Yearly review Round-up 2013

Only two weeks still remain of 2013 and well, what an eventful year it has been! Looking back on it a lot of things happened, both for the better and yes, also for the worse, but hey thats life it has its up and downs. Lets leave it at that and reflect solely on the books, it's the main reason you are probably reading this post. In terms of books, 2013 has been an amazing year, a lot of good titles have passed in more than enough genres. I tried to read a lot of them, but it always seems that time is your worst enemy. Simply there isn't enough time to get down to every book I wanted to read, I still got quite a TBR pile in the corner of the living room that I hope to tackle soon. In April I made the decision to fully let The Book Plank lift of it's own feet, before this I was a reviewer for Fantasy Book Review. However since then, this blog has gathered quite the attention and positive feedback: so thank you guys. I especially want to thank all the publishers and authors how have sent me and are still sending me book, I couldn't have done this without you!!

With starting this own blog I got the opportunity to quite diversify my reading habits and got asked to review titles that I would have normally avoided. Most of these books have really proven to be good stuff and just going out of your comfort zone to read that different book is a must. Only reading one genre will get you easier into a drag. Some genres that I hadn't much experience in were crime/thriller and scifi and I am still looking for interesting titles in these genres, the only thing that I haven't read this much compared to other years are selfpublished works. Mostly because it's hard to work away all the published books that I just haven't got the time on my hands to read these as well.

If I look at my Goodreads profile it's close to 160 books read this year and I think it roughly counts the amount of books that I reviewed on the blog as well, looking at the history of the blog posts it really took off around May. So probably for 2014, you can expect a lot more! Just like I did last year I will go about the different genres of the books and nominate my top 5 favourite picks of the year. Authors, if you books aren't mentioned I doesn't mean that I didn't like your book, its just that I read a lot of books!


Best Epic Fantasy
  • The Grim Company by Luke Scull, Head of Zeus
  • Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan, Orbit
  • The Thousand Names by Django Wexler, Del Rey Uk
  • Blood Song by Anthony Ryan, Orbit
  • Emperor of Thorns by Mark Lawrence, Harper Voyager

Best Urban Fantasy
  • Two Serpent's Rise by Max Gladstone, Tor
  • The Rook by Daniel O'Malley, Head of Zeus
  • Happy Hour in Hell by Tad Williams, Hodder and Stougthon
  • The Glass God by Kate Griffin, Orbit
  • Blood and Feathers: Rebellion by Lou Morgan, Solaris


Best Steampunk
  • The Aylesford Skull by James P. Blaylock, Titan
  • The Inexplicables by Cherie Priest, Tor
  • The Casebook of Newbury and Hobbes by George Mann, Titan
  • Power Under Pressure by Andrew P. Mayer, Pyr
  • The Doctor and the Roughrider by Mike Resnick, Pyr


Best Young-Adult
  • Lockwood & Co. by Jonathan Stroud, Random House Children
  • Jinx by Sage Blackwood, Quercus Kids
  • Metawars: Battle of the Immortal by Jeff Norton, Orchard Books
  • The Rithmatist by Brandon Sanderson, Tor
  • Planesrunner by Ian McDonald, Jo Fletcher Books

Best Alternate History/Historic Fantasy
  • The Sword and the Throne by Henry Venmore-Rowland, Bantam Press
  • The Far Shore by Nick Brown, Hodder and Stoughton
  • Thieves' Quarry by DB Jackson, Tor
  • The Place of Dead Kings by Geoffrey Wilson, Hodder and Stougthon
  • Irenicon by Aidan Harte, Jo Fletcher Books


Best Science Fiction
  • Love Minus Eighty by Will McIntosh, Orbit
  • Republic by Steven L. Kent, Titan
  • Ack-Ack Macaque by Gareth L. Powell, Solaris
  • Three by Jay Posey, Angry Robot Books
  • Lexicon by Max Barry, Hodder and Stougthon


Best Crime/Thriller 
  • Joyland by Stephen King, Titan
  • Reviver by Seth Patrick, Tor
  • The Mangle Street Murders by MRC Kasasian, Head of Zeus
  • The Clown Service by Guy Adams, Del Rey UK
  • Mayhem by Sarah Pinborough, Jo Fletcher Books 


Best Debut
  • Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan, Orbit
  • Swords of Good Men by Snorri Kristjansson, Jo Fletcher Books
  • Three by Jay Posey, Angry Robot Books 
  • Blood Song by Anthony Ryan, Orbit
  • The Rook by Daniel O'Malley, Head of Zeus 

Finally I wanted to give some praise to the publishers:
Jo Fletcher Books: Just last year I got wind of this SF/F publisher. Jo Fletcher is a new imprint of Quercus books that kick off with a great line up titles and is still expanding its line up in various fields of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror. I have read a few books of Jo Fletcher and the quality is there. They are definitely going in the right direction!
Titan Books: Titan Books is proving itself to be a diverse publisher. I have received books in many different genres. Steampunk, Science Fiction, Crime, Fantasy and even lately some comics and other graphic novels. Titan has an line-up that will suits everyone's needs. Moreover Titan is gathering some top titles that were only published in the USA and taking them to the UK, think of authors such as Tanya Huff, they are also rereleasing several other books such as those of Michael Crichton that he had written as John Lange
Orbit: One of the biggest publisher in both the USA and the UK. Their quality in books is just top notch, Orbit keeps on delivering interesting new titles either in ongoing series or in debuts, notable releases were Promise of Blood, Blood Song and the genre bending/breaking/smashing Love Minus Eighty. They have a great focus in the Fantasy and Science Fiction genres. have you checked out their spring catalogue? be sure to do so, a lot of good stuff coming our way!
Hodder and Stoughton: I am familiar with Hodder and Stoughton mainly due to the books of Stephen King, I read a plenty those years back, Hodder and Stougthon released their SF/F imprint Hodderscape this year and houses some amazing others, established ones like Tad Williams (one of my allll time favorites) and new ones like Daniel Polansky. Their SF/F titles are steadily expanding. I heard rumors of some pretty cool titles for 2014!
Head of Zeus: Also a new published house that was launched late 2012 early 2013 and had some interesting Fantasy titles to start with. If you look at the titles of Head of Zeus most fall in the Crime and Thriller genres. This has always been an genre of my interest and so far the books haven't disappointed me, their top material, diverse and interesting. One of the biggest releases in fantasy for 2014 for Head of Zeus will be Sword of the North by Luke Scull. Want. It. Now.!
Pyr: I think I can say that I read most of the titles that Pyr has World rights to. And well.. What can I say. Its excellent reading material and does true justice to what Pyr want to achieve "Ignite you imagination". Pyr has a great line-up in Fantasy, Science Fiction and Steampunk, they also have won various awards for their books and their editor Lou Anders. 
Solaris: Solaris is one of those publishers that on one part gives you an idea of what you might expect of the book based on the synopsis, but then throws the tables on you. Their line-up of books of 2013 were some very great titles, think of Ack-Ack Macaque. Man that book put a smile on my face and Rebellion by Lou Morgan as well. Just brilliant. When you pick up a Solaris book, you will be in for a wild ride!
Angry Robot: Angry Robot is a young Fantasy and Science Fiction imprint on the rise. For 2013 they has some solid titles that drew a lot of attention for me. Their most notable release was Three by Jay Posey. The great thing about Angry Robots is, is that they don't shy away from new talent, they publish books with a certain attitude, you either hate it or love it and if it's the former, well we don't care we have enough readers who do like it!
Tor: Besides Orbit, Tor is also one of the biggest Fantasy and Science Fiction publishers, with similarly locations in both the USA and UK. With a great reputation that they have to uphold great quality and this is exactly what they are doing. They are metting out success after success, from epic fantasy like Brandon Sanderson's Mistborn and The Stormlight Archive to Urban Fantasy like Three Parts Dead by Max Gladstone and alternate fantasy by DB Jackson.
Can you find yourself in this list? Which books did you enjoy the most? 

Cheers, 
Jasper

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All the reviews of the above mentioned books can be found on the blog. In the coming days there will feature new reviews on the blog but those I will take to the count of 2014. I just wanted to have this post done and done before the holiday's kick in and where I will be taking a short breaking from the blog but I will be back full swing the second of January! 

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