Daughter of Smoke and Bone vs. Grass
Winner: Daughter of Smoke and Bone
These were both good books, and reads I quite enjoyed. However, the world that Laini Taylor creates, and the characters and mythology she populates it with, help Daughter of Smoke and Bone win out. This is Young Adult material that's worthy of the readers, and poses tough questions for the protagonists instead of false conflict. I am looking forward to the second. Grass was good, but Tepper has never been one of my favourite authors. It just doesn't get past the second round.
Memory vs. Supernatural Noir
Supernatural Noir only made it past the first round because it was up against a disappointing book. There are some great stories in here, but also a lot that are only so-so - the nature of anthologies. It's up against one of my favourite Vorkosigan books, where Miles runs straight into his worst enemy - his belief that if he talks fast enough, he can escape consequences. Consequences find him.
The Orenda vs. Komarr
Lois McMaster Bujold's getting a lot of love in this round. I can't help it though - I found The Orenda a worthy and well-researched book, but with characters who were a little thin. In Komarr, I got to see Ekaterina as she was first introduced, and there is a female character to be entranced by. Stubborn, strong, and emotionally abused, watching her negotiate first contact with Miles was something to see.
Reamde vs. An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth
Winner: An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth
Neither of these books were the sort that you want to take home and keep forever. Both, however, were well worth spending a night or two with, then setting free. So how to pick? In the end, it's my major pet peeve with Reamde, the over-reliance on details at the cost of pacing, that makes me give this battle to Chris Hadfield. Plus, it's Chris Hadfield.
Broken Homes vs. The Inconvenient Indian
Winner: Broken Homes
Oh, dear. We're pitting my inner Peter Grant fangirl against my admiration for The Inconvenient Indian. It's the difference right there that's making me give this round to Ben Aaronovitch. The Inconvenient Indian is great, and should be required reading for everyone. But I love Peter Grant, and this is my tournament for books I enjoyed most in 2014. I feel tremendously guilty about it, but the ending of Broken Homes made me gasp, and that makes me pick Peter Grant.