This year, 21 of the 36 authors I’ve read have been new-to-me authors. Of those 21, only 6 have really made a distinct impression on me. So while this is supposed to be a top ten list, it’s going to end up being a top six list, because I don’t want to just name four other authors that were only so-so for me.
Top new authors of 2014, in order of when I read them:
1. George R.R. Martin – I finally started the Song of Fire and Ice series in January this year. The first two books blew me away. While I’m not 100% sure I like Martin’s style of characterization (a lot of archetypes), I certainly spent a lot of time mulling over these books and the stories within.
2. Rainbow Rowell – I really had no desire to read Rowell’s work when everyone seemed obsessed with Eleanor & Park last year. Indeed, I still have no desire to read E&P. But last year during NaNoWriMo, Rowell wrote a really fantastic pep talk that revolved around her novel Fangirl, which sounded fantastic. So I read it, and then others (but still not E&P). I’ve grown to really love Rowell through the year, and two of her books are in my top-ten of the year.
3. Rae Carson – Coming across Carson this year was a complete fluke or a master stroke of luck. I was bored last spring, and grabbed a handful of random books off the YA shelves at my local library. One by one, I read the first few pages of these books and decided they weren’t for me. By the time I got to The Girl of Fire and Thorns, the last book in the pile, I didn’t expect much. I was blown away. The writing, the world-building, the characterization…it was all just brilliant! I adored this series and can’t wait to see what Carson comes up with next!
4. Jonathan Stroud – Another random find. Actually, to be honest I have no idea how I came across this author. I listened to the audio of The Screaming Staircase in June, but made no note at the time of how I found the audiobook. I don’t know why I grabbed it or how I came across it, but I’ve been very impressed with both of Stroud’s books I’ve read this year.
5. Edgar Cantero – Everyone was talking about this author and his debut novel, The Supernatural Enhancements, during RIP season this year. I was incredibly impressed with Cantero’s ability to surprise. I didn’t see ANY of the twists coming in this book, and I usually do. Then there was all the mysticism in this book, built from the ground up – incredibly impressive.
6. Maggie Stiefvater – I’ve been raving about Stiefvater for the last three months. It’s no surprise that she’s on here. The best part, though, is that the first time I tried to read one of her books, I gave up only a couple chapters in. Oh how times change. I adore her now, particularly the humor in her stories, and the incredibly detailed and slowly-revealed characterization. Stiefvater creates characters that feel like people instead of characters, and friendships that feel real and solid. I’ve often said that friendship seems to be an oft-neglected part of books – something I noticed only after Brandon Sanderson’s books started blowing me away – and I’m glad to find another author who puts so much emphasis on it.
Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.