My Favourite Reads of 2011

So, that time of year again, to look back at what I’ve read and try and narrow it all down to the books I’ve enjoyed the most. I’ve read some cracking books this year and thoroughly enjoyed most of them. I’ve had some glaring oversights too, like The Iron Jackal by Chris Wooding, War in Heaven by Gavin Smith, The Ascendant Stars by Michael Cobley, Deadline by Mira Grant, The Departure by Neal Asher, Embassytown by China Mieville… the list goes on and on.

So without further ado, check out my favourite reads of 2011!

Ready Player One by Ernest Cline

ready-player-oneEvery now and then a book comes along that not only ticks all the boxes that you want it to, but also add a few more for good measure. Ready Player One is such a book. It’s an awesome geek-fest made of pure win.

The Kings of Eternity by Eric Brown

kings-of-eternityBefore I read Ready Player One I didn’t think anything would come along to knock The Kings of Eternity from the top spot. Not only is this Eric Brown’s best novel to date, it’s easily one of the most accesbile SF releases this year. Highly recommended to both SF veterans and newcomers alike.

The Technician by Neal Asher

the-technicianSee below for more on Asher’s novels, but I have to say that The Technician is probably his best Polity novel to date. Do you need to have read the rest? Probably, but if you haven’t I don’t think it takes away from all the action and the wide variety of deadly alien creatures. Hugely entertaining!

Fuzzy Nation by John Scalzi

fuzzy-nationI’ve always loved John Scalzi’s books, his combination of good story and humour goes down a treat for me. I think that’s why I love Fuzzy Nation so much, not to mention the cute fuzzies of the title.

Hard Spell by Justin Gustainis

hard-spellI’m not a huge urban fantasy fan, but Justin Gustainis is an author that stands out for me. Hard Spell is full of action and plenty of awesome characters that just make the story fly by.

A Beautiful Friendship by David Weber

a-beautiful-friendshipI’ve been reading the Honorverse this year (see below) and this is a book set way before those novels. It’s confined to one planet, has a relatively small cast of characters, but Stephanie and the treecats brought it to life and made me want to read more and more of their adventures. Can’t wait for the next one!

Final Days by Gary Gibson

final-daysFinal Days managed to bring action, the end of the world and time-travel together in a great novel. His best that I’ve read and very compelling. Worthy of a read.

Leviathan Wakes by James SA Corey

leviathan-wakesLeviathan Wakes was a last minute read this year, and one I’m glad I got around to. Halfway through the book I was expecting it to make the top 5, but it goes to show that despite what a thoroughly enjoyable book this is, there were other even better ones consumed. Expect to see this one on many, many ‘best of’ lists this year.

Songs of the Earth by Elspeth Cooper

songs-of-the-earthThe first fantasy book in my list, and it was going to take something special to get in there with all the sci-fi I’ve read this year. Great story, characters, and setting, and the sequel can’t come soon enough!

Dreadnaught by Jack Campbell

dreadnaughtThe first in the new Lost Fleet series, and a cracker. The fanboy in me does tend to turn a blind eye to the seeming repetative nature of these books, but for a quick and enjoyable read it gets my vote!

The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss

the-wise-mans-fearI loved The Name of the Wind, so reading Wise Man’s Fear was a no-brainer. It’s pretty much more of the same, but told in a masterful way. If you’ve read NOTW then pick this up, and if you haven’t you’d better get started!

Honourable Mentions

The Cormac sequence by Neal Asher

cormacI read the first book in this series, Gridlinked, a few years back and tried to read the sequel, The Line of Polity, shortly afterwards. For whatever reason I just couldn’t get into it then, but I was determined to do so this year. I read the remaining Cormac books early this year and loved the series, the final book, Line War, being the highlight for me. I’d recommend this to anyone interested in weird and wonderful space opera, Neal manages to cover so much in these books, but above all else the entertainment value is excellent!
Check out all my reviews for this series: Gridlinked, The Line of Polity, Brass Man, Polity Agent, Line War

The Honor Harrington series by David Weber

honorverseAhh, the Honorverse. What a place! I read the first book, On Basilisk Station, around Easter after hearing David Weber talk at Eastercon, and soon got around to more of the Honor Harrington books. You can find my reviews of the first four books on the blog (On Basilisk Station, The Honor of the Queen, The Short Victorious War, and Field of Dishonor), but I’ve read through to book nine. Since going on hiatus the Honorverse books have been my pleasure reads, taking prescedence over some other books that I really want to read. They’re deep, multi-layered, have great characters, and a huge story. I couldn’t ask for more in a series!

8 thoughts on “My Favourite Reads of 2011”

  1. Gosh, I clean forgot about Kings of Eternity when I was putting together Top of the Scots this year, didn't I? Shame on me. :/

    But that's a fine list, Mark. I'm really going to have to check out Fuzzy Nation, I think.

    Happy new year, anyway!

  2. Ready Player One was great! Even as predictable as it was I was sad to see it end. Even the first time through it felt like a good old friend. I hope the world gets revisited!

  3. Great list! I'm listening to Ready Player One right now and am really enjoying it. Wil Wheaton is doing a nice job with the narration and as a child of the 80's it is a real thrill to experience.

    Fuzzy Nation was great fun.

    Haven't read Gary Gibson but wow is that a great cover, and it sounds right up my alley.

    I haven't read any of the Lost Fleet novels and really wanted to just pick this new one up and dive in. Is it that kind of book?

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