I’m Mazarkis Williams, one of Night Shade’s new voices and author of The Emperor’s Knife, a tale of courtly intrigue and insidious magic. While writing it, I hoped to end with the kind of book I like to read—one with decent prose, interesting characters, a solid world, and meaningful themes. It is up to my readers to decide whether I succeeded in those goals, but late one September night, after typing in my final sentence and feeling a rush of euphoria, I felt that I had.
Having set my criteria, I should find it simple to choose my favorite book of the past year. Instead I find it impossibly difficult. We all know that our reading preferences can be subjective, not only from person to person, but also within one’s self with changing moods and circumstance. Only time can show us which books transcend, which books continue to appeal regardless of our changing experience.
In simpler terms, I can’t choose, not yet.
There are authors I learned from this year. Carol Berg surprised me with her authorial sleight-of-hand in The Spirit Lens and The Soul Mirror. Mark Lawrence wowed me with his elegant prose in Prince of Thorns. J.V. Jones continued her amazing worldbuilding with Watcher of the Dead, and in The Cloud Roads, Martha Wells built a whole new species out of words and imagination. To these things I aspire.
Debuts surprised me (and seem to have surprised everyone): Miserere, The Whitefire Crossing, Among Thieves, The Winds of Khalakovo. I got some books I’d been waiting for, and read them too fast and greedily: Wise Man’s Fear. A Dance with Dragons.Read More...