We'll run this thing countdown style, but first with a preamble: almost half my reading this year was non-fiction, so I missed a few of the "big" releases (Stephenson, Bakker, etc.). I look forward to comments complaining about how your favorite author (besides me) is missing.
10. Alloy of Law by Brandon Sanderson - Sanderson barely makes the list this year. Considering the book was barely a book that seems fair. Yes, it's Mistborn with guns...and that's AWESOME, but it wasn't much of a story. Short, short, short, and we all want more, more, more.
9. Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews - The only Urban Fantasy novel to make the list and of course it's going to be Andrews. Andrews is the top of that sub-genre. This novel was a pause in the larger Kate Daniels story, but still had some rocking scenes.
8. The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss - A novel that brought us both the laughable Fae Super Sexathon and the amazing Cthaeh, it was pure Rothfuss, with an unbeatable readability, clue's to the trilogy's mysteries all over the place, and...Kvothe being an ass.
7. God's War by Kameron Hurley - I love this world! Bugs, deserts, Middle Eastern and African influences. Characters that are hard, a plot that is harder, and a world that is hardest of all.
6. The Iron Jackal by Chris Wooding - Wooding's steampunk meets Firefly series keeps on going and I keep eating it up. This time we got some major world-building going on and perhaps it didn't have Black Lung Captain's pace and character work, but it still has enough of Darian Frey and his crew for anyone.
5. Stonewielder by Ian C. Esslemont - A Malazan novel, so obviously I loved it. With a whole new continent to explore, Malazans, Crimson Guards, and plenty of gods and goddesses causing the usual convergences this one felt formulaic to the series, but I'm not complaining.
4. The Crippled God by Steven Erikson - The last book in the mainline Malazan story went out big...then decided big wasn't enough and went ludicrous speed. There were some good conclusions here, some long speculated moments coming about, and some interesting open doors for the future. RR needs more Karsa STAT.
3. Leviathan Wakes by James S. A. Corey - It's not the space opera notes that work best in this novel but the noir and mystery notes. The fast pace, no-holds-bared action, and complex social themes may not have made it the "best" read of the year, but they did make it the funnest read of the year.
2. Infidel by Kameron Hurley - That's right, Hurley makes the list twice. Her second novel was even better than the first. Every problem I had was solved, the world was further explored, the characters faced serious challenges, and some insane HOLY BLEEPAGE got thrown around on twists and turns.
1. The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie - Say one thing about Logen Ninefingers, say he's not required to make an Abercrombie book great, but even the mentioning of his name goes a long way. Abercrombie kicked a lot of character and plot BLEEP in this book but they both fail before what the man did with chapter structure. The "letter" and "battle" chapters were just as great as advertised, making this my spec-fic book of the year.
5. Still No Scott Lynch! - Scott Lynch's long awaited third Locke Lamora novel continues its waiting period. Lots of rumors on this one, maybe it's handed in, maybe it's being revised, maybe he's writing book 4 at the same time. Or maybe not. All I know is a year without Scott Lynch's style and skill is worse off than one with it.
4. The Unremembered by Peter Orellun - One of the most pushed and pumped debut novels of the year. It had an amazing cover. It had all the might of Tor behind it. Yet...the major who read it looked on it in horror. The prose...the purple prose! The rip off of Eye of the World. A cry came out from across the blogosphere: what was Tor thinking pushing this? Perhaps worse than the novel itself was the manipulation on review sites like goodreads and Amazon by unknown forces to see the novel given high marks.
3. The Dragon's Path by Daniel Abraham - In an amazing feat, Daniel Abraham managed to make both my "best of" and "disappoint" lists (he's part of the writing duo going by James S. A. Corey). This novel lacked all the joy and tight plotting of its brother, it also had bland characters that were hard to like and a world that was forgettable. A decent novel, but not up to the standards of his other work.
2. Snuff by Terry Pratchett - For the first time I asked myself if Terry Pratchett has himself a ghost writer. Just an odd book that was as not Discworld as you can get. Pratchett is in my all time top 10...this one was a huge let down.
1. A Dance With Dragons by George (Not as) R.R. (As Me) Martin - We waited six years for Dany, Tyrion, and Jon...we got a waffling girl, turtles and pigs, and not an Other in sight. My three star review on Amazon received over 1,000 helpful notes so I know I'm not alone in my disappointment. No matter how good the Theon/North storyline might have been, the rest...was all disappointment.
DEBUT AUTHOR OF THE YEAR
Kameron Hurley for her great work with both God's War and Infidel. Not only is she the debut author of this year, she's the author I'm most excited about since the Debut Explosion of 06/07. If you haven't checked out her books, start zapping them onto your Kindle immediately.
Main Focus #1: Assault on Dread Fortress Paine (Post FM6 Mini Novel) = 61k out of 50k estimate (122%)
Side Focus #2: The Glassbreaker Goes Home (Post FM6 Novella/Mini Novel) = 26k out of 50k estimate (51%)
Back Burner #1: FM7 School Story = 0k out of 80k estimate (0%)
Back Burner #2: Super Secret Awesome Project
Ugly Step Child: Gush (Fantasy Action/Adventure) Novel, First Draft = 21k out of 100k estimate (21%)
Other Stuff I Need to Get To: FM3-FM6 concordance updates