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INTERVIEWS

Peter Higgins, author of Wolfhound Century

Myke Cole, author of Shadow Ops Series

John Brown John, translator of the Zamonia Novels

Jim C. Hines author of Libriomancer

Nick Harkaway author of Angelmaker (review here)

Martha Wells author of The Cloud Roads

David Tallerman author of Giant Thief

Mazarkis Williams author of The Emperor's Knife

Rob Ziegler author of Seed

Steven Gould author of 7th Sigma

Douglas Hulick author of Among Thieves (review here)

Mark Charan Newton author of Nights of Villjamur (review here)

Kameron Hurley author of God's War (review here)

Brent Weeks author of The Black Prism (review here)

Anthony Huso author of The Last Page (review here)

Brandon Sanderson author of The Way of Kings (review here)

Lou Anders Editor of Pyr Books

Ian Tregillis author of Bitter Seeds (review here)

Sam Sykes author of Tome of the Undergates (review here)

Benjamin Parzybok author of Couch (review here)

Kristine Kathryn Rusch author of Diving Into the Wreck (review here)

Ken Scholes author of Lamentation

Cherie Priest author of Boneshaker (review here)

Lev Grossman author of The Magicians (review here)

Character Interviews

Alexia and Lord Maccon from Gail Carriger's Soulless

Lord Akeldama from Gail Carriger's Soulless

Eva Forge from Tim Akers's The Horns of Ruin

Atticus from Kevin Hearne's Hounded

RECENT REVIEWS

The Daylight War by Peter V. Brett

A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan & Brandon Sanderson

Scoundrels by Timothy Zahn

Cold Days by Jim Butcher

Year Zero by Rob Reid

Alif: The Unseen by G. Willow Wilson

Scourge of the Betrayer by Jeff Salyards

Redshirts by John Scalzi

Control Point by Myke Cole

Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway
My BlogCatalog BlogRank Wikio - Top Blogs - Literature

The Hattie Awards 2012!!! Or the best books of 2012 (That I've read)

In 2011 I clocked in with 125 books read. This year I just skirted by 100 with 105 books read with many of those graphic novels. Overall, 2011 was a better year of reading for me and I felt the debuts were a bit stronger, granted I didn't get to check out as many debuts this year as in the past as I have been trying to vary my reading even more than in the past. I still have plenty ground to gain in that regard.


Fantasy Novel of the Year

Winner - The Troupe by Robert Jackson Bennett
Runner-up  - The Blinding Knife by Brent Weeks
Honorable Mentions - Red Country by Joe Abercrombie, The Dirty Streets of Heaven by Tad Williams,
The Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed, 
and The King's Blood by Daniel Abraham

Overall, Fantasy in 2012 wasn't as strong for me as in 2011, but there is still plenty to crow about with some memorable reads. The Troupe is one of those novels that just sticks with you long after closing it. Think of it as a period American Gods through the lens of Steinbeck. Yes, that's heavy praise, but this book deserves it. The Blinding Knife surprised me and then surprised me some more. Abercrombie gave us back many memorable characters from the past with Red Country, a very nice spaghetti western, yet it still isn't as much of a standout as his previous work. I haven't read a Tad Williams book in quite a few years, but I was immediately drawn to The Dirty Streets of Heaven, his first bonafide Urban Fantasy series where he uses his complex story skills to great effect with an Angel detective. Again Abraham is developing some of the smartest Fantasy with his latest Dagger and Coin novel, The King's Blood, but I think the next will cement the series as a favorite as he takes his time building things up.



Top Science Fiction

Winner - Faith by John Love
Runner-up - The Fractal Prince by Hannu Rajaniemi
Honorable Mentions: Redshirts by John Scalzi

It was an interesting year for Sci-Fi, but an early call on Faith still remained the most accomplished Science Fiction I've read this year. Rajaniemi remains one of the most heady writers of the last few years and The Fractal Prince turns things up to 11 in terms of complexity leaving me very eager for the next in the series. I do wonder though if I'll have to draw a line as his writing can get so complex you have hardly any idea exactly what something is supposed to be. As I mentioned in my review of Redshirts, Scalzi hit so many of the right buttons I could not resist enjoying the hell out of it. Definitely a grin worthy read. Many of the books that could have fallen in this category such as those by Kameron Hurley and G. Willow Wilson are elsewhere on this list as they are mixing quite a few things into their cauldrons than something that would typically be called Science Fiction. Had I included them here this list would look very different. Which brings me to the next category.


Top Hybrid - Forging New Ways

Winner - Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson
Runner-up (tie) - Rapture by Kameron Hurley 
and Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway
Honorable Mentions - The Coldest War by Ian Tregillis
and Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone

This category which I've referred to as Cross Genre before, is probably my favorite because each of these authors are trying to bring out fictions that haven't been conceived of before. Or at the very least combing seemling disparate genres together in innovative ways. Wilson's Alif the Unseen brought an authenticity rarely seen, especially when combined with magical beings and hacking. Hurley is in the vanguard of those authors bringing new perspectives and entirely new worlds into being. Rapture also finished off a storyline for one of the most badass characters to come along in a decade that should be remembered for decades to come. Harkaway's Angelmarker nearly blew my mind with this Spy Thriller/beepunk fest. Tregillis again is redefining alternative history while Max Gladstone's debut Three Parts Dead created a Legal Magical Thriller. Good stuff all around.


Top Mind Fucks

Winner - The Croning by Laird Barron
Runner-up - The Drowning Girl by Caitlin R.Kiernan
Honorable Mention - John Dies at the End by David Wong

I went with a different title for this category instead of calling these Horror as the flavor of darkness I typically enjoy isn't the bloody sort. Barron's The Croning is also a debut and works the big "DREAD" angle to the utmost in a novel filled with atmosphere. The Drowning Girl is just flat out beautiful and mind bending. Including John Dies at the End is a bit of cheat since it came out a couple years back, but it epitomizes fucking with one's head.


Top Short Takes

Winner - Jagannath by Karin Tidbeck
Runner-up - The Thorn and the Blossom by Theodora Goss
Honorable Mentions: Stories for Nighttime and Some for The Day by Ben Loory
and After the Apocalypse by Maureen F. McHugh

I adored Karin Tidbeck's debut short story collection Jagannath. It is a virtuoso performance of the askew combing Scandinavian folklore with a modern weird sensibility. Theodora Goss's pair of novellas is a beautiful love story mixed with slightly familiar mythology. After the Apocalypse and Stories for Nighttime were both release in 2011, but I only managed to get to them in 2012. Both a very worthwhile collections to seek out. Loory's collection is on the funny side of things while McHugh fixates on the dark.


Mad Hatter's Library Lover Award (i.e. books concerning books)

Libriomancer by Jim C. Hines
Among Others by Jo Walton

I love books about books. Libriomancer pulls the magic out of books while Walton's Among Others makes the experience of reading pure magic.

Top Popcorn - Ohhh, that was fun!

Alexander Outland: Space Pirate by G.J. Koch
Railsea by China Mieville
The Iron Jackal by Chris Wooding

If you're just looking for a pure good time these will certainly sate you.


Top Debut Novel

Winner (Tie) - Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson
and Faith by John Love
Runner-up (Tie) - Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed
and The Croning by Laird Barron
Honorable Mentions: Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone
and Shadow Ops: Control Point by Myke Cole

I try and think of this category of who has shown the most potential and Wilson and Love both certain do.That said  I can't wait to see what each of these authors has up their sleeves next.


Series That Keep Turning Out the Hat-tricks

The Woman Who Died A Lot (Thursday Next) by Jasper Fforde 
Cold Days (Dresden Files) by Jim Butcher - See short review here.
The Siren Depths (Raksura) by Martha Wells
Devil Said Bang (Sandman Slim) by Richard Kadrey

People always want to know if a long-running series is worth grabbing on to and each of the above is the 3rd or later book each of which are on par or superior to earlier volumes in said series.


Top Reads from Previous Years
Winner - Blindsight by Peter Watts
Forerunner by Andre Norton
The Desert Spear by Peter V. Brett
Noctuary by Thomas Ligotti

Best Overall Book of the Year - You guys have got to read this!


The Troupe by Robert Jackson Bennett

This category is all about which book I loved and think will stand the test of time being talked about more than a decade from now. The other front runners were Jagannath by Karin Tidbeck, Alif the Unseen by G. Willow Wilson, and Angelmaker by Nick Harkaway, but as soon as I finished The Troupe I knew there would be no other book that could beat it this year. I also want to throw an Honorable Mention to The Prisoner of Heaven by Carlos Ruiz Zafon since I haven't mentioned it elsewhere even though I had some reservations about it. It still fills-in the world nicely, if a bit lightly compared to the first two books.

You Might Also Like:
The 2011 Hattie Awards!!! Or the Best of 2011 (That I've Read)
Best Books of 2010 (That I've read)
The Mad Hatter's Gift Guide
Best Books of 2009 (That I've read)

6 comments:

Scott said...

I REALLY want to read ALIF THE UNSEEN! Glad to hear it made your list!

Bryce L. said...

I'm so glad to see The Troupe all over your lists here. That was my favorite as well and I can't recommend it enough to people.

Mad Hatter Review said...

Then Scott you need to get to Alif.

@Bryce I'm ecstatic to see The Troupe on so many lists. It is going to be one of those books I buy for other people for the next couple years without a doubt.

Gavin said...

There are several here I need to add to my TBR list, including The Troupe. I loved Faith and The Fractal Prince.

Ben said...

Very interesting list here. I've not heard of some of your top picks but I'll be sure to check them out now!

Kailana said...

I really must read THE TROUPE!!