I suppose its that time of year now, when we bookworms collectively reminisce on our best bookish experiences of the year. These are my favorite books of 2016.
(This, ladies and gents is going to be a long one so I suggest you get comfortable…)
*This list is made up of books I read into 2016, not necessarily books released in 2016
*This list is not arranged in any particular order
RED RISING by Pierce Brown
Darrow is a miner and a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he digs all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of the planet livable for future generations. Darrow has never seen the sky.
Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better future for his children.
But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity already reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and sprawling parks spread across the planet. Darrow and Reds like him are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class.
Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow joins a resistance group in order to infiltrate the ruling class and destroy society from within. He will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies . . . even if it means he has to become one of them to do so.
Holy cow, this was a good book! I read it sometime in the middle of the year and it immediately became my favorite book in the galaxy.
Pierce Brown takes everything awesome about Roman mythology (the brutality, the political head-games) and combines it with a kickass young adult dystopian plot. The result is something truly unique. Definitely recommend this one!
EVERY HEART A DOORWAY by Seanan McGuire
Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children
Children have always disappeared under the right conditions; slipping through the shadows under a bed or at the back of a wardrobe, tumbling down rabbit holes and into old wells, and emerging somewhere… else.
But magical lands have little need for used-up miracle children.
Nancy tumbled once, but now she’s back. The things she’s experienced… they change a person. The children under Miss West’s care understand all too well. And each of them is seeking a way back to their own fantasy world.
But Nancy’s arrival marks a change at the Home. There’s a darkness just around each corner, and when tragedy strikes, it’s up to Nancy and her new-found schoolmates to get to the heart of the matter.
No matter the cost.
Every Heart a Doorway is a short story and yet it’s one of the best books I’ve ever read! Seanan McGuire did such an amazing job with this one; the writing was absolutely superb and the story itself was such a breath of fresh air. A unique little fantasy I wish everyone would try!
THE INFERNAL DEVICES TRILOGY by Cassandra Clare
When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London’s Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.
Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability. What’s more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa’s power for his own.
Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them.
As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world. . . . and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.
Oh man, The Infernal Devices, I don’t even know what to say about this beautiful mess. Such amazing writing by C. Clare. To be honest the Jem-Tessa-Will love triangle was a little exhausting but that didn’t seem to matter while I was reading the last book because I was bawling my eyes out!
PASSENGER by Alexandra Bracken
In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.
Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods—a powerful family in the colonies-and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship wecomes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas’ passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he must ensure she brings it back to them —whether she wants to or not.
Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are playing, treacherous forces threaten to separate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home… forever.
Passenger was a really great book! I expected nothing less from the woman who gave us The Darkest Minds Trilogy. I love how this book has some amazing diverse characters, it really set the story apart from the others. Simply loved it!
THE BRONZE HORSEMAN by Paullina Simons
The golden skies, the translucent twilight, the white nights, all hold the promise of youth, of love, of eternal renewal. The war has not yet touched this city of fallen grandeur, or the lives of two sisters, Tatiana and Dasha Metanova, who share a single room in a cramped apartment with their brother and parents. Their world is turned upside down when Hitler’s armies attack Russia and begin their unstoppable blitz to Leningrad.
Yet there is light in the darkness. Tatiana meets Alexander, a brave young officer in the Red Army. Strong and self-confident, yet guarding a mysterious and troubled past, he is drawn to Tatiana—and she to him. Starvation, desperation, and fear soon grip their city during the terrible winter of the merciless German siege. Tatiana and Alexander’s impossible love threatens to tear the Metanova family apart and expose the dangerous secret Alexander so carefully protects—a secret as devastating as the war itself—as the lovers are swept up in the brutal tides that will change the world and their lives forever.
I don’t even know how to talk about The Bronze Horseman. The book is so raw and heartbreaking.
This was the first historical fiction book I ever picked up and I remember thinking that it was going to be so dull. Yet I ended up loving the book and learning so much about World War 2 in Russia.
THE FEMALE OF THE SPECIES by Mindy McGinnis
Alex Craft knows how to kill someone. And she doesn’t feel bad about it.
Three years ago, when her older sister, Anna, was murdered and the killer walked free, Alex uncaged the
language she knows best—the language of violence. While her own crime goes unpunished, Alex knows she can’t be trusted among other people. Not with Jack, the star athlete who wants to really know her but still feels guilty over the role he played the night Anna’s body was discovered. And not with Peekay, the preacher’s kid with a defiant streak who befriends Alex while they volunteer at an animal shelter. Not anyone.
As their senior year unfolds, Alex’s darker nature breaks out, setting these three teens on a collision course that will change their lives forever.
Another raw story. Mindy McGinnis was not afraid to touch on subjects society had deemed “taboo”. The Female of the Species is not a pretty book, it is harsh and it delivers the truth unflinchingly. I absolutely loved it and I applaud McGinnis for bringing this into the world. We need to change our way of thinking and this book helped me do just that.
THE LIGHT BETWEEN OCEANS by M. L. Stedman
After four harrowing years on the Western Front, Tom Sherbourne returns to Australia and takes a job as the lighthouse keeper on Janus Rock, nearly half a day’s journey from the coast. To this isolated island, where thr supply boat comes once a season, Tom brings a young, bold, and loving wife, Isabel. Years later, after two miscarriages and one stillbirth, the grieving Isabel hears a baby’s cries on the wind. A boat has washed up onshore carrying a dead man and a living baby.
Tom, who keeps meticulous records and whose moral principles have withstood a horrific war, wants to report the man and infant immediately. But Isabel insists the baby is a “gift from God,” and against Tom’s judgment, they claim her as their own and name her Lucy. When she is two, Tom and Isabel return to the mainland and are reminded that there are other people in the world. Their choice has devastated one of them.
It seems I liked being sad this year! The Light Between Oceans is another heartbreaking story about life, love and loss. Its about how good people sometimes make bad decisions. Its about deciding when to let go and when to keep fighting. But mostly it’s about love.
SIX OF CROWS DUOLOGY by Leigh Bardugo
Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him
rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…
A convict with a thirst for revenge
A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager
A runaway with a privileged past
A spy known as the Wraith
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes
Kaz’s crew are the only ones who might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first
I don’t think I need to explain this one! The entire bookish community went crazy over this duology, and for good reason: it’s fucking amazing! Great characters, great world, Leigh Bardugo is queen…
A COURT OF MIST AND FURY by Sarah J. Maas
Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save
Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world torn apart.
A Court of Mist and Fury is The-Greatest-Sequel-that-Ever-Lived! Sarah J. Maas has this gift of taking one story and then smashs it up and uses the ashes to build an even greater story. I don’t know how she does it but her stories only ever go up never down.
MAGNUS CHASE AND THE GODS OF ASGARD: THE SWORD OF SUMMER by Rick Riordan
Magnus Chase has always been a troubled kid. Since his mother’s mysterious death, he’s lived alone on the streets of Boston, surviving by his wits, keeping one step ahead of the police and the truant officers.
One day, he’s tracked down by an uncle he’s never met – a man his mother claimed was dangerous. His uncle tells him an impossible secret: Magnus is the son of a Norse god.
And lastly, Magnus Chase! I’ve read a ton of Rick Riordan books and this was most definitely the best. Norse mythology isn’t as popular as the other two main types so I’m glad Rick Riordan dug deep and pulled this story out. It made this list because it’s hilarious and full of adventure: everything I love from Riordan…