Monday, December 11, 2017

Favorite Books of 2017

It's that time of year, my fellow readers. Time for a list! Now I will say my usual caveat about my favorite books - they will tend toward the young adult novel variety, as those are just the types of books I tend to enjoy the most. I enjoy fantasy, but often the high fantasy is just too stuffy or bizarre for me to really like it (and also a gazillion pages long), and conversely I also like science fiction, but adult scifi tends to be a little too science-y. Though seriously, if you like some books in those genres that you think I would like, I am fully into trying them out.

Anyway, on to the list!

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

Synopsis: The dream chooses the dreamer, not the other way around—and Lazlo Strange, war orphan and junior librarian, has always feared that his dream chose poorly. Since he was five years old he’s been obsessed with the mythic lost city of Weep, but it would take someone bolder than he to cross half the world in search of it. Then a stunning opportunity presents itself, in the person of a hero called the Godslayer and a band of legendary warriors, and he has to seize his chance or lose his dream forever. What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving? The answers await in Weep, but so do more mysteries—including the blue-skinned goddess who appears in Lazlo’s dreams. How did he dream her before he knew she existed? And if all the gods are dead, why does she seem so real?

Why it made the list: Laini Taylor has such a way with words, everything is so beautiful and creative and interesting, and her new book was no exception. Rather than focusing on one main character, she focused on two, jumping back and forth between their two stories. And just like her previous series, she creates a whole new world for the reader to get drawn in to. I also tend to really like books where I figure certain things out before the characters, as it always lends a certain sense of satisfaction, and that was something I had with this book! 

Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth

Synopsis: In a galaxy powered by the current, everyone has a gift. Cyra is the sister of the brutal tyrant who rules the Shotet people. Cyra’s current gift gives her pain and power — something her brother exploits, using her to torture his enemies. But Cyra is much more than just a blade in her brother’s hand: she is resilient, quick on her feet, and smarter than he knows. Akos is the son of a farmer and an oracle from the frozen nation-planet of Thuvhe. Protected by his unusual currentgift, Akos is generous in spirit, and his loyalty to his family is limitless. Once Akos and his brother are captured by enemy Shotet soldiers, Akos is desperate to get this brother out alive — no matter what the cost. Then Akos is thrust into Cyra's world, and the enmity between their countries and families seems insurmountable. Will they help each other to survive, or will they destroy one another?

Why it made the list: Another book taking place in a whole new world! This one kind of combines both fantasy and scifi, so I guess you could call it my catnip. It also features two lead characters that author Veronica Roth switches back and forth between. I found the story very engaging, and the main characters and their powers interesting. I really hope that the rest of the series lives up to this one, because I'm looking forward to it for sure.

One of Us is Lying by Karen M. McManus

Synopsis: Pay close attention and you might solve this. On Monday afternoon, five students at Bayview High walk into detention. Bronwyn, the brain, is Yale-bound and never breaks a rule. Addy, the beauty, is the picture-perfect homecoming princess. Nate, the criminal, is already on probation for dealing. Cooper, the athlete, is the all-star baseball pitcher. And Simon, the outcast, is the creator of Bayview High’s notorious gossip app. Only, Simon never makes it out of that classroom. Before the end of detention Simon's dead. And according to investigators, his death wasn’t an accident. On Monday, he died. But on Tuesday, he’d planned to post juicy reveals about all four of his high-profile classmates, which makes all four of them suspects in his murder. Or are they the perfect patsies for a killer who’s still on the loose? Everyone has secrets, right? What really matters is how far you would go to protect them.

Why it made the list: This book is basically like Clue meets The Breakfast Club. No, nothing fantastical in this one, just a straight up mystery focusing on a group of high school kids caught up in a murder, where you aren't sure who could have done it between them, though with the revelations that slowly happen, it seems like one of them has to be involved somehow. Very fun and quick read.

Lockwood & Co. Series by Jonathan Stroud

Synopsis: When the dead come back to haunt the living, Lockwood & Co. step in... For more than fifty years, the country has been affected by a horrifying epidemic of ghosts. A number of Psychic Investigations Agencies have sprung up to destroy the dangerous apparitions. Lucy Carlyle, a talented young agent, arrives in London hoping for a notable career. Instead she finds herself joining the smallest, most ramshackle agency in the city, run by the charismatic Anthony Lockwood. When one of their cases goes horribly wrong, Lockwood & Co. have one last chance of redemption. Unfortunately this involves spending the night in one of the most haunted houses in England, and trying to escape alive. Set in a city stalked by spectres, the Lockwood & Co. series is full of suspense, humor and truly terrifying ghosts. Your nights will never be the same again...

Why it made the list: Now, to be perfectly honest, I read the first book in this series last year. However, I didn't get super in to the rest of it until this year, so I'm just giving the whole thing a shoutout now. As he did in the Bartimaeus series, Jonathan Stroud does a great job of setting up a world that is just slightly different from our own, all while mixing in a good dose of humor. The series starts out seeming like it will just kind of be a case-by-case series, but eventually things start to come together into a bigger story that all comes to a head in the last book. Quick, creepy, funny, and fun, and nice to have a female lead character in Lucy.

Other books I enjoyed this year, but wouldn't call my favorites: Warcross by Marie Lu, The Dreadful Tale of Prosper Redding by Alexandra Bracken, The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black, Falling Kingdoms and Rebel Spring by Morgan Rhodes

You can check out all of the books I’ve read on my Goodreads page, but let me know if you’ve had any favorites from this year that I should check out!

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