Yes, 2012 is nearly over, which means it’s time to round up my favourite books for the year. I could have called this the best books of 2012, but that would be unfair because what I like is not necessarily what other people like. Therefore, I will be counting down my favourite books, completely ignoring reading level. A good book is a good book in my eyes, whether it was written for tweens, teenagers or adults. However, for convenience I will be classifying them by genre. So what were my favourite books this year? Read on!
I’ve read a lot of historical fiction this year, but The Song of Troy was my absolute favourite. It had all the grandeur of the original myth, but the characters were brought to life in a way I had never seen before. They had realistic motivations and we got to see the points of view of pretty much all of the main players, which was a real treat. There was no magic, no gods, only a plausible historical scenario in Colleen McCullough’s masterpiece, which makes it even more impressive. I can’t praise it enough.
I’m calling Feed speculative fiction because it takes place in the future, although it could easily be classified as horror. So nitpick if you like, but I’m calling it speculative. As I said in my review it’s more of a political thriller with zombies than a zombie novel with politics, but it still presented a terrifyingly real zombie scenario. Feed takes place in a world were zombies are the new normal and people have learned to deal with the constant threat of them, but there’s a huge conspiracy brewing behind the scenes that reaches up to the highest levels of government. The characters are memorable, the science of Kellis-Amberlee is explained so that even I could understand it and the plot had so many twists and turns it was unpredictable.
I have read an enormous amount of fantasy this year that I puzzled over this choice for days. So eventually I settled on the two that had the best characters, plots and premises but also made me invest emotionally in the stories. Both Kushiel’s Dart and Wilde’s Fire made me very emotional at parts and I actually cared about the characters. These two are the kind of books you just cannot put down; you have to keep reading to find out what’s next. Both had incredible fantasy worlds, sympathetic female characters and fast-paced, carefully thought-out plots. That’s why I’m rewarding both of them with a tie.
How good was Old Man’s War? Well, it is one of only two books to be so hilarious that I laughed until I cried. It is also one that was stuck in my head for days afterward as I contemplated the subtle themes in it. I have read a decent amount of science fiction this year, more than I normally would, but John Scalzi’s debut novel takes the cake. The characters are amazing, the worlds John Perry visits are fantastic, there’s plenty of technology to wow you and John Scalzi’s writing style is pared down, but still gives off that old-time grand science fiction feel. If you could only read one book in a year, this would be the book to read.
Son of the Mob would make a great romantic comedy movie and I’m saying this as someone who loathes romantic comedy. It’s laugh-out-loud funny but the romance between Vince and Kendra is very sweet. This is the kind of book you can laugh out loud at and get weird stares from the people around you for laughing out loud at a book. Trust me, I would know. But for a book like this, the weird looks are worth it.
So these are my absolute favourite books of 2012, but what I want to know is: what are your favourite books this year? Do you have one favourite or many? Did you discover a new author or series you liked?