Best of 2017: A Year in the Ruins

By the Numbers
This year I read 100 books (down a bit from last year), and abandoned 12 to the DNF pile (which is also down from last year). Among the books that I did not abandon, there were only 6 perfect 5-star reads this year (which, I am sad to say, is about half of last year's total).

At a quick glance, it looks like 42% were shelved as Fantasy and 35% as Horror (which is no great surprise), while a quick look back shows that 19% were written by women, 18% had some sort of LGBT content, and 10% were Canadian (which is pretty cool).

Most Popular Guests
We had the great pleasure of hosting a number different authors for guest posts or interviews this year, with the most read/visited being Gail Z. Martin and Julie Czerneda.

Gail has been a regular visitor the last few Halloweens, but she also makes a point of popping by and refreshing her posts throughout the year. Julie is something of an annual guest as well, and whether it's for her fantasy or her sci-fi, it's always a pleasure.

Most Popular Reviews
Going strictly by traffic to the Ruins, this year's most popular review was a pleasant surprise - Vampire of Blackpool by Catherine Green - followed very closely by a book I would have expected - Assassin's Fate by Robin Hobb.

Rounding out the top 5 were The Heart of What Was Lost by Tad Williams, The Last Sacrifice by James A. Moore, and Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames.

Surprisingly, these titles represent a mix of the good, the bad, and the abandoned.

The Best of 2017
Even with such a small class of stellar books, there are some familiar names amongst this year's 5-star reads, with Sebastien de Castell making it for the third year in a row, and Peter V. Brett and Robin Hobb making return appearances.

Perhaps even more exciting is the fact that 2 of this year's top 6 reads - John Everson and S. Nano - were review contributions to the new WTF Are You Reading blog, where you'll be seeing more of me in the new year. Finally, I strongly suspect we'll see Nicholas Eames become one of those familiar names!

  • The Core by Peter V. Brett was (by far) the greatest book of an already impressive saga.
  • Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames was the most pleasant surprise of the year, a fantastically fun read, from beginning to end
  • Tyrant's Throne by Sebastien de Castell  is about as close as epic fantasy gets to the legendary plateau of a truly perfect read.
  • Assassin's Fate by Robin Hobb was everything I could have asked of Robin Hobb, an entirely satisfying conclusion to the entire Realms of the Elderlings.
  • NightWhere by John Everson is a work of erotic horror that delivered on both fronts.
  • Mistress Of The Air by S. Nano was a brilliant combination of steampunk adventure, bondage erotica, and pulp humour.

What's Next for 2017
While I had a quiet December in the Ruins, I used that time to rekindle my love of reading with my WTF contributions, so I am feeling better about starting the new year.

I already have a handful of 2018 titles that I'm excited about, with Shroud of Eternity by Terry Goodkind and Fallen Gods by James A. Moore both releasing in January; The Armored Saint by Myke Cole hitting shelves in February; Blood of the Four by Christopher Golden & Tim Lebbon publishing in March; and the long-awaited King of Ashes by Raymond E. Feist finally arriving in May.

There are some other big titles coming out next year that I'm very excited about (look for my Most Anticipated post next week), but I am going to be selective, keep the pile under control, and only read what excites me.


  1. I've read very little at the end of this year and hope to be more productive next year! Have a good festive period!

    1. Same here - Nov/Dec were pretty much a dead period, but the break was what I needed.

  2. Kings of the Wyld and Tyrant's Throne are both fantastic.�� I sadly haven't found the time to read either The Core or the Hobb book yet.

  3. Agreed, Kings of the Wyld was exceptional!

    1. Easily the best surprise to show up on my doorstep.

  4. I'm trying to get back into reading more. And reading more fantasy. I stopped reading fantasy (epic and urban) years ago because its all so angsty/YA. I don't mind young protagonists, but all that negative introspection just bores me. I've had to give up on Terry Goodkind after reading Omen Machine and not even getting half way through The Last Kingdom. I think I'll attempt King of Ashes though. And perhaps check out Nicholas Eames.

    You were sure busy in 2017.

    1. If you're sick of angsty/YA, definitely check out Nicholas Eames. I can't recommend him highly enough - such a fun fantasy.

      I gave up on Goodkind for a while too, but this new trilogy opens up the world, does away with the Sword and prophecy, and drops Richard & Kahlan as the protagonists. It's back to the kind of storytelling he did in the first few books.

  5. Seems like a lot of us have been running out of steam toward the end of the year -- 2017's been something, alright. Hope you have a good holiday, if you celebrate!


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