Let's skip right to the chase and hit the highlights, shall we? Because all this reading is going to go to waste if I don't at least share the really good and surprising ones that I stumbled upon this September.
Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson's Vin would give Katniss Everdeen a run for her money. She's an orphan beggar/thief (what hero in the world of fantasy literature isn't these days?) who discovers she has magical powers and can kick some major butt. But can she kill the god-king enslaving all her people? It's up to you, dear reader, to find out.
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie is part graphic novel, part coming of age story but I really hate to paint it as a coming of age story because I'm continually disappointed in the over dramatic, emotion-crazed coming of age stories that are so popular. This one isn't like that and there's more than a dash of reality. This is probably one of my favourite coming of age novels because the underdog is so easy to cheer for and also so incredibly human. The story is loosely based around the life of the author and your heart will hurt for the boy who has tremendous real life obstacles to overcome.
For some odd, inexplicable reason, I really wanted to dislike The Map of Time by Felix Palma but the interwoven stories about time travel set in Victorian England, with H.G. Wells as the main character and hero, splattered with steampunk elements grabbed me by the very end. I have the sequel on my bookshelf ready to read - this is a fun and entertaining take on an adventure novel and would be a good vacation read.
Emperor Mollusk and the Sinister Brain by A. Lee Martinez is like shaken, mixed up version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and MegaMind. Sometimes, a bad guy is so bad that he's good and Emperor Mollusk, who is quite literally a brilliant mollusk from the planet Neptune in a robot body, is that guy. The Sinister Brain is after destruction of him and his pet planet Earth and only has the wits and the intellectual capacity to puzzle out who he is and why. After reading this, I can totally tell why Roxanne Ritchi fell in love with MegaMind's big, blue, bulbous head.
The Blue Blazes by Chuck Wendig was another unexpected goodie that I didn't expect to enjoy. As far as concepts, we've all read plenty of stories about the mole people who live in the subway systems under the city, a la Neverwhere, but what if there were monsters who ventured out of the deep from below the subways under Manhattan and were hiding among us in plain sight? I really don't want to give away any more of it so that you can be pleasantly surprised for yourself. It's gory, gritty and gross - just right for Halloween.
There are plenty others, like The Absent One and The Passage, that were good but I expect them to be good because the first in the series set the bar high. What about you, what have you been reading this fall that's been a delightful surprise?