By now, you are probably sick of end of the year lists. Good, now it is time for What’s Worth Your Time’s awards. First up – Book of the Year. The rules are simple, I must have finished reading it in 2015 – it doesn’t matter when it was published.
Winner: The Name of the Wind (Kingkiller Chronicle #1) by Patrick Rothfuss
Rating 9.3 (Goodreads Rating: 4.55/5)
Plot: Kvothe relates the story of his remarkable life to a chronicler. He starts as a tinker’s (gypsy) son, his parents are murdered when they sing the wrong song. As an orphan, he lives on the streets until he is old enough and he joins an exclusive magic school. The title of the book comes from the magic system – when you know the true name of something, you have power over it. The wind’s true name is ever-changing (like wind itself), so to learn the name of the wind is a truly remarkable feat.
Why it won: Well-written, fast paced, interesting magic system, past events and current events are linked – we don’t know how, but we want to.
Bonus: Lionsgate bought the rights for both TV and movie. It will translate well to the screen.
Runner-Up: The Way of Kings (Stormlight Archive #1) by Brandon Sanderson
Rating: 9 (Goodreads 4.62/5)
Why it didn’t win: Until I read The Name of the Wind, it was the best book I had read in a couple years. It probably would have won last year, but the magic system is too similar to his Mistborn series [one caveat, that might bump this up – it is hypothesized that all his books are inter-related and that they all just take place on different planets (he has a sci-fi series or two out there.)]
Honorable Mention: The Wise Man’s Fear (Kingkiller Chronicle #2) Rating: 8.9 (Goodreads: 4.56/5) Why it didn’t win: The sequel to the book of the year, but it had digression upon digression, each digression a couple hundred pages, so it was probably 400 pages too long.
Words of Radiance (Stormlight Archive #2) Rating 8.8 (Goodreads: 4.76/5). Why it didn’t win: Every bit as good as The Way of Kings, but I didn’t like the focus character as much.
Dishonorable Mention: Wizard’s First Rule (Sword of Truth #1) by Terry Goodkind Rating: 3.0 (Goodreads: 4.12/5) Why I didn’t like it: Horribly written, contradicted itself in the first 100 pages, also already saw the TV series The Legend of the Seeker
The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Neffenegger Rating: 4.5 (Goodreads 3.93/5) Why I didn’t like it: Questionable logic, confusing POV’s, storylines unanswered. Full review here.
It was a tough year to crack into even the honorable mention list, with #4 rating a startling 8.8. Not making this year’s cut is Joe Abercrombie’s First Law Book 1 – The Blade Itself, but easily could have made the list. Next year may also be a difficult year. Abercrombie’s First Law series, highly regarded Robin Hobb’s Farseer trilogy, and a Brandon Sanderson book are all sitting in my queue for 2016. Not to mention I have been eyeing Steven Erikson’s Malazan Book of the Fallen series – though that has very mixed reviews with a love it or hate it reputation.