Before getting to the list: The Drowning Summer by Christine Lynn Herman gets a honorable mention because of how ominous it is. I have no idea whether it represents the book well, but I love it.
Muse of Nightmares
I love this one on so many levels. I have a thing for vaguely ominous titles, but also: the juxtaposition of the figure of the muse (who inspires, classically positive) with nightmares, the idea of the nightmare-bringing magical figure (so many “evil spirits” and similar things in various mythologies were said to bring nightmares, mainly), the idea of that nightmare-bringing figure being… well, if you’ve read the first book, you know who I’m talking about, what kind of person she is. The whole idea is dissonant in all the right ways.
Mysterious and elegant, as something ancient rising from the dark; it feels vast like everything in this book does, in a way things in other books set in space never do. After all, this is about space archaeology (with pirates and ancient alien civilizations), and I think this title is perfect.
This Is How You Lose the Time War
Is it, though. 😀
I mean, short fiction (novellas and shorter) gets all the best titles, but this is so… intriguing. And odd, honestly. Also, if you’re not a person who gets tired of lyrical writing and if you think my opinion is worth listening to, you should really really read this book. Find out how to lose a time war with us!
Conservation of Shadows
Oh I love this one so much. There’s no such thing as a conservation of shadows, the back cover tells you straight away, and I wanted to know what that meant the moment I saw it. I thought of beautiful destruction and a rising star as much as I thought of the law of conservation of energy, and since “science words, but make it poetry” seems to be my favorite kind of writing, of course I love this.
The Haunting of Tram Car 015
This is the best kind of weirdly specific and I love everything about it. Haunted houses? Boring. Haunted castles? Also boring. Cabins? Shacks? Manors? Mansions? Boring. Tram cars? I’m so here for it. What is that even supposed to be like.
And you know what makes it even better? It’s a haunted steampunk aerial tram car. Yes, it was just as amazing as it sounds.
The Gallery of Unfinished Girls
This sounds like the beginning of a gruesome murder mystery, but no, it’s a coming-of-age story about art and being a teenage girl and how perfection is unattainable in reality, even more so when you’re unfinished as a person because you’re 17 and there’s no way you know what to do with your life or your art right now, and there’s so much confusion on this cover as well. I love this book, I love its title, I wish more people read it.
Master of the House of Darts
This is the only book on this list I haven’t read (yet? I’m as terrible as backlist as I am at series and this is the final book of a series I haven’t even started that came out in 2016) but I love this title so much. It’s ominous and it has something about the way it sounds that makes me want to know what exactly is this House of Darts immediately.
Dusk or Dawn or Dark or Day
Again, short fiction gets the best titles. This might be the only book I’ve ever read just because of a title? I kept repeating it. Duskordawnordarkorday. After reading it, the title still is the most memorable thing about the novella, which was disappointing, but the way this sounds is everything. The whole dark-light-dark-light thing going on is also a nice touch. The title doesn’t tell you anything about the story, but for once, in a way that actually made sense to me, because it made me want to know more.
Under the Pendulum Sun
What is going on with that sun. Why is it a pendulum. And, most of all, what is going on with that cover was my whole thought process before I bought it. Instant cover buy, and the title did its part. It’s unusual and weird and intriguing and makes sense for the story, which can’t be said about many titles.
A Song for Quiet
We love oxymorons just as much as we love evil eldritch music taking over people and summoning Lovecraftian Old Ones in the middle of the night!
What are your favorite titles? Have you read any of these?