I've read quite a few great books recently with some of my favourite authors knocking it out the park but I've also read (or rather started to read) quite a few where I've given up just a short way in. Maybe I'm just becoming fussier or maybe its because the others have been so good...
The one I loved most has to be the 4th book in Peter V. Brett's Demon Cycle, The Skull Throne. I loved this. So much so that after I finished, I read it again immediately afterwards. And I'm almost tempted to read all four again from start to finish. Its an amazing tour de force, particularly as the two main characters aren't in 50% of the novel. Big stuff happens, gut-renching, emotional stuff - brave moves by an author that is at the top of his game.
In at No 2 is Joe Abercrombie's second Young Adult novel, Half A World. I was a bit in two minds after the first one but this is just fantastic — everything you love about Abercrombie, going Viking-tastic. Great characters, brilliant POVs.
I would have bought this book for the cover alone. A lone swordsman with a baby in tow, trying to get across a demon infested land — sounds like a fantasy spin on Lone Wolf and Cub, one of my favourite Samurai tales. When it came down to it, I loved the book but its a different read. All told in present tense with a hero that doesn't speak (and one of the main characters is a goat!). Its brave but took a while to get into but I'll definitely pick up the sequel. I actually found the writing style a bit infectious actually and it took me a bit of time in my own writing to get back into past tense...
Lastly on good books read, I recently got into Simon Scarrow's Rome series. His name kept coming up when talking about my book with my agent so I thought I'd check Scarrow's work out. I've only read the first two so far but really really enjoy them (in the same way I love the Sharpe novels). It's perfect pop corn entertainment. I even missed my bus stop once because I was so engrossed in one of the books. I would be very happy if Rane was half as successful and enduring.
I've written about my love of Frank Miller's Ronin before. It is my favourite comic book of all time - more so than Watchman or Dark Knight or Bryne's X-Men or Simonson's Fantastic Four. It blew my 14 year old mind when it came out and it continues to do so now.
There's been a craze recently of releasing large format books containing art scanned directly from the artist's artwork, showing them in their purest sense. I love these books and have Simonson's Alien and Manhunter books, Byrne's Fantastic Four and Mignola's Hellboy. However all pale in comparison to the Ronin edition just released. First of all its massive, twice the size again of all others. You can literally see the ink on the page (and the white out and the coffee and the mad sweat genius of it all). There's so much energy and excitement in every page as Miller experiments and grows as an artist.
But the greatest compliment I can give it is that it makes me want to draw again, to go and create art of my own. It fills my head with endless wonder and opens doors to new worlds and new stories.
I'll never be able to own a page of Frank Miller art but through this book, I'll come close.