I read plenty of books over the past year, and I thought I’d list a recommendation of sorts for those books and their authors, especially those that really stood out to me. I’ve found that since I resumed writing, I’m now reading more than I have in years. I wouldn’t call it a requirement exactly, but I’m paying attention to how these authors structure their novels, how they utilize character and viewpoint, how they tie off loose ends (if they do) and bring their books to successful conclusions that leave readers wanting more.
So, without further ado, here’s the list of my most enjoyed books of 2012, in no order of importance.
- The Half-Made World, by Felix Gilman. A unique blend of western and steampunk, with a dash of the mystical. An Agent of the Gun, his power heightened and controlled by a demonic imbued gun, is sent on a mission to capture a weapon that may end their war against the Line, monstrous steam engines that use humans to fashion the world after their own image. I’d love a true sequel to this.
- Bitter Seeds, by Ian Tregillis. What happens when you mix World War II with a scientist who experiments on young people, turning them into German super soldiers with unique powers? Now what happens when you add British sorcerors who conjure up Cthulu-like monsters to fend off the German advance? You get Bitter Seeds, a surprisingly good Weird War story. His follow-up, The Coldest War, is on my to-be-read pile.
- King of Thorns, by Mark Lawrence. Book two of his Broken Empire series, it follows Jorg Ancrath as he tries to win the ultimate game of empire in a shattered world that some might recognize. Very high on my list. I love how me makes you almost care for what happens to Jorg, before he suddenly reminds you just what kind of person he is. A troubled character, an excellent study and point-of-view on a protagonist you might normally see on the other side of most books. I can’t recommend this series highly enough.
- Wool, by Hugh Howey. Another great read, where talk of the outside, to those that live in a silo, is punished by that very wish. A post-apocalyptic tale of people trying to survive in a silo, while the world outside, full of poison and death, goes on unheeded and unwanted. A short story expanded to a novel due to the high demand for more. And there’s a very good reason for that.
- Retribution Falls, by Chris Wooding. Great tale with a steampunk feel. I’ve heard it described as, “Firefly, only not in space.” Not far off the mark, with excellent characters, well-paced plot and a world that I wanted to know much better. His follow-up, The Black Lung Captain, is on the to-be-read-soon pile. Unfortunate that I’m not in the UK, since I’ll have to wait for the rest of the Ketty Jay series to be imported by Titan Books.
So there’s my list. How does it compare to yours?