My Best of 2014
First off, let me make it clear that this list is MY personal list of the best books I’ve read this year. If you don’t agree with my choices, please keep in mind that they are the books I’ve chosen, so this is not some kind of Overall Best Books of 2014 list. If you haven’t read some of the books on the short list, I can only encourage you to try them out, as they are all exceptional in their own right.
As the list only encompasses the books I’ve read this year, it will be short and to the point. I’ll refrain from posting books I’ve read this year that were released prior to 2014, even though these books had the quality to make this list. The standing in the list has no bearing either, as I’m not trying to rank these books, but rather want to tell you which books I enjoyed the most this year and why.
City of Stair by Robert Jackson Bennett
Let’s start with the book that hit me out of nowhere, grasped me in filigree fingers of imagination and didn’t let go. It’s a tale unlike many other fantasy books out there, as it plays in a time closely resembling the colonial age and the industrialization. It’s main selling point is an extraordinary worldbuilding that makes you dream of gods and wonders. The straight-forward storytelling is headed by main characters complimenting each other and forming a compelling and resourceful combo.
To tell you the truth, I hadn’t expected much from the book just going by the description, but after its release I’d heard so much buzz about it I set it at the top of my reading list simply to find out what the fuss was about. I got into the book in only a few pages and then I finished reading it as fast as I could, trying to cram as much reading time into my day as possible.
Prince of Fools by Mark Lawrence
The second trilogy by Mark Lawrence set in the same world as his Broken Empire series had been a book I’d awaited eagerly. I scored an ARC for it and the book held its own easily in a genre with so many outstanding books coming out constantly. While the protagonist doesn’t quite manage to overtake the dangerous charm of Jorg (and let’s face it, which character does?), Mark Lawrence has once again shown that his specialty is writing gray characters that use their ragged wits to charm a reader. I love characters that come alive through the power of words and Jal and his northman friend do just that: they jump from the pages and do a happy dance with your imagination.
It helps that the book again is as quotable as I’ve ever seen. His prose doesn’t lack beauty, but here and there you can find gems of wisdom and wit that make the journey even more enjoyable.
Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson
Highly anticipated books by a master of fantasy that had many people excited. Me too, I’ll freely admit. I enjoyed the book a lot and will continue waiting eagerly for the next installments of the series, but I can see a lot of valid criticism thrown at the book. Yes, it’s rather simple and shallow, both in terms of prose and characters, but that didn’t hamper my enjoyment. The book very easy to read and won’t take much time to read through despite it’s over 1000 pages bulk. If I had to liken the book to anything, I’d liken it to an action movie. But not one of those boring things with only car-chases and explosions lacking a proper plot, rather one that has it’s explosions, gun-fights, and car-chases, but tops it off with likeable characters, great scenery, and a compelling plot. It’s a high level action movie and those things can be incredible satisfying to watch, don’t you agree?
As an action-fantasy book, it makes everything right. You’ve got battles in “power”-armour, with giant weapons and abilities normally seen in anime or mangas, has a war going on and old things stirring. The book certainly doesn’t lack in these capabilities and it all comes together into one light journey you’ll not regret.