- black morion, old spook - The Black Company, Glen Cook
- guitar case, public access station, mean dude, demo reel, video distributors - Rebel Without a Crew, Robert Rodriguez
- nova guns, mystery drive, captain grunted - The Witches of Karress, James Schmitz
- silver orbs, fifty leagues, captain grunted, hundred orbs - The Pheonix Guards, Steven Brust
- tool locker, burning man, tattooed face - The Stars My Destination, Alfred Bester
- linguistic medium, slippage humor, semantic couplets - le Ton beau de Marot, Douglas Hofstadter
- hyperspace bypass - Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Douglas Adams
- glittering plain, white crow, flying post - Soldiers Live, Glen Cook
Nobody got #1, which is not too surprising, but in fact the first and last of my books were the first and last book of the same series. Those who have read #1 may recall that Soulcatcher's face is covered by a black morion for the whole book.
I included two books from the series because (a) I was running out of books to try, (b) they're very different books and I like them for very different reasons *, (c) because subverting expectations is fun. Except when it means nobody guesses it.
* Witches of Karres is my favorite single book because I love the imagination and unexpected directions it goes. The first Black Company book is like this on the surface; I love the Taken (indeed, I name all of my computers after them), and in particular I like how the book periodically engages in telling not showing, and how it skips large swaths of time in what seems semi-randomly chosen just to hilight the nature of the main campaign, but that on third or fourth re-read (at least, it took me that long) emerges as tightly structured around setting up the behind-the-scenes plot that erupts late in the book. And just as The Black Company isn't my favorite book, it's not my favorite series (that's probably the Taltos Dragaera books). But it's still a fun series, although the mid-late Black Company books got a little frustrating because it seemed there was arc-ful stuff but it was unclear how or why, and then it more or less seemed like he was just making it up as he went and it was kind of frustrating. But the last book is pretty well-done; it's weird because it introduces a bunch of new stuff, and seems to try to wrap the arc stuff up in a clumsy way, and yet the very ending is just such a perfect wrap-up to the whole thing that I can't help but find it awesome.