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Books of the Year – 2010 Edition

I’m very lucky in that I have had the chance to read some excellent novels in the past twelve months. I also took the plunge and launched The Eloquent Page back in July so I thought that now we are creeping towards the end of 2010 I would take the opportunity to reveal my literary highlights of the year. Not all of the books listed below were published in 2010 but I read them this year so as far as I’m concerned that meets my flimsy attempt at criteria. The books that I have reviewed on the site contain links back to the original reviews.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larrson – Brutal, daring and utterly gripping. Some of the subject matter is harrowing but once the story gets going you will be completely hooked. A superior thriller that establishes a hard as nails heroine in Lisbeth Salander. Well worth checking out the original Swedish language film as well.

The Road to Bedlam by Mike Shevdon – I purchased Mike Shevdon’s debut novel Sixty One Nails on a whim and was totally captivated by the story. The sequel continues developing the tale of Niall and Blackbird. This novel contains a scene that maybe the standout of the year for me.  The moments described at the memorial service are beautifully executed. The scene is handled with a very delicate touch and brought a lump to my throat.

All You Need is Kill by Hiroshi Sakurakzaka – I had never heard about this novel before a friend dropped a copy of my desk and stated confidently ‘You need to read this”. He wasn’t wrong. Best described as a sci-fi version of Groundhog Day. This was an unexpected gem. Young adult science fiction that packs a real punch.

The Passage by Justin Cronin – It’s been a long time since I have enjoyed a novel more. The Passage reminds me of both The Stand and Swan Song in equal measure. I love apocalyptic literature and this didn’t disappoint. Hopefully the sequel won’t be the literary equivalent of ‘the difficult second album’. I have high hopes for The Twelve.

Feed by Mira Grant – Zombies, blogging and politics. It turns out that this eclectic mix is a match made in heaven. The dialogue in this novel reminded me of The West Wing and I was impressed throughout.  The sequel will be very high up my to-read list for next year.

The Enemy by Charlie Higson – Before I started reading The Enemy I didn’t think it possible to write a young adult zombie novel. The Enemy proved me wrong. One of the highlights of my first themed month on the site. Smart, well written and a great advert for young adult fiction.

Zombie Apocalypse! by Stephen Jones– I’ve never been a fan of short stories but on a whim, I liked the cover, I picked this up at FantasyCon 2010. This turned out to be an excellent choice. This book has single handedly renewed my faith in anthologies.

Ancestor by Scott Sigler – It’s not often I will pre-order a novel. I tend to wait for some early reviews before I decide to take the plunge. Not so with Scott Sigler. I knew I would be in for a treat and I wasn’t wrong. The Dark Overlord delivers another fantastic rollercoaster ride in a tale of genetic experimentation gone awry.

The Sword of Albion by Mark Chadbourn – Everyone has to have a favourite author and for me it’s Mark Chadbourn. In his latest novel he does for swashbuckling action what he did for contemporary urban fantasy in the Age of Misrule. Mr Chadbourn is always consistently readable and I promise the next book he writes I will review for the site. Sneaky so and so managed to publish this just before The Eloquent Page was launched.

Patient Zero by Jonathan Maberry – I was very impressed by the first Joe Ledger novel I read. Jonathan Maberry has gone to great lengths to construct a tight, face paced thriller that uses zombies as biological weapons. The science behind the story is very well researched and the plausibility adds extra layers to the novel.

So there you have it. Some of my literary highlights for me in 2010. Who knows what 2011 will bring? More books I hope.

The very best of the season to you all and may all your presents be readable.

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