Now, 2014 is almost over, and 2015 is peeking around the corner. And, according to Goodreads, I’ve read 88 books this year. From historical fiction to epic fantasy, nail-biting horror to heartwarming debuts, I’ve been lucky enough to have a go at pretty much everything in the last twelve months. It’s so hard to pick just a few books, so I’ve compiled a list of the highlights.
Best SFF: Peter V Brett & Brandon Sanderson
After seeing Peter V Brett at Grim Gathering in August without having read his books, I made a mental note to pick them up, and I am so glad I did. His books are simply fantastic, a fantasy series of epic proportions, The Demon Cycle series is full of magic, disaster, and suspense. I, along with many other fans, am eagerly awaiting the next in the series.
I also discovered Brandon Sanderson this year, thanks to receiving review copies of Steelheart and Mitosis. I’m looking forward to devouring more of his work next year.
Best Debut: The Quick by Lauren Owen
Set in Victorian London, this dark debut grabbed my attention from the first page. Owen is clearly a very talented young writer, and her passion shines through the pages. My edition is also beautiful, which is another point in its favour. Thrilling, mysterious, fantastical… everything I like in a novel.
Best Discovery: Cat’s Eye by Margaret Atwood
After being blown away by The Handmaid’s Tale earlier in the year, I picked up Cat’s Eye at a car boot sale a few months ago. Full of Atwood’s usual flair and excellent writing.
Best Reread: The Crimson Petal and the White by Michel Faber
I haven’t had much time for rereads this year, but I did manage to grab this astounding novel off the shelf again. I’ve read it several times, and loved it more every time. A highly original, dark historical fiction set in Victorian London, The Crimson Petal and the White is an absolute must-read.
Best Historical Fiction: Karen Maitland
I discovered Karen Maitland this year, after a friend attended one of her book signings. I devoured Company of Liars in just a few sittings, and loved The Gallow’s Curse just as much. I intend on reading the rest of her books in the near future.
Author of the Year: Joe Hill
I received a copy of Horns to warm me up for the release ofNOS4R2. Having never heard of Joe Hill, and not knowing whose son he was, I was pleasantly surprised by his brilliantly wicked writing style. I adored Horns. It’s completely unlike anything I’ve ever read, and, although the film adaptation wasn’t fantastic, Daniel Radcliffe was still amazing. NOS4R2 was just as fantastic. I laughed at the synopsis of Heart-Shaped Box, but it was creepy as hell, and, again, expertly written. I enjoyed his work so much, I’ve given his books to three people as gifts this year. So, my author of the year has got to be Joe Hill.
The theme of this year seems to have been winter. Since I readBurial Rites by Hannah Kent in the summer, I’ve adored delving into the snowy landscapes of Canada, Sweden and Finland. I received an advance reading copy of Wolf Winter by Cecilia Ekbäck, which is due to be published early next year, and absolutely adored it.
A Place Called Winter, largely set in the newly colonised Canadian prairies, is full of heart-breaking journeys, intricate characters, and harsh landscapes. The reader will travel through Winter too, as you embark on an emotional discovery of immense proportions.
Finally, I’ve recently been reading Forty Days Without Shadow by Olivier Truc. Set in Swedish Lapland, this book is original, remarkable, and awe-inspiring.
Best Film Adaptation: Mockingjay (Part 1), Before I Go To Sleep & Gone Girl
Many of my favourite books have been adapted to screen this year. I love seeing the characters and storyline come to life, but they don’t always get it right. 2014 was a great year for adaptations. I read Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson a few years ago, and was stunned by the dark, original writing. The film, starring Nicole Kidman, Colin Firth and Mark Strong, was just as stunning.
Gillian Flynn is one of my favourite authors. Her psychological thrillers are steeped in suspense, and the film, with Rosamund Pike and Ben Affleck, was a fantastic adaptation of Gone Girl.
Finally, Mockingjay (Part 1) was a brilliant addition to the series. I really enjoyed the books, written by Suzanne Collins, and Jennifer Lawrence was, as usual, absolutely amazing.
Book of 2015: Wolf Winter by Cecilia Ekbäck
An intriguing, beautiful tale, full of mystery and magic,Wolf Winteris my must-have book of 2015. A Place Called Winter by Patrick Gale is a very close second. I’m also looking forward to The Mime Order by Samantha Shannon, and Firefight by Brandon Sanderson.
I’m sure there will be many more books to come next year, and I for one am very much looking forward to them.