I did one of these last week and since then I've been reminded of so many others I wanted to put into the list. My choices this week:
1. War of the Flowers by Tad Williams
Tad Williams is incredible but War of the Flowers and its story of a parallel fairy world undergoing its own industrial revolution is brilliant. Fantastic characters and vivid descriptions, as well as an intriguing plot make this a story not to miss out on.
2. The Truth by Terry Pratchett
Okay, narrowing down which of the Discworld novels would make the list was difficult, but The Truth has always been my favourite. If you have never read a Discworld novel, you really should, and the Truth is very independent of the other stories, so you don't miss too much if you haven't read the others. I love this book because all the usual characters of Anhk Morpork are present, while we are introduced to an array of new and interesting characters. Plus the whole power of the written word is explored and as a writer, that appeals to me. A clever parody and extremely amusing story, well written with a strong finish. A must read for anyone.
3. Rowan of Rin by Emily Rodda
Warning on this one, for younger readers, and yet incredible. Classic quest story with a coming of age theme as Rowan, one of the weakest in his village, sets out on a journey up the mountain to help bring the water back to the stream that provides life for his village. Not too many unexpected turns in the story or new material, this book demonstrates how classic tales can be told in interesting ways.
4. Running with the Demon by Terry Brooks
Again, how does one choose a Terry Brooks book above the others? Running with the Demon wins this one because he named a character Nest and pulled it off. The blend of magic and reality as we follow Nest and her journey is expertly done and by the end you would almost believe that there might be magic lurking in your nearby park. A fascinating story with some quite clever devices linking past and future events.
5. Palace by Katharine Kerr
Katharine Kerr is amazing, and I loved her Deverry series, but in Palace she takes us to a futuristic world that feels amazingly fresh. It is odd because most of the ideas have been seen before, but it still reads originally. Explore the intricate world created in this tale and really feel for the characters. Very emotionally powerful.