Friday, August 4, 2017

Top Ten Best Books of the Year!

I honestly can't believe that it's been a year since I started writing this thing! Along the way, I've done more reading than I think I've done in years and have found some amazing books from the most unexpected places. I've even gotten to speak to some wonderful people and have never been more grateful for the world of literature. So, in celebration of my one year anniversary, I've comprised too lists of my top ten favorite and least favorite books I've reviewed over the past year. So, without further ado: The Best of the Shelf and the Worst of the Waste Bin!

It's been an amazing ride and I've managed to discover some great gems! So, I give you:

The Best of the Shelf (Top 10 Best)

10 The School for Good and Evil

While intended for a generally younger audience than most of the books I've come across this year, this one is definitely one of the most fun. Sophie and Agatha made me laugh and cry and feel and I just loved them for that. Creative, insightful,'s just a fun ride with great humor.

9 Stalking Jack the Ripper

While the twist is not so great...I can't help it I really liked this one! The historical inaccuracies may turn some people off but the additions of great suspense, an awesome protagonist, thrilling detail that is unafraid to explore the world of the macabre. There's a lot of heart in this story that makes up for any problems (and even if you guess the ending it's still a great climax).

8 Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell

Such a rich and wonderful story! A battle against rivals that's full of detail and delightful cheek. It's nice to find a book of this caliber that doesn't go out of its way to try and push the envelope with graphic violence or sex or anything of the sort. This book stayed classy right to the end. Add great characters, and amazing villain, mystery and allure and this thing is well worth the very long read.

7 The Queen's Poisoner

Despite the lead being only an eight year old, this book is deeply complex. You really feel the main character's struggle as he tries to survive in a world he barely understands. We feel for him, we want to see him come through. The characterization is amazing, the king is a great take on a classic baddy, and I could kick myself for years wishing I had the brains to come up with a concept so intricate and cool as the Fountain. Just loved it.

6 Master Wu's Bride

Here's a story I really appreciated for its simplicity. There was no need for magic powers and daring escapes or anything like that. Just a wonderfully written story of a unique woman in a unique situation and how she managed to make a life for herself despite living in a world where everything is against her. The values of determination and patience and perseverance where just inspiring and loved this book for it. Fantastic.

5 Alice Takes Back Wonderland

Oh my gosh, this book was FUN! So much color and energy and wit and charm and...gosh, I really liked this book! Definitely one of the best Alices I've read about with a great attitude who took on responsibilities willingly and readily. The takes on other classic characters are also ones that hold their own and just have fun and make for memorable additions to the story that I still remember after reading it almost a year ago. Well paced, great concept, amazing characters, a sawed-off shotgun...and Cthulhu. Just read it!

4 Six of Crows

I had a hard time deciding between this one and the one in the number three spot over which is better. While the other one won out just a little bit, that doesn't mean that this book isn't also fantastic. A great ensemble of vastly interesting characters, a thrilling heist with lots of detail, and a really dark and complex world. Though the book is split between several characters and their points of view, it stays on track and never makes one feel lost. The intricacies of the plot and the vastly interesting backstories of the characters make this one a must read for just about anyone!

3 The Palace Job

While also a heist story, this one won out over the last entry just barely for several reasons. Firstly, it has a lighter tone which made it a bit more enjoyable. Also it had an even bigger cast than Six of Crows yet still managed to make everyone memorable and have everyone feel needed and balanced within the story. There's a lot of wit and charm in this story that I just connected with a bit more. The characters are all wonderful, the schemes are a ton of fun, everything fit well together. It was smart, it was clever, I just loved it.

2 The Looking Glass Wars

The book, without which, this blog would not exist. It brought back a fire that I had thought I lost for a long time and just had to share it with the world. The amazing characters, the wonderfully imaginative settings, the weapons (oh the beautiful weapons!). It manages to capture everything it promises: Wonderland and a war. A character's loss is felt, a person's struggles weight you down just as much as if you're experiencing it for yourself. Alyss is just a great character with charm and strength, Her Imperial Viciousness is just a delight as a villain, the creativity is astounding, there's just too much to love in this book. It's absolutely amazing and needs to be more of a thing! 

1 Scythe

So smart, so wonderful, so inventive...I could go on all day about this one. It's such a delicate balance between the lives of two great characters, who balance each other out to the very end. The set up for this world is so clever and fun, the characters are so full of life and personality, and yet it's a book about becoming a dealer of death and doesn't shy way from those dark undertones. It questions what you would do in the scenario in which these people are placed. It makes you think what it would be like to live in this complex world. The villain...oh the villain! Understandable without being sympathetic, evil yet relatable, our world needs more villains like him. The main characters and the struggles they go through really hit home and you feel for them and relate with them and care about this. I cannot praise this book enough. It is, without a doubt, the best book I've read this year!

Honorable Mentions
The Thrawn Trilogy (Star Wars at its finest)
The Holtur Enigma (Thank you, Mr. Smith, for allowing me to read this awesome book!)
Esper Files (fun, exciting, and Baron Overkill)
Caraval (Thrilling and magical and just a cool idea)
Wucaii (Thank you, Ms. Sinclair, for letting me read this!)
Awoken (One of the worst books I've ever read...but seeing as that's the intention...could it also be one of the best books I've ever read?)

It's been an amazing year! Here's hoping the next year's worth of books is just as good!

Next Time: Boy, I really hope you like build up....

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