Author’s Choice of 2012 – part 1
For my first ‘Ending of the Year’- blog post I wanted to give a little twist on the top 3, -5 or -10 posts that you find a lot on the internet these days . So instead of asking readers about their top 3 of the year, I decided to ask fantasy authors about their best reads of the year. 14 authors have answered my e-mail and below you’ll find their picks of last year. Today I present to you the first 8 authors. Tomorrow I’ll publish the last 6 authors and which books may proudly carry the titles ‘best book of 2012’ and ‘Most anticipated book of 2013’ according to the participating authors.
Rules of the game: Each author could give up to three titles and each book gets one point per mention. The book with the most mentions wins the title. Yes, it’s as simple as that ;-).
I asked each author 3 questions. Below you’ll find the questions and the first 8 authors (I present them in alphabetical order):
* What was your favorite book of 2012?
* What books are you most looking forward to in 2013?
* Which book(s) of you can we expect to hit bookshelves in 2013?
BRADLEY P BEAULIEU
Ready Player One, by Ernest Cline. This was such a quick read, and while it wasn’t a perfect book, I so enjoyed the breakneck pace and, more importantly, the nostalgia it brought on from me, a child of the 80’s, that this is really a no-brainer pick for me.
Sworn in Steel, by Douglas Hulick. I read Hulick’s wonderful debut, Among Thieves, earlier this year, and really became engrossed in Drothe’s tale. I’m very eager to see what Hulick comes up with next.
Necessary Evil, by Ian Tregillis. Ian’s a writer to watch. He’s a bold writer with a true gift for the craft of writing. The Milweed Triptych concludes next year with Necessary Evil, and I can’t wait to see how it all wraps up.
Emperor of Thorns, by Mark Lawrence. I’ve started but not yet finished Lawrence’s Prince of Thorns, but even that is enough to make me want to know how Jorg’s tale ends.
The Flames of Shadam Khoreh, April 2013, the concluding novel in The Lays of Anuskaya Trilogy.
Lest Our Passage Be Forgotten & Other Stories, May 2013, my premier short fiction collection, which pulls together all of the fantasy stories I’ve published over the years, plus some new ones set in the Winds of Khalakovo universe.
I haven’t done as much reading this year as I would have liked to, so I have a truly terrifying pile of books in the corner of my office, including established names like Mary Gentle (Black Opera), and debuts such as Janet Edwards’ Earth Girl. However, one I have read which truly did impress me was The City’s Son, by Tom Pollock. His prose is lyrical, dialogue pin-sharp, and his vision of a living, breathing London of scaffolding wolves and sinister cranes was a real treat.
Argh, there are so many good books coming next year, it’s very hard to pick out which one excites me most. I was lucky enough to read an uncorrected proof of Laura Lam’s Pantomime earlier this year, which was terrific, and the cover art is just stunning so I’m looking forward to putting that on my shelves. Mark Charan Newton’s Drakenfeld looks intriguing too, and I’d be fibbing if I didn’t say I want A Memory of Light to finish up the Wheel of Time. I’m five or six books behind on the series (they’re lurking round the foot of that mountain of unread books) but I have a terrible thing for completeness so I’ll definitely be buying it even if it takes me another decade to get around to reading them all…
The Raven’s Shadow, Book 3 of The Wild Hunt, will be published in July (UK and Aus/NZ). France gets Book 2 in January, USA and Germany in February, since they run a little behind.
Mark Lawrence’s King Of Thorns. Mark has mastered the most critical aspect of genre writing: making us love the character at all costs. Jorg Ancrath is, to put it mildly, villainous. He’s cruel, Machiavellian, with a track record of destruction that would impress a Mongol Khan. But Lawrence understands that most of what we label “evil,” is actually fear, coping mechanisms, or the tough calls leaders must make in a crisis. Jorg’s heart may be black as coal, but there’s a *reason* it’s that way, and Lawrence helps us see that with a sensitivity and skill that turns the tables. Before long, we’re rooting for the bad guy. Because we’ve all felt like the bad guy at times. And if there’s hope for him, maybe there’s hope for all of us.
Peter V. Brett’s The Daylight War. Brett’s Demon Cycle remains one of my favorite fantasy series of all time, with a narrative pacing that grabs you by the throat. Brett does that thing which makes George R. R. Martin’s work so successful, fully forming even the 3rd string characters, following them when the story demands it. The result is a world that lives and breathes in a way not usually seen in writing of any genre, the immersive experience that transports. It’s writing like this that brought me to SF/F, and writing like this that keeps me here.
My 2nd novel in my military fantasy Shadow Ops series, Fortress Frontier, hits shelves at the end of January 2013. I’m really pleased with the way the book came out and hope that readers agree that it’s better than its predecessor, Control Point.
I’ve tried very hard to do entirely different things with every book I write. Readers can expect a different experience from Control Point, featuring different characters. My goal was always to work with an ensemble cast, following different characters in each book. That’s the kind of fantasy I like to read, and I hope readers agree.
You expect me to pick just one?! 2012 was a great year for books and I still have loads in my to be read pile. But I think my favourite was Whispers Underground by Ben Aaronovitch. I absolutely love the Peter Grant books and they never disappoint. I also thought Lou Morgan’s Blood & Feathers was a pretty amazing debut.
So many to look forward to! I think I’m going to pick Sworn in Steel by Doug Hulick. I adored “Among Thieves” and bored friends stupid with my love for it. I suspect “Sworn in Steel” will also induce undying praise.
I’m not under contract but I am working on the next book, the follow up to Four Realms, provisionally called The Thieving King. My plan is to try and get that written, accepted and out before the end of 2013. However, that plan did involve getting the latest draft done by the end of the year and that’s a way off from happening due to all the promotional work for The Four Realms.
The Angel’s Game and The Shadow of the Wind, Carlos Ruiz Zafón. Okay, that’s two books, but they interrelate to one another. Frankly, my reading time for fiction in 2012 was almost nil. Between research and reading non-fiction for my novel, I simply didn’t have a lot of time to spend on novels this past year. Those novels that I did read were usually by Spanish or Latin American authors, because I wanted to read something that conveyed another cultural voice.
Adian Moher at A Dribble of Ink reminded me of Zafón when he reviewed The Prisoner of Heaven http://aidanmoher.com/blog/2012/07/reviews/review-of-the-prisoner-of-heaven-by-carlos-ruiz-zafon/. So I reread The Shadow of the Wind, then went on to read The Angel’s Game, and this is my favorite novel of 2012, although it was actually published in 2008. The Angel’s Game has to be one of the finest Gothic novels that I have read in years and Lucia Graves’ translation does justice to Zafón’s prose.
I’m looking forward to the release of Alex Bledsoe’s Wisp of Thing in June 2013. I loved The Hum and the Shiver and can’t wait to return to the Smokey Mountains and the world of the Tufa. There are times that I want a novel to take me to exotic locales, but there are also times when it’s nice to just come home. With simple, eloquent prose, Alex shows the best secrets are sometimes hidden in plain sight.
I want to read novels that were released in 2012 and that I missed: Knife Sworn by Mazarkis Williams. I loved Williams’ voice in The Emperor’s Knife. The Pattern and the Many were my favorite parts, but I also fell in love with all of Williams’ characters. King of Thorns, Mark Lawrence, and Courtney Schafer’s Tainted City are also high on my list. There are more, but I’ve already abused Dominick’s trust by listing too many books.
I just finished writing my latest novel, Garden in Umber, and Garden will be submitted in 2013 by my agent, Marlene Stringer. You can read about Garden in Umber here http://teresafrohock.com/the-garden/ and here http://teresafrohock.com/blog/2012/11/27/the-next-big-thing-garden-in-umber.html. Currently there is no publication date but I’ll keep you guys in the loop.
Two books draw as my favourite reads of 2012.
King of Thorns by Mark Lawrence, and
The Twelve by Justin Cronin.
The sequels to the two named above – Emperor of Thorns and The City of Mirrors – and both will be the third and concluding installment of their respective trilogies, so extra excitement for those.
I don’t have a release date for Book 2 of my series, working title Scourge: Book 2 of The Faithful and the Fallen, but there is a chance it will sneak into next year.
I’ve read very few books this year I’m ashamed to say. The books I have read though have been almost all good. The absolute best would have to be Stephen King’s The Wind Through The Keyhole. The Dark Tower series is one of my favourite and I was worried King would spoil it by returning for an eigth book, especially as the quality of the series did drop (for me) toward the end. But he returned to the parts I enjoyed the most and wrote an excellent novel that enhanced the whole thing for me.
Myke Cole shouldn’t be worried about coming second to King. His book, Control Point, is great. It is an imaginative thrill-ride with a military theme that was new to me, and a very enjoyable read. The second book in the series, ‘Frontier Fortress’ is also excellent.
And the last of my favourites would be The Sultan’s Wife by Jane Johnson, my editor at Voyager. It’s historical fiction and a captivating book that makes me feel extremely lucky to have someone who can write extraordinary fiction as the editor of my own work. You don’t have to be a great novelist to be a great editor, but it sure as hell doesn’t hurt!
The only one I can think of (that I haven’t read in advance) is The Daylight War by Peter Brett. I don’t tend to look ahead for my reading (too much right here right now) but this one has been on my radar a while.
Emperor of Thorns, concluding the Broken Empire trilogy.
Sharps by K J Parker. Ascerbic wit and an unusual setting – late 18th / early 19th century in flavour but with nary a hint of steampunk.
Among Thieves by Douglas Hulick – a fast-paced fantasy set amongst organised criminals, with just enough grittiness to suit the subject matter but not at all grimdark.
Casket of Souls by Lynn Flewelling – I’m a long-time fan of her Nightrunner series, and this one really felt like a return to form.
I’m really looking forward to Sworn in Steel by Douglas Hulick – sequels by my other favourites have not yet been announced.
The Merchant of Dreams UK paperback (other formats are out December 2012) – January 2013.
The Prince of Lies (Night’s Masque #3) is scheduled for October/November 2013.
With the choice of author Anne Lyle I conclude the first part of the Author’s Choice of 2012. Visit Fantastical Imaginations again tomorrow for the final part and the reveal of the best book of 2012 and the most anticipated book of 2013, both according to these fantastic authors.