2014 was a busy year for me with lots of challenges at work and plenty of travel. Even though this blog was dormant nearly all of the year it was probably still one of my highest word count years when counting all of the reread posts done for Tor.com on The Way of Kings, a project I was proud to be part of and glad to have behind me. As many others out there know: Writing on a schedule is hard work, especially when you have other work to do.
I still managed to read quite a bit this year even though my overall numbers are still down. I miss reading 100+ books a year, but appreciate all the added time I spent with friends and family this year. Looking over my reading log I've read 81 stories though many this year are novellas and graphic novels. I've not counted most short stories unless I bought them for my Nook and there were only 2 or 3 like that, but the novella and novelette length really hit me hard this year with a dozen or so of those. There was just one anthology read being the all-star Dangerous Women. Here's how the numbers breakdown:
Graphic Novels: 12 (though I read many more and only list those I thought worth remembering)
Short Fiction (novellas, novelettes, short stories, etc.): 24ish (Not counting Dangerous Women)
Now on to the Hattie Awards!
Bennett's latest stole the show as far as I am concerned though Smiler's Fair took me by surprise. Sanderson's WoR was what I hope it would be, but only time will tell if it will all payoff. My money's on yes. The Mirror Empire leveled up Hurley's game though there was some shakiness in the first quarter. I think Hurley's best is still to come in this series since some beautiful ground work has be laid.
Some will be surprised Andy Weir's The Martian isn't on this list somewhere. That's because I read it in 2013 with it winning in one category. But North's story has stuck with me a long time and never wavered from being my favorite in this area though it is probably better labeled Science Fantasy it merits a top spot. The Three-Body Problem left me cold for the first half of the story to the point I almost put it down, but I'm glad I stuck with it as it is one of the most unique First Contact stories I've ever encountered. Lock-In is probably Scalzi's best novel since Android's Dream and I friggin loved AD. Koyanagi's Ascension hit me right in the Firefly spot while bringing a unique cast that I was just as quick to fall for. Red Rising is the real please-me-deal in the same way Ender's Game was only more brutal. de Bodard's novella lives up to the accolades to date and I look forward to delving into more into this universe.
Datura is the stuff that eerie nightmares are made of. I know because it kept giving them to me. Truth and Fear feels very middle-bookish, but the writing has a stark beauty and strangeness that captivated me. I'm still trying to wrap my head about Murakami's odd little novella. The design by Chip Kidd was worth the price of admission all on it own. The End of the Sentence gave us a dark a slightly creepy American fairy tale well worth checking out.
Runner-up - Shadow Ops: Breach Zone by Myke Cole
Grossman left me amazed throughout his Magician's series and he was able to close it out quite poignantly. It will be a series well worth re-reading. Cole's finish to the first Shadow Ops arc executed all the goals I had for the series with big screen action on a small page.
van Eekhout is back in UF after a 5 year absence with a new series that re-imagines California as if ruled by powerful magicians who eat other magicians. Not nearly as dark as it sounds since van Eekhout plays to the lighter side of things more times than not and plays up the thief angle quite well. Who knew Lukyanenko wasn't done with the Night Watch series? At first I thought this was going to stretch a series too fair as the fourth book really did close most threads off well, but the author managed to dig up a story that is as good as the rest.
I wasn't sure where to put Harkaway's latest, but I knew it needed to be mentioned. The story involves a a superhero of sorts, an island scheduled for demolition, and a bevy of most likely disreputable men. Though it meanders as Harkaway works tend to do that's the joy of the story. And that twist at the end! OMG, Harkaway is truly l33t.
Considering Bennett nabbed this spot in 2012 for The Troupe this shouldn't come as too much of a shock. Now who do I have to talk to about the sequel City of Blades getting in my hands ASAP? Don't make me send Sigrud... The Girl With All the Gifts and The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August have also stuck with me. These three books are also the ones I keep giving or recommending to friends depending on how their tastes bend.
This year a third of the novels I read were not necessarily published this year. It is hard to rank them so here are a few of my favorites: Foundation by Isaac Asimov (re-read and deservedly in print for more than sixty years), American Elsewhere by Robert Jackson Bennett (Bennett has to be the love child of Bradbury. Has to be!), Late Eclipses by Seanan McGuire (Toby just stole my heart from Dresden), The Lives of Tao by Wesley Chu (Action/Adventure with Aliens FTW), and The Blue Blazes by Chuck Wendig (Badass/drugs are bad/also blue apparently).
The 2013 Hattie Awards!!! Or the Best of 2013 (That I've Read)
The 2012 Hattie Awards!!! Or the Best of 2012 (That I've Read)
The 2011 Hattie Awards!!! Or the Best of 2011 (That I've Read)
Best Books of 2010 (That I've read)
Best Books of 2009 (That I've read)