Monday, January 21, 2013

2012 In Review

2012 was another busy year here at Neth Space. The real world has kept me from reading as much as I’d like – but that’s nothing new, just a bit extreme as life at home and work keeps me crazy busy. I only managed to read 22 books in 2012, a disappointment, but I still count it as a victory. A few interesting stats are summed up below.
 
Stats:
 
  • 22 books read
  • 13 Published in 2012
  • 3 Published in 2011
  • 2 Will be published in 2013
  • 2 are what I consider YA (up from 0 in 2011)
  • 16 are part of a series
  • 15 were provided by the publisher
  • 4 are debuts
  • I read more books published by Random House (7) and its various imprints than any other – 4 from Del Rey, 1 from Doubleday, and 2 from Transworld (which is UK, so I’m not sure if it counts). I also read 5 from Tor and 3 from Night Shade.
  • 4 books were published by ‘small press’ (same as last year)
  • None were anthologies or collections (down from 1 last year)
  • 7 were written by female authors (up from 4 last year and counting K.J. Parker as female) and 2 were written by a person of color or other distinct ethnicity from my own (up from 1 last year) (possibly more since this is a difficult thing to keep track of)
  • 3 are what I consider science fiction (same as last year)
  • 9 are what I consider epic fantasy (up from 8 last year)
  • Only 1 is what I consider steampunk (same)
  • 8 are what I consider urban fantasy (up from 6)
  • 1 is what I consider sword and sorcery (down from 2)
  • Only  is what I consider alternative history/historical fantasy (same)
  • I conducted only 1 interview and helped out with a couple of others
  • There have been approximately 53,000 site visits this year (not counting RSS) from 144 countries. About the same as last year, and the year before that, and the year before that … – I’m quietly happy as a mid-list blogger.
  • The Westeros Forums, Pat’s Fantasy Hotlist and Twitter are the top referring sites (other than Google).
  • My post about the release date for the next book by Scott Lynch was the most popular post (when’s it going to be published, Scott?), followed by my review of The Malazan Book of the Fallen by Steven Erikson. Third place goes to my review of The First Law Trilogy by Joe Abercrombie – a series that has been out for a while now and a review that is several years old (this was 3rd place last year as well). This tells me that Joe has a strong staying power (or that my Google-fu for that post is particularly good).
 
So, the best books I read this year are listed below. With only 22 total books read this year, I’ve limited it to the few that managed to stand out.
 
A Memory of Light by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson (Indiebound, Book Depository, Amazon)
 
For all its flaws, I’d been waiting for this one for almost 20 years and I thought it paid off. Laughter and Tears. (review)




 
 
Of Blood and Honey by Stina Leicht (Indiebound, Book Depository, Amazon)
 
Just wow. In any other year this would have been tops. A spectacular debut and I can’t wait for more. (review)




 
 
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (Book Depository, Powell’sBooks, Indiebound)
 
I had to see what all the buzz was about. It turned out that I really enjoyed it. (review)
 




Honorable Mentions
 
Of course there are quite a few very good books that didn’t quite crack the uppermost tie – the 2 below just missed the cut. But really, I only read 2 or 3 books that I wouldn’t recommend for one reason or another.
 
Dancing With Bears by Michael Swanwick (review)









 
Blade of Tyshalle by Matthew Woodring Stover (review)







 
 
And for kicks – the worst book I read in 2012
 
City of Dark Magic by Magnus Flyte (review)
 
Please read the review – it was so awful that everyone should have a taste.





 
 
And the most disappointing book I read in 2012
 
Orb, Sceptre, Throne by Ian C. Esslemont (review)
 
After the big improvement that I thought Esslemont had with Stoneweilder (review) I was very disappointed by the step back. This one was a mess that I can only recommend to the hardiest of Malazan fans.

9 comments:

Ryan said...

Nice list there sir. Keep up the good work. Neth Space is still high up on my list of favorite blogs.

Thomas said...

Good list, although it misses Forge of Darkness.
Keep up the good work.

Neth said...

Not an oversight. It just didn't make the cut as the best of the best.

Anonymous said...

Haven't read Memory of Light but it is not getting very good reviews in many of the sites I frequent (OFBlog, Pats, Iceberg Ink). The reviews are actually turning me off from buying the hardcover. I may just wait for a cheaper e-book version.

Based on what I read in the reviews and the quality of writing in the 2nd half of the series, I would not have placed it above Forge of Darkness, but that's just my reading preference.

Will have a better view once I make myself buy the e-book (when it comes out), although my expectations have been lowered significantly...

Neth said...

@Anon

Well, it comes down to your opinions and how you feel about WOT. Pat has never liked Sanderson's contributions to WOT. Larry is...Larry. I'm not surprised that they didn't like it. But I did like it a lot and I explain it well in my review.

A large part of why I like AMOL and WOT comes down to nostalgia, the role it's played in my life and the number of times I've read and reread the books. Is the writing of Forge of Darkness superior - yes. But I still 'liked' AMOL better. If that makes any sense.

Thomas said...

Oh, i know it was not an oversite.
As for Memory of light, your review didn't help me much because it was clear, and you said so yourself that nostalgia infuenced you. I have read all WOT books to date,but i'm not a "fan" nor a "hater".For me WOT was mediocre fro start to finish, with the latter books by Jordan sliding into bad territory.But the first two Sanderson books were a return to form, mediocre to good. How do you find Memory of Light compaired to the previous two? Better? Worse?
Is a satisfying book on its own merits for someone who isn't invested in the series nor waiting for the end with agony?

Neth said...

@Thomas,

I think that AMOL was right in line with the other two books that Sanderson wrote for the series. On par and probably a little better than TGS and quite a bit better than TOM.

Nick said...

When's the next Stover review coming, Ken? I can't wait to hear your thoughts on the remaining books and look forward to a series review once you've had time to digest it.

Neth said...

@Nick. That's a really good question. I imagine I'll read the next one sometime this year, though I'm not sure when I'll get around to full series plus a series review. It'll be a while.

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