Well, it’s been exactly one month since my blog’s first birthday, so I thought I would celebrate by commemorating the day as the placeholder for the Acerbic Awards. You may be wondering what they are. I’m going to get to that. First, thank you all for such a great year, both readers and writers. I managed to hit 5,000 page views for the first year, which is pretty amazing since I do little to no promotion for the site. As for authors, I’ve read 45 fiction books, and reviewed 42 of them. One will be out soon; just finished it last night. My goal was around 40, so that’s nice. I’d like to up it to 50 for next year.
But back to the Acerbic Awards. This is how I show what was amazing for the year. It’s basically a top ten list of books. Surprising, I know. Only one book can represent an author. For instance, I read three David Dalglish books this year, but only his best could be on the list. Besides this list not accurately representing the year’s releases, it’s also going to link back to my review of the thing. So please, don’t take this list as what you should’ve seen in 2013, but what you should’ve read. Or at least, what I would highly recommend. Also, don’t look at My Ratings page. This doesn’t abide by that, namely because my tastes and critical eye changes as time passes, but I don’t change the score.
Honorable mention: Kill the Dead by Richard Kadrey, Stonemouth by Iain Banks, and The Quantum Thief by Hannu Rajaniemi.
10. Ghostman by Roger Hobbs
One of the fastest books of the year, chock full of action and sharp prose. Hobbs writes a protagonist that I can get behind, if only because he’s extremely smart and knows that killing the enemy removes him later down the line.
9. Sapphique by Catherine Fisher
Quite possibly the best Steampunk book I’ve read all year, which isn’t saying much. Fisher improved so much upon the first, especially with characters. And how could I ever forget the terrible beast that is the prison, Incarceron? Truly scary thing.
8. The Hunter by Richard Stark
This debut has hands down the BEST structure and idea of what an anti-hero is than any other book I’ve ever read. The writing is smooth and compelling. The protagonist is dangerously smart and cruel. If only it had been a tad longer, just a little over 200 pages.
7. The Obsidian Heart by Mark T. Barnes
Eastern Science Fantasy at its best. Well, I’ve yet to read another author who tackles this sub-genre, but you get the idea. Barnes writes plots intelligently, builds the tension up then lets it explode. His final book in the Echoes of Empire trilogy is one to watch out for next year.
6. Three by Jay Posey
This dystopian is dark and gritty, but doesn’t abide by the usual trademarks of the genre. Instead of large exposition of how the world ended, Posey gives us nothing about his land. No, he shows us the place through the desperate characters and their journey. And what a journey. I actually teared up at the end of this novel. Now THAT is something to talk about.
5. Who is Killing the Great Capes of Heropa? by Andrez Bergen
The best unexpected novel of 2013. Where Posey showed us his world through his characters, Bergen does it through dialogue. And I believe this was one of those tomes that you can speed through in a few days. It’s light, humorous, and oh so fun. Add in some twists that I never saw coming, and you have undiscovered gold right here.
4. Best Kept Secret by Jeffrey Archer
My grandmother will argue with me, saying this is the best book of 2013. I’ll say that it doesn’t have the depth that the other 3 do, but then I’ll be lying. How Archer can create believable characters and a world with stunning depth with merely dialogue and simple prose is beyond me. He writes in such a subtle way that it’s mind boggling.
3. The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch
Probably the most anticipated book of the year by the SFF community, I found this book to be an utter delight to read. Lynch takes his series’s scope and pushes it to its breaking point in this one. I have a feeling these three books have just been a stepping stone for whats to come, and I might be dancing with joy. Or shaking.
2. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
I don’t know if it’s because I spent a month analyzing the book, or if both of the movies made me enjoy the thing that much more. Maybe it was some of the best prose in American literature. I’m not sure. Whatever the case may be, there’s a reason this is a classic, even if nothing happens for the whole book. I loved it.
1. Tomorrow the Killing by Daniel Polansky
No surprise here. Where She Who Waits was full of emotion and finality, Polansky’s second novel has a stronger narrative, more compelling characters and character arcs, with flashbacks that tipped it over the edge. This is my favorite of his three, and a book I’m going to have to reread multiple times over before it becomes stale. Polansky has prose that makes me delete mine. It’s amazing. This book’s amazing.
Okay, fanboying over. That’s it people. If you have any suggestions or rants, place them in the comments. I’m looking forward to a great year. Got some Rothfuss, Martin, and Flanagan lined up early next year. I think it’s going to be the best first quarter I’ve ever seen. Hope you enjoy them just as much as I do. Because you’re taking my suggestions to the store, right?
Anyway, Merry Christmas and have a Happy New Year! That’s the First Year of the Acerbic Awards.