A couple of last minute additions to my "Books of 2007" that I haven't written anything about would include the following:
I Am Legend by Richard Matheson - I picked this up at the same time as I got The Magic Compass from the library, so I went on a bit of a movie magic bing. I bought this one at the local drug store, so it featured Will Smith on the cover. I wasn't aware of it at the time, but it turns out that I Am Legend is actually a novella, and so the rest of the book is filled with about a dozen more short stories of his (some of them are only a couple of pages!)
I enjoyed the beginning of the story, as man against monster, but gradually the main character became annoying. He did a lot of whining. It would occasionally pick up steam when he'd go face to face again, but then peter out in some long diatribe against life - not very heroic. Then things change radically on him and it all ends rather abruptly and, I have to be honest here, confusingly. I'm not really sure what the heck was going on at the end, but I doubt the movie ends the same way! I also found the quaint anachronisms (like a push button starter on the car) strangely irritating. Oh well, it was a short ride anyway.
I also read, as mentioned, The Magic Compass by Philip Pullman. I figured any book written by a proud and public atheist was worthing trying, especially given the movie hype. It started off badly for me, as it introduced several fantasy memes that I just can't stand, like a child everyone prophesizes about and a mistakenly overheard conversation. It got a little better and wasn't awful, I guess. I'm not sure what all the anti-religious brouhaha was all about - it isn't the first fantasy book where the controlling religion is pretty awful.
The milieu was pretty eclectic, to say the least. I was happy he didn't spend pages of exposition explaining every little detail, as I find those mind numbing as well. Talking armored polar bears are a little extreme though! And I surely got tired of the "get captured" plot device, as the girl in question must have gotten grabbed five or six times in order to move the plot along. But I did finish it, which is more than I can say for most fantasy novels these days. And I probably will try the next in the "His Dark Materials" trilogy.
And I did finished the aforementioned Code of Conduct by Kristine Smith. Unfortunately, it devolved into more of a political thriller, rather than a straight mystery. I got kind of lost in the interwoven politics of the place, although I always enjoyed the heroine. Her back story was pretty interesting and the setting of the books is well thought out and very rational. I do want to get the next book in the series, Rules of Conflict and hope that maybe the mysteries get more attention.