I was planning on writing this post for a few weeks then the Mad Hatter, Pornokitsch, the OF Blog, and a host of others beat me to it. Jerks. In any case, it’s the halfway mark for the year. I’ve read 49 genre novels so far this year. Included below are very brief and very early looks at my best/worst of lists for the year.
Best Novel of 2012:
- The Troupe by Robert Jackson Bennett (Review)
- Year Zero by Rob Reid
- Faith by John Love (Review)
- The Killing Moon by NK Jemisin (Review)
- The King’s Blood by Daniel Abraham (Review)
It should bear noticing that three of the novels are from Orbit, and the sixth would have been K.J. Parker’s Sharps, yet another Orbit title. With Joe Abercrombie and Jesse Bullington both due out with novels later this year from Orbit, it appears to be a banner year for Hachette’s genre imprint.
Faith, has been Night Shade’s best debut novel from 2012. It’s a shame it came out so early this year (January 3), as I worry it’ll be forgotten by many come year’s end. And while I haven’t reviewed Year Zero yet on the blog (next week), I’ve been raving about it since I finished it back in April. It’s the funniest book I’ve ever read, hands down.
Best Novel Not From 2012 (tie):
- Desert of Souls by Howard Andrew Jones (Review)
- Devices and Desires by K.J. Parker
My review of Desert of Souls speaks for itself, I think. As for the first book in Parker’s Engineer Trilogy, it’s amazing, as is nearly everything Parker writes. I don’t plan on reviewing it until I finish the whole trilogy, but I already recommend it with great vigor.
Worst Novel (tie):
- The Pillars of Hercules by David Constantine (Review)
- Seven Princes by John R. Fultz (Review)
Orbit makes an appearance here as well and I’ll never figure out how Seven Princes made it into the Orbit catalog. It doesn’t seem to fit with the editorial perspective of the rest of the novels they’ve released this year. Nevertheless, there it is, in all its pulpy deus ex machina Mary Sue glory.
Pillars of Hercules, is just a jumbled mess. As I stated last week, Night Shade occasionally suffers from subpar “creative” editing. I think Constantine’s novel might be the best example. The novel has a fascinating conceit, and Constantine seems a capable writer writer, but the whole novel is a confusing ping pong match of switching PoVs and unexplained occurrences. Total face plant as far as I’m concerned.
Be sure to check back in December for my Juice Box Awards
where I’ll recognize the Best Novel of 2012, the Best Debut of 2012, and a host of others.