It's that time again: time for everyone and their cousin to write an end-of-the-year blog. And since I'm no different than anyone else... I didn't get to read nearly as much as I would have liked to this year. There are so many amazing books on my radar that I haven't yet gotten to, including The Lives of Tao, NOS4A2 (which is only $1.99 as I'm writing this), Blood Song, The Daylight War, The Golem and the Jinni, The Darwin Elevator and so many others.
So what did I get to read? I'll tell you.
The Thousand Names by Django Wexler
I must confess that I was worried when I heard about this. After all, for a long time I thought I was the first person to think up the idea of setting an epic fantasy in an 1800's world with muskets and magic and everything else. I put off reading it because I was worried that there would be similarities to Promise of Blood that would get one or both of us accused of being unoriginal or something like that.
I really shouldn't have been concerned. Django's world was both fantastic and completely different than my own. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I think that people who read and liked my book will also end up reading and loving Django's. It proved to me that Flintlock Fantasy isn't going to be a one-trick pony, but rather a bona fide subgenre that can be explored by multiple people in just as many ways as the medieval epic fantasy that we all know and love.
Emperor of Thorns by Mark Lawrence
I think I actually read all three books in this series this year (two last spring, and the final one when it came out this fall). Mark's books are brilliant, brutal, unforgiving, fun, and lyrical. His main character is a horrible, raping, murdering, compelling creature. I read Prince of Thorns and King of Thorns back to back on subsequent nights, staying up until the wee hours of the morning, and Emperor was no different. Incredible writing, and the fact that it ended up on or atop many "best of" lists for 2013 is not at all surprising.
Abaddon's Gate by James S. A. Corey
The third installment in the Expanse series. Loved returning to the world and seeing how the universe continues to play out after the events of Leviathan Wakes. I'm really looking forward to the rest of the books in this series.
The Dragon's Path by Daniel Abraham
Daniel Abraham is actually 1/2 of the duo that writes The Expanse series under the name of James S.A. Corey. The Dagger and Coin series is his currently on-going epic fantasy. I think that I enjoy The Expanse a little more, overall, but that shouldn't turn you away from this book. I really very much enjoyed it.
Bitter Seeds by Ian Tregillis
Very cool concept (think "warlocks vs Nazi x-men during WWII"), and a well-written book. I enjoyed it quite a bit, but I must confess it was a bit too bleak for me. It didn't have the "fun" that I tend to look for in a genre book. That's entirely my own preference, though, and I think anyone who likes spy thrillers, serious science fiction, or anything that tends to be a little more gritty will like this one.
The Emperor's Soul by Brandon Sanderson
This is quite a bit shorter than anything else on the list (it won the Hugo for best Novella, which means it's under 40K words). As most of you know, I love Brandon's stuff, and this one was no exception. It's definitely worth picking up.
Partials by Dan Wells
I don't read a lot of dystopian work (again, I tend to avoid bleak), but Dan's stuff definitely makes me want to read more. Partials came out in 2012 and I think the second book is out and the third is coming soon. Highly recommended. And while I'm here, I will say that everyone should read Dan's "John Cleaver" novels.
I don't do a lot of re-reading (due to time and personal preference), but I will make some exceptions now and again. This year, I reread The River Why by David James Duncan (one of my all-time top ten books) and Dune by Frank Herbert (one of my all-time top five books). Hopefully I will get to read more books next year, including all those that I listed at the top.