Posts Tagged: Best of…

So, it’s that time again. 2014 is in the rear-view mirror and we’re all puking nostalgia for the year gone by. Below is a list of some of my very favourite things from 2014.

This is very intentionally not a Hugo ballot (because who likes being strapped down by those rules if they don’t have to be), as I wanted some freedom to group things as I feel they should be grouped, and because I want to be able to celebrate stuff that I enjoyed immensely, but isn’t quite right for the Hugo Ballot (*coughFantasyLifecough*). My Hugo nominations will come later, but this should give you a hint of what’s to come.)

So, without further adieu, let’s jump into my favourite things of 2014!

My Favourite Novel

City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett

Buy City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett

City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett

Who would have thought that Robert Jackson Bennett, author of quirky horror/urban fantasy mash-up novels, would write the best secondary world fantasy of the year? City of Stairs is an absolute delight from beginning to end. It’s a chain-smoking, edge-of-your-seat, snarl of a novel with a wonderfully grizzled cast. The broken city of Bulikov, decimated when its gods were killed, is one of the most tragic and fascinating examples of “setting as character,” and its an absolute joy to explore its mysteries as Shara and Sigurd (an odd couple that you can’t help but love) unravel its mysteries. To top it off, Bennett wraps things up with a conclusion so satisfying and epic that you can’t hardly believe the novel’s only 450 pages. Other authors only manage to fit half so much into novels twice as long.

Even as I was startled by its twisted depth, I adored every moment I spent with City of Stairs. Colonialism lies at the centre novel’s centre, and RJB handles it with equal parts boldness and delicacy. The ruined beauty of Bulikov and its fallen gods haunted me long after I turned the final page. Read More »

OF BLOOD AND HONEY by Stina LeichtThe latest episode of the SF Signal podcast (one of the best SFF podcasts out there!) is available, discussing the best SFF novels of 2011, and I’m one of the included voices!

Novels I mention:

  • Of Blood and Honey by Stina Leicht (REVIEW)
  • Shadowheart by Tad Williams (REVIEW)
  • The Dragon’s Path by Daniel Abraham (REVIEW, EXCERPT)
  • The Tiger’s Wife by Tea Obreht (REVIEW)
  • Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey (REVIEW)
  • Theft of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan (REVIEW)

You can brush up on my favourite novels of 2011 HERE. You can listen to the episode HERE!

Every year, I like to gather together some of my favourite bloggers/fan writers and give them some extra exposure. If you’re voting for the Hugos, consider these bloggers/blogs for the ‘Best Fan Writer’ and ‘Best Fanzine’ awards!

My Favourite Blogs of 2011

Staffer's Musings, edited by Justin Landon

Staffer’s Musings, edited by Justin Landon

Landon’s blog is new to the scene, but in the nine months he’s been around, he’s become one of my favourite voices in the community. He’s funny, but manages to use that sense of humour to eloquently and convincingly articulate his opinions and insights (even if I don’t always agree with him). He seems to post a new review each day, and he’s begun to interview authors. I expect big things of Landon in 2012. Plus, he looks like this.

Some posts of note:

His blog:
His twitter: @jdiddyesquire
Read More »

Aside from reading, I spend a lot of my downtime playing videogames. I always have, I suspect I always will. Here’s a list of my favourite videogames published this year, a few I missed out on and one that’s so special that I had to include it, even though it came out in 2010.

Honourable Mentions

Ghost Trick: Phantom DetectiveGhost Trick: Phantom Detective, published by Nintendo

It’s stylish and funny, has a labyrinthine storyline that never peters out even as it gets more and more twisty, more and more zany, and the animations are some of the best in the genre despite being on hardware that’s almost seven years old. It does everything right and deserves more attention.

Super Mario 3D LandSuper Mario 3D Land, published by Nintendo

Clever bite-size levels make this the best 3D Mario game since Super Mario 64. What more needs to be said?

Read More »

Another year, another list of great novels. I don’t read widely enough to declare a ‘best of 2011,’ so instead here is a collection of my favourite novels published in 2011, starting with honourable mentioned (in no order) and capped off with my favourite novel of 2011, which might come as a bit of a surprise.


Honorable Mentions

Shadowheart by Tad Williams

SHADOWHEART by Tad WilliamsShadowheart is, essentially, one enormous climax. The pacing is frenetic (for a Williams novel…) and the author fills every nook and cranny of the novel with feverish action, enlightening observations on the plot or characters and enough twists and turns to keep fans of the series happy. It’s always bittersweet to see a series come to an end; as fans, we are always eager to find out what happens to our heroes and heroines, but, equally, we don’t want them to ever leave our lives. Perhaps the greatest thing I can say about Shadowheart is that through four long volumes of a story, Williams convinced me to care utterly for his characters and there’s a hole now in my life where they once lived. Few story tellers can do that. Williams does it with alarming regularity.
Read my full review of Shadowheart by Tad Williams.
Read More »