Saturday, January 11, 2014

Some reading highlights and disappointments from 2012

Here's my list of reading highlights and disappointments from 2012. 

Spy novels, thrillers and fantasy featured quite heavily on my reading list. It was a pretty quiet year on the non-fiction front.


Gabriel Allon series by Daniel Silva 

One of the best things about discovering a series so late is the extensive back catalogue. 

Daniel Silva’s spy/thriller series focuses on Isaraeli intelligence agent, Gabriel Allon, who also happens to also be a talented art restorer. 

It’s a great mix of spy stuff, history, politics and also art history that had me totally gripped. 

There are 13 books in this series (yes!) and I read books 1 -6 straight through. While I’m on a mini-break from the series, there is no doubt I’ll be back to read the rest of the books.

The Red Knight by KT Davies 

If you are after a  gritty and compelling fantasy novel featuring a knight in shining armour, who happens to be a woman, than this is the book for you.

KT Davies’ book has it all: knights, dragons, magicians, military battles, a castle siege and a dash of romance. I loved the fact that the knights were both men and women, which really gave the book an extra dimension. The ending was also very unexpected and left me wanting to know so much more about what happens to the characters.  

This  was one of the most thoroughly enjoyable reads of the year.

I Am Pilgrim – Terry Hayes 

This first novel by Australian screen writer, Terry Hayes, is a brilliant page turning thriller that focuses on a dangerous cat and mouse game between an US intelligence agent and a terrorist bent on revenge. 

The story set in a post 9/11 intelligence world is fast moving and engrossing.  I also loved the Australian connections that Hayes weaves into the story. 

What really makes this book so compelling is the main character, codenamed ‘Pilgrim’, who is not your usual gung-ho hero type but actually witty and has a real Aussie sense of humour and irony. 

It’s one of those books where, as desperately as you want to find out what happens, you also don’t want it end. I am hoping that this is not the last of Pilgrim's adventures.

The disappointments

Unfortunately two of my favourite authors disappointed last year:

The Kill List by Federick Forsyth
The story was not compelling or engaging and overall, dare I say it, just a bit pedestrian from the Master.

The Kill Room by Jeffrey Deaver
I was super excited by the return of Lincoln Rhyme and Amelia Sacks but Deaver's latest really disappointed in terms of story and character. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t great either and far from Deaver's best.

Some books on this year's reading list

Saints of the Shadow Bible by Ian Rankin
The return of Rebus - yay!!

The Spy by James Phelan
Recommended by Lee Child himself - so have to check it out.

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell 
Look's like a great YA book and who can go pass an author named 'Rainbow'?

This one has rave reviews and I absolutely loved Tartt's two previous books - The Secret History and The Little Friend.