It’s that time of the year! Time to look back and reminisce on all of the fantastic books I’ve read in the past 365 days! I’ve decided to break things down into three categories this year: Fiction, Audiobooks, and Graphic Novels. Narrowing it down to 5 books or less in each category was a bit of a challenge, but I’m pretty happy with this overall list. Let me know what your favourite book of 2017 was in the comments below!
Favourite Fiction of 2016
Both Red Rising and Golden Son were at the top of my favourites lists for the past two years, so it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to see Morning Star there too! Pierce Brown has written an absolutely damn good conclusion to a sensational series! I laughed, I cried, I threw the book across the room in outrage (not even joking), and I felt more emotions than I have ever felt while reading a book since the conclusion of Harry Potter. The Red Rising trilogy has been fantastic since the very beginning, and its safe to say that these books will be reread and treasured by me in the years to come! If you are going to read one book this year, make sure its Red Rising (and Golden Son, and Morning Star), you won’t regret it!
My Lady Jane
This fun and quirky book caught me completely by surprise! Reimagining Tudor England with a bit of magic, the authors tell the not quite so true story of Lady Jane Grey. Cousin of King Edward VI, Jane is forced to marry a stranger in order to help protect the throne. Unfortunately for her, Jane’s new husband is cursed to spend his days as a horse, unable to transform into a man until sunset. This silly and extremely entertaining alternative history had me laughing the entire way through! I’m on the edge of my seat to see what the authors come up with next !
While I mildly enjoyed the first book in this series (A Court of Thorns and Roses), its sequel absolutely blew me away! Completely unpredictable and unexpected, A Court of Mist and Fury was thrilling and breathtaking! After finishing it, I had the instant impulse to pick it back up and re-read it all over again! I’ve been counting down the days ever since finishing it to get my hands on the next book! Moral of the story: If you thought A Court of Thorns and Roses was just ‘meh,’ give this book a try anyways, it might just surprise you. And if you haven’t read either of them yet, then what are you waiting for!
The Library at Mount Char
The best word to describe this book: DARK. But I loved it! Even my best attempts could never describe what this book is about, so make sure to check out the synopsis on Goodreads. The story kind of reminded me of a blending of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods and Gillian Flynn’s Dark Places. I loved the characters, and watching them shift and change throughout the course of the story was really fascinating. The reveal at the end also blew my mind a bit, and almost made me want to reread the entire book again to see if I could pick up things I had missed the first time around. A great read for Fantasy fans who like something with a bit of grit to it!
Besides Morning Star, this was one of my most anticipated reads for 2016, and it didn’t disappoint! Uprooted tells the story of Agnieszka, a young woman who lives in a village protected by a fearsome wizard known as the Dragon. Every 10 years, the Dragon takes a girl from the village to serve him and work as his servant. As the time of the Dragon’s choosing draws near, everyone in the village is confident that the Dragon will pick the beautiful and brave Kasia, Agnieszka’s best friend. Unfortunately for Agnieszka, the villagers’ assumptions are wrong, and she soon finds herself being whisked away to the Dragon’s tower. A more traditional fantasy, I loved the connections to the classic Baba Yaga tales, and the overall fairytale feel to the story.
Best Audiobooks of 2016
When it comes to audiobooks, I’m horribly biased towards multi-narrator productions, which is evident by my list of favourite audiobooks from the past year. Out of the three audiobooks listed, two of them were multi-cast performances, and one was so good that it just felt like it was one! I just find that the more differentiation there are between voices, the easier it is for me to pay attention and enjoy the overall story.
Illuminae is by far the most well-done audiobook I have ever listened to, and unsurprisingly the winner of the Audie Award for Multi-Voiced Performance. While listening it felt almost as if I was watching a movie with my eyes closed, and I was convinced that the story was being narrated by at least 6 different people. It was only after finishing the book, and looking at the audiobook case that I was shocked to discover only 3 people listed as narrators! Not only is the narration superb, but the story itself is fast-paced, gripping, and exciting! Focusing on a war over a small planet between two rival corporations, Illuminae is an action-packed sci-fi with plenty of intrigue. A definite must listen/read!
This was actually my first time reading anything by Jodi Picoult, and I thoroughly enjoyed it! The story focuses on Sage Singer, a reclusive baker who befriends an old man named Josef Weber. When Josef confesses his darkest secret to Sage, and asks her to help him die, Sage’s morals are put to the test. Would helping someone die who has committed heinous atrocities be justice or murder? The Storyteller was heart wrenching and incredibly captivating, and the characters came to life before my eyes thanks to the fairly large and talented cast of narrators.
The final book in the fabulous Lunar Chronicles series! While I read Cinder and Scarlet as physical books, I listened to Cress and Winter and instantly enjoyed the audiobook experience more! Rebecca Soler is one of those rare narrators who can make a single performance feel as if it had been done by an entire cast. Definitely give the audiobooks a chance if you are still working your way through these books!
Best Graphic Novels of 2016
It’s safe to say that 2016 was the year of graphic novels for me. Never before have I devoured so many in a single year! The reason behind my graphic novel binging is partly a result of taking over the YA graphic novel collection at work, but also mostly due to the fact that the amount of time I had to spend reading bigger books greatly diminished. Narrowing down my favourites to just 5 titles, therefore, was a bit of a difficult task, but here’s what I managed to come up with!
As Naho begins a new year at school, she receives a letter from herself, 10 years in the future. At first she thinks its a hoax, until things in the letter start coming true. The letter begs Naho to watch over a new transfer student, a boy named Kakeru, whose future is threatened. As Naho does her best to ensure Kakeru’s survival, she finds herself slowing falling in love with him. The result is a heart-wrenching sci-fi romance that had me on the edge of my seat and desperately wanting to read more!
A sweet and adorable shojo that shows there are two sides to every story. While Kyouko Hori is known for being outgoing and popular at school, she prefers to spend her days staying in at home and taking care of her brother. Izumi Miyamura, on the other hand, tends to be viewed as a loser and a nerd when in fact he is liberally pierced and tattooed, and an absolutely horrible student. When Hori and Miyamura’s paths cross outside of school, they start a friendship that had me constantly fangirling and devouring each new book as it came out!
A Silent Voice
In elementary school, Shoya was a bully, focusing most of his aggression on a deaf girl in his class named Shoko. Eventually the bullying goes too far, and Shoko leaves school without a trace. Six years later, Shoyo’s guilt over the events of his childhood torture him, and he makes it his mission to make up for his past mistakes. Heartbreaking and moving, A Silent Voice is a powerful story of redemption and friendship that you don’t want to miss!
When Peppi starts her first day at school, she does the one thing she had been hoping to avoid, getting noticed by the mean kids. She soon finds a supportive group of friends, however, by joining the school’s art club. Unfortunately, the art club and the science club are archrivals, and Peppi begins to wonder if she’ll ever make it through middle school alive. Awkward is fun and adorable, and yet still packs a meaningful message in its story. Nominated for the Silver Birch Award for 2017, I wouldn’t at all be surprised if it ended up winning.
Penny is quirky, fun, and horribly unlucky. Having lost her career and her apartment in the same day, she moves into her friend’s storage unit, and finds a job at the neighbourhood laundromat. Things start to look up, however, when she meets a sweet guy at the community center, resulting in a cute and amusing story that I thoroughly enjoyed!