This entry of Hippogriff Awards focus on my favorite books published in 2013. 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 2013
1. Codex Born – Jim C. Hines
2. The Rose and the Thorn – Michael J. Sullivan
3. House of Blades – Will Wight
4. A Memory of Light – Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson
5. Slither – Joseph Delaney
Best Plot: The Rose and the Thorn
Since I’m reading the prequels before original trilogy, my absence of any knowledge of subsequent events, combined with multiple plot threads and unpredictability makes this my choice for best plot.
Best Plot Twist: House of Blades
The clever twists that Wight reveals at the end of the book not only fits some missing pieces into place, but also took the story in a direction I wasn’t expecting.
Best Emotional Moment: A Memory of Light
To quote my review: “There were moments of intense grief. After finishing page 795, I had to stop reading as the tears just kept rolling down my face. A character who I had grown to love as my favorite was gone.” It doesn’t get more emotional than that.
Best Action Sequence: Codex Born
Despite its slow start, Codex Born has multiple, crazy action sequences that astound. Take your pick…
Best Hero/Heroine: The Rose and the Thorn (Rueben)
I consider Rueben more of the main character in this story, and thus he earns my vote for being such a non-traditional protagonist. Slither the Kobalos was a close second.
Best Supporting Character: Codex Born (Lena)
Once again, to cite my review, “This review by the Little Red Reviewer explains far better than I could why Lena is one of the most complex characters ever written, and is really the star of the show here.“
Best Villain: House of Blades (Overlord Malachai)
For a villain with depth, I turn to this quote in my review: “Overlord Malachai is described as vain and lazy, and his methods for obtaining sacrifices are unnecessarily brutal. Yet he loves his family, and in the face of death thinks of the future of the kingdom and how Simon will be an asset.“
Best Setting: A Memory of Light
After 13 Wheel of Time books, the setting of the Last Battle in the 14th book is incredible.
Best Worldbuilding: A Memory of Light
Jordan’s world, despite its flaws, is simply amazing.
Best Names/Languages: Slither
This award easily goes to Delaney’s imaginative culture of the Kobalos.
Best Magic Item: Slither (Kangadon)
It was pretty cool to read about Kangadon, the Lance That Cannot Be Broken, forged by Olkie, the four-armed, brass-toothed god of the Kobalos.
Best Magic System: Codex Born
Just like Libriomancer, Hines’ magic system is probably the greatest ever created, and in Codex Born he even introduced a new form of it.
Best Evil Creature/Monster/Beast: Slither (Haggenbrood)
This was a close call between the Haggenbrood, the grotesque, three part creature with a hive mind that Slither is forced to fight in arena combat, and the various Dungeons and Dragons creatures (not to mention Frankenstein’s Monster!) running rampant in Codex Born, but I gave a slight edge to Delaney’s wild imagination.
Best Non-human race: Slither (Kobalos)
Delaney’s Kobalos are incredibly detailed and he explores their entire culture. Wight’s race called the Nye, a group of oriental/anime-inspired cloaked beings that train people on swordfighting, was simply awesome, but the depth devoted to the Kobalos just barely beats the Nye for this award.
Best Ending: The Rose and the Thorn
The bittersweet ending, to quote my review, and from which the book derives its title: “from out of bad can come good, but the cost incurred is not forgotten.“
Best Cover: A Memory of Light
I was tempted to pick Codex Born for the depiction of Lena on the cover, but in the end it’s tough to vote against Michael Whelan.