Well, it's just about that time again . . . time to be inundated with obligatory end-of-year lists. :)
For my year-end wrap, I thought I'd take a few moments to talk about both the best and the worst books to grace my shelves (digital and physical) over the course of 2012. While the introduction of a baby boy into the household and the death of my e-reader did conspire to curtain my reading a little bit this year, I still managed to consume my fair share of pages.
The Corpse-Rat King by Lee Battersby was my one-and-only 5 star review of the year. You can find my full review here, but I can sum it up by saying I have never found so much sheer enjoyment in a novel, right from the narrative itself, to the character building, to the story line. Ask my wife, and she'll only be too glad to tell you about the odd glances and weird looks she bestowed upon me as I laughed aloud throughout the tale.
Magic: An Anthology of the Esoteric and Arcane, edited by Jonathan Oliver, was the strongest short story collection I read all year. Again you can check out my review here, but all you really need to know is that it was creative, original, and even inspired, with a solid mix of stories and styles. Gail Z. Martin's Button was worth the price of admission alone, but Sarah Lotz, Thana Niveau, and Gemma Files were definite standouts.
Under the heading of pleasant surprises, you can put The Duchess of the Shallows by Neil McGarry & Daniel Ravipinto and The Scar by Sergey & Marina Dyachenko. You can check out the reviews here and here if you're interested as to why. I really didn't expect much out of either, one being a small-press release and the other a foreign translation, but both ended up being 4 star reads.
Strangely, I didn't read a lot of pure horror this year, but Spook House by Michael West was the best of the batch for me. Check out all my Micheal West reviews here and stock your shelves!
Despite a few flaws, Amped by Daniel H. Wilson was probably the strongest science fiction novel I read all year. You can read the review here. I still have yet to give Robopocalypse a read, so I can't make the comparisons others have done, but it's on the shelf.
Alternate steampunk histories were all the rage again this year, with The Constantine Affliction by T. Aaron Payton and The Janus Affair by Philippa Ballantine & Tee Morris coming out on top for me. Both were just good, solid, well-told reads that will keep me coming back for subsequent volumes. On top of that, my review of the latter was my first to be selected as featured review on Edelweiss, which is immensely satisfying.
While it fell shy of being one of my favourite reads of the year, Scourge of the Betrayer secured Jeff Salyards a spot as the author I'm most curious to watch in 2013. The book didn't work for me on all levels (check out my review here), but there was so much promise there, so many glimpses of the talent beneath, I am looking forward to the follow-up.
Biggest disappointment? Without a doubt, The Long Earth by Terry Pratchett & Stephen Baxter. The waste of their talent was only equalled by the waste of my time. You can get right to the point and check out the review here. The only reason it beats out The Omen Machine is that I don't expect much from Terry Goodkind at this point (despite this original trilogy being one of my all-time favourites), so relegating it to the DNF pile was almost a foregone conclusion.
What about you? What were your best/worst reads of 2012? Is there a ground-breaking, earth-shattering volume I need to catch up with in 2013? Armed with my new Kobo Glo (thanks to a wife who understands reading cannot wait for Christmas), I am ready to get caught up on that towering TBR pile . . . and open to the possibility of adding to it.