So some more mini book reviews:
Kevin J Anderson - The Ashes of Worlds (The Saga of Seven Suns book 7) - a nice enough conclusion to a series that was a little up and down for my tastes. It started well with the first three books, lost a bit of the plot towards the middle there, and then tied things up relatively nicely by this final volume and its predecessor, Metal Swarm. Kevin Anderson is sort of an everyman when it comes to Sci-Fi and it will be interesting to see how he goes with his new Fantasy series which is due to start next year. All in all The Saga of Seven Suns was a sort of space opera type sci-fi-lite with a lot of Star Wars-ish leanings - he even admitted it was originally pitched as an idea for a Star Wars series. I realise this write-up isn't even a write-up but more an admission that here is a sci-fi series that was basically OK but really quite basic and pulpish in the end. Why Basil Wenceslas wasn't murdered by the end of book one I'll never know - some of the characters' actions or naivety just did not make sense.
Glen Cook - Chronicles of the Black Company - I've read these first three Black Company books now and am likely to read the sequels but they aren't too high on my list. I can see why Erikson refers to these novels as some of the inspiration behind the characters in his Malazan series and it's like he's taken the next evolutionary step. Enjoyable novels and a story that arcs over the first three books, the main character of Croaker is certainly engaging and he'd have to be as almost the entire story is from his perspective. Would not suit everyone as they are certainly written in an "old-school" feel or way - I dunno how to express it any better.
Terry Pratchett - Nation - Terry's first non-Discworld book since The Amazing Maurice and it was well worth the wait. Nation is a sad and endearing tale of two young people struggling to deal with death and disaster in a world unrecognisable after the horror of a Tsunami. Not as funny as his Discworld novels but certainly with more heart and soul, I adored this novel and would recommend it to anyone, even people not into fantasy as it's not really a fantasy novel, more alternate history/reality. Also has the poignancy of Terry dropping everything to write this as soon as he found out about his Alzheimer's - it was a story he'd always been putting off writing until he realised he might not have time left to finish it. Loved it.
Gardner Dozois / George RR Martin / Daniel Abraham - Hunter's Run - adapted and expanded from a short story by Dozois I found Hunter's Run, although initially unlikable, to be quite an engaging and quick read. Basically about a man captured by aliens and his struggle to define himself and his humanity when forced to aid in the hunt for another human fugitive, a fugitive with closer links to the hunter than he thinks. It's quite obvious from early on what the relationship between hunter and hunted really is so the big reveal isn't a shock at all, but there is certainly an interesting story told about identity and what it means to be who you are and how circumstances can affect your outlook on life.
Jeff Lindsay - Dexter in the Dark - with a fantastic first novel and a pretty good sequel, Lindsay has created something quite unique with his Dexter series and a spin-off TV show that just keeps getting better. Unfortunately the third novel lost the plot completely with some supernatural overtones that were just plain ridiculous. I find it amusing that the writers on his show are having far more fun with the character than he is, the third season has been great fun with Dexter finally finding a friend. I'll give the fourth book a go but if that is on par with this third one then I'll probably just stick with the TV show.
David Gunn - Death's Head - a thrilling and fun ride through an uber-violent sci-fi universe courtesy of the rough and ready Sven. I read this one in two days - a rarity for this slow reader for a 500+ page novel - because the writing was just so succinct and yet managed to paint a fantastically vivid picture of Sven and his travails with the Death's Head marines. Will definitely be reading the rest of this series, sort of a cross between Starship Troopers, Tales of the Malazan (the soldiering stuff from that anyway) and John Scalzi's books. Loved it.