Since everyone else was busy doing end-of-year posts, I figured I’d throw my 10 cents out there as well. Here are my top 10 from 2011. These are books that I read in 2011, not necessarily that were published in 2011.
1. Number one, of course, has to be Jim Butcher’s Ghost Story. Because the 13th book in a series where the main character is dead? Not only is that some epic story-telling timing, but to also write it in a fashion that leaves the reader breathless? After thirteen books?? Oh, yes. I never did a review of this one, because, well. It’d be like flowers professing to love sunlight. Well – duh.
2. Angel Town by Lilith Saintcrow. A perfect end to a perfect series. Hard, fast, and brutal – Saintcrow’s signature. Fabulous.
3. Hounded by Kevin Hearne. You can read my review here. But I’ll repeat this much: “I loved this book, and I can see even just from the following volume that the author’s work is getting even better. I look forward to following this series through a long and prosperous life.”
4. Dead Iron by Devon Monk. I’m a fan of Monk’s Allie Beckstrom series, too. Dead Iron is a new genre for Monk: steampunk. (Monk is no stranger to exploring genres.) I loved this book. It was like a stew of different paranormal elements that shouldn’t have been so yummy – but totally was.
5. My Life as a White Trash Zombie by Diana Rowland. My review is here. “…mix[ing] the macabre with the sincere… balancing the grotesque with the sarcastic, and the desperate with the ordinary. This is a fun book, with a bit of depth if you care to look for it.” It also wins my pick for Best Cover Art of 2011.
6. Midnight Riot by Ben Aaronovitch. I liked this book even more because it’s set in London, and I don’t know much about the British constabulary. Peter Grant is notable because he’s actually a pretty average guy before being chosen to work under Detective Inspector Thomas Nightingale. The blurb professes that Peter has the “ability to speak with the dead”, but it seemed to me those ghosts spoke to him out of convenience and not because of an inherent talent.
7. Tricks of the Trade by Laura Anne Gilman. I reviewed this book back in January. So far it remains my favorite book in the series, even though the characters were more fully fleshed out in the following volume. Gilman handled a delicate situation excellently in this book, and she deserves high marks for that.
8. The Broken Kingdoms by NK Jemisin. It’s not often you find a fantasy novel with a blind protagonist, and this one is woven deftly. The world is rich and unique. You can read my review of the first book in the series The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by clicking here.
9. Darker Still by Leanna Renee Hieber. A great new YA paranormal that evokes The Portrait of Dorian Gray and Edgar Allen Poe. You can read my review of it here.
10. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. If you haven’t heard of this book, you’ve been living under a rock. A young adult dystopian with some interesting things to say.
I tried to keep this list limited to either series books that were truly exemplary, or new or almost-new series. That said, there are several more that would have made the list had I not limited it. Those are (in no particular order):
- Blackout by Rob Thurman
- Pale Demon by Kim Harrison
- The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
- The Neon Graveyard by Vicki Pettersson
- Heartless by Gail Carriger
- Eat Slay Love by Jesse Petersen
The Iron Witch by Karen Mahoney
Shotgun Gravy by Chuck Wendig (novella)
One book I wish I hadn’t spent time on? The Magicians by Lev Grossman. It was billed as an “adult Harry Potter”, but I think it’s more accurately described as “the anti-Harry Potter”. If HP was about the power and strength of friendship, then The Magicians is about a group of the most selfish, spoiled people I have ever had the displeasure of reading about. It *was* fascinating, and for those who don’t mind hating their narrators, it may not be such a waste of time. Don’t get me wrong. It was well-crafted and well-written – but I didn’t like the way it made me feel.