Hugo Nominations: Best Novel

/ Books /

I just finished reading N.K. Jemison’s The Fifth Season and that’s the last book published in 2015 that I’ll finish before Hugo nominations are due at the end of the month. In the end, I started 10 eligible novels, but only finished 9 of them. Here’s the list:

 

  1. Firefight by Brandon Sanderson
  2. The Autumn Republic by Brian McClellan
  3. Nemesis Games by James S.A. Corey
  4. The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu
  5. The Fold by Peter Clines
  6. Providence of Fire by Brian Staveley
  7. Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson
  8. Golden Son by Pierce Brown
  9. The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemison
  10. The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard (did not finish)

There are several novels that I really wanted to read (particularly V.E. Schwab’s A Darker Shade of Magic and Fran Wilde’s Updraft) that I didn’t get to and I have to wonder if any of them would have made my nomination ballot. I actually think it’s a distinct possibility since I rated only two novels at five stars from this list: Golden Son by Pierce Brown and The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemison.

I will obviously nominate those two novels, because I thought they were both excellent (for entirely different reasons), but the real challenge will be selecting the other three. Let’s see if I can narrow this down…

…I’m ruling out The House of Shattered Wings because I didn’t like it well enough to finish.

…I think I will eliminate both of the Sanderson novels, even though he is most certainly one of my favorite authors. I just didn’t think Firefight or Shadows of Self were among Sanderson’s finest works, or even as good as the first in each of their respective series for that matter.

…I think I’m going to rule out Providence of Fire, because, despite what I’m seeing from a lot of other folks, I don’t think this series is really doing anything new and, in fact, I find to be completely laden with RPG-inspired tropes. It was still a decent read, but I don’t think I liked it well enough to put it on my ballot.

… I think I’m also going to knock out The Fold, which I thought was amazingly fun through about the first two thirds and then it turned a weird direction and it kind of lost me. Again, I still liked the novel, but I think I’m going to leave it off.

 

That means that The Grace of KingsThe Autumn Republic, and Nemesis Games are the only three left and I think they are all worthy of a Hugo nomination. So my ballot of best novel will be (in order of date read):

  1. The Autumn Republic by Brian McClellan
  2. Nemesis Games by James S.A. Corey
  3. The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu
  4. Golden Son by Pierce Brown
  5. The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemison

And I think I’m pretty happy with that.