Thursday, January 1, 2009

2008 Favorite Debuts

For my best-of-the-year lists, I don't attempt to rank the books I've read. I just can't. My mind doesn't seem to get around the idea of ranking favorites. Instead, a whole double handful of books stand out in my mind for one reason or another. So my list shows which books are my favorites in various categories. The categories are not necessarily the same as last year's list.

Not all of these books were first published in 2008. But they are all debuts, so they all belong on this list.

Best Wish-I-Read-It
A Curse as Dark as Gold by Elizabeth C. Bunce
(Maybe it will end up in next year's list.)

Best Umteenth Reread
Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
(So this wasn't exactly her debut. I read at least one Jane novel a year. I spared you a review because honestly, I don't think P&P needs any more reviews.)

OK, I'll get serious. Here they are for real, my favorite reads of 2008!

Best Romance
Terry and Jodenny from The Outback Stars by Sandra McDonald
(Forbidden love between an officer and a soldier is always going to appeal to me.)

Best Surprise Romance
The Sellsword by Cam Banks
(I don't want to give it away because this romance just sort of sneaks up on you.)

Best Laugh
The Malingering Sailor scene in The Outback Stars by Sandra McDonald
(Just loved the way Jodenny handled it.)

Best Character Development Story
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
(Review forthcoming, but you had to know I'd love this one.)

Best Science Fiction Epic
Elom by William H. Drinkard
(This one is flying under the radar, but is one of my favorites of the year. My eyebrows were up in the air through the entire final third of the novel.)

Most Charming Novel
Bewitching Season by Marissa Doyle
(Sparkling with charm and adventure, this romantic novel proves that YA doesn't have to be edgy to sell.)

Best Historical Fantasy
Black Ships by Jo Graham
(Set a novel in the ancient world and I'm already interested. Add a bit of fantasy, and you've got me.)

Best Parent in a YA Novel
Dad from The Journal of Curious Letters by James Dashner
(This novel deserves a made-up category. Dad as a sidekick? It so worked for me.)

Best Mysterious Character
Hal from Across the Face of the World by Russell Kirkpatrick
(I don't know if Hal is an angel or just a lame boy, or something else entirely. I guess I'll have to read the next book to find out!)

Favorite Female Character
Jax from Grimspace by Ann Aguirre
(She had me when she "breastfed" the alien baby.)

Favorite Male Character
Eddie LaCrosse from The Sword-Edged Blonde by Alex Bledsoe
(Is there any question? I've been rhapsodizing about Eddie since I first met . . . er . . . first read about him.)

Overall Favorite Debut
The Sword-Edged Blonde by Alex Bledsoe
(I can't wait to read more Eddie LaCrosse adventures!)


ediFanoB said...

I read one book from your list. Some more are on my never ending book list.

It's no secret:
I read THE NAME OF THE WIND by PAtrick Rothfuss. And to be honest it was a great read.

Tia Nevitt said...

I just finished it mere days ago. I really enjoyed it and will be posting a lengthy "analysis" rather than a review.

Kristen said...

Love the list! Jax was one of my favorite female characters of the year too.

I'm very intrigued by Elom. Black Ships is one I must get, and I just got The Outback Stars two days ago.

Anonymous said...

This makes me painfully aware of the stacks and stacks of books I have yet to read and would love to. Happily, I have at least read Pride and Prejudice (my first time this year, actually). Maybe that's my problem. . . I've been catching up on classics like Fahrenheit 451 rather than reading debut novels this year. Hmm. Maybe more of a mix is called for this year.

Tia Nevitt said...

I spent years reading almost nothing but the classics. I loved Jane Austen, Walter Scott, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Mark Twain, John Steinbeck, Victor Hugo, Alexandre Dumas, Charles Dickens and a bunch more.

Then, I came back to genre fiction and was hopelessly behind!

I've seen a lot of books on other people's lists that I missed this year and want to read. That's why books from last year will always bleed into these lists.

Neil Richard said...

I had to go through and look for some of these titles (last year's and this year's) to see if I wanted to add them to my queue or not. Once I cut out those genres I don't really enjoy, I did find some hidden gems just waiting to be plucked. Maybe this year I'll try to finish all the books I have before getting new ones..... yeah that will happen.

Cam_Banks said...

Thanks Tia! It was kind of a surprise to me, too, when I was writing it.

Maria said...

Oooh, I love these lists. Here's mine:

I like the way you did yours with categories of "best of." Sort of tells what stood out in a good book. I see a couple on there I am going to have to look at...

Tia Nevitt said...

Cam, maybe we've gotten everyone all intrigued.

Maria, I've added yours to my list, which I'll be posting soon.

Carole McDonnell said...

Oh, I like the best parent in a YA novel category. Says wonders! -C