The Pale Horse by Agatha Christie: One of the mysteries that features neither of her best-known detectives. I couldn’t quite remember the plot, and was hoping there would be a few sympathetic characters. There are, fortunately. For a non-Poirot or Miss Marple book, I think it works quite well, although it’s not even close to the best of either.
Thomas the Rhymer by Ellen Kushner: As you all know, I love Tam Lin retellings, and Thomas the Rhymer is a close cousin. Kushner does a marvelous job with the story and characters. And her fairyland is wonderful–what I so often want fairylands to be (she goes with Elf, rather than fairy, but I’m lumping them together). In a way, what I wanted was more Elspeth, but I loved it. And the end made me cry, so that’s always a plus.
Echo by Alicia Wright Brewster: A science fantasy (as in, takes place on another world, but has magic). I love the cover a LOT, and I liked the main character and most of the plot. But I never felt any strong emotional connection, and the love interest was entirely bland.
Handbook for Dragon Slayers by Merrie Haskell: I really liked Haskell’s debut, The Princess Curse, so I read this one right away. It was good, and I liked the several ways she subverts the standard cliches. Haskell also does a nice job of making her setting specific and real, rather than a vague pseudo-Middle Ages (she did the same in Princess Curse, so this is not surprising). I did like The Princess Curse a bit more, I think because of the fairy tale aspect, but she’s definitely a middle grade writer to watch. And her upcoming book, Castle of Thorns, sounds like it will be fantastic!