I wanted to stick to three books in each of my ‘best of…’ categories, but this one just would not stay within the rules. I have had to stretch to six, because each book and each series are testament to the quality of work that YA readers are lucky to have. They are all amazing and bring to an end magical stories that will stand the test of time. These were all the series I finished in 2016, but I would still like to see how The Last Star by Rick Yancey, resolves the The Fifth Wave series, and I have all the books in Marie Lu’s Young Elites, and Claudia Gray’s Firebirds Series which both concluded in 2016. I want to read them too.
The Winner’s Kiss (Winner’s) Marie Rutkoski (March 2016)
In my Goodreads review, I wrote how perfectly this ended. It was slow, and our heroes spend a lot of time apart, but that is crucial to ensure all the pieces fell into place authentically. Kestral and Arin battle inner demons and external enemies to finally confront both head-on. I loved every minute of this book and series. A re-read for sure.
A Tangle of Gold (The Colours of Madeleine) Jaclyn Moriarty (March 2016)
I was fortunate to receive an early copy of this and gushed about it at Reading Time. All the words I want to say about this original and clever series are there. I loved loved loved this series.
The Raven King (The Raven Cycle) Maggie Stiefvater (April 2016)
I was anxious to delve into the fourth and final Raven Cycle book, not surprising since almost from the first page we know Blue will kiss her true love and he will die. Although it was released in April, I didn’t read it till August. And Stiefvater nails it. It’s brilliant. Gansey, Adam, Ronan and newly introduced Henry, battle and triumph, and the ending is so Maggie! (muscle cars!!)
The Ocean of the Dead (Ship Kings) Andrew McGahan (August 2016)
Another one I reviewed at Reading Time (always there for series books that no-one else has started. Ha). This is more literary, more middle years, more adventure than action, but McGahan’s weaving of myth and legend, twisting in destiny and fortune, is astonishing. Amber Dow remains elusive and wondrous, and the nautical descriptions provide a rich backdrop. Epic fantasy at its finest.
Shield (Spark) Rachael Craw (September 2016)
New Zealand author Rachael Craw has written a highly engaging and explosively action-packed series with Spark. I raced through each book, with my heart tripled beating and my butt on the edge of my seat. Protagonist Evie barely gets any down time as she learns to navigate her new existence, and Shield does not let up the speed. Evie’s team has grown, but her enemies have multiplied too. She is prepared to sacrifice everything to keep her loved ones alive, and Craw really makes her struggle real and tense. I can’t wait to see what she does next.
Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows) Leigh Bardugo (October 2016)
This is only a duology, but Bardugo shoves about five books worth of plots and characters into these two. Billed as a paranormal heist story, it’s populated with many endearing (if not completely law-abiding) heroes. Unfortunately, they can’t all survive the dangerous exploits, so there is a fair amount of sadness here too. It is also impressively diverse, inclusive, and the snark and romance is strong and appealing. I read both books, one after the other this year, and Crooked Kingdom has cemented Bardugo as the go-to author for young adults.
Because I can’t help myself, I will be back tomorrow with eight (!) more books I couldn’t leave out.