This entry of The Hippogriff Awards focuses on my favorite books published in 2016. Below are my Top 5 favorite books of that year, and then my awards, with an explanation of the reasoning behind each choice.
HIPPOGRIFF’S TOP 5 BOOKS OF 2016
1. The Shadow of What Was Lost – James Islington
2. The Crimson Queen – Alec Hutson
3. The Black Shriving – Phil Tucker
4. The Path of Flames – Phil Tucker
5. The Bands of Mourning – Brandon Sanderson
Best Plot: The Shadow of What Was Lost
I really enjoyed multiple aspects of this story, including time travel, the Shadows, world-building, strong characterization, trying to figure out who is really the bad guy…the story captured my top spot for the year.
Best Plot Twist: The Shadow of What Was Lost
Great plot twists regarding Caedon, Wirr’s father, and Taeris Sarr.
Best Emotional Moment: The Path of Flames
As I said in my review: “There is a scene near the end between Wyland and Asho that is fantastic and hit home for me…sometimes all you need is for one person to believe in you in order to become something greater. I loved it.“
Best Action Sequence: The Bands of Mourning
Sometimes the action sequences can be hard to follow, but a battle on a train, a warehouse firefight and a mountain fortress conflict were all superb.
Best Hero/Heroine: The Shadow of What Was Lost (Asha)
Asha was easily my top choice as her character evolves from an innocent girl to a brave young woman who becomes key to the plot. Iskra in The Black Shriving is very deserving of runner-up status.
Best Supporting Character: The Bands of Mourning (Steris)
Once again, to cite my review: “Every scene featuring Steris (and there are a lot more of them here) is among the best in the book.“
Best Villain: The Black Shriving (demon lord)
The demon lord creature was like something out of a video game – truly evil, powerful and very nasty.
Best Setting: The Black Shriving
From the flying city of Stardakr to the Black Gate, from the courts of the Agerasterians to the cave of the Medusa, The Black Shriving is loaded with imaginative settings.
Best Worldbuilding: The Crimson Queen
Although The Shadow of What Was Lost makes this close, I thought the worldbuilding in The Crimson Queen was excellent.
Best Names/Languages: The Shadow of What Was Lost
The Shadow of What Was Lost doesn’t stand out as much as it should in this category, but it is still the best of this year’s bunch.
Best Magic Item: The Path of Flames (circlet)
When Tharok puts on the circlet, he becomes something completely different. The circlet plays a much bigger role in The Black Shriving (which is chock full of awesome items), but it is the introduction of the circlet that in my opinion had the biggest impact.
Best Magic System: The Bands of Mourning
After constantly being overshadow in my previous awards by Jim Hines’ Libriomancer system, Sanderson’s Allomancy gets its due and takes this year’s award.
Best Evil Creature/Monster/Beast: The Path of Flames (demon)
While I’ve certainly had my fill of demons over the years, Tucker’s menacing, 30 foot tall faceless demon certainly captivated me. Hutson’s temple spiders in The Crimson Queen get an honorable mention.
Best Non-human race: The Bands of Mourning (Kandra)
Although more prominent in previous Mistborn installments, the Kandra MeLaan is fun and clever.
Best Ending: The Crimson Queen
An epic battle that leaves many characters battered, and an ancient evil unleashed, is my choice for best ending.
Best Cover: The Crimson Queen
Although I liked the cover of the original release, the re-designed cover art of The Crimson Queen earns it top honors, with the beautiful simplicity of The Shadow of What Was Lost coming in second place.