I didn’t get to read as much as I would have liked in 2017. Sigh. Life happens, I suppose. That said, I did read some pretty stellar books throughout the year and in honor of my blog launch, I thought I’d kick things off by listing the ones I simply couldn’t put down and a few that I willfully put down, for various reasons that we’ll come back to in a later post. Additionally, 2017 will be the year I remember fondly as The Year I Read A Bunch Of Books Everybody Else Has Already Read. Sorry, Y’all. It’s taken me a while to come around to some of these.
First things first, a little note about my absolute favorite book of the year. I grew up in the age of Harry Potter, Artemis Fowl, Eragon, Inkheart and several others. Most of my peers and I were
addicted introduced to YA or children’s fantasy by way of one or more of these lovely series. Here’s the thing, Y’all. I’d only ever read Harry Potter until August of this year. By the time any of the rest of them became popular, I was already waist deep in our darling Rowling’s magical universe and I didn’t have the time nor the inclination for jack else. The Trio was where it was at. #sorrynotsorry
Imagine the shock and awe when, due to some unforeseen events in early August, I found myself sitting in a room with several of my mother’s friends discussing this year’s reads and it came out that I had never read Eragon. It was immediately gifted to me via one of their Audible accounts and let me tell you, I gobbled it up like the last piece of pecan pie at Thanksgiving. I adored that book. Since then, I’ve put the remaining three books in my handy-dandy TBR jar for 2018. I’ll spare you the details, as I may or may not be doing a full review later in the month, but I devoured that book. An absolute must-read for any YA fantasy lover such as myself (although I assume the rest of you have read them and I am just grievously behind the times.)
Now, I will happily confess that I do almost exclusively audio these days, for reasons related to ADHD and being an auditory learner, amongst my other numerous reasons for listening to audiobooks. Simply put, my attention span is extra garbo and my hands need to be constantly busy, which brings me to my next book. The Dragons Of Dorcastle by Jack Campbell, an Audible exclusive that I blew through in a matter of days. It tells the story of the two Great Guilds in a land called Dematr and their youngest respective members of high standing, Mage Alain and Master Mechanic Mari, coming together against both of their guilds’ wishes and possibly saving the world together. I’m gonna go ahead and give this book a solid 5/5 as Jack Campbell has done an astounding job creating a unique, vividly described fantasy universe for us and MacLeod Andrews has likewise done a stellar job of bringing the story to life and really making you feel like you’re running through burning buildings, plodding through the desert and nearly drowning to escape an explosion right along with Mari and Alain the entire time.
This was certainly a different one, and I enjoyed every bit of it. Rarely a day passes when I don’t find elements to a new fantasy universe and think, “Huh. I would never have thought to include that.” That kind of uniqueness is just what makes this book special, and it’s one of the reasons I loved it as much as I did. As much as I admire and love Drizzt’s dancing fighting style and the elven, dwarven and orcish cast of characters and as much as I adore Holly Black’s magical descriptions of faerie banquets and silken dresses and badass warrior faerie knights, there really is nothing quite like an entirely new fantasy world waiting for you to discover. The hint of romance behind all of the danger was just enough too, not so much that the book was sappy but just enough. I urge y’all to read this one, it starts with the kidnapping of a prince of a land called Acaria and incorporates an entirely new form of magic that I’ve never heard of in another YA fantasy book. Highly recommended.
Gregg Hurwitz is back at it again with another Evan Smoak book, entitled Hellbent, that released last month, but in January of ’17, I read the second installment of what may be my favorite “100% not my thing” book of the year. I’ve never read anything like this before, so, to be honest, I don’t have much to compare to. But I am absolutely loving this series. It’s very 007, very fast-paced, action-packed, all those lovely bookish buzzwords. In the first installment, Evan is plucked from an orphanage by a “handler” at a young age and trained as a government assassin. As an adult, and a deadly AF one at that, he breaks with the program and it becomes clear that he’s being hunted. He works as a pro-bono “Nowhere Man” helping people out of difficult situations. I can’t rave about this dude enough, I adore Evan. Probably my favorite thing about his character is how hard Jack, his “handler” has worked to not only turn Evan into a dangerous weapon but also how much work he’s also put into keeping Evan human. He isn’t a passionless killer, he is a highly skilled, very efficient assassin who carries out his targets precisely and with little to no collateral damage.
Holly Black was my very first non-Harry Potter introduction to YA fantasy. There will always be a special place in my heart and on my bookshelf for this wonderful, vivid author. I picked up Tithe in Roma’s Preread Books in my hometown when I was 12 or 13 and I fell hopelessly in love with a brooding faerie knight and a misguided teenage daughter-of-a-rockstar with somewhat “sticky” fingers. Every Tithe fan knows that Corny is the gay best friend that we ALL need. Since then, I have read the rest of the Modern Faerie Tale books with relish. That said, I discovered that she had a new book out, not with the same characters but in the same general universe and I jumped on it. I checked it out from Libby and finished it in two or three days. I loved this book. I have the usual grievances that the rest of the community seems to, it seemed a little rushed and it did feel like we had just been thrown into the story but apart from that, I adored the book. I couldn’t help but find myself imagining my brother and me in their shoes, delving into the forest to find the bad faeries and taking them down with a clever combination of music and swordplay. Ultimately, this was one of my favorite books of the year.
There you have it, folks. My top 5 of 2017. Stay tuned for my bottom 5 in a later post, along with some other upcoming adventures starring yours truly and maybe a friend or two 🙂