A few weeks ago, each Tor.com reviewer was asked to put together a list of our three favorite books of the past year. After long hemming and hawing (I get a bit obsessive when I’m put on the spot and forced to make selections like these), I picked these three (okay, four) novels. Oh, and a few honorable mentions. Sticking with just three books is really hard.
Anyway, if you’re looking to spend some of that book gift card money burning holes in your pockets, these aren’t bad places to start! (You can find the original article, including the excellent selections made by my Tor.com colleagues, here.)
1. Sharps by K. J. Parker. This is one of those novels that’ll draw you in with its breezy, light tone and sparkling dialogue, making it impossible to put down—until you suddenly realize that the stakes are much higher than initially expected, because much of the action takes place off-screen and most of the characters don’t fully realize what’s really going on. Sharps is a flawless piece of storytelling. Here’s my full review.
2. The Killing Moon and The Shadowed Sun by N.K. Jemisin. These two connected novels blew me away with their complex, morally ambiguous characters, their truly unique world-building and (for want of a better word) magic system, and their complex, sweeping plots. This is some of the deepest, most innovative fantasy I’ve read in years. My full review of the two novels can be found here and here.
3. 2312 by Kim Stanley Robinson. Robinson returns to large-scale SF with 2312, an ambitious and challenging novel that combines the story of a relationship between two unlikely friends with a Solar System-spanning future history of mankind. Meticulously constructed and gorgeously written, this was easily the best SF novel of the year for me. My full review is here. I also had the chance to conduct a fascinating interview with the author.
Honorable mentions: this list almost consisted entirely of short story collections. I ended up going with the novels, mainly because I couldn’t pick which collection to put on the podium, but if short stories are your thing, make sure to check out one or all of these stunning new collections: Cat Rambo’s Near + Far, Elizabeth Hand’s Errantry: Strange Stories, Kij Johnson’s At the Mouth of the River of Bees, and Karin Tidbeck’s Jagannath. You can find my reviews of these collections, and a few others I reviewed this year, here.