Back in April I started a Book of the Month feature on The Book Zone whereby at the end of each month I would name a book released in that month that I had enjoyed over all the others. I managed to stick to this, without ever cheating and naming more than one book, the idea being that it would make choosing a book of the year much easier. However, as I started doing this in April for some reason I never went back and named my top books for January to March, and so here, some of them for the first time, are all of my top books of 2010:
January - When I Was Joe by Keren David
February - Zero Moment by M.G. Harris
March - Witchfinder: Dawn of the Demontide by William Hussey
April - Mortlock by Jon Mayhew
May - Wintercraft by Jenna Burtenshaw
June - Hattori Hachi: Stalking The Enemy by Jane Prowse
July - Dark Goddess by Sarwat Chadda
August - Raggy Maggie by Barry Hutchison
September - Trash by Andy Mulligan
October - The Dark by David Gatward
November - The Mourning Emporium by Michell Lovric
And the Book Zone Book of the Month for December is Mythical 9th Division: Terror of the Deep by Alex Milway. I love his two yeti books so much and I have given copies to a number of appropriately aged boys as Christmas presents this year. Early reports suggest that they are going down a storm with the 7/8 year olds. Mission accomplished yetis!
As I mentioned at the start of this post, the original idea behind choosing a monthly favourite book was to make my decision about my Book of the Year a little easier. Looking back at these great titles (and some of the others I have read throughout the year and now a few months later seem worthy of the title - The Double-Edged Sword by Sarah Silverwood and Behemoth by Scott Westerfeld certainly now feel like they should have been in there) I wonder whether I have just made life even more difficult as choosing from those twelve feels like a mighty task. However, I promised myself back in April that I would name a Book of the Year and it is.........................
Dark Goddess by Sarwat Chadda.
I really, really love Sarwat's writing: in Billi SanGreal he has created a character that should she ever appear on the big screen could, in my opinion, become a truly worthy successor to Buffy's crown as Queen of the Monster Fighters. I am fascinated by the amount of detail Sarwat puts into his stories, and the time he spends on researching his material is very evident. But he doesn't just take old folk tales and rehash them, he puts his own mark on them completely (I believe I called it the Chadda Twist back June when I reviewed the book). When can we expect to see the big screen version? Or action figures? Or at the very least a graphic novel of the series? Please?!
I have had the pleasure of meeting Sarwat a couple of times and I am sure there are few authors of Young Adult books out there who are as tireless as he is at promoting the reading of good horror writing. 2010 saw the creation of The Chainsaw Gang (masterminded by Mr Chadda), bringing together some of the best talent in YA horror in the UK, and I am sure there is much more to come in 2011. Perhaps world domination?! I do not know whether Sarwat has plans to release a third book in the series in 2011 but if he does I will be elbowing my way to the front of the queue for a copy.