There have been a lot of lists posted or published, depending on the format, in the last few weeks, claiming to enumerate the best books/stories/graphic novels/dirty limericks/ransom notes/whathaveyou from the first half of 2102. To which, I say, yeah, right. Unless these lists were compiled by committee, no one person could have read enough novels to say their list is the best. And if the list were put together by committee, well, we all know what too often comes out of committee.
Now I’m not saying those lists don’t have value, just the title “Best” is misleading. So I’m going to call the list that follows simply my recommendations for the first half of 2012.
First, a couple of ground rules. I’m going to limit myself to novels, and with one or two exceptions which were self-published, novels published in 2012. I’m making an exception for the self-published novels because they sometimes need a little time to develop some momentum. Anyone paying attention to the trade publishers should be aware of forthcoming novels.
I’m also going to take the coward’s way out and not try to rank them. I started to, but quickly ran into the issue of trying to decide between two books I thoroughly loved but for entirely different reasons. I could bite the bullet and give them rankings, but tomorrow I’d probably change my mind. Instead the books will be listed alphabetically by title.
So here are my recommendations from the first half of 2012, along with an occasional cheeky synopsis. If more than one book in a series came out in the first part of the year, I’ve only listed the first book.
Blackbirds by Chuck Wendig This is short, dark, compulsively readable tale of a young woman who can see the death of any person she touches through the eyes of that person. One day she touches a man and sees herself present at his death. Review here.
Carpathia by Matt Forbeck The Carpathia was the ship which rescued the survivors of the Titanic. What if there were vampires onboard? Review here.
Crazy Greta by David A. Hardy I called this the book John Bunyan would have written if he had been dropping acid while writing The Pilgrim’s Progress. I stand by that statement. Review here.
Feyland by Anthea Sharp An entertaining and well-written young adult novel about what happens when the immersive computer game becomes a little too real. Review here.
Giant Thief by David Tallerman So this kleptomaniac steals this giant, see? Then he gets roped into being the hero against this warlord. The only problem is his sticky fingers keep getting him in trouble. Review here.
Hunter and Fox by Philippa Ballantine An emotionally wounded woman serves as a hunter for a tyrant in a world in which the landscape changes on a regular basis. Review here.
The Hammer and the Blade by Paul S. Kemp Two thieves kill a demon while robbing a tomb. Only the demon has powerful friends…A great adventure that reminded me of why I read sword and sorcery in the first place. Review here.
Rise and Fall by Joshua P. Simon An epic fantasy about duty, honor, family, and the ties that bind. An impressive debut. Review here.
Shadow Ops: Control Point by Myke Cole A world in which those with magical abilities are either drafted into covert military teams or exterminated and what happens when one man says, “Enough is enough.” Review here.
Shadow’s Master by Jon Sprunk The conclusion of a dark trilogy about a man who is heir to the shadows seeking to learn who he is. Review here.
The Straits of Galahesh by Bradley P. Beaulieu Flying ships, astral projection, Machiavellian politics, an invading army, and a doomsday cult trying to bring about the end of the world. In the midst of this, can two crazy kids find true love? Review here.
Thief’s Covenant by Ari Marmell Another YA, but with a dark edge. Widdershins is a thief who has minor deity living in her head. One of the most fun books I’ve read in a while in spite of the dark content. Review here.