Special Feature: Top Ten of 2016

January 4, 2017 Special Feature 5

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!

bookofwhispers

The Book of Whispers, Kimberly Starr

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.

Heartless, Marissa Meyer

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.

heartless

gemina

Gemina (Illuminae Files #2), Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman

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!

Rebel of the Sands, Alwyn Hamilton

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.

The Raven Cycle, Maggie Stiefvater

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.

Nevernight, Jay Kristoff

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.

Thorne (Chronicles of Kaya #2), Charlotte McConaghy

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.  

A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2), Sarah J Maas

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!

Saga vols 1 – 6, Brian K Vaughan and Fiona Staples

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. 

The Riders of Thunder Realm (Paladero #1), Steven Lochran

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.

Anni lives in Brisbane, Australia with her young family. She loves everything fantasy and science fiction and believes sleep is really very underrated.

5 Responses to “Special Feature: Top Ten of 2016”

  1. Hannah

    I loooove Saga! I still need to read through vols 4-6, and then 7 is out in April. AGH! 😀 I want to read more, graphic novels are a new thing for me, too. We’ve been steadily collecting them.
    Hannah recently posted…New Year, New StartMy Profile

  2. Tracy Cornelius

    I love this list!!!!!

    I will absolutely ditto your A Court of Mist and Fury pick. One of the best books I’ve ever read, let alone in 2017.

    Here’s my top 10 but I’m going to cheat and count a full series as only one pick because I read several full series that were AMAZING. And they are in no particular order because I don’t need that kind of stress in my life, haha.

    1. The Chronicles of Kaya series (Avery, Thorne, and Isadora) by Charlotte McConaghy. One of the best series I’ve ever read. I didn’t love and obsess over Isadora the way I did the first two books but overall, the series was phenomenal.

    2. The Captive Prince series by C.S. Pacat – I don’t even know where to start. These books were something I will forever love and hold dear to my heart. One of the best love stories of ever. I have never been so deliciously tortured.

    3. Six of Crows duology (Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom) by Leigh Bardugo – Did a reread of SOC in anticipation of Crooked Kingdom. I really liked SOC the first time I read it. I feel absolutely head over heels for the motley crew when I read it again. Crooked Kingdom was fabulous too.

    4. Morning Star by Pierce Brown – The conclusion to my favorite series of all time. This was hard. I had all the feels and the worst book hangover of ever. I read it once then listened to the audio version. I lived and died with this book. Like, I can’t even talk about it still.

    5. Half Bad series by Sally Green – Listened via audio. Where has this series been my entire life?

    6. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas – I don’t feel that this needs any further explanation. Talk about an unexpected magical ride I wasn’t prepared for after ACOTAR!!!!

    7. Carry On by Rainbow Rowell – I feel like this book really won me over in 2016. I tried to read it when it first came out and it bugged me so much. I understood the concept of the book completely and had read Fangirl but I hated the feeling of being plopped down in the middle/end of a story that has been going on for 6-7 years. Decided to try out the audio for kicks and it was SO GREAT. I fell so hard in love with this book and I think even moreso because it was hard earned.

    8. Gemina by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman – Another wild and fast ride just like Illuminae

    9. A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir – Another ridiculously good audiobook. Loved the continuation of this story and Helene getting her own narration. She is one of my new favorite characters!

    10. A Promise of Fire by Amanda Bouchet – Magic, action, antagonistic and resistant but budding romance… what isn’t to love? I think I read this in a day. SO awesome.

    I could add about 8 more books that really grabbed me this year but I won’t be THAT big of a cheater!

    Tracy

    • Angelya

      Hooray! I’ve been missing your epic comments Tracy, thanks xD Happy new year to you 🙂

      Basically you just listed a large portion of my to-read list – I’ve been meaning to get to many of these! I also read Carry On at the start of 2016 and it nearly made my list.. such a great story. Another friend of mine just recommended A Promise of Fire to me – must make time for that one as well. Too many books, not enough time!

      • Tracy Cornelius

        Happy New Year to you as well! Life has been crazy and I’ve been falling way behind on blog reading and podcast listening, super bummer. I’ll try to keep the epic comments flowing a bit more regularly. 😉

        When it comes to tackling TBR books I’ve been doing well with just picking up 3 or 4 and reading the first 10-15 pages to see what grabs me and then running with it. This is how I picked up A Promise of Fire and got way sucked in.

        However, I still recommend Red Rising by Pierce Brown. It has a bit of a slow start but MAN that series is epic. My all time favorite. I will mail you a copy of that will push the envelope to get you to read it. 🙂 As if you are short on books, ha!

        I am about to finished with The Raven Boys. Listened to the first few chapters on audio about a year or two ago but really didn’t get into it at all and totally wrote it off. After your recent gushing over the series I decided to give it another go and am really liking it. So thank you for that! It is nice to dig into a series that is completely published. No waiting a year between books, woohoo!

        As always, ever so grateful to have like minded friends to gush and squeal and cry with over all the bookish things. Thank you!

        -Tracy

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