What’s big and fat and appears on the blog at the end of every year? You guessed it. Once more it’s time for me to wax lyrical about 2009 and all the reading that I’ve done... :o)
2009 has been perhaps the best year yet for the blog. Thanks to everyone for stopping by and checking out what’s going on (and that goes double for all the family members who I regularly coerce into multiple clicks on the site...)! Numbers and I don’t tend to get on so well so have a click on the ‘View My Stats’ link at the bottom of the page to get a better idea of what’s been going on over the course of the year.
As always, the plan for next year to give all you guys more of the same but better! An impending house move and a baby due in April are both going to do their level best to put a spanner in the works as far as that goes though. I don’t mind at all :o) Stick around and we’ll all find out what happens together!
Anyway, back to the books...
Despite certain ‘big hitters’ not delivering finished books (naming no names, we all know who they are...), 2009 was a great year for speculative fiction in my house! The year did have its fair share of stinkers as well but I’ve done my best to forget those. Have a click through the blog and see if you can find them...
Perfect reads were few and far between but they were well worth the read when I came across them! Joe Abercrombie’s ‘Best Served Cold' was the stand out fantasy read of the year for me (although there were a few others that could have been contenders which I never got round to...) It delivered on all fronts and just kept delivering, I’ll have more of the same next time round Mr Abercrombie!
I’m a big fan of Brian Keene’s work (so will admit to some bias) but this year he really stepped things up a gear and delivered his best work yet with 'Urban Gothic'. Compelling, scary as hell and a book that not only has plenty of gore but also contrives to rub your face right in the viscera. You won't catch me going into deserted houses now!
I’d never read Robert Holdstock’s ‘Mythago Wood’ and the release of ‘Avillion’ prompted me to go and give it a try. I’m glad I did, it was beautiful and fantasy fiction is very much the poorer for losing Holdstock so soon.
A few books just scraped the edges of brilliance but fell short for one reason or another. ‘The Sad Tale of the Brother’s Grossbart’ almost got there and so did 'Finch'. 'Cadian Blood' and 'Titanicus' did the Black Library proud and have got me looking forward to reading more by these two authors. Mike Carey’s 'The Naming of the Beasts' was his best outing yet for Felix Castor and promises great things for the next instalment.
As with other years, 2009 was about the books where I had no idea I would end up enjoying them so much. Jeremy de Quidt’s 'The Toymaker' was a surprise read that crept in at the end of the year (only a couple of weeks ago) and edged out S.A. Swann’s 'Wolfbreed' my surprise read of the year. Both were very good indeed.
Other notable 2009 reads for me (in no order whatsoever) were...
‘Lord of Silence’ – Mark Chadbourn (I can’t understand why more people aren’t talking about this book, it deserves all the praise it gets)
'Triumff' - Dan Abnett (an example of an author really enjoying telling his story)
'A Madness of Angels' - Kate Griffin (Urban Fantasy how it should be done, I’m looking forward to seeing more from Griffin)
Unseen Academicals - Terry Pratchett (the book that got me liking ‘Discworld’ again)
'Avilion' - Robert Holdstock (sits firmly in the shadow of ‘Mythago Wood’ but is excellent nevertheless)
'The Sword Edged Blonde' & 'Burn Me Deadly' - Alex Bledsoe (Raymond Chandler fantasy style. If you like either genre then you should check these out)
'Nights of Villjamur' - Mark Charan Newton (one of 2009’s most anticipated reads and for very good reason)
'The Cole Protocol' - Tobias Buckell (another example that there’s nothing wrong with tie-in fiction if it’s done well, it’s certainly done well here)
'501st' - Karen Traviss (Star Wars fiction at it's finest, what a shame that the final book has been cancelled)
'Death Troopers' - Joe Schreiber (Star Wars and Zombies, need I say more? Oh yeah, it’s scary too...)
'Blood Pact' - Dan Abnett (this man can’t keep out of my ‘Best of 2009’ post and it’s all well deserved)
'Burning Skies' - David J. Williams (Williams does everything that he did in ‘The Mirrored Heavens’ only this time his foot is firmly on the accelerator)
'Thicker than Water' - Mike Carey (only ‘The Naming of the Beasts’ stopped this one from featuring more prominently...)
As far as comic books go, 2009 was all about ‘The Goon’ but you knew that already... ;o)
That’s me for this year. See you all in 2010 when I do this all over again, but better! Have a good one tonight, whatever you're doing!