30 December, 2012

Only the Best (of the Year) - Top 10 New Releases of 2012

One day I'll lighten up on the use of parentheses, but that day is not today!

The following are my top 10 New Releases of 2012. This may not be the first during this season of list-posting, so be prepared for at least one more list displaying my top reads regardless of publishing year. Which, to be honest, is really just another way to cheat and add more books to lists. Don't blame me, I can't tell you enough how good of a reading year I've had. This is not really a bad problem here.

Top 10 of 2012:
10. Shadow's Master (Shadow Saga #3) by Jon Sprunk (review) [interview]

Keeping up the same action-packed pace as the rest of the trilogy, Shadow's Master is an excellent conclusion to a great series. While things wrap up nicely (for the most part), it didn't feel like such a perfect wrap-up, more like a transition to the next stage and I really liked that.
9. Echoes of the Past (Demon Squad #4) by Tim Marquitz (review)

If you're ready for a different kind of urban fantasy, this is just for you. If you're ready for action-packed fun and your jokes are often accused of being perfect for a junior high kid, this series is perfect. The Demon Squad series is my favorite urban fantasy series for good reason and Echoes of the Past is a worthy installment.
8. The Wind Through the Keyhole (Dark Tower #4.5) by Stephen King (review)

As someone who considers Wizard and Glass one of his all-time favorite books (inside and outside of the Dark Tower universe), I love me a good flashback. Not everyone does and I'll even admit that I thought this book would be a tale of the Ka-tet, not another flashback within a flashback. I'd still recommend this to fans of the Dark Tower and even non-readers alike.
7. This Dark Earth by John Hornor Jacobs (review)

All in all, if you're going to read a zombie book, you should read This Dark Earth. Once you start, you won't be able to put it down anyway, so start now.
6. The Tainted City (Shattered Sigil #2) by Courtney Schafer (review) [interview]

One of the best reads this year as well as last, Courtney Schafer has delivered again. Not only with engaging characters and compelling plot, but with something new and diverse that I can't wait to come back to in The Labyrinth of Flame, book three in The Shattered Sigil Trilogy. 
5. King of Thorns (Broken Empire #2) by Mark Lawrence (review)

Lawrence has created a series that challenges your perceptions and manages to be compulsively readable. The Broken Empire trilogy is an experience to say the least. I couldn't put it down and that's partly because I couldn't look away. King of Thorns takes the anti-hero to a whole new level, one who gives Logan Ninefingers of Joe Abercrombie's First Law trilogy a run for his money.
4. Shadow Ops: Control Point (Shadow Ops #1) by Myke Cole (review)

Myke Cole is an author to watch and Shadow Ops: Control Point is possibly the best debut of the year [it was very close]. I know it's early yet, but I couldn't put this book down and that goes a long way for me.
3. Kings of the Morning (Macht #3) by Paul Kearney (review)

Paul Kearney has created a  history that is epic in every sense of the word and this trilogy is military fantasy at its best. It's so easy to get sucked in, this series was made for multiple readings and the stories are just as thrilling as those of the 300 Spartans at the Hot Gate. You come to see people doing the impossible and that's what you get.
2. Red Country by Joe Abercrombie (review)

Some people may be put off by a bit of a slow start, but once you reach the halfway point you will have a decidedly difficult time putting the book down. This was a great reminder that I need to read more Abercrombie and soon. Red Country manages not only to be a stellar fantasy, but ranks with the best of the western genre as well. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid eat your heart out.
1. The Troupe by Robert Jackson Bennett (review)

Bennett not only writes about magic, but his writing itself is imbued with magic and a bit of humor and even a little darkness. To be mentioned in the same breathe as Neil Gaiman would be no stretch of the imagination. The Troupe may just be the best book of 2012. [and it was!] 

Best Anthology:
Fading Light: An Anthology of the Monstrous, Edited by Tim Marquitz (review)

If you're looking for a great Halloween read, it would be hard to find better. If you're looking for an excellent anthology in general, you've found it. Fading Light is easily one of the best anthologies I've ever read, second only to Songs of the Dying Earth.
Honorable Mention:
The Hollow City by Dan Wells (review)
Scourge of the Betrayer (Bloodsounder's Arc #1) by Jeff Salyards (review)

EDIT: I don't know why I didn't link my reviews to these Honorable Mentions, so here they are.


redhead said...

that sound you hear? That is the sound of my "books I want to read" list exploding. I"ve only read like 2 of the books on your list, and they all look excellent!

I so loved Robert Jackson Bennett's The Troupe. I need to go back and edit my best of list to put his book on it. Cranal-rectal inversion that it got left off.

Bob/Sally said...

Interesting - I liked The Wind Through the Keyhole, but actually would have preferred if King had just gone with the dark fairy-tale at its core, instead of the nested flashbacks of our ka-tet.

Shadow Ops: Control Point was a DNF for me. I wanted to like it, and even gave it a second chance, but nothing about it grabbed me.

Scourge of the Betrayer was an honourable mention for me as well. While it didn't make my best-of list, there was enough promise/potential there that I'm really excited to see what he can do with a second book.

Bryce L. said...

@redhead - Haha! Did you know, I love the sound of TBR's exploding. :D I saw that you enjoyed The Troupe as well from one of Sarah's comments, so I definitely know you're good people (as if I didn't know so before). :)

@Bob - I thought so too with TWTtK, but I really did enjoy the core whereas the rest was very flat for me.

I've actually heard the same about Control Point from a few people today. It really worked for me. I think we're in the same boat with Scourge. I'm sure the next installment will jump into a Best of list, but this was very close.

Carl V. Anderson said...

Nice list! I bought the first of Sprunk's books and was sent the third by the publisher and have yet to read them. I've been more motivated after the recent Star Wars posts on his site that had me all geeked out.

I've seen the Cole and Lawrence books on several lists this year.

Schaefer is another author I really want to get to at some point.

Thanks for sharing your list, and keep using parentheses (I'm a fan)

ediFanoB said...

Book taste differs :-)

I read in 80 books in 2012 and exactly one of them is on your list: KING OF THORNS by Mark Lawrence

Beside that I own a copy of THE TAINTED CITY by Courtney Schafer.

Bryce L. said...

@Carl - Sprunk's great, his first was actually one of my very first review copies. And the rest you mentioned are great too, I guess that's why they're on the list though right? :) I'm glad you're a fan although I have to hold myself back sometimes with a couple revisions, not everything needs a Jim Gaffigan aside.

@edi - It's quite a thing, but that's why it's great to have people like you to follow, so I don't just read what everyone else reads