For my top three books of 2014, I wanted to break them out by genre. After making my list and thinking about what I wanted to say about each one, I realized they all share three things that I enjoy and value most in a good story—well developed characters, worlds that feel fully fleshed out, and something unique that helps it stand out from all the others.
My favorite science fiction book of the year is Hollow World by Michael J. Sullivan. It's a thought-provoking and entertaining time traveler's tale. I read and reviewed this book back in January, and yet it's still fresh in my mind and has stayed my number one science fiction book of the year. Ellis and Pax are great characters that help Sullivan progress the plot and pose questions for the reader to spend time with. I hope Sullivan finds time to revisit this wonderful world in the future, I, for one, would love it. (See Brannigan's review here.)
My favorite fantasy book of the year is The Lascar's Dagger by Glenda Larke. It's a refreshing take on a lot of different fantasy tropes. She added interesting aspects to her world, and the characters were fun to spend time with. I'm really excited the book is the first book in a, hopefully, long series. I really can't wait to spend more time with my new favorite priest/spy Saker Rampion. (See Brannigan's review here.)
Last, but not least, just to throw in something different, my favorite Thriller/Horror/Adventure/All Around Fun book is Five Ghosts Volume 1: The Haunting of Fabian Gray by Frank J. Barbiere and Chris Mooneyham. It's an amazing graphic novel. Now, I know this blog doesn't review comics, but I can't stress how much fun this book was to read. It has it all: thrills, adventure, a little mystery, and a dash of horror all wrapped up in a homage to the great adventure tales of the 1940s and 50s. I'm talking about the serials you'd see at the beginning of movies and on the radio, after each issue in my mind I heard an announcer say, “Will Fabian Gray make it out alive? Tune in next week to find out!” Each issue, or chapter, depending on your preference, usually has a self-contained story while still having an overall series plot.
If you really want to make someone happy, give them one of these three books, if you want to be nice to yourself, buy all three.