Monday, 10 December 2012

Tsana's Best of 2012 Reads

Inevitably, I find myself looking back on the many (more than 100!) books I've read in 2012 and thinking about which books stood out the most for me. I have been keeping track of my favourite (5 star) reads in the sidebar, but there are ways for books to stand out (in a positive way) without me awarding them 5 stars.

So I have devised a few psudo award titles to convey my most memorable and recommended reads of 2012. Note that the award titles don't necessarily convey why I think the book is worthy of mention; that's what reviews are for. In no particular order, sixteen memorable books or series that I read in 2012:

Most Psychologically Disturbing Book
Slights by Kaaron Warren - I still think about it in the context of slighting people/being slighted and bits of soul ending up in the slightee's death room.

Book Which Reminded Me Most of High School
Shift by Em Bailey - And by reminded me of high school I mean in the sense of manipulative and mentally ill friends. In case you missed it, I was enthusiastic enough when I read Shift to also interview the author: link.

Series With Best Non-standard YA Love Triangle
The Trylle Trilogy: Switched, Torn, Ascend by Amanda Hocking - spoiler: she doesn't choose the first boy that comes along AND she has a sensible reaction to being watched in her sleep.

Book With The Coldest Setting
Winter Be My Shield by Jo Spurrier - I learnt what snow blindness actually is from reading this book.

Funniest Book
Captain Vorpatril's Alliance by Lois McMaster Bujold - It sort of surprised me that Pratchett wasn't really a contender for this one, but I suppose he has been getting darker and less laugh-out-loud funny in recent times. (Although The Unadulterated Cat was hilarious, it was less memorable than the Bujold.)

Best Book/Series Written By A Man
The Mistborn Trilogy: The Final Empire/Mistborn, The Well of Ascension, Hero of Ages by Brandon Sanderson - I admit there wasn't a huge amount of competition, but Duncan Lay's Bridge of Swords was a very close contender.

Best Book Set In Melbourne
The Price of Fame by RC Daniells - Other contenders were Black Glass by Meg Mundell (which I didn't enjoy as much) and Shift by Em Bailey which had some scenes in Melbourne but has already got an award. Spare Parts by Sally Rogers-Davidson is also set in Melbourne, but a less recognisable one. The Price of Fame definitely paints the most intricate picture of my home city, however.

Best Series of Collections by Australian Women
The Twelve Planets from Twelfth Planet Press - So far I've reviewed Nightsiders by Sue Isles, Bad Power by Deborah Biancotti, Thief of Lives by Lucy Sussex, Showtime by Narrelle M Harris, and Cracklescape by Margo Lanagan.

Best Concluding Volume To A Fantasy Trilogy
Reign of Beasts by Tansy Rayner Roberts - the whole series was great, but I read the first two pre-blog.

Best Book Containing Pirates
The Assassin's Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke - And a teenage girl who was actually keen to learn maths so she could properly navigate her (future) ship. I can't wait to read book two in 2013.

Best Fantasy Book In a Modern Urban Setting
Zoo City by Lauren Beukes - I was tempted to call it Best Book Set In South Africa, but that felt a bit  like cheating.

Best Book Containing Aliens
And All The Stars by Andrea K Höst - and teenagers with sensible plans. I think this is also my favourite YA book overall for 2012.

Author Who Tortures Their Characters Most
Rowena Cory Daniells - I set this one to author because I couldn't decide between The King's Man and The Outcast Chronicles: Besieged, Exile, Sanctuary. The former has very compressed suffering, but the latter has so many more pages in which to visit misfortune upon all the characters.

Favourite Collection of Russian-flavoured Short Stories
Moscow But Dreaming by Ekaterina Sedia - also contains several non-western fairy tale type stories.

Most Surprisingly Science Fictional Book In The Classic "What If" Tradition
What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang - It was definitely still a YA dystopia, but it impressed me with it's exploration of the premise. See review for more details.

Best Series Featuring Angels
The Infernal Devices: Clockwork Angel, The Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare - Something I discovered this year was that angel books bother me. I thought it was just Fallen by Lauren Kate (read pre-blog) which I didn't like, but I didn't enjoy Rebecca Lim's books either. I think what makes me like Cassandra Clare's books is that she treats angels as just another magical creature (along with demons, warlocks, faeries, vampires, werewolves...) rather than making them overly divine. I eagerly await the conclusion to the series.


But wait, there's more! Sort of. Watch this space, because I have yet to do my concluding round-ups for the Australian Women Writers Challenge, in particular for the science fiction component (10 SF books by AWW) which I'm just finishing off now.

So stay tuned!

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