Yep, it's that time of year again and I'm looking back at the best things I've read this year - let's try and do this in categories, shall we?
Science fiction: We started the year off with Lagoon by Nnedi Okorafor, a first contact novel set in Nigeria, before what might be a real contender for next year's Best Novel Hugo, the wonderful Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee. The other book which is a contender, though I know it's unlikely a middle book in a trilogy will pick up that prize, was the awesome The Obelisk Gate by NK Jemisin. Seriously, if you haven't read it (though you need to read The Fifth Season first, or else you won't understand most of what's going on or why it was a deserving winner of the Hugo for Best Novel), what are you waiting for?
Young Adult: It feels like this should be a category on its own, if only to recognise the excellence of A Gathering of Shadows by VE Schwab, another middle book of a trilogy which left me with yet another horrific cliffhanger ending. Pah. I think Archivist Wasp by Nicole Kornher-Stace gets to go in the YA category as well. Another great discovery has been Lila Bowen, whose book Wake of Vultures I loved last year and the sequel, Conspiracy ofprobably like nothing you've ever read before. And then there's also the excellent Updraft by Fran Wilde, which finally came out in paperback in the UK a couple of months ago.
Fantasy: No surprises for me in terms of the quality of City of Blades by Robert Jackson Bennett, a middle book that doesn't lag at all and which made an appearance around the same time as I was enjoying the first 'season' of serialised story Tremontaine (a prequel to Ellen Kushner's Swordspoint, which is one of my favourite books). March saw the arrival of Uprooted by Naomi Novik, which subsequently went on to win the Nebula and World Fantasy Award for Best Novel. Two books for Jen Williams in any list I make for best fantasy of this year, as she rounded off her Copper Cat trilogy with The Silver Tide and The Iron Ghost, both of which were excellent.
Graphic novels: A stunning debut this year from Unbeatable Squirrel Girl, which really surprised me with how funny and clever it was. Anyone who's been reading Saga for a while won't be surprised to see that series has carried on being both beautiful to look at and extremely thought-provoking. In terms of first books, I also need to mention The Nameless City by Faith Erin Hicks, which I finally got my hands on this month and definitely recommend.
Fewer reviews towards the end of the year, mostly because of the instability of Booklikes, so we'll see how the new year finds us...