My reading year had it’s ups and downs. I read a lot of good books, but also quite a few I disliked. Most of the books I read this year are therefore either in the best or worst category. There are only a few books, that I’d categorize somewhere in between. I’ve read a total of 25 books this year and 18 are featured in this post.
The Winner’s Trilogy by Marie Rutkoski
This book series features great world building, an intellegent female bad ass, political intrigues and a very well thought out plot. The third book is the weakest, but overall it’s a great YA trilogy.
The Remnant Chronicles by Mary E. Pearson
This series starts with a princess running away on her wedding day and trying to start an ordinary life. Two man are going after her: the prince, she was supposed to marry, and an assassin, but you don’t know who’s who. When the series progresses, it focuses a lot more on culture and politics.
The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins
This book is kind of hard to explain, I feel like it’s best to go into it, without knowing too much. If you like really weird and random world building, this will be an interesting book for you. However, I have to give a trigger warning for: rape, torture, gruesome death and suicide.
The Rook (The Checquy Files #1) by Daniel O’Malley
Similar to The Library at Mount Char this book is very weird and random. However, it’s a lot more suitable for a younger or sensitive audiences, since there’s no triggering content in this book. This book is about people with really weird supernatural powers and the organisation, that’s dealing with supernatural occurrences. It begins with the main character standing in a park surrounded by bodies, with no recollection of her former life. Her previous self knew this would happen and left instructions.
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
This book is a retelling of Iliad by Homer, told from the perspective of Achilles’ (more than) best friend Patroclus. I’m a sucker for Greek mythology and the writing was beautiful.
Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty
I’m not a big fan of contemporary, but I really enjoyed this book. The story is told from the perspective of three woman, who’s kids are just starting school, occasionally interrupted by police interviews. There’s also a lot of suspense in this book, because someone dies, put you don’t know who or how, until the end of the book. The characters were well rounded and have to face serious issues in their lives. Though some hard topics – like rape or domestic violence – are discussed in this book, it’s still written in an overall light-hearted and humorous way.
The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet & A Closed and Common Orbit (Wayfarers #1) by Becky Chambers
The Wayfarers Series is a very character driven sci-fi story. The first book follows a crew of wormhole builders on the “Wayfarer”, that consists of a mix of different species. The story begins, when a young martian woman leaves her previous life behind and joins the crew. There’s not much to the plot, the crew accepts a very well paid job, that sends them on a long way to a part of the galaxy, where an unpredictable and violent species lives. There are also a few obstacles on the way. All in all, this is not an action-packed book, with a lot of twists and turns. However, the characters, their backstory and cultures are very intriguing. The species in this book are very different from another, both in physical attributes and culture. Topics like race, sexuality and gender are explored without any prejudice. Generally this book advocates to meet new people or cultures in an unbiased open-mided way. I enjoyed the second book a tiny bit more than the first one, but both are very good. The third book will be released in June 2018.
Frankenstein by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
I’m trying to read more classics, so I decided to pick up Frankenstein. Eventhrough this novel is very popular and is consistently referenced to in pop culture, I didn’t know much about the plot of this book. So I was pleasantly surprised that Frankenstein’s monster, wasn’t a mindless, unnecessarily violent creature, like it’s sometimes portrayed in pop culture. Kind of like The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet this book’s plot is quite basic, the character’s and their struggles are the main focus of this story. It’s written in a beautiful poetic way, which makes it a pretty slow-paced read, but opposed to other classics, it was easy to understand, eventhrough English is not my mother tongue.
Caraval (Caraval #1) by Stephanie Garber
This book was super hyped, therefore I had high expectations. However, I was disappointed. This book is about two sisters, Scarlett and Tella, living with a physically and mentally abusive father. Scarlett is hoping for a better life for her and her sister, by marrying someone, she’s never met. When she was younger, she always dreamt of seeing Caraval, a magical show, where participants have to solve clues to win a price. A few days before her wedding, she receives an invitation for Caraval.
Overall I liked the plot, not particulary unique or mind-blowing, but it was entertaining. However, there are a few things that really annoyed me. One issue is insta-love, one of my biggest pet-peeves. Also the story is told from Scarlett’s POV, who can’t make up her mind and is overall very irritating. The character did not feel well developed at all.
I might pick up the second book, if it seems interesting.
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
Now this is a very controversial book, because of it’s plot. Some people might say it’s promoting pedophilia, but I don’t agree. I understand how someone could get to this conclusion though, if they don’t read the whole book. I personally don’t see a problem with including horrible aspects of life, such as pedophilia, as long as it’s condemed and not praised, which is the case in this book.
However I still have a few issues with this book:
It was incredibly boring. There were parts in the book, that were incredibly irrelvant to the plot, that dragged on forever. I skipped a couple of pages, of this book because of this. The 331 pages of this book, could have been easily condensed to 250 pages.
The story was highly unrealistic. I can’t understand how the protagonist was able to affort everything in this book, it just seemed ridiculous to me. And the fight at the ending was just so absurd.
There was a lot of French in this book, sometimes a couple of lines at a time. I don’t understand French at all, so it was super annoying. There was also a bit of German, maybe four words in the whole novel.
Some people say this is beautifully written, I disagree. I was really hard to read and confusing at times. If you want to read a classic, that’s beautifully written, that feels like poetry, go for Frankenstein.
Eve: The Awakening (Eve, #1) by Jenna Moreci
I discovered Jenna Moreci through YouTube. Her YT videos are hilarious and informative. From what she shared online, I assumed that I would like her writing and story telling. The writing was actually great, but I had some issues with some character trops, that are absolute pet-peeves for me. The ending was also super predictable.
New Pompeii (New Pompeii #1) by Daniel Godfrey
I think, if I had truely known, what this book was about, I wouldn’t have read it. Let me give you a quick overview of what this book is about:
The company Novus Particles has developed a time travel technology, that can bring people or objects from the past into the present. They rebuilt Pompeii and teleported a bunch of Romans into “New Pompeii”, but telling them a bunch of lies, so that they don’t notice, that they’re actually in the future. The main character is hired as a historical adviser for this project. While he’s working in New Pompeii, he learns that the Romans are suspecious and believe, that there’s more going on, than what they have been told. There are some more aspects to the plot, that I would consider spoilers. But all in all, this is what happens throughout this book and it wasn’t really exciting at all. The synopsis made it sound a lot more exciting. The book confused me too, because I couldn’t tell apart the characters in this book, which made it hard to follow the story, especially at the very end of the book.
Nod by Adrian Barnes
Right when I read the synopsis of the book, I thought: “I’ll either love or hate this book.”
It definitely intrigued me, so I picked it up.
This is a distopian novel, where most people suddenly can’t sleep anymore, only a few adults and children are able to sleep. Obviously those people, who can’t sleep, are slowly turning mad. I’m not a fan of distopian novels, where something happens without a reason. There’s never an explanation on why people stopped being able to sleep or why some were still able to sleep. Everything that happens just happens, so the author has an excuse to explore the depth and darkness of the human mind. I get how some people could still enjoy it, but stories like that just aren’t for me. It was also quite hard to read.
Tell me about your best and worst books in the comments!