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The Eloquent Page 2012 Review

Another year is nearly done, and if this post has been published then it appears that those Mayan types were wrong (or we’re now living on borrowed time. I can’t decide which).

2012 has been a busy year here at The Eloquent Page. I’ve read over one hundred books and managed to attend three conventions.  So, without any further ado here is my annual post covering my highlights of the year.

Book of the Month (January to December)

Jan – Hell Train by Christopher Fowler

Feb – Cyber Circus by Kim Lakin Smith

Mar – Redlaw by James Lovegrove

Apr – Alchemists of Souls by Anne Lyle

May – Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig

June – Empire State by Adam Christopher

July – Bitter Seeds by Ian Tregillis

Aug – Blood and Feathers by Lou Morgan

Sept – Great North Road by Peter F Hamilton

Oct –  Coldbrook by Tim Lebbon

Nov – Blood Fugue by Jospeh D’Lacey

Dec – Blood Oath by Christopher Farnsworth

And now for a few specific categories of my own devising.*

Best Ongoing Series – Department 19 by Will Hill – The second novel in this series ,The Rising, was released this year and it’s great.  Brilliant characters, excellent plot and just the right amount of horror and mayhem for my tastes. The finale of this book was particularly insane, I can respect that. Put it this way I’m already excited about the prospect of book three, Battle Lines.

Debut of the YearEcko Rising by Danie Ware – This story caught me totally by surprise. Nothing could have prepared me for its genre-bending brilliance. I was entirely caught up in the narrative of this novel and was delighted to here that there will be more to come. Danie Ware’s characterisation is just great.

Young Adult Novel of the Year – I’ve mentioned before that I’m not a fan of the term ‘young adult’ but I have to say that the fiction that is being published under this banner is, in my experience, pretty damn excellent. This was a really tricky one to call. I have been privileged to read some truly remarkable YA fiction in 2012. After much umming, aahhhing and then a short nap to collect my thoughts I finally decided to go with Shift by Kim Curran. Why? Memorable characters, great pace and oodles of potential. I would dearly love to see this as a television or movie adaptation. It could be spectacular.

Character of the Year – In The Red Knight by K T Davies there is a character called Lady Iris Berwick. She reminds me of someone very close to my heart (just to clarify, I mean you @MadNad). I don’t think there could possibly be a better reason than that to award her the title. Another great debut novel from another wonderful writer.

Publisher of the YearAnachron Press have gone from strength to strength in the last twelve months. In the last year I’ve read fantasy, horror, crime and science fiction from Anachron and in every case I’ve been impressed. Great to see a small press producing quality output in multiple genres. You need to be checking out their back catalogue now!

Cover(s) of the YearBlackbirds by Chuck Wendig is a truly remarkable book and it seems only apt that it should have a remarkable cover. The artwork by @JoeyHiFi perfectly captures the nature of the main character as well as the overall tone of the novel. Striking and truly memorable. Talented so-and-so followed it up with another beautiful design on the second book in the series, Mockingbird,  as well. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. Angry Robot sure know how to give good cover.

 

Zombie Novel of the Year – I do love me some of those un-dead shufflers (in a platonic way obviously, anything else would be just icky). Juggernaut by Adam Baker is a perfect example of the zombie novel executed flawlessly. Creepy, action packed and darker than a black cat with its eyes shut at midnight.

Short Fiction of the Year – Over the last couple of years book reviewing has reignited my passion for fiction in the short form.  The Language of Dying by Sarah Pinborough is haunting, evocative and beautifully poignant. It’s a timeless story that explores the nature of love and loss. I’ve always thought that effectively conveying emotion, particularly sadness, in writing is the most difficult of tasks. Sarah Pinborough manages to make it look deceptively easy in this tale. My advice is find it and read it. You’ll not be disappointed.

Book of the YearReady Player One by Ernest Cline – This is just superb. I grew up in the 1980s, and all the pop culture references made my inner geek squeal with delight. I’d love to see this on the big screen (probably impossible mind you, but I’d love to see someone try).

*The criteria for eligibility is just as simple as it was last year – the book have to have been released before or during 2012, and I have to have reviewed them in the last twelve months. To clarify, I’ve already read some novels that won’t be published until 2013 but I’m going to discount them as they aren’t available yet.

To round things off, a few thanks are most definitely in order:

Firstly to all the authors, publishers, editors and book bloggers who continue to make this so much fun. Everyone I’ve had the pleasure to meet face to face, or via the technological marvel that is the internet, has always been spectacularly generous with their time. I may not always say it (I’m a little bit shy) but I do always appreciate it.

To @MadNad – I don’t tell her often enough (yes, I know I should) but she is the love of my life. Just being in the same room as her makes me happy. She also does have the epic web skillz (that’s how the kids say it isn’t it?)

And finally, thanks to you, the people that read The Eloquent Page. If it weren’t for you lot an introverted, weird looking Scotsman would have spent the last couple of years muttering to himself in a corner about all the great books he’s read. Instead, I get to mutter to you. It’s a privilege and I love it. THANK YOU!

I’m off for a Xmas break but I’ll be back in 2013 for more nonsense. Have a safe and happy festive season. Be nice to everyone and do yourself a favour – go read a book 🙂

 

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