It’s always fun to discover a new, talented author, and Joe Abercrombie is certainly one of those. You should read this book for the dialogue alone, and for the nasty and appealing villain, Glokta. While the stakes and thrust of this book (first of a series) aren’t clear for quite awhile, I didn’t care–it was so much fun to read. I’m told by people who know that this is not a humorous series, but in my opinion The Blade Itself never lets up being deliciously sly–when it isn’t being outright hilarious .
Also: Reader and Raelynx, by Sharon Shinn. I’m addicted to her Novels of the Twelve Houses. A romantic fantasy with an appealing ensemble cast, intelligently mixed and challenged. When you’re tired of fight scenes and the grime of the world, start with Mystic and Ryder.
Also: Best American Science Writing 2007, Gina Kolata, ed. Here’s your next short story idea, folks. Did you know there’s a medical condition where people can’t recognize faces? That the world of Mathematics prizes is far more cutthroat than the Hugos? Hey, I don’t have time to read Scientific American.
Another medieval fantasy among many. Except: Carthage is the center of civilization, exists under a shrouded sky called the Penitence, and the extraordinarily rendered protagonist is a hermaphrodite with, as might be imagined, serious family issues. I’m not quite finished yet, but I’m glad I finally got around to reading Mary Gentle.