It is again that time of the year... raging shoppers are crowding the stores... Michael Buble has crawled out of his cave to release yet another Christmas album... and we here at Smash Dragons have decided to nominate our five best reads of the year.
Now it wasn't easy... 2015 has been one hell of a year for speculative fiction. There have been some cracking debuts, along with the return of some old hands with new releases. It was incredibly difficult to narrow it down to just five... but in the end there can only be one! (err.. five).
So here goes...
5) The Vagrant by Peter Newman
Want an insanely trippy alien post apocalyptic world with filled with demons and magical swords... then go no further! The Vagrant is one of the most original, fun, and glorious stories I've ever read. Period. And the protagonist doesn't speak! Peter Newman is the future of English speculative fiction.
4) Uprooted by Naomi Novik
I don't even know where to begin explaining just how great this book is. Incredibly magical and consuming, Uprooted is enthralling and terrifying at the same time. A must read for all fans of the genre.
3) The Traitor by Seth J. Dickinson
If you like stories that challenge you then you will adore the Traitor. Be prepared... Dickinson will draw you into a world filled with economics and conspiracy and then suddenly rip your heart out with a blunt spoon. The Traitor is one of those books that comes along only once every decade or so. Truly brilliant.
2) Beyond Redemption by Michael R. Fletcher
Holy fuck balls... what a book. Beyond Redemption is brutal, and packed to the brim with adventure, action, and violence. It also, amidst all of this mayhem, offers a fascinating insight into the notions of power and difference. Truly the best fantasy debut I've read in the last decade, and the new standard bearer for the Grimdark movement.
And ladies and gentleman... the best read of 2015 here at Smash Dragons...
1) The Crucible of Souls by Mitchell Hogan
Magic, heroes and villains, and a brewing conflict that threatens to erupt into all out war. Hogan has done something wonderful with this book by taking all of the things that I love about traditional fantasy and putting a new spin on it. I adore this book, in ways that no one else but me can ever fully comprehend. I recommended you all run out immediately and buy a copy... you won't be disappointed!
Honourable mentions... I mean come on... it was tough to pick a top 5!
Shadows of Self by Brandon Sanderson
Empire Ascendant by Kameron Hurley
The Builders by Daniel Polansky
Gemini Cell by Myke Cole
The House of Shattered Wings by Aliette de Bodard
Hunt for Valamon by D. K. Mok
The Providence of Fire by Brian Staveley
Abduction by Alan Baxter
It has truly been a wonderful year for all things speculative fiction. I want to thank everyone who has supported this blog throughout 2015. Next year is already shaping up to be a good one... filled with lots of new releases, interviews, and competitions. I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas. Laugh lots... drink more... and enjoy each other's company.
And remember... keep on reading!