In 2015, there were so many anticipated releases such as Go Set a Watchmen, Girl on a train and too many colouring books to count, yet I wanted to discover more this year. I didn't want to stick to the top ten list. In my travels, I came across an abundance of brilliant novels and authors and I hope to find many more in 2016.
Here are my favourite author finds from 2015.
My first encounter was by accident, and quite frankly, it was a great accident. The Machine will change your life. (Read my review of The Machine here.) It will change the way you think about reading. Once I had finished it, I passed it on to many and was astounded that the one consistent comment that came with the book's return was, 'I felt hot'. After reading The Machine, I took on The Explorer & The Echo. I have never felt as claustrophobic as I did while reading these novels. When I was a kid, I wanted to be an astronaut. Okay, I still do, or did. I'm not sure I could head out into space thanks to James Smythe.
This is exactly why reading James Smythe will change the way you think about reading - and writing for that matter. If a writer can evoke that much from the reader; if they can make the reader feel physically hot, claustrophobic or alone, then they have done their job.
Smythe's characters are unique. Captivating. I'll never forget turning each page of The Machine, pining for the protagonist even though she was playing god. Even though I knew she was destined for failure. Perhaps science fiction is not for all, however there is no denying Smythe is an outstanding writer and you will benefit from indulging into his dark tales.
My follow up novel, In Shadows Waiting, is a supernaturally inspired story that you can't read without checking over your shoulder every time you hear a creak in the floorboards. Although it is a much different concept to Timeshaft, Bint's signature keep-you-guessing story line was there. In Shadows Waiting was goose-bump worthy, and one I've recommended to many others.
If I could pick one thing I love about Bint's novels, it would be his ability to layer his story lines, capturing the reader form the opening pages. His writing style is fast paced and exciting. Never is there a dull moment. Each story has a cast of characters, all with their own traits and backstories, making his novels a refreshing addition to your reading list.
TOSOE is visually beautiful, and in fact, it was Ikin's illustrations that captured my eye to begin with. However there is something just as beautiful, if not magical, within the story also. The characters are fabulously detailed, all with their own quirks and imagination. Reading TOSOE is like a step back to your childhood. It's a modern day fairly tale with a twist, and you're going to love it.
What really makes this novel special, is Ikin's absolute dedication to bring the world of the book to life. For lovers of the story, you can scan over a detailed map of the magical land of Mare-Marie on Ikin's website, a stunning addition to an already detailed novel.
Ikin has built up a magical world that captures your imagination and brings the characters to life. Jumping from world to world, each chapter is another exciting advancement in the story of Eve. Ikin has big hopes for Eve, and so do I. (Read my interview with Paul Ikin here.)
L.T Vargus and Tim McBain have created an amazing sub-conscience world that you will never forget, yet it's more than that. The Awake in the Dark series is one of a kind. You could almost read this series without feeling that there is ever a serious moment, and suddenly, you'll feel tremense heart ache for the lead character because, frankly, you can relate to him.
This is what is so refreshing about the writing style of McBain and Vargus. They have a knack of making you laugh and cry all at once. The Awake in the Dark series is full of witty one liners and the best protagonist inner monologue in a long time. Additionally, Grobnagger develops within the story. He grows up, learns lessons and finds himself.
This series will make you laugh out loud no matter where you are. It will make you think twice about grilled cheese. Most of all, you won't regret reading this series.