Best of 2009

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The new year is coming fast but it's not too late for my honorable mentions for this year fantasy books. The blog started in April and I added a good number of review from my last years of reading but here's what I liked the most during this my first blogging year, 2009! You can read about my choices for Best novel, Best new author /debut, Most beautiful map, Most beautiful cover, Kick ass moment of the year, Best genre blog in my humble opinion and Best author website / blog. Here we go!


Best novel

Best Served ColdJoe Abercrombie

I remember writing this in my review : "[...] I can tell you that Best Served Cold is a strikingly well written, humorous, gritty, sexy, darkly and unforgiving piece of work. You just can't pass over this one." Well... it really is and it does it better than any title of this kind. The story is still vivid to my memory which is also one of the main reasons I chose this one. Abercrombie is growing up to be one of the superstars of fantasy literature.

Runner up for best novel

Dust of Dreams
Steven Erikson

I stated before on the blog that I'm a real Malazan junkie. But since I think I can be objective, I didn't put this one first. The reason is probably because it's a two books finale. The book is as good as most of Erikson's Malazan books but there's a finality missing. I know that even the author mentions this at the beginning of the book but hey, it's still my number two! Every fan of the genre with a little reading experience under the belt should start this series as soon as possible!

The Judging Eye
R. Scott Bakker

This is the first review I have ever written. Aside from this, The Judging Eye is a very good book by an amazingly talented author in my opinion. There's a couple of problems with this follow-up to the great Prince of Nothing series but it's not enough to drag down the novel. This is the start of a compelling new trilogy.


Best new author / debut

Mark Charan Newton
Nights of Villjamur

I expected good things from Nights of Villjamur mostly because of James Long (Speculative Horizons) review. Mark created engrossing characters in a rich world without much flaw. With his writing style, he really sets out from the crowd. Noire fantasy like this is bliss. I can't wait for City of Ruins!

Runner up for best new author / debut

Ken Scholes

I still haven't read Canticle, but Lamentation was a great start. All the elements of a good fantasy books are there, mixed up with a touch of religion and nice world building. I think that Ken prose is finely woven but there's just too much cleverness in almost every characters (I would never have thought to put this on the negative side...).

Stephen Deas
The Adamantine Palace

I finally chose Stephen Deas because of the way he handled his dragons. It feels fresh and even though I will repeat myself, the best way to describe Stephen work was given by Joe Abercrombie : "A fast, sharp, ruthless read". Great things to come from this author.


Most beautiful map

Westeros, The Seven Kingdoms
ASoIaF by George R.R. Martin
Rendered by Tear at the Cartographer Guild

Simply amazing!!!
Index of maps

Runner up for most beautiful map

Northen Reaches of the Yhelteth Empire
The Steel Remains by Richard Morgan
Rendered by Ravi Shankar at the Cartographer Guild

Index of maps


Most beautiful cover

The Return of the Black Company

Glen Cook
Cover art by Raymond Swanland

Runner up for most beautiful cover

Zrozeni Zimy (Winterbirth)
Brian Ruckley
Cover art by Kekai Kotaki (thanks to Mihai (Dark Wolf) for the info)


Kick ass moment of the year

I posted 8 "kick ass moments" on the blog this year. Most of them are not from books released in 2009 but I'll judge by the ones I added this year anyway. There one kick ass moment I didn't add to the list and it's from Best Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie. The scene was so funny and I didn't want to spoil the fun for anyone. If you've read the book you probably know what I'm thinking about, you know this scene with Monza and Duke Rogont of Ospria in his bedroom... :)

Kick ass moment #1

George R.R. Martin
A Storm of Swords

"For once, his father did what Tyrion asked him. The proof was the sudden stench, as his bowels loosened in the moment of death. Well, he was in the right place for it, Tyrion thought. But the stink that filled the privy gave ample evidence that the oft-repeated jape about his father was just another lie.

Lord Tywin Lannister did not, in the end, shit gold."


Best genre blog in my humble opinion

A Dribble of Ink
Aidan Moher

Speculative Horizons
James Long

Best Author website / blog

For this one, I'll give a three-way tie. I judged mostly by the quality of the interaction between the authors and their fan.

Patrick Rothfuss

Joe Abercrombie

Mark Charan Newton


Mihai A. said...

First of all, Happy New Year! May you have a great 2010 :)
Very nice list. I just want to say that the cover for Brian Ruckley's "Winterbirth" Czech edition is made by Kekai Kotaki :)

Phil said...

Thanks for the heads up Mihai! I'll update the post. :)

ediFanoB said...

Belated Happy New Year!

I like your list. So far I didn't read Canticle because I wait for the paperback. Dust of Dreams is on my shelf. I have a reading project: To read all Malazan Book of the Fallen books within 2010. Reading one book per month. Starting in January.

My book of year 2009 is BONESHAKER by Cherie Priest.

I totally agree with your choice of the most beautiful map. This one is gorgeous.

Phil said...

Happy new year!

I hope you will enjoy the Malazan series as much as I do so far.

I think I'll add Boneshaker to my reading list.

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