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The Eloquent Page Awards 2015

Another year draws to a close, and I find myself in the midst of the little book vacation I always give myself. A couple of weeks off means I can come back to the blog refreshed and reinvigorated for the coming year. It also gives me the opportunity to reflect upon what I’ve read over the past twelve months. Now, it’s time for the annual Eloquent Page awards.

The rules are as arbitrary as ever. I make up the categories myself and the only real requirement are that the winners are taken from within the books I’ve read this last year.

I’ve tried to reduce the number of books I read in a year; I’m aiming for one a week. In the past the blog has taken over my life a little, but in 2015 I came pretty close to my target. The grand total was 60 books.

So without further ado on to the awards themselves.

The They Will Be Missed Award – Sadly, all good things to an end. The biggest disappointment for me in 2015 was that way back in January, the final book in the Ack Ack Macaque series, Macaque Attack by Gareth Powell arrived. *Sniffle* 2016 just wont be the same without a new book featuring my favourite gun-totting simian fighter pilot *Sniffle* If you haven’t read this trilogy, you should be correcting this gross oversight right now. You can thank me later.

The Book Is About What? Award – I love it when a premise for a book comes along and I am bowled over by its weirdness. In 2015, there was an anthology that did exactly that. Sharkpunk, edited by Jonathan Green, is a collection of stories featuring everyone’s favourite apex predators, sharks. Weird, wonderful and hugely entertaining. It is an absolute blast.

The Fantastical Fantasy Award of Shininess – I really, really enjoyed A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab. You can’t beat multiple universes, all with their own magical version of London. Following characters who can move between the different realms and their adventures was great fun. Roll on the sequel.

The Ones That Got Away Award – I guess this happens to the everyone. There are always a few books that, for a variety of reasons, I don’t get to the end of. Generally, this means that these books aren’t to my taste. I don’t do negative reviews (life is way too short) so they go on the Did Not Finish list. This year there are three entries – SNUFF by Victor Pelevin, Underground by S L Grey, Welcome to the Night Vale by Joseph Frink & Jeffrey Cranor.

The Everybody Needs to be Reading These Books Due To Their Mind-Bending Brilliance Award – Sometimes making a decision regarding one of my awards is a complete no brainer. I know I was late to the party with this series, but Europe in Autumn and Europe at Midnight by Dave Hutchinson are both spectacularly good. Everybody needs to be reading these books. Smart, entertaining and just a little bit brilliant. I believe Mr Hutchinson needs to be congratulated and feared in equal measure.

The Big Old Debut of 2015 Award – After much thought, some pondering and then a brief nap I made my decision. My debut novel of the year is …The Vagrant by Peter Newman. This was a brilliant fantasy. Horrific mutant demon type by-blows, a mute enigmatic sword wielding warrior and a goat that appears to be far more clued up than anyone else. I ask you, what’s not to love? I can’t wait for more.  Honourable mentions in this category include Hero Born by Andy Livingstone, and The Machinery by Gerrard Cowan. Two great debuts from authors I’ll be looking out for in the future.

Of Sequels, Threequels And On-going Series Award – This was a toughie.  So many good on-going series from some great authors popped up this year. The Boy Who Wept Blood by Den Patrick was great. The Iron Ghost by Jen Williams was thrilling. Day Four by Sarah Lotz delivered on the promise shown in The Three. The Way of Sorrows by Jon Steele was a splendid conclusion to the Angelus trilogy. The second book of the Obsidian Heart series, The Society of Blood by Mark Morris is utterly brilliant.  Like I said, so many choices. After MUCH deliberation I decided that The Cathedral of Known Things by Edward Cox just piped the others. The Relic Guild was a cracker and this sequel did a perfect job of continuing that trend. Well played Mr Cox, well played.

Not My Normal Wheelhouse Award – I don’t read much non-fiction at all. I certainly don’t review any (I don’t think I could do it anything close to justice). That said, there is an exception to every rule and in this instance it is Reasons To Stay Alive by Matt Haig. This is a remarkable, insightful book that I urge you ALL to read.

The Bloody Marvellous Horror AwardLost Girl by Adam Nevill was some pretty damned awe inspiring dark fiction, but The Silence by Tim Lebbon my personal favourite this year. I loved the premise, I loved the characters and I didn’t want it to end. Maybe one day if I’m really lucky, I’ll see both of these wonderful books make the jump to the small screen. That would be brilliant.

And finally, the one that I’m sure you’ve all been waiting for…

The Eloquent Page Book of the Year Award A Man Lies Dreaming by Lavie Tidhar was a dark and utterly engrossing book within a book. The two narrative strands are woven seamlessly together to create a riveting alternate history as an author uses the only power he has left, his writing, to eviscerate a dictator in his fiction. I love fiction that doesn’t just challenge the reader’s pre-conceived notions it blows them right out of the water. This book does all that and then some. If you haven’t already had the opportunity to pick this up I strongly suggest you do so.

So that’s it, my ten random awards for 2015.

It just remains for me to thank a few people.

  • Thanks to all the publicists and publishers who have been in touch. I am one lucky chap. People send me books and I get to read them, how awesome is that?
  • Thanks to the other book reviewers out there in the ether. Though I might not be the most vocal or demonstrative book reviewer in the world but our little community means the world to me.
  • Eternal love and thanks to @MadNad, I would be lost without her. She has my heart always.

Finally, thanks to you, dear reader. The Eloquent Page will return in 2016 (I’ve already got my first dozen reads sorted!) Have a Happy and prosperous New Year.

 

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