In my last post, I listed some of my favorite Young Adult titles of 2011. Continuing the series, I now turn my attention to some of my favorite Science Fiction and Fantasy titles of the year.
Kicking things off is Ernest Cline's Ready Player One, which might just be my favorite book of 2011. It's the perfect book for anyone who grew up hanging out in video arcades and watching John Hughes movies. It's funny and nostalgic and... let's face it, you knew from the title whether or not this book was for you.
The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss was a long time coming, but so very worth the wait. I loved The Name of the Wind (and am now on my third copy, because apparently everyone I loan it to loves it as well) and waited very, very impatiently for this sequel. I kept telling myself that I'd rather Rothfuss got it right than that I got it right now, and dreaded being disappointed after waiting — quite literally — years. If you have yet to read The Name of the Wind, please go do so now and then dive straight in to The Wise Man's Fear. Then you can join the rest of us as we anxiously await the third and final volume, whenever it may come.
The third volume of Cherie Priest's Clockwork Century series, Ganymede, is my hands-down favorite so far, mostly because I loved Josephine Early. Priest has always had strong women at the center of this series, but there was something about Josephine that made her shine just a little bit brighter for me. This volume, like the two that came before it, was full of action and adventure and a great supporting cast. Also, airships and zombies, which are always awesome.
Among Others by Jo Walton has some fantasy elements, but is, at heart, about books and the love of reading. With every chapter, I was reminded of an old favorite or found a new title to be added to my To Be Read list. This is a brilliant and beautiful novel that should be read by anyone who understands that books have the power to change lives.
John Scalzi's Fuzzy Nation is a re-imagining of H. Beam Piper's Little Fuzzy and it beat out China Mieville's Embassytown on this list by a mere whisker simply because it is an easier book to recommend to a wider range of readers. Fuzzy Nation is smart and funny and full of interesting characters and, like every book on this list, I just really enjoyed the bejeezus out of it.
I'm trying to keep these lists short, but I have a few honorable mentions, in addition to the Mieville mentioned above: The Dragon's Path by Daniel Abraham, Leviathan Wakes by James S.A. Corey, Endurance by Jay Lake, and The Magician King by Lev Grossman.
I don't know how critics do this every year. It's not easy to pick a few favorites when you read hundreds of books in a year and want to say something about nearly every single one. Eventually I'll get around to Romance. I promise. But, it may take a few weeks.
÷ ÷ ÷
Billie Bloebaum is a bona fide romance reader and would be reading romance novels even if she weren't reviewing them. She is also a new convert to eBooks, thanks to the writers of the blog Smart Bitches, Trashy Books, who kindly loaned her a Sony Reader. However, since Billie has a deep and abiding love for the traditional book, she attempts to review books that are available in both formats.
Books mentioned in this post