This entry of The Hippogriff Awards focuses on my favorite books in which the versions I read were published in 2018. 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 2018
1. tie: The Traitor God – Cameron Johnston, and Senlin Ascends – Josiah Bancroft
3.The Grey Bastards – Jonathon French
4. The Silver Sorceress – Alec Hutson
5. Port of Shadows – Glen Cook
This was a difficult choice and I agonized for a few days between who should get first place and who should come in second. Senlin Ascends had a classic feel and was full of wondrous moments; The Traitor God was an action-packed thrill-ride. Different styles for each, but both were amazing – there’s really no right or wrong answer here, in my opinion. Hence a tie for Book of the Year between the two.
Best Plot: Senlin Ascends
A brilliant, amazing story not only carried by strong characterization, but also the wonderful plot of Thomas Senlin searching for his wife in a strange place.
Best Plot Twist: The Grey Bastards
Without giving away any spoilers, I’ll simply say that the story careened in directions I didn’t see coming, but the biggest involved a character that was pretending to be something she wasn’t.
Best Emotional Moment: The Grey Bastards
The loss of a supporting character was a very sad moment…while it was not an enjoyable moment, it was the best in terms of soliciting an emotional response from me.
Best Action Sequence: The Traitor God
There are several amazing sequences here to choose from…but the best is probably the battle for the city near the end of the book.
Best Hero/Heroine: Senlin Ascends (Thomas Senlin)
I picked Senlin because of the courage, ingenuity and resilience he displays as he moves through the Tower. Edrin Walker from The Traitor God was a very, very close second due to his dark and complex depth of character.
Best Supporting Character: The Silver Sorceress (Jan)
I really enjoyed learning more about Jan’s backstory.
Best Villain: The Traitor God
Revealing the villains of The Traitor God would spoil the story. You’ll just have to take my word for it when I say that they were pretty awesome.
Best Setting: Senlin Ascends
The Tower of Babel is an incredibly imaginative setting. The different levels of the Tower, the steampunk-like features, airships, mysterious power sources – it was all very intriguing.
Best Worldbuilding: The Silver Sorceress
Alec Hutson’s world continues to be a joy to discover.
Best Names/Languages: The Silver Sorceress
There’s not much separating The Silver Sorceress from the other entries, but it is enough to take this award.
Best Magic Item: The Traitor God (Lust, the War Machine)
The gigantic metal statue that is really a magical war machine is one of the best magic items ever conceived.
Best Magic System: The Traitor God
Cameron Johnston’s system seemed to be the most coherent and logical of all the entries.
Best Evil Creature/Monster/Beast: The Traitor God (Magash Mora)
The Cthulu-inspired creature was pretty amazing.
Best Non-human race: The Grey Bastards (half-orcs)
The book revolves around a half-orc society, and Jonathon French has put a lot of time and thought into developing the culture that it seems totally believable.
Best Ending: The Traitor God
A massive battle featuring a gigantic, building-swallowing Cthulu-like creature, giant magical war machines, a magical dagger, and a couple of big reveals make this an easy choice for me.
Best Cover: The Traitor God
Jan Weßbecher’s cover is incredible!