Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Most Popular 2010 SF & Fantasy

The most popular 2010 SF and Fantasy as measured by library circulation.

1. Starbound by Joe Haldeman

Haldeman's sequl to Marsbound. Carmen Dula and her husband have spent six years travelling to a distant solar system that is home to the enigmatic, powerful race known as "The Others," in the hopes of finding enough common purpose between their species to forge a delicate truce. By the time Carmen and her party return, fifty years have been consumed by relativity-and the Earthlings have not been idle, building a massive flotilla of warships to defend Earth against The Others. But The Others have more power than any could imagine-and they will brook no insolence from the upstart human race.

2. Dragon Keeper by Robin Hobb

In a novel as good as it is massive, the first of two Rain Wilds Chronicles, Hobb returns to the dragons of the Rain Wilds forests, first met in her Liveship Traders trilogy. They have survived but aren't thriving. Weak and sick, they must be cared for by the forest's inhabitants. The only way to save them is to send them back up the Rain Wilds river, lest they run amok and destroy the more civilized peoples who don't want the responsibility of caring for them. On the perilous journey to do just that, a rich merchant's wife from Bingtown and a 16-year-old girl from the Rain Wilds tribes meet. They initially have nothing whatsoever in common except wanting to help the dragons, but that is enough for a bond between them to be eventually established as they fight natural and man-made hazards. The scenes on the water will remind readers of the Liveship Traders, as will the good characterizations and the lush forest settings. Hobb continues to occupy a perch at or near the top among contemporary fantasists. This book is imaginative, literate, and compassionate from first page to last. -Booklist

3. Iorich
by Steven Brust

In his new adventure, Vlad Taltos is still running from the Jhereg with a huge price on his head. Hearing that old friend Aliera e'Kieron has been arrested on a trumped-up charge and wondering why her comrades, starting with the empress, haven't lifted a finger, he repairs to Adrilankha to investigate, narrowly skirting his enemies, encountering many well-wishing old friends, and then uncovering a complex political situation encompassing everyone from the empress to the Left Hand of the Jhereg. And he meets his son and has a bittersweet reunion with his ex. A good read for longtime fans and newbies alike.

4. The Adamantine Palace by Stephen Deas

Controlled by an alchemical potion that blunts their ferocity, the dragons of the Realms serve as hunting beasts and war mounts as well as valuable tokens of wealth in the game of politics. Both Prince Jehal and Queen Shezira desire power and seek it through murder or marriage until a missing white dragon signals the onset of serious trouble in the Realms. Deas's debut fantasy features dragons that are wild and powerful when left to their own devices, and his characters are both diverse and complex. Verdict Dragon-based fiction is popular, and fans of Anne McCaffrey's Pern novels, Naomi Novik's Temeraire series, and other dragon tales should enjoy this well-written fantasy debut. -Library Journal

5. The Spirit Lens by Carol Berg

In a new series, Berg introduces the kingdom of Sabria, where sorcery is declining under an explosion of knowledge in the natural sciences and a charismatic young king. Failed student of magic Portier de Duplais is now a librarian at the kingdom's last college of magic. When his distant cousin, King Phillipe, asks him to investigate an attempted murder that showed magical influences, Portier jumps at the chance to leave his rut. To his dismay, Portier is partnered in the investigation with the biggest fool at court. Then he must gain the help of Dante, a brilliant but heretical sorcerer with a penchant for violence. As the investigation continues, so do the deaths, and Portier gets into an increasingly complex fight for his own, the king's, and the kingdom's lives. An archetypal mystery and a genuine page-turner that should please both mystery and fantasy fans. -Booklist


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