Just a little late, but here they are, my bests for 2010. I put up the same categories as last year, but I also included some bonus best at the end. My best novel of 2010 may come as a bit of a surprise this year, but I'll explain myself quite simply. Without further ado, here we go!
(if you want to compare with last year)
The Last PageAnthony Huso
I chose this title without much thinking required, it came up fast. This is the book that gave me the more "blasts" as I read this year. Last year I mentioned that I picked up Best Served Cold because it was the more vivid story in my memory. Here again, this is the book that got out the crowd the most. Plus, I think The Last Page could be listed in a sub-genre by itself :
How can I define the genre in which The Last Page would feel at home? From what I have read before, it's been labeled as a mixed influence of steampunk, new weird, dark fantasy and more... I would summarize this list by stating that the book is Chemiostaticpunk-fantasy. Alright, that's not helping much but since chemiostatic energy is one source of power in the world created by Huso, it's a small pun as good as any of those epithets. In conclusion, suffice to say that The Last Page is quite unique.
Runner up for best novel
City of Ruin
Mark Charan Newton
Last year, I chose Mark Charan Newton as my best new debut in fantasy. For his second novel in the Legend of the Red Sun, he delivered an even better book. The explosion of weirdness mixed up with Newton's prose and some powerful characters create an original mix that should please most fantasy readers.
City of Ruin is a nice improvement in almost every aspect for Mark. This bodes well for the future books in the series. The mix of weirdness, noir atmosphere and perspectives of our society examined through mature characters creates something quite unique and compelling.
The Way of Kings
This is only the start of a huge project and I think the foundations are quite solid. The world-building and magic system were amazing, clearly the best I've read since the creation of the Malazan World. I long to return to this world and follow the adventures of characters I already connected with.
In trying to define The Way of Kings, I would conclude that it's an impressive epic fantasy novel in the representative kind of epic fantasy style. It's not groundbreaking as some books or series can be defining to a genre, norm breaking or creating a new sub genre in itself but since The Stormlight Archive series still has 9 books to prove itself, it could be within this spectrum eventually. Don't get me wrong here, this is a splendid work and it will not blend within the horde of epic fantasy novels.
Best new author / debut
The Last Page
How can I choose someone else than the author who wrote my favorite novel this year? This new voice in fantasy is a welcome addition with his own style and already a tremendous writer in my opinion. You should definitely try it.
Runner up for best new author / debut
I'm still nostalgic about Col's story. I think Farlander went too much under the radar. I hope I can help a bit by talking about his work.
You know, the guy with dyslexia who wrote a book with a magic system including dyslexia as an aspect of it? Well, this element aside, Blake offered us a very good first novel in the more classic type of fantasy tale. I can only imagine nice things to come from this talented author.
Most beautiful map
Malazan book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson and Ian C. Esslemont
Rendered by Sadist at the Cartographer Guild
Index of maps
Runner up for most beautiful map
The World of Belgariad
The Belgariad and The Malloreon by David Eddings
Rendered by Gidde at the Cartographer Guild
Index of maps
Most beautiful cover
Cover art by Kekai Kotaki
Runner up for most beautiful cover
Finch (Polish edition)
Cover art by Unknown
Runner up for most beautiful cover
Republic of Thieves
Cover art by Benjamin Carre
The Wheel of Time e-book editions covers. The project was not successful in its entirety, but a good deal of the covers were great and simply way better than their physical book counterparts. To take a look at them again, start with the last one :
WoT ebook cover - The Gathering Storm
Kick ass moment of the year
I have posted only three of them this year... it's a big drop from 2009. Authors, I need more kick ass moments!!! The choice was easier thought...
Kick ass moment #10
Brandon Sanderson (and Robert Jordan)
Towers of Midnight
Best genre blog (in my humble opinion)
Two newcomers impressed me in 2010. The first one, The Speculative Scotsman is a great blog to follow but even more so with all the controversy he created with some of this posts. Great discussions. And then, there's Sarah with Bookworm Blues, quite a nice addition to the blogosphere!
The Speculative Scotsman
Best cover art with an infamous hooded assassin
El camino de las sombras (The Way of Shadows) by Brent Weeks
Cover by Opalworks
Best audiobook narration
The Black Company by Glen Cook
Narrated by Marc Vietor
The perfect choice for Croaker!
Best novel I read this year that came out before 2010
Bauchelain and Korbal Broach (omnibus)
What an amazing collection of stories with the two necromancers and their beloved servant Emancipor Reese. A must read for any fantasy fans, not just Malazan aficionado!
Why should you read this book? If you want a fun ride where you'll grin more often than not, pick it up. This is necromancy at a totally different level, set in unbelievable, well written and vibrating stories. In addition, it's fast read where you'll get pulled in strikingly fast. And lastly, if you're already a Malazan fan, you can't miss this.Review here