Author’s Choice of 2013
Posted by Dominick
Last year I decided to do a ‘best fantasy novel of 2012’ post, but slightly different as we are used to. Instead of asking readers at their top 3 of 2012, I decided to ask authors to name the best book they’ve read that year. Since it was a huge success, I’ve decided to do the same for this year.
Rules of the game: Each author could give up to three titles per question, with a little explanation why they liked it so much, 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 2 questions. Below you’ll find the questions and the answers (I present them in alphabetical order):
* What was your favorite book of 2013?
* What book(s) are you most looking forward to in 2014?
(And for those who don’t remember: last year the winner was Mark Lawrence with King of Thorns for best fantasy book of 2012 and there was an ex-aequo for most anticipated of 2013 between Mark Lawrence, PV Brett and Douglas Hulick.)
My vote is, without even thinking hard, The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch. There’s a certain joy to Lynch’s humour that is too often missing in fantasy, and his plotting is superb. But his descriptive prose is what grabs me by the throat, and what makes our entire genre better by its existence.
For me, that will be C.S. Friedman’s Dreamwalker and whatever delightful surprises I’m handed at Bakka Phoenix in Toronto.
The Daylight War – Peter V. Brett
Emperor Of Thorns – Mark Lawrence
N0S4A2 – Joe Hill
Half A King – Joe Abercrombie
Prince Of Fools – Mark Lawrence
Locke And Key Volume 6: Alpha And Omega – Joe Hill
Julie E. Czerneda
Ink by Amanda Sun. Why? Insanely confident and smooth writing, especially considering this the author’s first novel. I loved the setting in modern Japan. There’s an original and compelling magic system, involving art that comes to life, with often dire consequences. And the characters feel absolutely real and credible. This one transcends. Best of all? There’ll be more!
Radiant by Karina Sumner-Smith. This is another first novel, this by a Nebula-nominated short story writer. I’ve read it in advance and it’s mind-blowing, brilliant work. I can’t possibly say enough about it. Mark the name, folks. This is going to be huge.
Prisoner of Heaven, Carlos Ruiz Zafron — I’m not 100% if this counts as fantasy…it’s a follow up to The Shadow of the Wind, which was, er, gothic, er, magical realism, actually I don’t know what the hell it was, but I loved it, and this, while not quite as engaging (perhaps because not as surprising as coming across a new world/author before) I pretty much read it in one go.
Broken Homes, Ben Aaronovitch. The Folly series just keeps getting better, and this one ended with a great twist. So much fun, especially spotting all the geeky references…
Blackbirds, Chuck Wendig. A roller coaster, gut punch of a UF novel with a sometimes unlikeable, always fascinating female lead.
Can I sneak in a SFF antho? Mothership, Tales from Afrofuturism and Beyond. Starts off with a guy being stalked by a troll in Iceland, and goes on from there. A truly knockout collection, from big names and new-to-me names, and as diverse as they come. If I had to recommend one book this year, this would be it.
As for which books I’m looking forward to, too many to mention! I tend not to look too far in advance, or I get too impatient.
I haven’t managed to read many books this year but I have read some excellent ones! The top spot has to go to She Who Waits by Dan Polansky, the last in his Low Town trilogy. Excellent noir crime fantasy with a great 1st person voice. I’ll give my other two spots to Myke Cole and Peter Brett. Cole ups his already great game to bring us a second Shadow Ops book, Fortress Frontier, which might be described as urban military fantasy with super-powers, and Brett delivers the third in his Demon Cycle, The Daylight War, which gave me a much needed dose of wards and demons.
I’m not really one for looking forward to books and the few authors I do look out for aren’t scheduled for publication in 2014. I will be keen to see Breach Zone, Myke Cole’s third book though. I know Luke Scull has a follow-up to Grim Company, Snorri Kristjansson a follow-up to Swords of Good Men, and John Gwynne has a follow-up to Malice – not sure if they’ll be out next year but it will be interesting to see what they produce.
Man, this is a tough question. There were so many fantastic books out in 2013 that having to narrow them down to a single choice is almost impossible. I’m very tempted to cheat, but I’ll be a good boy and play by the rules.
Ultimately, I believe Emperor of Thorns by Mark Lawrence edges out the other amazing books I’ve read. The prose and story conclusion were an impressive combination I don’t feel anyone else surpassed however close they came.
As for 2014, I’m kind of in the same boat with Mark releasing Prince of Fools. I can’t help but think it will carry the same power as the Jorg books but with a new twist in characterization. I’m excited to see where Mark takes this new story.
Michael J. Sullivan
Neil Gaiman’s Ocean at the end of the Lane - I loved the nostalgia of this piece and the contrast between how children view and do things as opposed to adults. I also thought he did a good job depicting some scenes that would be truly frightening for a child. Lastly, I saw a lot of allegory in the piece, not sure if it was intended or I’m just seeing something not there. In any case it has kept me wondering what certain things represent -such as the cat.
Helene Wecker’s The Golem and the Jinni – A superb debut. I love settings of immigrant New York at the turn of the century and I think this is a case where the atmosphere of the setting really permeates the book and makes it such a joy to read. I found it reminiscent of Devil in the White City which I enjoyed first and foremost for the aspects about the World Fair.
Stephen King’s Under the Dome – While not a 2013 novel, this is when I read it. I’ve been a big fan of King’s for a long time and when he’s firing on all cylinders I love watching how he constructs situations and builds characters. This read to me like “classic” King such as The Stand and It, and I made it stretch as long as I could by reading just a bit each day before writing, I found it really got me in the right mindset.
Anthony Ryan’s Tower Lord – His debut Blood Song was stellar. I don’t often blurb books as I’m very picky, but I enthusiastically volunteered his and meant every word, especially the part about a “master storyteller.” I’m really excited to see if he can continue to knock it out of the park with book #2.
Brian McClellan’s The Crimson Campaign – Again another strong debut by an author that I expect more great reads from. There are a lot of flintlock books coming out these days, but I think his really stand out.
Mark Lawrence’s Prince of Fools - I’m really curious to see what Mark does with a character that is a departure from Jorg Ancrath. His writing is always well done, but I’m not generally a fan of the anti-hero, especially one as anti as Jorg. It will be fun to see what he comes up with.
My favorite book that I read in 2013 was Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein. (It was published in the UK in 2012, I believe, and published by Hyperion in the US as a YA in 2013. I read the YA edition, not that it matters.) This is an absolutely phenomenal book — a tour de force.
My most anticipated books of 2014 include one actual 2014 release — Greg van Eekhout’s California Bones — and two 2013 releases that I won’t be able to get to before the end of the year, but which I’m going to savor when I can: Scott Lynch’s The Republic Of Thieves and the follow-up to Code Name Verity, which is called Rose Under Fire.
And now (drum rolls, please) I present to you the winners of the second
F.I. AUTHOR’S CHOICE AWARDS:
* * * * * * * *
BEST BOOK OF 2013
For this award we have an ex-aequo between two books:
* * * * * * * *
Congratulations to the winners. Again, a big thank you for all the participating authors. It was fun doing this post.
A HAPPY 2014, EVERYONE !!!
About DominickHusband, father, author and fantasy-freak
Posted on 30/12/2013, in Books, Miscellaneous, Top 3 and tagged author's choice, best fantasy books, best fantasy of 2013, emperor of thorns, Francis Knight, Ian Tregillis, Julie E Czerneda, Mark Lawrence, Michael J Sullivan, Miles cameron, most anticipated fantasy books of 2014, Myke Cole, prince of fools, the daylight war, Tim Marquitz. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.