Similar to last year, I wanted to round out my blog in 2015 with my best reads of the year. Whilst my family and I have moved half way around the world and back again, and my reading time has taken a slight back seat due to other responsibilities, I’ve still managed to review some fantastic novels. So, without any further beard stroking, here’s my top five books..
I’ve been chopping and changing between new works and old, fantasy and sci-fi, and one title that really surprised me for it’s depth and detail was Crashing Heaven by Al Robertson. The setting and world building was enthralling whilst the buddy-cop feel to the two lead characters, accountant and deadly software/puppet, was brilliant. For me, Al Robertson created a truly awesome slice of science fiction.
Equally layered and astounding in scope was Tanya Huff’s An Ancient Peace. Part of an on-going set of stories concerning the seriously no-nonsense Marine Gunnery Sergeant Kerr, An Ancient Peace is a character driven adventure that nails down the action, science fiction and world building with an effortless ease. Though I was embarrassed I’d not heard of Tanya Huff before, this is an author I’ll be seeking out in the future.
Whilst not fitting into an clear cut category, Finn Fancy Necromancy was sheer, unadulterated fun. Snappy dialogue, a case of ‘whodunit’ and a boat load of 80s references all came together to form a wonderful and up-to-date magical mystery. Author Randy Henderson has a great feel for comedy and, as a debut, this was a flawless novel that left me wanting more.
I’ve read a fair amount of fantasy this year but both Beyond Redemption by Michael R Fletcher and Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan were stand out novels for me. McClellan’s flintlock fantasy was absolutely epic; the magic system of powdermages was inspired and the setting was intriguing. With so many stories and characters intertwining and driving forward Promise of Blood held my imagination from start to finish and I’m looking forward to reading the rest in the trilogy very soon.
I just recently finished Michael R Fletcher’s Beyond Redemption and this remains a key example of where modern fantasy is excelling right now. There’s a lot of great authors writing in the fantasy arena and Fletcher deserves to be amongst them already. Beyond Redemption was full of brutal characters and the idea of insanity manifesting as reality took the idea of ‘magic’ to the next level. There’s great characters but little respite in this book and it’s definitely a work of fiction that stays with you; fantastic fantasy in my opinion.
This year I’ve actually managed to watch a few films and catch up with my favourite show The Walking Dead, even getting to finish season 5. I even found time to watch the prequel Fear The Walking Dead but more on that in another post. Top of my movie choices has to be Edge of Tomorrow the adaptation of All You Need Is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurazaka. Not only was it visually stunning but the play on the video-game idea of regeneration and it’s consequences to the protagonist was brilliantly handled.
It’s been a slightly sporadic year for me and my reading but I’m hoping next year will bring more awesome books, new, old and e-based. And, as ever, I’ll blog my thoughts on them all..