Friday, December 05, 2014

Battle of the 2014 Books, Bracket One

Announcing Bracket One of the Fantastic Reviews Battle of the 2014 Books!

We started the Battle of the Books at the Fantastic Reviews Blog as a fun way to try to keep up with the great volume of review copies we were receiving. (For more about why we started the Battle of the Books, click here. For all the rules, click here.)

The good news is we've done seven brackets so far, discussing over 100 books. We've had a lot of fun and gotten some great feedback from the authors both here and at Twitter and other social media.

The bad news is we have definitely not kept up with all the review copies flowing in. Real life got in our way. I, Aaron, the primary reviewer at Fantastic Reviews, had some personal issues that kept me out of a reviewing frame of mind for quite some time. (They also kept me from writing much fiction, but check it out -- I have a story coming out soon in F&SF!) A huge thank you to Amy for filling in for me while I was on hiatus (even as she was dealing with her own, totally separate, personal issues). Now I'm back and energized, and we're ready to take on the mountain of books we've accumulated.

In a valiant (please don't say hopeless) attempt to catch up, we're going to alternate between brackets of the new books we're receiving and brackets of the 2012 and 2013 books that we didn't already cover. Starting with our first bracket of 2014 titles.

Our first Battle of the 2014 Books will feature 16 contenders from 2014. We've selected four "seeded" books that I'm especially looking forward to (marked with asterisks), placed one in each quarter of the bracket, then filled out the rest of the bracket randomly. Here are your matchups:

First Quarter of Bracket:

Elspeth Cooper
Raven's Shadow
Ian McDonald
Empress of the Sun***

Mark Smylie
The Barrow
Brian Staveley
The Emperor’s Blades

Second Quarter of Bracket

Chris Willrich
The Dagger of Trust
Jo Walton
What Makes This Book So Great

Jeff VanderMeer
(Farrar, Straus & Giroux)
L.F. Patten
The Talent Sinistral
(Stone Dagger)

Third Quarter of Bracket:

Brian Herbert & Kevin J. Anderson
Mentats of Dune
Cecil Castellucci
Tin Star
(Roaring Brook)

Nick Mamatas
The Last Weekend
(PS Publishing)
Glen Hirshberg
Motherless Child***

Fourth Quarter of Bracket:

Snorri Kristjansson
Swords of Good Men
(Jo Fletcher)
Patrick MacAdoo
Damn Zombies
(Severed Press)

Brandon Sanderson
Words of Radiance***
Mandy Hager
Into the Wilderness

To see the whole bracket, click here.

Some notes on the field:

-- Classifying books before you read them is tricky, but I'd guess this bracket features 7 fantasies, 5 science fiction novels (3 of them targeted at the YA market), 3 horror novels, and 1 non-fiction book.

-- I believe 11 books are by men and 5 by women.

-- It looks like 6 of the books continue an existing series, 5 are the first volume in a new series, and 5 are stand-alones.

-- 6 books come to us from Tor, 3 from Pyr, and 1 each from Farrar Straus Giroux, Jo Fletcher, Paizo, PS Publishing, Roaring Brook, Severed Press, and Stone Dagger.

Good luck to all our contenders! Let the new bracket of book battles begin!

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