Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year! It’s the first day of 2009 and I thought it would be a good time to restart my blog. I plan to do much the same as I did before concentrating on reviews, bestsellers, and new releases. I’m also currently talking to the moderators at Bookspot Central about reviewing books for them. If it works out, I’ll be reviewing one book a month and posting a link here from the forum. I’ve added and mixed up some of the links to the side so be sure to check those out. I’ll also be making some changes to some of my posts. They’ll be mostly cosmetic changes to my reviews and new releases to make them look a little better and more organized. I’ll probably experiment a little so don’t be surprised if they change a little throughout rest of the month.

Because it’s the New Year I think it would be appropriate to list my favorite reads from 2008. I threw together a few “bests” categories to highlight some of the books in particular. After that, are two lists of all the books I read last year in alphabetical order, 2008 books first followed by books published prior to that. All the books listed are those that I rated at least eight out of ten or higher.

Best Overall Novel
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Luis Zafon. A young man seeks information about a mysterious author in post-War Barcelona. The story is dark and melancholy yet tempered with hope. This novel is a superlative tale of both the darker and better sides of human nature.

Runner-up:
Last Argument of Kings by Joe Abercrombie.

Best Science Fiction
Wild Cards edited by George R.R. Martin. The Wild Cards series, about a virus that transforms people into superheroes and mutilated freaks, is the longest running shared-world anthology in ever. The first volume in the series covers almost 40 years and some of the most dramatic history to make for great superhero storytelling.

Runner-up:
The Separation by Christopher Priest.

Best Fantasy
Last Argument of Kings by Joe Abercrombie. The last book in the First Law trilogy by hot new author Joe Abercrombie concludes on a very dark, gritty, cynical tone and probably marks one of the strongest series finish you'll ever read.

Runner-up:
A tie between An Autumn War by Daniel Abraham and The Ten Thousand by Paul Kearney.

Best Unexpected Novel
Lavinia by Ursula Le Guin. I picked Wizard of Earthsea year ago and did not care for it. I picked this book up almost on a whim and have not regreted it for a minute. This blending of myth and historical fiction will appeal to just about everyone.

Runner-up:
Sharp Teeth by Toby Barlow.

Most Underrated Novel
The Fade by Chris Wooding. This science fiction book about revenge and underground civilizations has only been released in the United Kingdom. I heard about this from a review by Adam Whitehead of The Wertzone. Pick it up, you won't regret it.
Runner-up:
Superpowers by David Schwartz.

Most Promising Author
Brandon Sanderson. With his new epic fantay series, Mistborn, Sanderson has established himself as a great new voice in speculative fiction.
Runner-up:
Charlie Huston

Inside Straight, GRRM et al
Last Argument of Kings, Joe Abercrombie
An Autumn War, Daniel Abraham
Sharp Teeth, Toby Barlow
Sly Mongoose, Tobias Buckell
Little Brother, Cory Doctorow
The Ten Thousand, Paul Kearney
Lavinia, Ursula Le Guin
Blood of Elves, Andrzej Sapkowski
Superpowers, David Schwartz

Wild Cards I, GRRM et al
World War Z, Max Brooks
Already Dead, Charlie Huston
The Mark of Ran, Paul Kearney
Thirteen, Richard Morgan
The Separation, Christopher Priest
The Well of Ascension, Brandon Sanderson
Agent to the Stars, John Scalzi
The Secret History of Moscow, Ekaterina Sedia
The Wheelman, Duane Swierczynski
The Fade, Chris Wooding
The Shadow of the Wind, Carlos Luis Zafon

2 comments:

Hagelrat said...

cool. looking forward to 2009 blogging.

Benjamin said...

Thanks Hagelrat!