Best of 2014 Part 2a: Novels

Doing one of these posts often takes a lot out of me because of all the linking and checking and verification and formatting and everything, but lists like this also help me crystalize my year in reading, so I value them quite highly. Thankfully, I’m able to get this list out in time and most of the books on the list have already been reviewed as well, so that’s something too.

With the year 2014 now done and over, it is time to do the first of my “Best of the Year” posts, for the period 1st July to December 31st. I didn’t read as many books this time as I wanted to, primarily because I got married in the first week of July itself, and things have changed a fair bit. But life remains exciting and interesting in equal measure, and my reading also happens to match that rather closely, so I’ll take that in full indeed!

Let’s see what makes the cut and which comes close then!

A few notes:

  • As usual, the list is a slight departure from how I do my Reading Awards, I’m going to be presenting the Top 6 here, not the Top 3.
  • The list is divided into two sections – the Top 6 and the Honourable Mentions and all books mentioned were read this year from July 1st to December 31st, 2014.
  • The numbering is just for convenience, and because I like numbers.

*****

More books/comics-related lists from me:

*****

Best of the Best Novels

The Top 6 –

1. Star Trek: The Fall #4: The Poisoned Chalice by James Swallow

  Link | Goodreads | Author Blog | My Review

One simple act, and the troubles of the United Federation of Planets have grown darker overnight. The mystery behind the heinous terrorist attack that has rocked the Federation to its core grows ever deeper, and William Riker finds himself beset by rumors and half-truths as the U.S.S. Titan is ordered back to Earth on emergency orders from the admiralty.

Soon, Riker finds himself drawn into a game of political intrigue, bearing witness to members of Starfleet being detained—including people he considered friends—pending an investigation at the highest levels. And while Riker tries to navigate the corridors of power, Titan’s tactical officer, Tuvok, is given a series of clandestine orders that lead him into a gray world of secrets, lies, and deniable operations. Who can be trusted when the law falls silent and justice becomes a quest for revenge?

For the crew of the U.S.S. Titan, the search for answers will become a battle for every ideal the Federation stands for. . .

2. Brimstone Angels #4: Fire In The Blood by Erin M. Evans

  Link | Goodreads | Author Blog | My Review | Guest Post: Other People’s Names

SCRIBE- award-winning author, Erin M. Evans, continues the riveting tale of her Sundering character, Farideh, as she becomes embroiled in a Forgotten Realms-flavored game of thrones. 

In a direct follow-up to her third book in the Sundering series, The Adversary, Erin M. Evans throws her signature character Farideh into the midst of a battle for the throne of Cormyr.

As the war brought on by the Sundering rages across Faerun, princes and princesses, wizards and rogues scheme to capture the seat of power of the Land of the Purple Dragon — with Farideh and her allies caught squarely in the middle.   

 

3. Theirs Not To Reason Why #5: Damnation by Jean Johnson

  Link | Goodreads | Author Blog | My Review | Guest Post: Naming Ia

It began with a terrible vision of the future. Compelled by her precognitive abilities, Ia must somehow save her home galaxy long after she’s gone. Now Jean Johnson presents the long-awaited epic conclusion to her national bestselling military science fiction series…

With their new ship claimed and new crewmembers being collected, Ia’s Damned are ready and willing to re-enter the fight against the vicious, hungry forces of their Salik foes. But shortly after they board the Damnation to return to battle, a new threat emerges. After several centuries of silence, the Greys are back, and the Alliance must now combat both a rapacious, sadistic enemy, and a terrifying, technologically superior foe.

Ia has asked nothing of her crew that she herself has not been willing to give. But with two wars to bring to an end—and time running out—Ia must make and execute the most terrible choice of all…

4. Time of Legends: The Doom of Dragonback by Gav Thorpe

  Link | Goodreads | Author Blog | My Review | Guest Post: The Geography of Names | Interview

The Story

With the War of Vengeance over, the dwarfs of the Old World have begun to rebuild their empire.

But they have been drastically weakened by their conflict with the elves, and as great earthquakes tear the mountains asunder, enemies old and new descend upon the dwarf holds.

To the west, in the Dragonback Mountains, the dwarfs of Ekrund think themselves safe from the threats faced by their eastern cousins. They are wrong.

As greenskins march into their realm in terrifying numbers and war beckons, the Angbok clan and their fellows must fight to save everything they hold dear.

5. EVE: The Empyrean Age by Tony Gonzales

  Link | Goodreads | Author Blog | My Review

A clone with no name or past awakens to a cruel existence, hunted mercilessly for crimes he may never know; yet he stands close to the pinnacle of power in New Eden. 

A disgraced ambassador is confronted by a mysterious woman who knows everything about him, and of the sinister plot against his government; his actions will one day unleash the vengeful wrath of an entire civilization. 

And among the downtrodden masses of a corporation-owned world, a man named Tibus Heth is about to launch a revolution that will change the course of history.  

The confluence of these dark events will lead humanity towards a tragic destiny. The transcendence of man to the dream of immortality has bred a quest for power like none before it; empires spanning across thousands of stars will clash in the depths of space and on the worlds within. Those who stand before the tides of war, willingly or not, must face the fundamental choices that have been with man for tens of thousands of years, unchanged since the memory of Earth was lost. 

This is EVE: The Empyrean Age. A test of our convictions and the will to survive.

MAGIC IS A DRUG. CAREFUL HOW YOU USE IT.
The Magical Enforcement Agency keeps dirty magic off the streets, but there’s a new blend out there that’s as deadly as it is elusive. When patrol cop Kate Prospero shoots the lead snitch in this crucial case, she’s brought in to explain herself. But the more she learns about the investigation, the more she realizes she must secure a spot on the MEA task force.
Especially when she discovers that their lead suspect is the man she walked away from ten years earlier – on the same day she swore she’d given up dirty magic for good. Kate Prospero’s about to learn the hard way that crossing a wizard will always get you burned, and that when it comes to magic, you should never say never.

– See more at: http://www.hachettebookgroup.com/titles/jaye-wells/dirty-magic/9780316228435/#sthash.zhTk6EIe.dpuf

6. Khârn: Eater of Worlds by Anthony Reynolds

  Link | Goodreads | Author Blog | My ReviewInterview

The Story

The Horus Heresy is over and the Traitor Legions have scattered, fleeing the wrath of a vengeful Imperium. The World Eaters are leaderless, their primarch missing and their greatest hero, Khârn, in a coma.

The surviving World Eaters have turned upon themselves, the Butcher’s Nails driving them to ever greater acts of berserk savagery. Poised on the brink of destruction, the Legion needs a leader.

It needs Khârn – but will his awakening save them, or doom them entirely?

Read It Because

Kharn is one of the most iconic figures in the Warhammer 40,000 setting, the epitome of Khorne’s mortal servants. In this story, you can witness his transition from the Captain of the World Eaters Eighth Company who stood against the Emperor during the Horus Heresy, to the Blood-mad betrayer that he becomes.

Honourable Mentions –

1. Dark Templar Saga #1: Firstborn by Christie Golden

  Link | GoodreadsMy Review

Jake Ramsey — an unassuming, yet talented archaeologist — has been given the chance of a lifetime. Hired to investigate a recently unearthed Xel’Naga temple, he knows this latest assignment will open up whole new possibilities for his career.

Yet, when Jake discovers the remains of a long-dead protoss mystic, his hopes and dreams are irrevocably drowned in a flood of alien memories. Bonded to the spirit of the dead protoss, Jake has become the sole inheritor of the protoss’s total history — every event, every thought — every feeling.

Struggling to maintain his own fragile identity amidst the raging psychic storm in his mind, Jake soon realizes that he has stumbled upon a secret so cataclysmic in magnitude — that it will shake the very foundations of the universe.

FIRSTBORN

An original tale of space warfare based on the bestselling computer game series from Blizzard Entertainment.

2. Judge Dredd: Year One by Michael Carroll, Matt Smith and Al Ewing

  Link | Goodreads | Author Blog – Michael Carroll | Author Blog – Al Ewing | My Review

Mega-City One, 2080. Judge Joe Dredd’s first year on the streets as a full-eagle Judge. Bred for justice, trained in law, Dredd’s no helpless rookie, but he’s not the seasoned veteran we know either. Three tales follow the first adventures of the future city’s greatest lawman. With an introduction by the Mighty Tharg!

CITY FATHERS

The brutal murder of a Justice Department-sanctioned spy uncovers something new and dangerous in the sector’s murky black market. Unless Dredd can stop it, chaos will be unleashed.

COLD LIGHT OF DAY

A savage killing spree results in the deaths of two highly-regarded Judges, and many consider Dredd to be responsible: a decision he made five years earlier – while he was still a cadet – has come back to haunt him.

WEAR IRON

“Wear iron, that’s the rule.” Paul Strader is a stick-up man, and a stone cold professional. But when he gets in over his head, he has to risk everything on the word of a corrupt lawman and break every rule he has. Every rule but one…

Cardassia Prime is home to a prideful people who, for centuries, forged alliances with those they believed would strengthen them and their place in the Alpha Quadrant, and expanded their empire at great cost to other worlds. For generations, dissenting voices were silenced by either fear or an early grave. When their wartime ally, the Dominion, suddenly turned on them, seeking to transform Cardassia into a tomb for every last member of their race, their old adversary—the United Federation of Planets— put an end to the carnage, and even now works to help rebuild Cardassia Prime.To celebrate this alliance, the Castellan of the Cardassian Union is to welcome the Federation president to Cardassia Prime. As a symbol of this deepening friendship, the U.S.S. Enterprise-E is tasked to carry the Cardassian ambassador to the Federation back home. For his part, Ambassador Elim Garak is working with Captain Jean-Luc Picard to oversee the diplomatic reception that will commemorate the last of Starfleet’s personnel finally leaving the homeworld. However, there are malevolent forces at work, who even now strive to “restore Cardassia to its proper place and glory,” and are willing to do anything to achieve their goal…. – See more at: http://books.simonandschuster.com/Star-Trek-The-Fall-The-Crimson-Shadow/Una-McCormack/Star-Trek/9781476722207#sthash.sNb09gtB.dpuf
Cardassia Prime is home to a prideful people who, for centuries, forged alliances with those they believed would strengthen them and their place in the Alpha Quadrant, and expanded their empire at great cost to other worlds. For generations, dissenting voices were silenced by either fear or an early grave. When their wartime ally, the Dominion, suddenly turned on them, seeking to transform Cardassia into a tomb for every last member of their race, their old adversary—the United Federation of Planets— put an end to the carnage, and even now works to help rebuild Cardassia Prime.To celebrate this alliance, the Castellan of the Cardassian Union is to welcome the Federation president to Cardassia Prime. As a symbol of this deepening friendship, the U.S.S. Enterprise-E is tasked to carry the Cardassian ambassador to the Federation back home. For his part, Ambassador Elim Garak is working with Captain Jean-Luc Picard to oversee the diplomatic reception that will commemorate the last of Starfleet’s personnel finally leaving the homeworld. However, there are malevolent forces at work, who even now strive to “restore Cardassia to its proper place and glory,” and are willing to do anything to achieve their goal…. – See more at: http://books.simonandschuster.com/Star-Trek-The-Fall-The-Crimson-Shadow/Una-McCormack/Star-Trek/9781476722207#sthash.sNb09gtB.dpuf
Cardassia Prime is home to a prideful people who, for centuries, forged alliances with those they believed would strengthen them and their place in the Alpha Quadrant, and expanded their empire at great cost to other worlds. For generations, dissenting voices were silenced by either fear or an early grave. When their wartime ally, the Dominion, suddenly turned on them, seeking to transform Cardassia into a tomb for every last member of their race, their old adversary—the United Federation of Planets— put an end to the carnage, and even now works to help rebuild Cardassia Prime.To celebrate this alliance, the Castellan of the Cardassian Union is to welcome the Federation president to Cardassia Prime. As a symbol of this deepening friendship, the U.S.S. Enterprise-E is tasked to carry the Cardassian ambassador to the Federation back home. For his part, Ambassador Elim Garak is working with Captain Jean-Luc Picard to oversee the diplomatic reception that will commemorate the last of Starfleet’s personnel finally leaving the homeworld. However, there are malevolent forces at work, who even now strive to “restore Cardassia to its proper place and glory,” and are willing to do anything to achieve their goal…. – See more at: http://books.simonandschuster.com/Star-Trek-The-Fall-The-Crimson-Shadow/Una-McCormack/Star-Trek/9781476722207#sthash.sNb09gtB.dpuf

3. Pantheon #7: Age of Shiva by James Lovegrove

  Link | Goodreads | Author Blog | My Review

Zachary Bramwell, better known as the comics artist Zak Zap, is pushing forty and wondering why his life isn’t as exciting as the lives of the superheroes he draws.

Then he’s shanghaied by black-suited goons and flown to Mount Meru, a vast complex built atop an island in the Maldives. There Zak meets a trio of billionaire businessmen who put him to work designing costumes for a team of godlike super-powered beings based on the ten avatars of Vishnu from Hindu mythology.

The Ten Avatars battle demons and aliens and seem to be the survivors of a world teetering on collapse.

But their presence is itself a harbinger of apocalypse. The Vedic ‘fourth age’ of civilisation, Kali Yuga, is coming to an end, and Zak has ringside seat for the final, all-out war that threatens the destruction of Earth.

4. The End Times: The Return of Nagash by Josh Reynolds

  Link | Goodreads | Author Blog | My Review | Guest Post: On Names

The Story

The End Times are coming. As the forces of Chaos threaten to drown the world in madness, Mannfred von Carstein and Arkhan the Black put aside their difference and plot to resurrect the one being with the power to stand against the servants of the Ruinous Powers and restore order to the world – the Great Necromancer himself.

As they set about gathering artefacts to use in their dark ritual, armies converge on Sylvania, intent on stopping them. But Arkhan and Mannfred are determined to complete their task.

No matter the cost, Nagash must rise again.

Read This Because

The original bad guy of the Warhammer world returns for the End Times, ready to destroy the land of the living and begin a new age of undeath. If you like Warhammer, this is a must read — nothing that has ever happened within the Old World or without has been more pivotal to the future of the Warhammer setting.

5. Silver Skulls: Portents by Sarah Cawkwell

  Link | Goodreads | Author Blog | My Review

The Story

The Silver Skulls Space Marine Chapter deploy on the world of Valoria Quintus to combat an insurrection backed by the dread forces of the Traitor Legions.

Sent there by the visions of their Prognosticators, the mysterious psykers whose premonitions decree the path forged by the Chapter and the wars that they wage, they expect victory to be swift and easy.

But they have not reckoned with their own allies, the servants of the Inquisition who are interested in the Prognosticators, their importance within the Chapter and the possibility that the Silver Skulls may be being manipulated by the very powers they fight against…

From the moment she took a job on Captain Caldswell’s doomed ship, Devi Morris’ life has been one disaster after another: government conspiracies, two alien races out for her blood, an incurable virus that’s eating her alive.

Now, with the captain missing and everyone — even her own government — determined to hunt her down, things are going from bad to impossible. The sensible plan would be to hide and wait for things to blow over, but Devi’s never been one to shy from a fight, and she’s getting mighty sick of running.
It’s time to put this crisis on her terms and do what she knows is right. But with all human life hanging on her actions, the price of taking a stand might be more than she can pay.

– See more at: http://www.hachettebookgroup.com/titles/rachel-bach/heavens-queen/9780316221122/#sthash.4dfinEjG.dpuf

From the moment she took a job on Captain Caldswell’s doomed ship, Devi Morris’ life has been one disaster after another: government conspiracies, two alien races out for her blood, an incurable virus that’s eating her alive.

Now, with the captain missing and everyone — even her own government — determined to hunt her down, things are going from bad to impossible. The sensible plan would be to hide and wait for things to blow over, but Devi’s never been one to shy from a fight, and she’s getting mighty sick of running.
It’s time to put this crisis on her terms and do what she knows is right. But with all human life hanging on her actions, the price of taking a stand might be more than she can pay.

– See more at: http://www.hachettebookgroup.com/titles/rachel-bach/heavens-queen/9780316221122/#sthash.qUsynbt8.dpuf

6. World of WarCraft #13: War Crimes by Christie Golden

  Link | Goodreads | Author Blog

THE BRUTAL SIEGE OF ORGRIMMAR IS OVER.

Alliance and Horde forces have stripped Garrosh Hellscream, one of the most reviled figures on Azeroth, of his title as warchief. His thirst for conquest devastated cities, nearly tore the Horde apart, and destroyed countless lives throughout the…
WORLD OF WARCRAFT®

Now, on the legendary continent of Pandaria, he will stand trial for his transgressions.

Renowned leaders from across the world have gathered to witness this historic event. As the trial unfolds, agents of the bronze dragonflight present shocking visions of Garrosh’s atrocities. For many of those in attendance, these glimpses into history force them to relive painful memories and even question their own innocence or guilt. For others, the chilling details stoke the flames of their hatred.

Unbeknownst to anyone, shadowy forces are at work on Azeroth, threatening not only the court’s ability to mete out justice…but also the lives of everyone at the trial.

*****

So that’s all for now.

It was easier to pick these 12 since I only had a pool of 14-15 to choose from, but still, deciding what made the final cut was quite a torturous decision. I’ve aimed for diversity in all things, as always, and I hope you check out these books when you can. I recommend them all highly, especially the tie-in novels since I’m a huge fan of all of these shared-world settings.

The next few lists will be going up soon, so keep an eye out for them!

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Posted on January 4, 2015, in 2014 Reading Challenge, Best of The Year Fiction, Book Lists, Challenges and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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