Tuesday, 18 December 2012

The Book Zone Book of the Year 2012

It is that time of year again where I decide upon my favourite books of 2012 and announce The Book Zone Book of the Year 2012. And what a fantastic year it has been for books! In the past I have helped myself with this post by having a book of the month, or by looking back through my reviews of the year and using these to decide which was my favourite book for each of the months. However, I knew by March that this was not going to be the way forward for this year, as there were simply so many amazing reads being published. However, I have been keeping a list throughout the year of the books that have I have really, really enjoyed, or have blown my mind by being totally amazing. So in no particular order, apart from the final Book of the Year, these are my top reads of 2012:

The Fury by Alexander Gordon Smith

Another truly brilliant book from one of my favourite YA horror authors of recent years. Smith’s Escape From Furnace series should be required reading for any horror loving young adults, and with The Fury he showed that he was no one trick pony, and nor was the brilliance of Furnace a fluke. The Fury. Pace, characters, fear-factor – The Fury ticks the boxes in every aspect.

Department 19: The Rising by Will Hill

I suggested in my review of The Rising that it was a forerunner for my Book of the Year 2012, and that Will Hill had set the bar very high indeed. And I read this back in December 2011! It is still probably my favourite book of the year, but I have decided to set a small rule for The Book Zone Book of the Year: it cannot be ‘won’ by the same author in two consecutive years, with books from the same series. So sorry Will, maybe next year? That aside, I don’t think I need to say any more about this book that has not already been said, and not just by me. My reviews of the books, and my posts about the book covers, continue to be amongst the most viewed posts on my blog.

The 13th Horseman by Barry Hutchison

In 2013 we not saw the publication of the final two instalments in Barry’s brilliant Invisible Fiends series, but also the release of the first book in his Afterworlds series. And it was fantastic. Great characters and page after page of laugh-out-loud moments make The 13th Horseman the closest thing we have seen to Terry Pratchett for kids (apart from the small handful of children’s books that the great man himself has written). Watch out for The Book of Doom, coming from Barry in 2013.

Ash Mistry and the Savage Fortress by Sarwat Chadda

A previous winner of The Book Zone Book of the Year (way back in 2010) with his awesome Dark Goddess, this time around we saw Sarwat writing for a slightly younger audience, whilst also proving that Rick Riordan no longer holds the monopoly on writing exciting, brilliant myth based stories. I stated in my review back in February that this was possibly one of the most important books to be released in 1012, and I stand by that statement. Finally, we have a British Asian action hero! And the story is pretty damn fine as well!

Oblivion (The Power of Five) by Anthony Horowitz

We had to wait a long time for this one, but when it arrived it was certainly worth the wait. A jaw-droppingly good ending to one of my all-time favourite series of books. When does Mr Horowitz get his knighthood?

The Terrible Thing That Happened To Barnaby Brocket by John Boyne

This book was another leading contender for my Book of the Year, and if you haven’t read it yet then make it a priority over the holiday period. If you’re a kid it is a brilliant and funny adventure story. If you’re an adult, it is an uplifting tale of a boy who is different, and how he overcomes the prejudices he faces because he does not meet society’s ideals of what constitutes being normal. It will definitely make you laugh; it will probably make you cry.

Zom-B by Darren Shan

In a world that has gone zombie crazy over the past couple of years, Darren Shan completely re-writes the rule book with this book. Not only is this brilliant horror writing, it is brilliant writing period. And then there is that jaw-dropping twist towards the end of the story that has had reviewers cursing, and Shan fans around the world applauding Darren for his audaciousness and trickery.

Unrest by Michelle Harrison

Proving that she has far more in her repertoire than fairies, Michelle Harrison delivered this terrifying ghost story that shows that there is far more to horror than blood splatter. Michelle wrote the story in the first person voice of a male teenager, and she absolutely nailed it. I said in my review at the time that this would be the ghost story to beat in 2012, and I haven’t read another one that has (beaten it, I mean).

Bzrk by Michael Grant

No other book messed with my mind as much as Bzrk did, and at the time I suggested that it was almost un-reviewable. It is the kind of book that has to be read to be believed, and I loved the way it made me feel uncomfortable with its blurring of the lines between good and evil. And that speech by Bug Man……. !

Whispers Under Ground by Ben Aaronovitch

I have read more adult books this year than in the previous years since I started this blog, and two stand out from the crowd. The first is this brilliant third book in Ben Aaronovitch’s superb London-set urban fantasy series. Mr A continues to raise his game with each new book that he writes, I loved this one even more than its predecessors.

Jack Glass by Adam Roberts

I don’t read a great deal of space-based science fiction, and even less written for the adult market, but given that I work with Adam’s wife and had never read one of his books I thought I would give this a try. It is part science fiction, part mystery story, and I loved it from beginning to end. I have not yet posted my review of Jack Glass, as every time I come to write it I don’t seem to be able to get the words onto the screen in a way that does the book justice, but I aim to have the review up before the end of the year.

And so we come to The Book Zone Book of the Year:

In the words of Connor MacLeod (of the Clan MacLeod, no less) there can be only one, and so it is with The Book Zone Book of the Year. This year’s winner completely blew my mind. It is an urban fantasy story written with a lyricism that is so rarely seen in YA books. I have the greatest pleasure in announcing that my Book of the Year for 2012 is……. (cue cliched drum roll)
(drum still rolling).


The City’s Son by Tom Pollock

Tom Pollock’s imagination knows few equals, and it made me look at London, and ever city I have found myself in since reading it, in a very different way. I have been thrusting this into teen hands all year, and have also bought it as a present for a number of adult friends. Few books have moved me to tears this year, but there were a couple of scenes in this one that did just that. The sequel, The Glass Republic, is due out in August in 2013, and I have very high expectations. No pressure Tom!


  1. Really interesting which ones you picked out - 13th Horseman is, you're right, absolutely AMAZING. I really need to get round to reading Will Hill though.

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