Posts Tagged ‘Best of the Year’
Is it just me, or did 2015 fly by in like two weeks? How did that even happen? It certainly was a crazy year – I started a new job, we moved into a bigger apartment, i learned a whole new definition of the work “workaholic”, I didn’t read nearly as much as I wanted.
Anyway, here is my annual “Best of the year” list, presented in no particular order, with links if you’d like to read my reviews.
The Traitor Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson, easily my favorite novel of 2015.
The Bone Swans of Amandale – by C.S.E Cooney, in her short story collection Bone Swans
The Fifth Season, by N. K. Jemisin
Binti, by Nnedo Okorafor
Flex, by Ferrett Steinmetz
The Apex Book of World SF Vol 4 edited by Mahvesh Murad
Soft Apocalypse by Will McIntosh
Babel-17 by Samuel Delany
The Life of the World to Come, by Kage Baker
Honorable mentions for the year go to:
City of Blades by Robert Jackson Bennett. I read it in 2015, but can’t actually talk about how freaking amazing it was until 2016. So I guess it’ll have to make my best of 2016 list.
and this stuff, which is omg, what I always wished ginger ale would taste like. Also? it’s alcoholic.
2015 was a crazy year, and I don’t mind that it’s over. I’ll see everyone on January 1st for Vintage Science Fiction month!
I trolled the interwebs for a few hours to bring some other folks’ Best (science fiction & fantasy) Books of the Year lists. Do your part to explode everyone else’s wish lists, and toss a link to your Best Of list in the comments!
Paul Weimer‘s best of year list includes The Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley, Ancillary Sword by Ann Leckie and War Stories edited by Jaym Gates and Andrew Liptak.
Fantasy Findings best of the year included Sword of the Bright Lady by M.C. Planck, Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines and The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison.
Beauty In Ruins didn’t give out many 5 star reviews this year, here are a few of the titles that made his 5 star list: The Providence of Fire by Brian Staveley, Deadlock by Tim Curran, and The Mirror Empire by Kameron Hurley.
The Book Plank‘s short list of best scifi of 2014 includes Binary by Stephanie Saulter and The Causal Angel by Hannu Rajaniemi among others
Books, Bones and Buffy‘s list of top ten adult books had a lot in common with my top 10 list, and included Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett, and Full Fathom Five by Max Gladstone. Her Top Ten YA books list included The Falconer by Elizabeth May, Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge, and Shadowplay by Laura Lam.
Best Fantasy Books has an extensive list of this years fantasy favorites, including Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson, Prince of Fools by Mark Lawrence, and Fool’s Assassin by Robin Hobb.
Eric Smith‘s favorites of the year included Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith, Blightborn by Chuck Wendig, and and Burn Out by Kristi Helvig.
Nerds of a Feather guest posted their favorites, and waxed rhapsodic about City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett, The Eternal Sky trilogy by Elizabeth Bear, and A Darkling Sea by James Cambias.
Eamo the Geek‘s best of year list includes Broken Monsters by Lauren Beukes, Fluency by Jennifer Foehner Wells, and Sand by Hugh Howey.
Geek Critiqued‘s best of the year list includes The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss, Lock In by John Scalzi, and The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison.
and I suppose this Best Science Fiction and Fantasy list over at Kirkus is the definitive one? Includes Steles of the Sky by Elizabeth Bear, Afterparty by Daryl Gregory, and Defenders by Will McIntosh.
2014 has been a pretty good year for me. Personally, I’m damn impressed with how many of these books were actually published in 2014. As a bonus, there’s even a few novellas and short stories in here. In no particular order, here are my favorite reads of 2014!
City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett (2014) – that this book is on my list should surprise no one. And if you haven’t read it yet, seriously, get with the program. This is one of those amazing books that defies genre categorization, it just *is*. To give you a big picture without spoiling anything, it’s about watching your worldview dissolve before your eyes, and understanding that games can be played with many sets of rules. Also? it’s simply fucking amazing.
Gemsigns by Stephanie Saulter (2014) – This is probably the most important book I read in 2014. Remember when Cory Doctorow’s Little Brother took high school government classes by storm? I wish the same for this book. Gemsigns touches on enforced marginalization, building (and breaking down) cultures of racism and classism and fear, and religiously and politically promoted hatred, and handles it in a blunt and emotional way. Also? fucking awesome. And for what it’s worth, I cried at the end.
Annihilation by Jeff Vandermeer (2014) – I’ve been a Vandermeer fan for a long, long time (yet somehow I can still eat mushrooms). Annihilation was strange, surreal, and seemed to be magnetically attuned to me. The words in the tunnel rang for me like a tuning fork. And there was just something about characters who don’t have names. I am a jerk, however, because I own but haven’t yet read the third book in the series.
Ladies and gentlemen, it’s that time. If you’ve been paying attention, nothing on this list will be a surprise to you. If you happened to stumble by because you like “year end” lists, these are my top ten speculative fiction books I read this year. Looking for a good read? go find one of these.
Some of them are old.
Some of them are new.
Some of them were borrowed.
None of them are blue.
I’ve linked the titles to my reviews. In no particular order:
Sky Coyote by Kage Baker (1999) – the second in The Company series, this novel is told from Joseph’s point of view (and yes, Mendoza is still really, really pissed off at him). Joseph gets to do one of his favorite things – pretend to be a God. But this time, he’s got to get even the skeptics to believe his act.
The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch (2013) – No surprise this one made it to my best of the year list, as this is one of my favorite fantasy series. It’s true, I ranted a little about a character who really annoyed me, but holy shit, that ending?? holy shit! Also, I do just happen to have a Cinnamon colored dress/jacket combo and a four cornered grey hat in the making.
The Incrementalists by Steven Brust and Skyler White (2013 )- Secret societies, multiple personalities, sublime prose, metaphysics, unexpected romance, characters that rip each other to shreds. What more could you possibly want? I got meddled with, my switches got hit, and I never wanted it to end. Just go read it already. Everything about this book was spot-on perfection for me.
Use of Weapons by Iain M. Banks (1990) – only the best Culture novel of the best space opera series in existence. Not the easiest book in the world to read, but the subtlety, and the reveal at the end, and oh god I knew something was so horribly wrong as soon as he said he was going to cut his hair. . .
Available Sept 24th, 2013
where I got it: NetGalley
you can read an excerpt over at Tor.com.
In a garden as old as humanity, disguised memories become the seeds of change. The residents of this garden archive the smell of your grandmother’s soup in the curve of a vase, or the feel of your first kiss in the color of piece of yarn. Memory is a funny thing, you don’t even remember what happened until the smell of a particular white wine brings it all back like a flaming spike to the head.
A genre-bending cerebral thriller masquerading as a mainstream novel, The Incrementalists enchanted me in the first chapter, and in return I devoured the rest of it. I read this book in one day. Like Bastian in The Never Ending Story, I ignored the world, skipped the pop-quiz, hid in a corner and climbed right into the lives of Phil and Ren, and Celeste and Irina and Oskar and Jimmy, staying very quiet so they wouldn’t notice me listening in on their conversations. And I am still listening, because they told me where to look.
Who are the Incrementalists? A secret society of nearly immortal people who make the world a better place,one tiny change at a time. No pay, no thanks, no credit in the history books, their work is as invisible as a fading dream. They are the ones in the garden. And when their human bodies die, someone new must be found to carry on the work, and carry around the personality of the recently departed Incrementalist.
It’s been a few months since Celeste’s old body died, and her ex-lover Phil thinks he’s identified a good Second for Celeste’s stub. He approaches Ren with the offer, and unlike most Seconds who take at least a week to make up their minds, Ren agrees almost instantly that this is what she wants. She doesn’t give Phil a chance to tell her it’s a painful experience. She never gives him the chance to warn her that once she’s accepted Celeste into her mind, there’s a good chance Celeste’s personality could completely subsume Ren, effectively killing her. Ren says Yes, Phil says OK, and from that moment on the chemistry between them is palpable.
It’s that wonderful time of the year again! When we bake cookies and get cards in the mail and forget that we need extra time to warm up our cars in these cold, cold mornings.
It’s also time to talk about the best books we’ve read this year. I confess, I cheated a little on my list, I didn’t limit myself to books that came out in 2012, I’ve even got a reread on the list. Mostly space opera, a little fantasy and time travel, even a YA book made the list! In no particular order, here are my top books that I read this year, with review excerpts and links to the review should you feel so inclined to learn more about the titles that rocked my world this past year.
Redhead’s Best of 2012
Faith, by John Love (2012) – I read this all the way back in February, I knew right then it would make my best of the year list. An amazing debut from author John Love, Faith is a dark and tense stand alone science fiction novel. The pages drip with a danger and fear that doesn’t quickly dissipate after you’ve put the book down. This isn’t a book for everyone (that’s a polite way of saying it has lots of violence, amorality and swear words), but for those of us that like this sort of thing, Faith is quite the hidden gem.
Silently and Very Fast, by Catherynne M. Valente (2012) – has anyone been putting out short stories, novellas and full length novels as fast as Valente? she’s the hardest working writer I know, and this year she got to walk away with Hugo for Best FanCast to show for it. it’s no secret that Valente is one of my favorite authors, and the Hugo nominated Silently and Very Fast is certainly her most science fictional piece. With her signature flair for poetic metaphor and lyrical storytelling, this novella follows the life of Elefsis, a house AI who was told fairytales by the human children in the house. To Elefsis, life is a fairytale, and it should have a happy ending.
(full review here)
Of Blood and Honey by Stina Leicht (2012) – I don’t read a lot of urban fantasy, but when I do it’s a treat for it to be a beautifully written as this series (the 2nd book And Blue Skies from Pain came out later in 2012). Northern Ireland, the 1970s, Liam Kelly would prefer to live a normal life. He’s not interested in getting arrested or learning secrets about his heritage. But all of those things are very interested in him, and in destroying everything in his life that he cares about. Leicht spoiled me for urban fantasy. I am eagerly awaiting future novels in this series.
(full review here)