LitStaff Pick: The Best Books We Read This Year

The Half-Made World by Felix Gilman

I read a lot of books in a year’s time. Not as many as some people I know, but way more than your average bear. Sadly, most of them don’t stand out to me, and at the end of the year, I’m left wondering, “What did I read this year?” (I really should keep track.)

So when a book does stand out to me, when I remember it specifically even months after I’ve read it (my memory and I are not on particularly good terms), I figure it must be something good.
The one I remember most, the one I’m calling The Best Book I Read in 2012, is Felix Gilman’s The Half-Made World. Yes, it came out in 2010 and I am therefore a bit behind, a fact that saddens me on the basis that I could have already read all of his other works by now, had I only known what I was missing!
As they say, better late than never, and that is certainly true in this case. My (fully-made) world would be a little less vibrant without Gilman’s story. Not only is it beautifully written, it brings into focus that one perfect shade of gray that lies between good and evil, corruption and redemption, making us look a little more closely at our decisions, our motivations, and our lives. Where would you fall? What would you sacrifice? To what lengths would you go? Where do your priorities lie, and how dedicated are you to those priorities?
Even if you don’t read it for the BIG questions, it’s luscious. Seriously, it’s a steampunk-ish western about demon guns and demon trains, and the writing is impeccable. How could it not be the Best Book I Read in 2012?
-Elisha Dew

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