mortal Coils by Eric Nylund

Okay, seriously now, why hasn’t anyone heard of this book? The best way to describe it is that it’s like American Gods for young adults, but even that description doesn’t do it justice.

Basically, you have these twins, Fiona and Elliot Post, to say that the two children are incredibly sheltered is an understatement. Their strict grandmother has an extensive list of Rules that govern their lives (not being allowed to play musical instruments or read any novels in the genres of science fiction and fantasy, to name two of them).

Then they find out that they’re the offspring of a goddess and Lucifer, Prince of Darkness.

What follows is essentially an epic custody battle between their maternal and paternal families (the Immortals and the Infernals). There are trials and temptations to overcome, and did I mention that the twins are woefully unprepared for any of this?

I know this probably does sound like a typical coming-of-age story, and it pretty much is, but you’ll be doing yourself a disservice if you pass up this book because of that. I’ll admit that at times Fiona and Elliot’s banter got to me (they like to pass the time by playing “vocabulary insult” which is basically insulting each other using big words which are then translated into “plain English” for the reader) and readers who know their world mythology will probably want to slap them a few times for not figuring out the obvious such as who X is or what Y has to do with anything (once again, they are very sheltered). Something I found refreshing was that of the two main characters, it’s Fiona that does most of the fighting while Elliot acts in more of a support role (that’s not to say that he’s completely useless). It’s a small thing that I doubt anyone else noticed, but I love that it’s there, anyways. (Note that Elliot does have a much larger role in the second book.)

3. Wicked Gentlemen by Ginn Hale

Remember that post I made about m/m fiction mostly written by women and how it was terrible? Pretend for a moment that I didn’t say that. Yes, this is an example of a book which depicts a relationship between two men as written by a woman, but that’s not why this book is amazing.

Let’s get the small reasons as to why this book is amazing out of the way first. The setting and the background info is interesting. Basically, a long time ago, the church persuaded demons from Hell to accept baptism. The descendants of these demons are known as Prodigals, who live in a ghetto known as Hells Below and are (naturally) discriminated against by pretty much everyone. The book is actually split into two novellas. The first one is from the first person perspective of Belimai Sykes, a Prodigal who has been tortured by the Inquisition in the past and is now addicted to opium ophorium. When Inquisitorial Captain William Harper shows up on his doorstep looking for a missing woman known to sympathize with Prodigals, guess who reluctantly comes along for the ride? The second novella is from the third person perspective of Captain Harper, and takes place sometime after the first.

Trust me, you won’t be reading this book for the sex scenes (of which there are only a couple, pretty non-explicit, and very brief. You will want to read this book for the plot and the characters. While it is true that both Belimai and Harper start off as somewhat stereotypical (Belimai has his dark and troubled past and Harper is Lawful Good to a fault) both characters do change over the course of both novellas: Belimai lightens up a bit, and Harper shows that he is willing to break the law in order to do what’s right.

But the thing I really loved about this book since I read an excerpt of it was the imagery. Go read the excerpt on Amazon if you can and tell me that you can’t see the fireflies outside Belimai’s window, that you can’t smell the night air. Maybe it’s not the greatest prose ever, but to me, if someone’s words can conjure up sounds or smells and do it in a way that I can clearly imagine the scene as if I were there. they’ve done something right.

Special Mention: Delilah by India Edghill

In all honesty, I couldn’t decide which of the two books I’ve read–Wisdom’s Daughter or Delilah was better, so I chose Delilah because it’s the more recent of the two. Before I get started with these books, yes, they’re both based on biblical narratives. No, they aren’t preachy (in fact, they are very Pagan). Wisdom’s Daughter is the story of Solomon and Sheba and Solomon’s harem of (mostly) polytheists. Delilah is the story of (who else?) Samson and Delilah (you know, the one that involves hair cutting) where Delilah is a Canaanite priestess of Atargatis. The writing is great, the prose is uncomplicated yet evocative. The only thing is you need to be in the right mood to read it. These aren’t novels for people who like books to grab them and not let go until they’re done. They go at a much slower pace, but I have to say, I wasn’t bored with either of them (except Wisdom’s Daughter near the end).

This is the abridged version of my must read books. I left out more than a few series I enjoy (because I’ve either mentioned them a million times or I want to write a whole post on them) and I’ve also left out works I like but don’t love love LOVE, or works that are very popular (say what you like about how Harry became a complete angstbucket in later books, I still love the series).

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