I am taking part in this event, hosted by the bloggers at Fiktshun, A Life Bound By Books, Confessions of a Bookaholic, Two Chicks on Books and Magical Urban Fantasy Reads. Visit any of these links to see all the other bloggers taking part.
Trying to get this list down to only ten was very difficult, so I have cheated a little bit by counting a few series as single titles. Here they are, in no particular order:
A Song of Ice and Fire Series by George R.R. Martin is a long, long read, but very well worth it: it may even have replaced The Lord of the Rings as my favorite fantasy. It is driven by the wonderfully flawed and realistic characters who capture your heart and carry you with them as the try to survive in this grim world. Of course, special mention must go to The Mighty Tyrion, who is possibly my favorite character ever! You can read my reviews of the first four titles: A Game Thrones A Clash of Kings A Storm of Swords A Feast for Crows
The Mistborn Trilogy by Brandon Sanderson was a very pleasant surprise for me as I had never read his work before. I am now a firm convert to his writing and will be devouring all I can find over the next year. A big "Thank you!" to Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings for running the Read Along that introduced me to this series and author. You can read my reviews for the titles: The Final Empire The Well of Ascension The Hero of Ages
The Gentleman Bastard Series by Scott Lynch. These will always have a special place in my heart because book one was my very first Read Along, led by the wonderful Redhead at the Little Red Reviewer. Locke is a wonderful character: devious, cunning and almost totally amoral and yet staunchly protective of his friends and a fierce rescuer of kittens. You can read my reviews of the titles: The Lies of Locke Lamora Red Seas Under Red Skies
The Simon’s Cat Quadrilogy by Simon Tofield are not really proper books, but they are hilarious, especially if you have ever been owned by a cat!
World War Z by Max Brooks was a reread for me this year, but I enjoyed it just as much the second time around. It is a very novel approach to the typical zombie title, being more of a social commentary than a horror story. The forthcoming film looks like it barely has any connection to the book, which is hardly surprising, because this is not your typical gore fest.
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman was yet another great Read Along from Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings who was responsible for introducing me to Mr Gaiman's work with Neverwhere earlier in the year. This is a young adult title, but it is suitably dark and threatening, as one would expect from Mr Gaiman. The inversion of typical tropes combined with excellent writing and the basic outline of a fairy tale make this a wonderful read for all ages.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins was a winning choice for my book group, and we were all swept away by Katniss and her struggle for survival. I could have done without the romance element, but it did make sense in the plot. The death of Rue remains one of the more poignant moments of my reading year.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor was another book group selection that was a real winner. The central character, Karou, was very endearing and not as 'too stupid to live' as so many heroines. The writing is wonderfully evocative and the humor helps to lighten the tone. Zuzana is the best best friend that I have read for a long time.
Range of Ghosts by Elizabeth Bear was an ARC that I received from Kristen at Fantasy Cafe that totally blew me away. This possibly the most impressive fantasy that I have read for many a year. It is set in a world that seems very Earth-like, but becomes less so as the book progresses and more details are revealed.
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley was yet another book group choice, and I was very pleased at how Mr Bradley handled the setting in England. The heroine, Flavia, is probably my favorite new character this year, especially because she reminds me so much of myself at that age!
I would also like to mention the other strong contenders: