Best Debuts of 2012
Posted by Abhinav Jain
This year has been an excellent year for debuts, whether it’s science fiction or fantasy or historical fiction or urban fantasy or noir or western or young adult or whatever. Some truly amazing authors have made themselves known, and many of these have gone on to impress with second novels also released this year. In this blog I take a look at the debut novels of the year that I just loved and would recommend far and wide to everybody.
I didn’t actually read that many debut novels this year (from 2012), so the list is going to be unfortunately small – only eight in total, which is why I’m going to do a straight list rather than a Top 6 and 6 Honourable Mentions as I had initially planned.
So let’s have at it, yeah?
1. Cora Oglesby #1: The Dead of Winter by Lee Collins
Cora and her husband hunt things – things that shouldn’t exist.
When the marshal of Leadville, Colorado, comes across a pair of mysterious deaths, he turns to Cora to find the creature responsible. But if Cora is to overcome the unnatural tide threatening to consume the small town, she must first confront her own tragic past as well as her present.
A stunning supernatural novel that will be quickly joined by a very welcome sequel, She Returns From War, in February 2013.
2. Particle Horizon by Selso Xisto
From the blood and dust of New Jerusalem, the Legion of the LightBringer wages a galactic war against those who would replace their god. Now, the time has come for the Union of Free Worlds to make a stand. The front line is the idyllic asteroid world of Angelhaven, where the greatest mind in human history has discovered an elemental power with far-reaching implications. A power that both sides will do anything to harness.
Marine commander Gomes leads the crack Union task force. An unrelenting warrior driven by revenge and a need for answers, he hides a strange ability neither science nor religion can explain.
On the other side of the war, Aja is forced to fight for a cause she doesn’t believe in to protect her own secret.
Caught between them is Una, a living machine who battles for her humanity as her world falls apart.
Outnumbered ten to one and stalked by a mysterious nemesis, all three will play a role in unraveling Angelhaven’s enigma.
As the Legion invasion begins, unknown eyes watch with interest…
Particle Horizon is a fast-paced, gritty space opera.
3. Empire State by Adam Christopher
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.
Note: The Guest Post will be posted sometime next year. I’ll come back to this post and update it accordingly then.
4. Blood and Feathers by Lou Morgan
Alice isn’t having the best of days: she got rained on, missed her bus, was late for work. When two angels arrive, claiming her life so far is a lie, it turns epic, grandscale worse.
The war between the angels and the Fallen is escalating; an age-old balance is tipping, and innocent civilians are getting caught in the cross-fire. the angels must act to restore the balance – or risk the Fallen taking control. Forever. Hunted by the Fallen and guided by Mallory – a disgraced angel with a drinking problem – alice will learn the truth about her own history… and why the angels want to send her to hell. What do the Fallen want from her? How does Mallory know so much about her past? What is it the angels are hiding – and can she trust either side? Caught between the power plays of the angels and lucifer himself, it isn’t just hell’s demons that Alice will have to defeat…
5. The Collector #1: Dead Harvest by Chris F. Holm
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.
6. Pantomime by Laura Lam
R.H. Ragona’s Circus of Magic is the greatest circus of Ellada. Nestled among the glowing blue Penglass – remnants of a mysterious civilisation long gone – are wonders beyond the wildest imagination. It’s a place where anything seems possible, where if you close your eyes you can believe that the magic and knowledge of the vanished Chimeras is still there. It’s a place where anyone can hide.
Iphigenia Laurus, or Gene, the daughter of a noble family, is uncomfortable in corsets and crinoline, and prefers climbing trees to debutante balls. Micah Grey, a runaway living on the streets, joins the circus as an aerialist’s apprentice and soon becomes the circus’s rising star. But Gene and Micah have balancing acts of their own to perform, and a secret in their blood that could unlock the mysteries of Ellada.
Note: The review for this novel will be forthcoming in a few days. I’ll update this post accordingly. Aiming to get Laura on “Names: A New Perspective” soon as well. *Review link added!*
7. Jessica McClain #1: Full Blooded by Amanda Carlson
Born the only female in an all male race, Jessica McClain isn’t just different—she’s feared.
After living under the radar for the last twenty-six years, Jessica is thrust unexpectedly into her first change, a full ten years late. She wakes up and finds she’s in the middle of a storm. Now that she’s become the only female full-blooded werewolf in town, the supernatural world is already clamoring to take a bite out of her and her new Pack must rise up and protect her.
But not everyone is on board. The werewolf Rights of Laws is missing text and the superstitious werewolves think that Jessica means an end to their race. It doesn’t help when Jessica begins to realize she’s more. She can change partway and hold her form, and speak directly to her wolf. But the biggest complication by far is that her alpha father can’t control her like he can the rest of his wolves.
When a mercenary who’s been hired by the vampires shows up to extract information about the newly turned werewolf only days after her change, they find themselves smack in the middle of a war and there’s no choice but to run together. When it’s up to Jessica to negotiate her release against her father’s direct orders, she chooses to take an offer for help instead. In exchange, Jessica must now swear an oath she may end up repaying with her life.
Note: Amanda’s guest post will be posted next month. This post will be updated accordingly.
8. Night’s Masque Volume 1: Alchemist of Souls by Anne Lyle
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 Catlyn his soul.
In some sort of a weird confluence of coincidences and what not, it appears that barring Lee Collins’ The Dead of Winter, all the other seven novels on this have been given a rating of 9/10 by me. So, so weird. The Dead of Winter got a 10/10. Go, go, Lee!
More “Best of” Lists: The Best of The Best Part 1. Part 2 to follow soon.
You can follow my debut novels reading progress from my “Debuts” page.
Posted on December 22, 2012, in 2012 Reading Challenge, 2012 Writing Challenge, Book Reviews, Debut Authors Guest Series, Guest Posts and tagged 2012 Debuts, Adam Christopher, Alchemist of Souls, Alternate Reality, Amanda Carlson, Angry Robot Books, Anne Lyle, Artificial Intelligence, Blood and Feathers, Chris F. Holm, Cora Oglesby, Dead Harvest, Debut Authors, Debut Authors Guest Series, Empire State, Fantasy, Full Blooded, Historical Fantasy, Historical Fiction, Interviews, Jessica McClain, Laura Lam, Lee Collins, Lou Morgan, Magic Circus, Names, Names A New Perspective, Night's Masque, Noir, Orbit Books, Pantomime, Paranormal Fantasy, Particle Horizon, Poltergeeks, Science Fiction, Selso Xisto, Solaris Books, Space Opera, Strange Chemistry, The Collector, The Dead of Winter, The meaning of Names, Urban Fantasy, Vampires, Werewolves, Western. Bookmark the permalink. 14 Comments.