Thursday, December 31, 2015

End of Year Review

So 2015 was a bit of varied year for me blog-wise.  The previous year saw me restart my blog with the standard reviews, occasional news bits, Eye on New Releases highlighting interesting new releases, Thinking About Reading... focusing on books already released, and a new segment called Artist Spotlight where I feature artists doing fantastic work in the genre, usually cover art.  The year started off well, but I'm afraid I grew bored with doing reviews again.  I'll try to get back into that again this coming year.  We'll see.

A full list of the books I read this year can be found on my Goodreads library here.

Some statistics:
Science Fiction - 33.4%
Fantasy - 52.4%
Fiction - 15.5%
Anthologies/Collections - 14.3%
New Releases - 50%
Debut Novels - 9.5%
Female Authors - 40.5%

Compared to last year, Fantasy, Fiction, Anthologies/Collections, and Women Authors are up slightly.  Science Fiction and New Releases are down slightly.  Debut Novels are way down.  I just didn't read too many debuts this year, published in 2015 or not. 

Best Novel

Sinai Tapestry was simply the best book I read all year, regardless of genre.  The book itself and it's three sequels with their fantastical faux history of the Holy Land truly transcend genre boundaries and are an excellent example of speculative fiction.  Any fan of the genre, hell any fan of literature period, should read this one.  Full review.

Runner-up: the rest of the Jerusalem Quartet.

Best Science Fiction

Ian McDonald's three previous books explored future societies in India, Brazil, and Turkey.  This timed he moved the action off planet Earth in what has been described as Game of Thrones on the moon.  Having read this book I have to say that that is quite accurate.  Not too mention being probably McDonald's best book to date.

Runner-up: Aurora by Kim Stanley Robinson.

Best Fantasy

I'm a huge fan of Ken Liu's short fiction so of course I eagerly awaited his debut novel and I was happy to say it did not disappoint me.  Indeed, I thought it was the best fantasy novel this year.  Apart from me, this silkpunk take on Chinese history seemed to have gotten some mixed reactions, but still quite a bit of readership.  Hopefully, it will pick up more fans with the sequels.  Full review.

Runner-up: Half the World/Half a War by Joe Abercrombie.

Best Anthology or Collection

I read two anthologies and ten story collections this year.  These two stood out the most.

Old Venus is anthology edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois where all the stories are based on the Venus from Planetary Romance.  So not a Venus that is a boiling, poisonous rock, but a living world of jungles and monsters.  Full review of Old Venus.

Giant Bones is a collection of Beagle's short fiction set in the same world as his Innkeeper's Song novel.  Beagle says in the foreword that this the only time he's done anything like a sequel.  The collection is of course as well written as only Beagle can do. 

Runner-up: Tracking Magic by Maria E. Schneider. 

Best 2015 Debut Novel

I didn't read many debut novels this year, but The Promise of the Child was probably the best of them.  I initially thought there would be a lot of time-hopping in the plot, but it turned out it was almost entirely set far, far in the future where mankind has spread out into the stars and evolved into many kinds of races.  It's a space opera that is also science fantasy much like The Dying Earth and The Quantum Thief.

Best Cover Art 2015

I quite liked Rich Deas' artwork for Bardugo's Grisha trilogy, however, it was his cover for Six of Crows that really caught my eye.  The book itself is great too.

Richard Anderson has done some truly stellar work this year with covers for Kameron Hurley's second Worldbreaker book, Victor Milan's The Dinosaur Lords, and Daniel Polansky's The Builders by  I did a spotlight on the artist back in February.

No comments: