With 2017 drawing to a close, I thought it would be fun to look back on everything I read this past year and have my own personal awards ceremony! For the back story of these awards, check out this link to see how some of my fellow WordPressers inspired this post.
While compiling the nominees below I considered only books I reviewed within the 2017 calendar year, regardless of when they were actually published. I love to read, but simply don’t have the time to keep up with new releases and work on my TBR pile at the same time. I also apparently read a lot of series this past year, so I limited myself to one character per universe for each category.
And so, without further ado, the nominees and winners of my 2017 best in books awards!
Best Leading Male Character
Captain Francis Crozier (The Terror, by Dan Simmons): The grim, hard-drinking captain of the HMS Terror, he was a really interesting figure in that he had a dual identity as both an outsider (an Irishman in the English Navy) and as a person in a position of power (ship’s captain and second in command of an artic expedition). His combination of skill and determination is one of the main forces holding his doomed crew together in the face of extreme Arctic elements and attacks by an elusive monster.
Kaladin Stormblessed (Stormlight Archive, by Brandon Sanderson): One the main heroes of the Stormlight Archive, Kaladin is an honorable man who in the course of standing up for what he believes is right discovers that he possesses some rather extraordinary powers.
Waxillium Ladrian (Mistborn, Era 2, by Brandon Sanderson): After spending years as the Scadrian equivalent of a Wild West lawman, Wax eventually returns home to inherit his family’s holdings. Old habits die-hard, however, and it’s not long before he starts investigating a powerful criminal organization.
WINNER: Kaladin Stormblessed. He’s probably my favorite character of the last few years as well. Not only does he have some really cool powers and fighting skill, he’s also a rather complex individual. His relationship with Syl, a fairy-like creature that has befriended him, is both fascinating and endearing to watch as she pushes him to focus on his more heroic and honorable tendencies as a means to overcome both his anger and depression.
Best Leading Female Character
Vin (Mistborn, Era 1, by Brandon Sanderson): The heroine of the first era Mistborn novels, Vin rises from humble beginnings into a powerful, confident, and formidable young woman over the course of the trilogy.
Kiva Lagos (Collapsing Empire, by Jonathan Scalzi): Ship captain, heir to a powerful mercantile family, and unstoppable force of nature, Kiva has both a vocabulary and a lifestyle that would make a space pirate blush and really couldn’t give two [bothers] about what anyone might think of that. It was certainly a joy watching her power her way through this novel.
Zan (The Stars are Legion, by Kameron Hurley): The gritty star of this novel, Zan battles everything from memory loss, an invading army, and a whole host of strange creatures in her quest to fulfill what she hopes is the realization of a forgotten dream.
WINNER: Zan. This category was Zan’s before I even finalized the rest of the nominees. In my review of The Stars are Legion, I used words like brutal, intense, and uncomfortable to describe a lot of the action and arguably no one in that story had a tougher journey than Zan. Heck, she spent a good portion of the book literally cutting her way through the innards of a living planet from the bowels on up and that only begins to touch upon the deaths, betrayal, and personal trauma she had to deal with. That she faced down all of this in an unflinching display of raw strength and determination made her my no doubt choice despite some serious competition in this category. I can’t readily think of any character I’ve ever come across that would top her in this regard.
Best Supporting Male Character
Wayne (Mistborn, Era 2, by Brandon Sanderson): Wax’s trusty sidekick, Wayne brings his own unique charm to series and also introduces the reader to one of the really cool new abilities featured in the second era Mistborn universe.
Wit (Stormlight Archive, by Brandon Sanderson): He’s really just here as an honorable mention, but I couldn’t leave him off. He’s one of the most intriguing characters I’ve come across so far, offering up a mix of vital information and amusing word games.
Amos Burton (The Expanse, by James S.A. Corey): The enforcer/strongman with a heart of gold – provided you’re on his side. Amos has been consistently one of the more interesting characters in the Expanse universe thus far.
WINNER: Wayne. From his philosophy on hats to his exceptionally liberal views on trading possessions Wayne’s personality quirks really gave the second era Mistborn books their own distinct feeling. That he also happens to be a solid partner with some pretty interesting powers of his own makes him the clear front-runner in this category.
Best Supporting Female Character
Chrisjen Avasarala (The Expanse, by James S.A. Corey): The tough as nails Indian grandmother who also happens to be one of the most powerful and influential individuals in the solar system.
Lift (Stormlight Archive, by Brandon Sanderson): An irreverent, young street urchin who revels in her ability to “become awesome.” Frequently uses her powers to acquire free meals.
Steris Harms (Mistborn, Era 2, by Brandon Sanderson): Though present in all three second era Mistborn novels, it was really her standout performance in Bands of Mourning that got her this nomination. She’s a bit different than the rest of this year’s nominees in that she doesn’t have a commanding personality or abundance of physical strength; instead she relies upon her (often overly) analytical mind and careful planning to get ahead.
WINNER: Chrisjen Avasarala. Her ability to get things done is surpassed only by her ability to offer up such fantastic quotes as: “The generals. They’re all fucking men…I don’t mean that they all fuck men, I mean they’re all men, the fuckers.” and “My life has become a single, ongoing revelation that I haven’t been cynical enough.” She’s easily the highlight of this series for me.
Well, that wraps up this year’s awards. I’ll look to do this again next year, perhaps with a few more categories. Since this is also my final post of 2017, I want to wish everyone a safe and happy New Year! See you all in 2018.