Eleanor Skinner at Flights of Fantasy, an independent science fiction and fantasy bookstore with a large gaming section and two lovely cats, weighs in with her favorites of last year:
I will limit myself to books I read this year that were actually published in 2006. I would have to say my utter favorites of the year were The Virtu, by Sarah Monette; To Ride A Rathorn, by PC Hodgell; and The Empty Chair, a Star Trek novel by Diane Duane. All three of them had the long-awaited sequel effect going for them. They are books 2, 4, and 5 of their respective series.
Sarah Monette is the author of the beautifully-written fantasy series beginning with Melusine and continuing with The Mirador in August 2007. It’s about two half-brothers separated at
birth, both abused children, one a wizard and the other a former thief and assassin. They find themselves embroiled in a maze of court politics, conspiracies, dead religions, and ancient magics.
To Ride A Rathorn is the 4th book chronicling the
adventures of Jame of the Kencyrath, PC Hodgell’s
harassed protagonist. The first two books, God-Stalk
and Dark of the Moon, are available in a collection
called Dark of the Gods, from Meisha Merlin. Jame has
been chased out of her father’s keep, captured by
darkness, trained as a thief, forced (ultimately
unsuccessfully) into the life of a noble lady, and now
is training in the Kencyrath’s military academy. To
Ride A Rathorn is about what she encounters there. (A
rathorn is a large, usually angry, armored unicorn.)
PC Hodgell is always an original writer, sometimes
macabre, sometimes funny.
Star Trek Rihannsu: The Empty Chair is the final book
in a series within a series that was started 22 years
ago. Diane Duane’s Star Trek books about the Romulans
were so good, and so popular, that the Trek franchise
people let her finish her series as an alternate
history to the official Trek universe. Diane Duane
creates a beautiful and elaborate culture for the
mysterious Romulans (who call themselves Rihannsu,
‘the Declared’) and focuses on the adventures of ship
captain Ael t’Rllaillieu, exiled warrior, and house
servant Arrhae t’Khellian, Federation spy. In the
final book the Enterprise and Ael’s ship go into
Rihannsu space to support an uprising.
Because I can’t just have one favorite (I love them
ALL…feed me books!), I would also recommend In The
Palace of Repose, by Holly Phillips; Spirits That Walk
in Shadow, by Nina Kiriki Hoffman; Talyn, by Holly
Lisle; and The Last Green Tree, by Jim Grimsley as
well-written fantasy and science fiction.
FOF’s webpage is http://www.fof.net
PC Hodgell fan site:
Nina Kiriki Hoffman fan site: http://ofearna.us/books/hoffman.html