2012 Reading Roundup, Part 2

/ Books /

It was fun looking back at how I rated the books that I read in 2012, but I thought it would also be fun to break it down a little more so here are the winners and runners up of some standard (and not-so-standard) categories that I’ve chosen.

Most Entertaining

  1. Hounded by Kevin Hearne (paperback)
  2. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (audio)
  3. Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay (audio)

Most Thought Provoking

  1. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut (Kindle)
  2. Hyperion by Dan Simmons (paperback)
  3. Doomsday Book by Connie Willis (paperback)

Biggest Surprise

  1. Hounded by Kevin Hearne (paperback)

I actually read this simply because I won a copy and I was pleasantly surprised to find out that it was actually a lot of fun.

Biggest Letdown

  1. Throne of the Crescent Moon by Saladin Ahmed (audio)
  2. Bitter Seeds by Ian Tregillis (audio)

I heard so many good things about Throne of the Crescent Moon, but I really just didn’t like it very well. I found the plot t0 be overly simplistic and the characters unlikable. I also really did not care for the narrator so perhaps that was part of the problem.

I also heard a lot of praise for Bitter Seeds, but I wasn’t overly impressed. It was okay, but not as good as I was expecting. Again, I didn’t think the narration was as good as many of the other audio books that I’ve listened to so that may have contributed.

Biggest “Did I miss something?”

  1. Geekomancy by Michael R. Underwood (Kindle)

I picked this up because so many people compared it to Ready Player One, which I loved, but, for me, it just wasn’t on the same level. I’m still trying to figure out what everyone was raving about.

Best Narration

  1. Roy Dotrice performing A Clash of Kings
  2. Lenny Henry performing Anansi Boys
  3. Simon Vance performing Tigana

I would also like to give some credit to James Marsters, the narrator of the Dresden Files. Truthfully, he is not a perfect narrator, but I can’t imagine anyone capturing the essence of Harry Dresden as well as he has.

Best Magic System

  1. Legion by Brandon Sanderson (audio novella)
  2. Storm Front by Jim Butcher (audio) (re-read)
  3. Shadow’s Edge by Brent Weeks (paperback)

Best Plot

  1. Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson (audio)
  2. Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay (audio)
  3. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (audio)

Sometimes a novel’s plot is really good because it twists and turns or because it’s complex and rich, but, sometimes, a simple plot is just right. I thought all three of these stories worked really well, but I think a lot of the novels that I read in 2012 had interesting plots, which made this a difficult choice. I also considered both of the Gentlemen Bastards novels, both of the Song of Ice and Fire novels that I read, and Nine Princes of Amber.

Best Characters

  1. The Lions of al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay (trade paperback)
  2. Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay (audio)
  3. A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin (audio)

Simply put, GGK writes great characters. I also considered the Dresden Files novels, but I only re-read the first three and some of the best supporting characters have barely made appearances up to that point.

Best Writing

  1. Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay (audio)
  2. The Lions of al-Rassan by Guy Gavriel Kay (trade paperback)
  3. A Clash of Kings by George R.R. Martin (audio)

I’ll also give an honorable mention to The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon, which wasn’t my favorite read, but was definitely well written.

Best Novel

  1. Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay (audio)
  2. Snow Crash by Neal Stephenson (audio)
  3. Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (audio)

Although this was a very difficult decision, I think these are the novels that I would pick and in that order. They each had great stories and characters, and they were all very well written. Overall, I think I’ll say Tigana was the best because it had amazing characters and was exceptionally well written. I picked Snow Crash because it had an excellent plot, a perfect blend of intrigue and action, and I picked Ready Player One because it was ridiculously entertaining.

These are three very different novels, but they were all highly enjoyable and I would recommend them to anyone. I would also like to mention that, were I to pick a fourth, it would definitely have been A Clash of Kings, which I also found to be exceptional.