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David Gemmell Legend Awards Shortlist & Lunchtime Thoughts

It’s my lunch break and I’m sat here looking over the David Gemmell Legend Award shortlist. It’s truly great to see that in just a few years of the Gemmell’s being set up the three awards that it comprises have become some of the genre’s most sought after. Why? Well, firstly, to make the longlist you need to have been nominated by your publisher for the award. This means that the likes of Tor, Voyager, Gollancz, Black Library, Orbit, etc – who get to put forward just a small number of books in each of the three categories (Best Novel, Best Debut, Best Cover) – are showing a huge amount of belief in you by selecting you as one of the authors to represent their label. Secondly, this is one of the few awards that are voted for by fans of the genre. Whether you agree with panel-less awards or not, there is something nice about that; winning a Gemmell Award shows that readers have enjoyed your work enough to take the time to log onto the David Gemmell Legend Awards website and give you their support. Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, as an author within the fantasy genre, to have your work tied to the name ‘Gemmell’ is surely one of the greatest accomplishments you can hope to achieve.

We’ll paste the full list and our thoughts as to who might win in just a second, but first here are words from Stan Nicholls, who was a good friend of David Gemmell and is now the Chair for the Awards:

‘This year’s shortlist once again represents some of the very finest in fantasy fiction, with some incredible titles featured in all the categories. This year also represents a fascinating mixture not only of international names but also different aspects of the publishing world, showcasing the depth of quality in modern fantasy.’

FULL SHORTLISTS:

Legend Award (Best novel)

  • The Daylight War by Peter V Brett (Del Rey Books US)
  • Emperor of Thorns by Mark Lawrence (Harper Collins UK)
  • The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch (Del Rey Books US)
  • A Memory of Light by Brandon Sanderson and Robert Jordan (Tor/Forge US)
  • War Master’s Gate by Adrian Tchaikovsky (Tor UK)

Morningstar Award (Best debut novel)

  • The Garden of Stones by Mark T Barnes (47 North)
  • Headtaker by David Guymer (Black Library)
  • Promise of Blood by Brian McLellan (Orbit)
  • The Path of Anger by Antoine Rouaud (Gollancz)
  • The Grim Company by Luke Scull (Head of Zeus)

Ravenheart Award (Best cover art)

  • Benjamin Carre for the cover of The Republic of Thieves by Scott Lynch (Gollancz)
  • Jason Chan for the cover of Emperor of Thorns by Mark Lawrence (Harper Collins UK)
  • Cheol Joo Lee for the cover of Skarsnik by Guy Haley (Black Library)
  • Gen
    e Mollica and Michael Frost for the cover of Promise of Blood by Brian McClellan (Orbit)
  • Rhett Podersoo for the cover of She Who Waits by Daniel Polansky (Hodder)

As promised, here are my thoughts on who may win and why:

A Memory of Light (UK cover)Legend Award

The nature of the voting means that the most popular author always has a huge advantage… On that basis, Brandon Sanderson should run away with the Legend award. Readers loved the ending too, our very own Zach said that ‘Finishing A Memory of Light, and the WoT, was as bittersweet as I thought it would be. Sanderson and Jordan did not let readers off easy, and the book took a very real emotional toll. Certain stretches were so difficult to read that I had to put the book down and walk away, while other scenes gave rise to those oh-so-rare feelings of pure elation and triumph. Often in the same chapter.’ However, authors like Mark Lawrence, Peter V. Brett and Scott Lynch should not be written off – they all wrote incredible books in 2013 and have truly loyal fanbases that will inevitably make it a real fight. Mark Lawrence’s social media usage particularly is second to none. I guess the one ‘surprise’ vote in my eyes (not in terms of the quality of his work – rather, it is about time he got some recognition!) is Adrian Tchaikovsky. Not only is he a very talented, diverse author, but he is one of the kindest and most interesting guys I’ve met on the UK convention circuit. The depth and range of this category shows the incredibly lucky place we, as readers, are in right now.

Choice: A Memory of Light (is there anything more powerful than Sanderson + Wheel of Time?)

Morningstar Award

A Promise of Blood (cover)I didn’t get round to reading Headtaker or The Garden of Stones. Both got fairly good reviews, although not remarkable. I truly enjoyed The Path of Anger, it read like a grown up version of The Name of The Wind. However, that could be its downfall – I remember it as a substitute for one of my favourite books and I feel this award tends to go to people who are doing something new (Helen Lowe is a good example). For that reason, I think I’d go with Promise of Blood. One of our reviewers wrote of it: ‘Promise of Blood is filled with engaging characters, original worldbuilding, and a plot that left me unable to put the book down until I finished two days later.’ And this seemed a shared opinion, the book was massively popular and Brian has been sure to keep fans engaged in his world with a number of novellas and cover revels since the release of the first book. Luke Scull’s book was very good, but, again, perhaps a little too much like authors before him (such as Abercrombie). Should add that I’m a little disappointed not to see Richard Ford or Francis Knight make it through to this stage… 🙁

Choice: Promise of Blood (stands out among a good list of debuts, although category not as strong/agreeable as in past years)

Ravenheart Award

SkarsnikI’m not sure if it is because of their massive following (again, always an advantage), but the Black Library seem to do well in this category. I really like their entry this year too, Skarsnik has that perfect blend of being cool, creepy, intriguing and amusing – it’s also very bright; bound to catch attention. The cover of She Who Waits was really cool, but I don’t think it quite represents ‘the Gemmells’, you know? I think Promise of Blood is a great cover, but they were obviously made to appeal to non-fantasy readers and, therefore, again, not sure it is going to win epic fantasy’s most sought after award. I think Emperor of Thorns is the least awesome cover of the three Broken Empire books, that is not to say it isn’t awesome, it could very well win – but I’d feel a lot more confident of Jason Chan taking this category if it was King of Thorns in the running. Finally, Republic of Thieves is a very cool cover, but I’m not sure if it really stands out. I like it because I like Scott Lynch and his work, but I’m not sure if I’d pick the book up just because of that cover (something I would do with Skarsnik and definitely with King of Thorns).

Choice: Snarsnik (although I think many will take all three of Jason Chan’s covers into account when voting – they’re so iconic)

The David Gemmell Awards ceremony will take place at London’s Magic Circle on the 13th June.  You can vote by clicking here and hovering your mouse above the award title you’d like to vote for until a little box saying ‘vote!’ appears. Oh, we’ll be there Tweeting live from the event too! 🙂

Please use the above interactive video to let us know who you think will / you would like to win 🙂

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One Comment

  1. Avatar Jared says:

    “This means that the likes of Tor, Voyager, Gollancz, Black Library, Orbit, etc – who get to put forward just a small number of books in each of the three categories ….”

    Is there a limit to how many books they can submit? I know publishers pay for each book, but I didn’t know there was a cap.

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