Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Best of the Best 2010

This year I continued shifting this site more and more towards reviews and commentary and less and less about my illustration work. I did reviews for a number of sites and publishers but the lion's share of my reviews were for Black Library. This year I reviewed lots of books, some games, and ran some opinion pieces on publishing and art. The following are my picks for Best of the Best for 2010:

Best Sci-Fi Novel:

SOUL HUNTER by Aaron Dembski-Bowden.
Black Library, March 2010
Released in March and it still sits on top of the heap (with some close company*). SOUL HUNTER I feel made the single largest impact on my reading, perceptions and assumptions about how Warhammer 40k Stories are told, especially regarding Chaos Space Marines.
*Honourable Mentions: A Thousand Sons by Graham McNeill, Prospero Burns by Dan Abnett, Path of the Warrior by Gav Thorpe, Firedrake by Nick Kyme, The First Heretic by Aaron Dembski-Bowden, Crosscurrent, Paul S. Kemp (Del Rey/ Spectra).

Best Fantasy Novel: 

SWORD OF JUSTICE by Chris Wraight.
Black Library, July 2010
Chris Wraight again blew me away with his ability to characterize big named characters as well as keep "the little people" interesting. Wonderful plot, great twists, and a story anyone could get in to and enjoy. Turned Ludwig Schwartzhelm and Kurt Hellborg in to realistic, breathing fallible characters. Bravo!
Honourable Mentions: Grimblades by Nick Kyme, Prince of Wolves by Dave Gross (Paizo), The Crown of The Blood by Gav Thorpe (Angry Robot), The Shadow King by Gav Thorpe. Triumff by Dan Abnett (Angry Robot).

Best Cover Art:

Path of the Warrior by Gav Thorpe, art by Neil Roberts

Enforcer by Matthew Farrer, art by Marek Okon
The Erevis Cale Trilogy by Paul S. Kemp, art by Raymond Swanland
Aenarion by Gav Thorpe, art by Jon Sullivan

Sword of Justice by Chris Wraight, art by Cheoljoo Lee

Best Editor of 2010:
We usually don't get to see who the editor is for most novels, so unfortunately we have no real way of knowing who does what, recommends X or Y, how much guidance or help an editor gives an author, etc. The only real time we see this is in the anthologies and this year we've had several good ones.
Christian Dunn, Black Library is responsible for gathering the best talent and getting books edited and off to press. When editors aren't sorting out grammar, plot and pacing issues, they are herding cats trying to get those bloody authors to get their work in on time. Editors are the unsung heroes of any publisher.
Honourable Mentions: Nick Kyme, Lindsay Priestley.

Best Author 2010:
Nick Kyme, Black Library.
While none of Mr. Kyme's novels hit the #1 spot in my categories, he was easily neck and neck in the #2 spot in every category applicable to him. An editor cum novelist Nick has been a powerhouse: cranking out quality after quality, top shelf books every time. His consistency is amazing. His previous works on the Dwarfs are stellar, and his current work on Grimblades, and both Salamanders novels (and an audiobook) are amazing.
Honourable Mentions: Aaron Dembski-Bowden, Dan Abnett, Gav Thorpe, Graham McNeill, Paul S. Kemp, Chris Wraight.

I'd like to take a moment to thank all the above-listed folks as well as the MANY others who have written, edited, drawn and painted this year's novels (and respective covers). I read a LOT of really great material and you make people's lives more exciting. You bring stories to life. Thank you all! 

Best wishes for you in 2011!

Jeff Preston
Reviewer: The Emperyan.

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