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The Eloquent Page – 2011 in Review

2011 has been another great year for books. First off a few stats – I have managed to read eighty-two novels which works out at over six and a half books a month. After a swift and very rough calculation that works out at approximately 6,150000 words. Some were bad, some were good and some were even great. I thought it would be nice to round off this festive season with a little bit of review.

Firstly, my books of the month January – December 2011. There is a mixture of new releases and others that have been around for a while. Each and every one was a genuine pleasure to read, and I recommend them all heartily.

Jan  – Point by Thomas Blackthorne

FebVegas Knights by Matt Forbeck

MarThe Heroes by Joe Abercrombie

AprVampire Warlords by Andy Remic & Serial Killers Inc by Andy Remic I dont feel too bad about a tie here as both books are by the same author (prolific sod that he is)

MayMiss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

Jun – The Watchers by Jon Steele

JulTourniquet by Kim Lakin-Smith

AugOutpost by Adam Baker

Sep – The End Specialist by Drew Magary

OctThe Butterfly Man & Other Stories by Paul Kane

NovCity of Hell Chronicles Volume One edited by Colin F Barnes

DecTheatre of Curious Acts by Cate Gardner

It is nice to see so many debut authors on the list. I promised myself I would attempt to break from reading so many established writers in 2011, and I think I did a pretty good job. On the negative side, I am a bit disappointed that there is very little science fiction on the list but I don’t get sent a lot so hardly a massive surprise I suppose. Fantasy and Horror seem to be a fairly even split. Next year I think more sci-fi is required. If you happen to be a sci-fi author, or publisher, then please do get in touch.

Now for a few specific categories of my own devising:

Character of the Year – All of the characters in The Concrete Grove by Gary McMahon are marvelously realized, but none more so than Francis Boater. McMahon has a flair for writing characters that come alive while you read. It’s a pleasure to see a villain who shows genuine remorse for his actions, and who evolves in front of your eyes as the story progresses.

Scene of the Year – The final couple of pages at the end of Deadline by Mira Grant. This was without a doubt the WTF! moment of they year. I can say no more than that. Divulging anymore would spoil a rather splendid surprise.

Best Ongoing Series – Pax Britannia – A new Ulysses Quicksilver adventure is always a cause for delight. Full of pulpy steampunk wonder, the series continues to go from strength to strength. This year saw Pax Britannia become an episodic eBook serial with the publication of Time’s Arrow by Jonathan Green. If you are nervous about dipping your toe in the waters of steampunk, take it from me there is no better place to start than here. Pax Britannia is always accessible, and always enjoyable.

Publisher of the Year – This was the toughest category to decide on. I flip flopped on my decision multiple times over the last twelve months. After much umming and ahhhing on my part I’m going to have to go with Angry Robot Books. If you look at the list by month you’ll see that they have the most entries and I just love everything of theirs that I’ve read. If that wasn’t enough, they have started an ebook subscription service and have also announced a new imprint that will launch in 2012, Strange Chemistry.

I would remiss however if I did not give a nod to Abaddon Books and Anarchy Books who come an extremely close joint second (As an aside I believe there may be some sort of weird correlation between excellent publishers and the letter ‘A ‘. I just haven’t quite figured it out yet). All three of these publishers are worthy of your attention as they continually innovate, push ublishing boundaries and consistently produce work of the highest calibre.

While I’m talking about publishers I’d also like to take a moment to draw your attention to some fantastic small press publishers out there. I’ve already mentioned Anarchy Books but Anachron Press and Spectral Press (Spectral win a special prize for bucking the trend and not starting with the letter A) are also producing some great output. Certainly well worthwhile seeking out their work.

Debut of the Year – Though I really enjoyed Miss Peregrine, I was totally blown away by The Office of Lost and Found by Vincent Holland-Keen. It is a real mind bender. The ever so slightly bonkers writing and wordsmithery really struck a chord with me. I am always pleased when an author produces something that is not only entertaining, but thought provoking. I freely admit that days after finishing it I was still pondering the story. A great debut and I look forward to reading more of this author’s work.

The Eloquent Page has continued to grow during 2011 and I’d liked to thank each any every one of you who has dropped by. I read because I love it and I review because there is a brilliant community of like-minded people out there in the Interweb-is-phere who encourage me to follow my own little creative spark. I’m never going to be a writer, I don’t have the skill to be honest, but I will always support good genre fiction whenever I possibly can.

Finally, there are a select handful who require very special thanks. Consider them Team Page if you will.

– @MrSamStrong for the occasional review and the ongoing, most likely never ending, conversation about all things book related.

– @IuchiAtesoro is my evil twin/brother from another mother. (Seriously people, it is weird how much we have in common.)

 – Lastly and most importantly of all @MadNad. My better half, web mistress extraordinaire and my editor in chief. Without her The Eloquent Page would merely be The Page. She has my heart, always.

I’m off to enjoy my Christmas holidays, I suspect there may well be some reading involved. My preview of 2012 will appear at some point over the next couple of weeks and normal service will be resumed in early January.

Until then, have a safe and happy festive season.

See you all in 2012!

Paul (@PabloCheesecake) Holmes

@TheEloquentPage

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