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The Eloquent Page – 2014 in Review

Welcome to The Eloquent Page review of 2014. It’s been another barnstormer, genre fiction wise, in the last twelve months. I’ve managed seventy eight books and for the first time ever the site has had over two hundred thousand page views which equates to over fifty thousand unique visitors. That boggles my tiny mind.

But never mind all this statistical mayhem. Let’s cut to the chase. It’s time for my awards for the year. Random as ever, and judged by a panel of one, me.

The “They Did What?” Award – I’m a boring old sod at heart. I’m not massively interested in the vagaries of the book industry. I read what I like, and that’s about all there is to it. That said, even I’ll admit I was confounded and disappointed when I discovered that Angry Robot were discontinuing Strange Chemistry and Exhibit A. Both were brilliant imprints. Obviously, I appreciate there were probably entirely valid economic reasons why what happened happened, but personally I wish they were both still around. I read some cracking books from both imprints and I’m still disappointed that they are gone. One small silver lining is that Kim Curran’s final book in the Shifter trilogy, Delete, is getting published elsewhere. Good news, it deserves as wide an audience as possible.

The “Ahh, I Get It Now” Award – I know this is going to sound strange but sometimes I avoid an author’s work because I’m concerned that all the positive buzz can’t possibly live up to expectations. Eventually though, I can bear the suspense no longer, and I find myself taking a chance. In 2014 this happened twice. Firstly with No One Gets Out Alive by Adam Nevill, and then with The Wolves of London by Mark Morris. Nevill’s work is extremely dark and very often brutal. It’s utterly mesmerising, you want to look away but you can’t. Meanwhile, Mark Morris manages to deftly capture the darkness inherent in urban fantasy. Both books are immensely good and highly recommended.

The “It’s The End of The World And I Feel Fine” Award for Apocalyptic Fiction –  There have been some great apocalypses this year. Pandemic by Scott Sigler, A Necessary End by Sarah Pinborough & F.Paul Wilson, The Black Dawn by Joseph D’Lacey, Served by Gary Fry, and SALT by Colin F Barnes to name but a few. You should read them all, they’re great.  My favourite though, was Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel. I could wax lyrical about this book all day every day. To save time however I’ll keep it nice and short – Station Eleven is stunning.

The “I Have No Idea…” Award – Every year there are books that are so deliciously surreal you just have grab on and hope for dear life that you’ll make it through to the other side relatively unscathed. This year, David Cronenberg managed it with Consumed, Adam Roberts riffed on a classic tale of underwater conspiracy and a “fictional” rapping professor managed to melt my brain with his missives (at one point I was even compelled to write a letter to said fictional creation and request further assistance). Adam Roberts just edges it though, as he gets extra points for the sentient beard in Twenty Trillion Leagues Under the Sea.

The “One That Got Away” Award – Every year there are books that for a variety of reasons I just don’t finish. I don’t bother reviewing them because it strikes me as unfair to do so. This year a booked popped up that I was extremely keen to read but I have difficulty with the genre it is set in. I’m determined to give it a go as the premise intrigues and I have heard nothing but good things. Hopefully, at some point soon, Nunslinger by Stark Holborn will be on my reading list.

Debut of the Year – This was a really tough category. There was a plethora of cracking debut novels this year. The Relic Guild by Edward Cox, The Boy with the Porcelain Blade by Den Patrick, and The Copper Promise by Jen Williams were all brilliant. My personal favourite though was Banished by Liz de Jager. It’s a splendid debut that’s chock full of memorable characters, buckets of action and a fun plot.

The Eloquent Page Book of the Year Award – Ahh, finally we’ve reached the Big Kahuna, the Grand Fromage, the award that EVERYONE* has been waiting to hear about! I have read some truly exceptional fiction in 2014 and choosing one single favourite is always incredibly difficult, but after much debating, a little pondering, and a jolly good sleep I went with… The Electric by Andrew David Barker. Published by Boo Books, this supernatural tale blends the traditional ghost story with my never-ending love of celluloid. I adored every line. I can’t recommend it highly enough, just brilliantly entertaining and wonderfully written.

Honourable mentions, bear hugs and kudos to Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel and Red Rising by Pierce Brown who were a bloomin’ close joint second.

So there you have it, my rambling incoherent thoughts about the year 2014 and the books I read in it. A veritable smorgasbord of statistics and awards from The Eloquent Page! 2015 will soon be upon us and there are already a dozen books on my reading list, best get started then.

Before I go I must mention a few souls who help make The Eloquent Page what it is. Thanks as ever to @MadNad. She’s the one who ensures everything looks lovely, all I do is waffle and make words. I can guarantee that this rinky dink little website wouldn’t be nearly as eloquent without her.

Thanks as well to all the booky type people I’ve met, be they professional or enthusiastic amateurs like me. I love this community of people. I may not be the most vocal reviewer in the room but I have always felt included online or at events I’ve attended. It’s just about the best thing in the world I reckon.

And finally humble thanks to you, dear visitor. You’re all thoroughly smashing. Remember, if you ever spot me in the street you are entitled to one free hug.

Happy New Year and happy reading 🙂

*It’s just me, isn’t it?


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