Happy new year!
Here are my ten favourite books and series out of all those I read in 2016. It was a hard choice, and there are many that I haven’t included that I loved, but here goes. They aren’t in any particular order.
See your favourites here? Please let me know if you agree!
Tuscany, 1096 AD. Luca, young heir to the title of Conte de Falconi, sees demons. Since no one else can see them, Luca must keep quiet about what he sees.
Luca also has dreams—dreams that sometimes predict the future. Luca sees his father murdered in one such dream and vows to stop it coming true. Even if he has to go against his father’s wishes and follow him on the great pilgrimage to capture the Holy Lands.
When Luca is given an ancient book that holds some inscrutable power, he knows he’s been thrown into an adventure that will lead to places beyond his understanding. But with the help of Suzan, the beautiful girl he rescues from the desert, he will realise his true quest: to defeat the forces of man and demon that wish to destroy the world.
This stand-alone story was the winner of the Text Prize for 2015. Demons plaguing the crusade to retake Jerusalem? Yep, it’s as epic as it sounds.
If you haven’t yet read Marissa Meyer’s first series, The Lunar Chronicles, then you should just drop everything and go and read that, to be honest. But if you’re looking for something new from Marissa then try Heartless out. It’s the origin story of the Queen of Hearts from Alice in Wonderland. Before she was the furious queen demanding everyone’s head, Cath was just a young lady, keen to please her parents but also dreaming of opening her own bakery someday. When the King of Hearts shows an interest in courting her, Cath realises her plans could all be ruined, but there’s a newcomer to the court who Cath is more interested in: Jest, the court Joker.
A bittersweet stand-alone with all the brilliant world-building we’ve come to love from Marissa, with plenty of Wonderland about it.
The saga that began with breakout bestseller Illuminae continues aboard Jump Station Heimdall, where two new characters will confront the next wave of BeiTech’s assault. Hanna is the station commander’s pampered daughter, Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion.
If you haven’t got into these amazing space epics then now’s the time. Don’t be put off by their enormous size – the chat logs and graphics in the epistolary format mean plenty of white space. Plus, they are almost impossible to put down once you get into the action!
Gemina has plenty of shady deals, space ship battles and nasty critters, mind- and universe-bending physics and sweet romances. Read it now!
Dustwalk is an unforgiving, dead-end town. It’s not the place to be poor or orphaned or female. And yet Amani Al’Hiza must call it ‘home’.
Amani wants to escape and see the world she’s heard about in campfire stories.
Then a foreigner with no name turns up, and with him she has the chance to run.
But the desert plains are full of dangerous magic. The Sultan’s army is on the rise and Amani is soon caught at the heart of a fearless rebellion…
An epic story of swirling desert sands, love, magic and revolution.
A young gun-slinging girl becomes part of a rebellion. Part western, part Arabian Nights, this tale was packed with action. Book two, Traitor to the Throne, is due in February 2017.
All her life, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love’s death. She doesn’t believe in true love and never thought this would be a problem, but as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.
From my review: “The main story follows the Raven Boys + Blue as they search the area around the town of Henrietta for an ancient Welsh king, supposedly buried along the ley line that runs through the area. But the best part of this series is that the mystery of Glendower often takes a back seat to the characters and their relationships, the magical development of each of them and the links between all of the characters in the story. By the end I was so invested in EVERY character that I was terrified that any one of them wasn’t going to make it.”
I binge-read this whole series over a couple of months this year – and loved it! If you’d like to read my gushing series review, I wrote a spoiler-free Series Spotlight for it.
Mia Covere is only ten years old when she is given her first lesson in death.
Six years later, the child raised in the shadows takes her first steps towards keeping the promise she made on the day that she lost everything.
But the chance to strike against such powerful enemies will be fleeting, so if she is to have her revenge, Mia must become a weapon without equal. She must prove herself against the deadliest of friends and enemies, and survive the tutelage of murderers, liars and demons at the heart of a murder cult.
The Red Church is no Hogwarts, but Mia is no ordinary student. The shadows love her. And they drink her fear.
A dark and bloody story, but a compelling one. I’m not really sure what else to say about this book – if you know Jay’s style, you know you’re in for a ride (and so are his characters). I can’t wait for this series to continue in 2017.
Continuing the epic romantic fantasy series that began with Avery, Thorne is a story of courage, sacrifice, and forbidden love. Lovers in Kaya have always died together, bonded in death as in life. But rumors of a cure are rife. A team of young Kayans will be sent on a quest to find the answer—for the very nature of love is at stake.
A beautiful epic fantasy with swoon-worthy romance. Honestly, if you love emotional development of characters in your fantasy, get a hold of this series. The third and final book is already out, so you can binge-read to your heart’s content.
Okay so I think this book is on a lot of people’s lists this year – certainly Philippa and I had a good rave about it on episode 45 of our podcast.
I did have a few reservations about it when I first finished it, and I discussed them in my review (caution: spoilers), but on the whole I loved this second book a lot more than the first one.
I can’t wait to find out how the story continues – not long to wait now, A Court of Wings and Ruin comes out in May!
When two soldiers from opposite sides of a never-ending galactic war fall in love, they risk everything to bring a fragile new life into a dangerous old universe.
From bestselling writer Brian K. Vaughan, Saga is the sweeping tale of one young family fighting to find their place in the worlds. Fantasy and science fiction are wed like never before in this sexy, subversive drama for adults.
I read a lot more graphic novels this year, and so far, Saga is my favourite series. It’s funny, heartbreaking and full of action, and has some of the most beautiful artwork I’ve seen in a comic format. Recommended for mature readers and those who are parents will possibly enjoy this story more than those who aren’t.
Welcome to Thunder Realm, where cowboy-knights known as paladeros herd dinosaurs during peacetime, and take up arms during war. Joss, a young orphan, has always wanted to be a paladero – but first he must prove himself by going on The Way, a treacherous journey through the kingdom to retrieve a rare Questing Egg.
With his trusty raptor Azof by his side, Joss will face off against witches, bloodthirsty monsters and even his own brethren to learn what it truly means to be a paladero – all while uncovering a dark conspiracy at the heart of the kingdom.
An awesome adventure for middle-grade readers. How can you go wrong with an epic quest involving a group of teenagers and their animal companions, plus magic and steam-punky tech. Did I mention the dinosaurs? I loved this book, and the second one is just about to come out.