There are a couple handfuls of good books I read in 2012 that deserve to be recognized, but here are my top ten. Judging the top three hurts my heart, because you could put them in any order and I’d be fine. It may be that their order is there based on order of being read. Hugh’s book was the first to really amaze me. He and T.C. and James, (the other authors in the top three,) have earned my loud speaker for everything they write. I have reviews for all of these books except James’s, because that will be up at SF Signal shortly. I hope to get these authors and more on my AudioTim podcast in 2013.
#10 ZOMBIE FALLOUT by Mark Tufo. I listened to the audiobook version, which is very well done. I found the main character funny and therefore was endeared to his story. The set up of surviving the first couple days of the zombie apocalypse is my favorite aspect of zombie fiction, and Mark does a terrific job. (My review.)
#9 CHIMERA by T.C. McCarthy. The final book in his Subterrene War Trilogy a nice extension of the series’s theme on warriors trying to escape war, but the main character made it hard at times to remain empathetic. (My review.)
#8 RISE OF EMPIRE by Michael J. Sullivan. The last half of this book is the best solid block of action yet for this series, but the first part was slow for me. (My review; podcast discussing Volume One, “Theft of Swords.”)
#7 THE BLACK GOD’S WAR by Moses Siregar III. An outstanding debut novel that kept me in my seat for twelve hours to finish. (My review; Video interviews: “Sympathetic Enemies,” “Unrelenting Plot,” “Magic Systems,” “Redrafting for Excellence,” and “Book 2 Growth.“) *Note, Moses just released a novella sequel to this book, THE CHILDREN OF WIND AND WOOD for $.99.
#4 SUMMER OF NIGHT by Dan Simmons. My first exposure to Dan, and a real treat I’ve been searching to experience anew. I loved the young characters–don’t usually enjoy YA pov–and just savored the reading of their adventure fighting ghosts. (My review.)
#3 THE EXPLORER by James Smythe. Found this one after being tapped by SF Signal to interview him for his January 2 release, and man do I feel fortunate to have discovered his story. Whereas the top two books on this list may have edged him out by the hair of an incisor, James’s book beat them both in grabbing me right from the first line and never letting go. The problems that he poses and the characters that face them are too interesting to put this book down. (Review and interview TBA on SF Signal.)
#2 GERMLINE by T.C. McCarthy. I have always enjoyed a military adventure, but never read a military scifi before. I saw T.C. post online that the last book in this series, Chimera, was getting special promotion before its release. I wanted to help, so I picked up his short story, “Sunshine,” and then quickly bought GERMLINE, and was hooked. GERMLINE was so good, I couldn’t enjoy any other book until I got the second, EXOGENE. T.C. has an amazing knack for putting you in the mind of someone losing theirs in the midst of war. I’m almost mad at Hugh for making me put this book at Number Two. (My review; Podcast interview on SF Signal Podcast.)
#1 WOOL OMNIBUS by Hugh Howey. Not just the best book of 2012, but the best book I’ve ever read. There’s just something about the twists, the emotional attachment, and the fascinating post-apocalyptic silo survival setting that really pulled me in. Everything else was put on hold from the minute I opened this book. Hugh has gone on to sign major book and movie deals, and as a thank you to his readers, is giving the first part, (the original novelette), Wool, for free. (My review; Podcast interviews: AudioTim 32 “Wool Omnibus”; 33 “Indie Publishing”)