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BFB Moderators Best of 2014

By / December 28, 2014 / no comments

Laurentius’s List

Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson
My favourite of 2014. WoR, like Way of Kings, is a huge monster of a book. I loved it nearly as much as I did Way of Kings. The continuation of the story of Kaladin Stormblessed is almost as good as the WoK. I have never been a big fan of Shallan, and Brandon convinced me. I am looking very much forward to the continuation of this epic.

Half a King by Joe Abercrombie
Joe Abercrombie delivers a great adventure. One of the best YA books I have ever read. The struggles of Yarvi are real. Born a weakling, vowed to avenge his father’s killers. It’s a mix of coming of age, and Joe Abercrombie’s telltale grimdark style. I liked it a lot, and am eagerly awaiting Half the World, book 2 in this trilogy.

Sworn in Steel by Douglas Hulick
Douglas Hulick is one of my favourite authors, though he has only released two books in his Tales of the Kin series. A tale of thieves and conmen, Sworn in Steel neatly picks up where Among Thieves ended. Many of the questions I wanted answered, I discovered in Sworn in Steel. And as always, a lot of new questions arise. It is a great and imaginative series, which I wholeheartedly recommend for fans of the thief, conman, sneak, pickpocket or fencing enthusiasts out there.

 

While being one of the most popular books of 2014. WoR has its detractors. Many feel that his characters are stale and/or carbon copies of what has been.

Fool’s Assassin by Robin Hobb
I was holding my breath from January until August for this one. I am probably not the only one who loves her Fitz and Fool stories. I loved this one as well. It was heartrending and as usual, left me wanting more. They are not back in their usual shape, but it was a welcome gathering with old and beloved friends. I am looking forward to the continuation of this story in 2015.

Magicians Land by Lev Grossman
The final chapter in the adventures of Quintin Coldwater and Fillory. One of the most underrated series in modern fantasy. It reads as a modern fairytale combined with a coming of age story. I was pleasantly surprised by the ending to the trilogy and will recommend it as Harry Potter for adults.

The Broken Eye by Brent Weeks
The newest installment in the Lightbringer series. Features an exciting magic system, a few good characters and lots and lots of Luxin slinging action. At this point in time, the story is set up for two huge books to end the series. Many storylines are about to converge in this actionpacked series.

Sneaky Burrito’s List

Unwept by Tracy and Laura Hickman
This is not the sort of book I expected from them (there are no swords or magical creatures; it’s not a traditional fantasy at all), but I actually think it had an interesting concept and they did a great job of building suspense/fear/an uneasy sort of atmosphere for the heroine. I’m really interested to see where they take it from here.

Skin Game by Jim Butcher
I have a different perspective on Dresden Files because I read all the available books in a 2-3 month period over the summer. I liked them enough to do that, for one, and this is sort of a stand-in for the whole series (though it’s not my favorite book in the series). I did like the revelations at the end quite a bit, almost makes me want to go back and read it again and see if I can pick up some clues that I missed the first time around.

Full Fathom Five by Max Gladstone
While this is not quite as good as the previous two books in the series, I still think the worldbuilding in the Craft Sequence is innovative. Gladstone manages to make business contracts interesting, and I think the mystery aspects of this book was well-integrated. The protagonist was also an unusual choice but entirely sympathetic.

The Waking Engine by David Edison
Some parts of this were a little over-the-top, but I thought the concept (that when you die, you wake up in the same body in another world) was executed well. The biological/machine interactions came across as strange in the text, but I think this was the point — it was supposed to be alien and/or to represent a different way of thinking, and it did (while managing to maintain an internal logic at the same time).

The Shotgun Arcana by R.S. Belcher
This is another one where I liked the first book better, but I find the setting refreshing and different (Old West, with elements of mythologies and theologies ranging from Chinese to Mormon to Native American and everything between). I hesitate to call it steampunk, though the mad scientist character is an interesting mix of brilliant and creepy. So many weird things happen in Golgotha (the town that’s the setting) that you wonder why anyone stays there — and then you remember that pretty much everyone is fleeing from something and kind of just ended up there without a lot of other options.

Danica’s List

Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson
I was in awe when I finished this book. It totally cemented my fandom of Sanderson. It was totally jammed pack and personally I didn’t think it suffered from the sequel syndrome. I don’t even know where to begin with the strengths because it has so many, The world building and characters sucked me in the most. I loved the development of the main characters (Shallan, Kaladin and Dalinar) but to be honest it was Shallan, along with Rock and Lopen from Bridge Four that made this book so enjoyable. I gave it a 4.85/5 because I hated that Kaladin was so whinny in the middle.

Half a King by Joe Abercrombie
Having just read Half a World I ma having trouble remembering how to separate the two books so I am going to find my forum post. Wow, I had no idea I liked it this much. I found my post from the forum when I finished reading it. “Read Half a King in 4 hours last night. LOVED EVERY SINGLE BIT OF IT. easily my fav read of 2014, even better than Dresden. I have to share this, I laughed when I saw it. It is a line from page 5 “I lack the wisdom. He meant he lacked the courage, but he lacked the courage to admit it.” HAHA classic Abercrombie, that and the killer line at the end of the first chapter that made me think FUCK this is guy GOOD.”

Key point here, I said I liked it even more than Skin Games, which is pretty high praise from me.

Skin Game by Jim Butcher
Yep typical Butcher, writes some of my biggest pet peeves constantly (sexist and too much whinging because he ‘doesn’t want people to get hurt’) and gets away with it every time. This is one of the best Dresden books so far. Butcher is hinting at the overall storyline and really developing Dresden into a character that is going to last the long term. He does this by keeping the fast pace, almost insurmountable odds but adding the element of future planning through the relationship development between the secondary characters. I doubt there will be a Bests of list in the next few years without a Dresden book on it.

My notable mentions go to Hobb for best characterisation but I just didn’t like the way it was false advertising, she called it Fool’s Assassin but it wasn’t even about that! American Craftsman by Tom Doyle was a great new Military Fantasy release and I think he is someone to look out for.

 

Most Disappointing Books of 2014


All Those Vanished Engines
by Paul Park (Sneaky Burrito)
I think it’s actually supposed to be sci fi but there are steampunk elements in the early part.  Paul Park is apparently critically acclaimed but I found the latter 2/3 of the book incredibly self-indulgent and meandering.  And then suddenly the book ended in a completely unexpected way and I’m, like, what just happened?  I don’t think I would even have understood what the ending was supposed to represent if not for the blurb on the publicity material.


Tower Lord by Anthony Ryan (Laurentius)
Huge disappointment. Many small things that made no sense when compared to Blood Song, and a few huge, that should have been left. Tower Lord stands pale in comparison to Blood Song. To me, Tower Lord felt very rushed and after Blood Song, I had expected this to be one of my favorite series. I will definitely read the next instalment, but I hope it can do better.
The Broken Eye by Brent Weeks (Danica)
Why must you disappoint me Weeks!! Too much slow moving plot and pointless information and not enough of the butt kicking action we have come to except. I’m not that mad though, I know Weeks won’t let me down again.

 

About the author

Ben

Blog editor, admin and founder of BestFantasyBooks.comYou'll find me on the BestFantasyBook forums and spending my spare time reading fantasy books and writing lists for this site. In fact, I have no spare time -- running this site IS my spare time!

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