Here are some of my favorites from the past year.
Oddly, though, this series precedes in time a previously published trio of books, so really the best place to start is with "A Guile of Dragons," then eventually move on to the Morlock the Maker series that begins with "Blood of Ambrose." Wherever you start, you will engage with one of the most interesting writers in modern fantasy, not to mention one of the most taciturn yet fascinating protagonists. Don't miss out.
There's a lot going on in "23 Years on Fire," as Shepherd never dodges difficult questions, but the writing gets a little clunky this time (especially a long explanation disguised as dialogue about human beings' insistence on creating narratives). Still, things pick up steam as the book goes along, and Shepherd's battle scenes -- with all the bells and whistles of modern combat -- are well-done.
If you're a fan of the previous books, jump in; if you haven't encountered Sandy before, I'd definitely suggest starting with "Crossover."
"The Lies of Locke Lamora" and "Red Seas under Red Skies" came out in 2006 and 2007, but "The Republic of Thieves" (Del Rey, $28, 651 pages) took six years to deliver. I've enjoyed all three books, despite a feeling that Lynch tried to cram two books into one in this volume, and I look forward to the coming releases -- though it's hard to predict precisely how long it will take him to deliver volume four.
"The Diamond Deep" is still a reasonably entertaining book, even though Cooper is pretty much locked into the ending and the all-too predictable struggle of the powerless against the powerful. But after several books, I confess I'm not sure whether I'm really a Cooper fan or not. Her books are a curious mixture of obvious talent and poor authorial choices, but there's still hope. Maybe she will put it all together next time.
Contact Clay Kallam at firstname.lastname@example.org.