Thursday, 31 December 2009

The ‘Big Fat End of the Year Post’ – 2009 Edition!

What’s big and fat and appears on the blog at the end of every year? You guessed it. Once more it’s time for me to wax lyrical about 2009 and all the reading that I’ve done... :o)

2009 has been perhaps the best year yet for the blog. Thanks to everyone for stopping by and checking out what’s going on (and that goes double for all the family members who I regularly coerce into multiple clicks on the site...)! Numbers and I don’t tend to get on so well so have a click on the ‘View My Stats’ link at the bottom of the page to get a better idea of what’s been going on over the course of the year.
As always, the plan for next year to give all you guys more of the same but better! An impending house move and a baby due in April are both going to do their level best to put a spanner in the works as far as that goes though. I don’t mind at all :o) Stick around and we’ll all find out what happens together!

Anyway, back to the books...

Despite certain ‘big hitters’ not delivering finished books (naming no names, we all know who they are...), 2009 was a great year for speculative fiction in my house! The year did have its fair share of stinkers as well but I’ve done my best to forget those. Have a click through the blog and see if you can find them...

Perfect reads were few and far between but they were well worth the read when I came across them! Joe Abercrombie’s ‘Best Served Cold' was the stand out fantasy read of the year for me (although there were a few others that could have been contenders which I never got round to...) It delivered on all fronts and just kept delivering, I’ll have more of the same next time round Mr Abercrombie!
I’m a big fan of Brian Keene’s work (so will admit to some bias) but this year he really stepped things up a gear and delivered his best work yet with 'Urban Gothic'. Compelling, scary as hell and a book that not only has plenty of gore but also contrives to rub your face right in the viscera. You won't catch me going into deserted houses now!
I’d never read Robert Holdstock’s ‘Mythago Wood’ and the release of ‘Avillion’ prompted me to go and give it a try. I’m glad I did, it was beautiful and fantasy fiction is very much the poorer for losing Holdstock so soon.

A few books just scraped the edges of brilliance but fell short for one reason or another. ‘The Sad Tale of the Brother’s Grossbart’ almost got there and so did 'Finch'. 'Cadian Blood' and 'Titanicus' did the Black Library proud and have got me looking forward to reading more by these two authors. Mike Carey’s 'The Naming of the Beasts' was his best outing yet for Felix Castor and promises great things for the next instalment.

As with other years, 2009 was about the books where I had no idea I would end up enjoying them so much. Jeremy de Quidt’s 'The Toymaker' was a surprise read that crept in at the end of the year (only a couple of weeks ago) and edged out S.A. Swann’s 'Wolfbreed' my surprise read of the year. Both were very good indeed.

Other notable 2009 reads for me (in no order whatsoever) were...

‘Lord of Silence’ – Mark Chadbourn (I can’t understand why more people aren’t talking about this book, it deserves all the praise it gets)

'Triumff' - Dan Abnett (an example of an author really enjoying telling his story)

'A Madness of Angels' - Kate Griffin (Urban Fantasy how it should be done, I’m looking forward to seeing more from Griffin)

Unseen Academicals - Terry Pratchett (the book that got me liking ‘Discworld’ again)

'Avilion' - Robert Holdstock (sits firmly in the shadow of ‘Mythago Wood’ but is excellent nevertheless)

'The Sword Edged Blonde' & 'Burn Me Deadly' - Alex Bledsoe (Raymond Chandler fantasy style. If you like either genre then you should check these out)

'Nights of Villjamur' - Mark Charan Newton (one of 2009’s most anticipated reads and for very good reason)

'The Cole Protocol' - Tobias Buckell (another example that there’s nothing wrong with tie-in fiction if it’s done well, it’s certainly done well here)

'501st' - Karen Traviss (Star Wars fiction at it's finest, what a shame that the final book has been cancelled)

'Death Troopers' - Joe Schreiber (Star Wars and Zombies, need I say more? Oh yeah, it’s scary too...)

'Blood Pact' - Dan Abnett (this man can’t keep out of my ‘Best of 2009’ post and it’s all well deserved)

'Burning Skies' - David J. Williams (Williams does everything that he did in ‘The Mirrored Heavens’ only this time his foot is firmly on the accelerator)

'Thicker than Water' - Mike Carey (only ‘The Naming of the Beasts’ stopped this one from featuring more prominently...)

As far as comic books go, 2009 was all about ‘The Goon’ but you knew that already... ;o)

That’s me for this year. See you all in 2010 when I do this all over again, but better! Have a good one tonight, whatever you're doing!


Bruce said...

Thanks mate - happy new year!

ediFanoB said...

I can tell you a baby changes a lot... My daughter turned 18 (years not months ;-) ) last month.

I started to blog as a contributor in May 2009. A great experience.

And like you I posted today a big fat end of the year post. My first one! Bona Fide: The End Is Nigh.

I like your end of the year post. I read Best Served Cold by Joe Abercrombie and understand why it is your book of the year. I chose a different one: Boneshaker by Cherie Priest.

Anyway thanks for a lot of good posts.
Good luck and all the best for 2010.

SQT said...

Oh boy, are you going to be busy with a new baby. Congrats!

I'm with ediFanoB, my favorite for the year was "Boneshaker." I've been wanting to get my hands on "Nights of Villjamur" but I'm so buried already. Might be a while before I get to it.

Anonymous said...

I've been lurking on your blog for a while, but just wanted to say that I really enjoy your reviews and am looking forward to reading more in 2010. You don't know how many books have ended up on my wish list and TBR pile because of your blog! My two favourite sff books this year are 'The Gardens of the Moon' and 'A Game of Thrones'.

Peta said...

Congratulations on the impending new baby! Perhaps that means that you can listen to audio books or read whilst you are trying to get him/her back to sleep during the night…

I do enjoy reading people’s annual picks - and seeing where they differ from my own! I’ve been on the brink of buying The Sword Edged Blonde a couple of times now and seeing that it made your list of notable mentions means I might just have to get around to that purchase!

Anonymous said...

First of all: Happy new year.
I just wanted to say that you're doing a fine job with the blog. Keep up the good work. If I could make one suggestion, though. Have you ever considered adding a review index? It would make a nice overview, handy to browse some of your older reviews.


Carl V. said...

Very fun list. So great to see Alex Bledsoe's books on their, I thought they were great fun. I haven't read The Goon for years, solely due to cutting back on what was a large comic pull list, but I really need to check the graphic novels out of the library, because the series was just great!

Graeme Flory said...

Carl - You need to make it a New Year's resolution to get back into 'The Goon'. I promise you, you're in for a treat ;o)

Hi Steven - Happy New Year to you too! As far as an index goes, check out the tags on the right hand side of the screen. They'll give you links to everything I've written on the blog ;o)

chasingbawa/peta - I'm glad to hear that the blog has added to your TBR piles. Happy Reading you guys! :o)

Thanks as well to everyone who mentioned the baby, 2010 is going to be crazy but I'm really looking forward to it!

Fig said...

Yay for the new baby! Best wishes. :-)