Okay, so hello and welcome to my New Writing Blog. Well, I think we should start off my first post with something big, something to get the ball rolling. It’s something that I’ve been working on for most of today, and let me tell you – I’ve had some very hard choices for this. You’ll see why it’s called The Amazing Spiderman Awards if you read on.
Best novel of the First Half of 2012 Awards “The Amazing Spiderman Awards”
It’s got it’s namesake because any superhero fan will know that The Amazing Spiderman has been released in cinema last Tuesday (in the UK), and unfortunately, I won’t be able to go and see it until either tomorrow or next weekend. I highly doubt I will be able to make it tomorrow, unfortunately.
I might as well jump on the bandwagon and do one of these lists, after all, many, many blog reviewers are getting their first ½ of 2012 lists up, (including these two here, and here), and what better than to throw my own lot in, especially as I’ve read 122 novels (including short stories, novellas + comic books, but not including separate novels found in Omnibuses) this year.
You can see the full list of stuff that I’ve read here, on Goodreads. Add me as a friend if you want, I’ll accept pretty much anyone.
So, what can you expect from what is to follow? Well, quite simply, for Part I (There may or may not be more parts in the future), I’m going to be highlighting my best novels from the first half of 2012 that I enjoyed. This covers all novels released in the time between January and June 2012, so I can’t for example, say – include A Clash of Kings by George RR Martin as this was not released in that period. However, novels such as Anne Lyle’s The Alchemist of Souls can be included, partly because it’s awesome but also because it was released between January and June 2012. As much as I want to include Seven Wonders by Adam Christopher in this list, I can’t – as its release date is not in June 2012, but in August.
So, without further ado… *cue drumroll* I present to you, The Amazing Spiderman Awards for best novel of the first half of 2012!
The Amazing Spiderman Awards for Best Novels of the First Half of 2012
Unaware of the wider Heresy and following the Warmaster’s increasingly cryptic orders, Roboute Guilliman returns to Ultramar to muster his Legion for war against the orks massing in the Veridian system. Without warning, their supposed allies in the Word Bearers Legion launch a devastating invasion of Calth, scattering the Ultramarines fleet and slaughtering all who stand in their way. This confirms the worst scenario Guilliman can imagine – Lorgar means to settle their bitter rivalry once and for all. As the traitors summon foul daemonic hosts and all the forces of Chaos, the Ultramarines are drawn into a grim and deadly struggle in which neither side can prevail.
The stunning superhero-noir fantasy thriller set in the other New York.
It was the last great science hero fight, but the energy blast ripped a hole in reality, and birthed the Empire State – a young, twisted parallel prohibition-era New York.
When the rift starts to close, both worlds are threatened, and both must fight for the right to exist.
Adam Christopher’s stunning debut novel heralds the arrival of an amazing new talent.
The third book in the Night Lords trilogy by New York Times bestselling author Aaron Dembski-Bowden.
The hunters have become the hunted. The Night Lords flee to the dark fringes of the Imperium to escape their relentless pursuers – the eldar of Craftworld Ulthwé. Their flight takes them to the carrion world of Tsagualsa, where their primarch died and their Legion was broken. There, history will repeat itself as a deadly assassin stalks the shadows, and the Night Lords are drawn into a battle they are destined to lose.
The New Empire intends to celebrate its victory over the Nationalists with a day that will never be forgotten. On the high holiday of Wintertide the empress will be married and two traitors will be publicly executed. Once the empress suffers a fatal accident, the Imperialists will finally reign. There is only one problem – Royce and Hadrian have finally found the lost heir and the time to act has come.
Note: This is the blurb and the cover art for the collective volume Heir of Novron, which contains the novels Wintertide and Percepliquis. I have used the blurb of Heir of Novron and the cover art because a) I have reviewed this version, and b) Michael J. Sullivan self published the novels individually before they were snapped up by Orbit and went out of print, and now aren’t available digitally or in print on their own (I think – feel free to correct me if I’m wrong).
Meet Sam Thornton. He collects souls.
Sam’s job is to collect the souls of the damned, and ensure they are dispatched to the appropriate destination. But when he’s sent to collect the soul of a young woman he believes to be innocent of the horrific crime that’s doomed her to Hell, he says something no Collector has ever said before.
When Tudor explorers returned from the New World, they brought back a name out of half-forgotten Viking legend: skraylings. Red-sailed ships followed in the explorers’ wake, bringing Native American goods–and a skrayling ambassador–to London. But what do these seemingly magical beings really want in Elizabeth I’s capital?
Mal Catlyn, a down-at-heel swordsman, is seconded to the ambassador’s bodyguard, but assassination attempts are the least of his problems. What he learns about the skraylings and their unholy powers could cost England her new ally–and Mal his soul.
6 Honourable Mentions
Next up, I’ve got 6 novels that didn’t quite make the cut, but nonetheless they were still really good to read, with everything from YA to Historical Fiction, and epic fantasy to space opera being included in here – so we have a diverse choice.
It’s been one year since all the adults disappeared. Gone.
Despite the hunger and the lies, even despite the plague, the kids of Perdido Beach are determined to survive. Creeping into the tenuous new world they’ve built, though, is perhaps the worst incarnation yet of the enemy known as the Darkness: fear.
Within the FAYZ, life breaks down while the Darkness takes over, literally—turning the dome-world of the FAYZ entirely black. In darkness, the worst fears of all emerge, and the cruelest of intentions are carried out. But even in their darkest moments, the inhabitants of the FAYZ maintain a will to survive and a desire to take care of the others in their ravaged band that endures, no matter what the cost.
Fear, Michael Grant’s fifth book in the bestselling dystopian Gone series, will thrill readers . . . even as it terrifies them.
Exogene (n.): factor or agent (as a disease-producing organism) from outside the organism or system. Also: classified Russian program to merge proto-humanoids with powered armor systems (slang).
Catherine is a soldier. Fast, strong, lethal, she is the ultimate in military technology. She’s a monster in the body of an eighteen year old girl. Bred by scientists, grown in vats, indoctrinated by the government, she and her sisters will win this war, no matter the cost.
And the costs are high. Their life span is short; as they age they become unstable and they undergo a process called the spoiling. On their eighteenth birthday they are discharged. Lined up and shot like cattle.
But the truth is, Catherine and her sisters may not be strictly human, but they’re not animals. They can twist their genomes and indoctrinate them to follow the principles of Faith and Death, but they can’t shut off the part of them that wants more than war. Catherine may have only known death, but she dreams of life and she will get it at any cost.
Miriam Black knows when you will die.
Still in her early twenties, she’s foreseen hundreds of car crashes, heart attacks, strokes, suicides, and slow deaths by cancer. But when Miriam hitches a ride with truck driver Louis Darling and shakes his hand, she sees that in thirty days Louis will be gruesomely murdered while he calls her name.
Miriam has given up trying to save people; that only makes their deaths happen. But Louis will die because he met her, and she will be the next victim. No matter what she does she can’t save Louis. But if she wants to stay alive, she’ll have to try.
Egil and Nix, adventurers and swords for hire, are pulled into the dark schemes of a decadent family with a diabolical secret. A fast paced adventure redolent with the best of classic sword and sorcery tales.
5. The Gladiator by Ben Kane (Spartacus #1)
The first of two epic novels which tell the story of one of the most charismatic heroes history has ever known — Spartacus, the gladiator slave who took on and nearly defeated the might of Rome, during the years 73-71 BC.
In historical terms we know very little about Spartacus the man — partly because most contemporary Roman historians were keen to obliterate his memory and prevent him from attaining mythic status. This of course is grist to the novelist’s mill. Ben Kane’s brilliant novel begins in the Thracian village to which Spartacus has returned, after escaping from life as an auxiliary in the Roman army. But here he quickly falls foul of his overlord, the Thracian king, who has set his heart on Dionysian priestess, Ariadne — later to become wife of Spartacus. Betrayed again to the Romans by his jealous king, Spartacus — and with him Ariadne — are taken in captivity to the school of gladiators at Capua. It is here — against the unbelievable brutality of gladiatorial life — that Spartacus and Crixus the Gaul plan the audacious overthrow of their Roman masters, escaping to Vesuvius, where they recruit and train a huge slave army — an army which will keep the might of Rome at bay for two years and create one of the most extraordinary legends in history. Spartacus: The Gladiator takes the story up to the moment when the slave army has inflicted its first great defeat on Rome.
6. Blue Remembered Earth by Alastair Reynolds (Poseidon’s Children #1)
BLUE REMEMBERED EARTH is the first volume in a monumental trilogy tracing the Akinya family across more than ten thousand years of future history…out beyond the solar system, into interstellar space and the dawn of galactic society.
One hundred and fifty years from now, in a world where Africa is the dominant technological and economic power, and where crime, war, disease and poverty have been banished to history, Geoffrey Akinya wants only one thing: to be left in peace, so that he can continue his studies into the elephants of the Amboseli basin. But Geoffrey’s family, the vast Akinya business empire, has other plans. After the death of Eunice, Geoffrey’s grandmother, erstwhile space explorer and entrepreneur, something awkward has come to light on the Moon, and Geoffrey is tasked – well, blackmailed, really – to go up there and make sure the family’s name stays suitably unblemished. But little does Geoffrey realise – or anyone else in the family, for that matter – what he’s about to unravel.
Eunice’s ashes have already have been scattered in sight of Kilimanjaro. But the secrets she died with are about to come back out into the open, and they could change everything.
Or shatter this near-utopia into shards…