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The Eloquent Page Review of 2013

Gosh, has it really already been twelve months since we all survived the Mayan apocalypse? It’s amazing how quickly we all forgot about that isn’t it? All those giant beasties, strange lights in the sky and everything. Crazy times, eh? Never mind, I’m sure there will another rapture-like event arriving imminently. While we’re waiting, why not pull up a chair and we can talk a bit about some of the top genre books that have arrived in the last year.

I’ve decided, as I’ve done in the past, to hold an impromptu little awards ceremony. As ever the categories and winners are decided on by a crack team of intelligent, well-educated genre experts me.

Here they are then, in no specific order, without any further rigmarole/needless waffle.

Welcome Return of the Year Award – The Republic of Thieves delivered exactly the experience I was hoping for. I found myself getting happier and happier with each passing chapter. Just wonderful to have Locke Lamora, Jean Tannen and the other Gentlemen Bastards back. Great to see Scott Lynch’s return and to confirm he is still delivering exquisitely crafted fantasy.

Character of the Year – Ack-Ack Macaque – This was a no brainer. C’mon people, he’s a cigar smoking, smart-mouthed simian who flies a Spitfire. I found his literary charms impossible to resist. His next adventure is due shortly and they’ll be another book after that. I can hardly wait*

They Just Keep Getting Better Award – This category was designed for all those authors enjoying the delight that is that 2nd tricky novel. Oh man, was this one ever a difficult choice. Probably the hardest fought category (in my head anyway). After much consideration, soul searching, examination of animal entrails and casting of runes, I managed to create a short list and then just couldn’t get any further. There really was nothing in it. I couldn’t choose dammit! They are all so bloomin’ good… So the joint winners are –

The “Crime, History and Their Glorious Coming Together” Award – Turns out this is a thing. Historical crime fiction is still a relatively new concept to me and I have to say all that I have read so far has been great. Obviously when I say great, I mean that in the grimy historic sense of the word. The winner? Lawless and The Devil of Euston Square. Why? Any book that gives me the opportunity to write the word “discombobulate” in a review is worthy of every reader’s attention.

The “You Could Beat Someone To Death With That” Award – From the Fatherland with Love by Ryu Murakami is a wonderfully surreal, thoughtful alt-history novel that took my breath away. It is also the size of a small house. Seriously, it’s frickin HUGE. Honestly it’s ENORMOUS.

Wait, There Is Non-Fiction Too? Award – I actually read and reviewed some non-fiction in 2013. My favourite without question was Adventures with the Wife in Space by Neil Perryman. My advice, if you’re going to read non-fiction then make sure it’s about a geeky subject. A wonderful chronicle of one man’s obsession with Dr Who.

So Many Books Published In One Year She Gets Her Own Category Award – How does one spell prolific? It appears in 2013 the answer is P.I.N.B.O.R.O.U.G.H. Five books in one year! Five! Even better, they’re all bloody good. Whether it’s adult fairy tales, historical crime or dark fantasy/horror, Sarah Pinborough consistently delivers first rate fiction.

I Need The Next Book In This Series Now Damn You! Award – Ecko Rising by Danie Ware was good. Ecko Burning, its sequel, is excellent. I need more and I need it now…please *whimpers*.

The “This Is Bonkers. I Think I Like It” Award – Ask anyone who knows me and they’ll tell you I have a high tolerance for the delightfully silly. The world needs as much nonsense as we can chuck at it in my opinion. This year I read a book that managed to be odd, action packed and on many occasions laugh out loud funny. Theatre of the Gods by Matt Suddain is utterly splendid. It also comes a close second in the You Could Beat Someone to Death With That award category. Tis a mighty tome.

This Is The End Award – The Eighth Court by Mike Shevdon was the last book in the Court’s of the Feyre series. I’ve been hooked ever since I started reading page one of book one. I’m sorry that it ever had to end but this final book was a perfect swansong. I look forward to reading whatever Mr Shevdon writes next.

So there you have it. Ten randomly generated awards gouged from my brain and splattered effortlessly across the Inter-tubes for your delectation and delight. I wonder what fictional delights 2014 will hold? I’m not entirely sure yet, but based on the picture below things are going to get off to a flying start.

2014 Books

The Eloquent Page is pretty much a one man band, I read and reviewed 90% of the books featured of the site this year myself, but there are a select few whose assistance is utterly invaluable.

Mr Sam Strong – Occasionally when I can pin him down, and he’s not off climbing on things, he writes the odd review. His input is always appreciated, hell sometimes I even follow his advice.

You’s All Out There – Someone sent me a message earlier this year telling me that they bought a book based solely on the strength of my review. That was a rather wonderful moment. I love reading and sharing my thoughts about it. Given half the chance I’d do it all day, every day. Thanks for stopping by. It really does mean a lot to me.

Nadine “Mutherfudger” Holmes – There aren’t enough words to adequately express how important my better half is to me and, by extension, The Eloquent Page. She’s my editor-in-chief and somehow manages to cobble together all my random thoughts into something resembling coherent sentences. I would be utterly pointless without her.

I hope everyone has a fantastic festive season. The Eloquent Page will return in the New Year. In the meantime in words of the esteemed prophets Bill S. Preston Esq. and Ted Theodore Logan “Be excellent to each other…and PARTY ON DUDES!”

I have been asked to point out that this award was not presented under any form of duress. At no point did a full grown Macaque monkey hold I gun to my head and demand I choose him…honest. 

Closed for Christmas

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