So I have eight (!) other books that I adored, and they are mostly books that sit comfortably into a popular series. Two are firsts in new series, and another is a contemporary romance that is a feel good story by a developing author. So happy new year! Here is my last best of list 2016 on the 1st day of 2017.
Night Study (Soulfinders #2) Maria V Snyder (January 2016)
I have read most of the books set in this universe (except the Glass series), and find them compelling and hopeful. Yelena and Valek are wonderful characters. I love that they could easily be given to adult readers, as they don’t talk down or pander to a young audience. Because I thankfully received it from Netgalley, my review at Goodreads is lengthy (& includes spoilers). I am currently waiting (not so patiently) to be approved for the next one (fingers crossed).
Marked in Flesh (The Others #4) Anne Bishop (March 2016)
I found these by accidentally, and slowly over the course of four novels, I have become very attached to Meg and Simon’s little crew. The pattern of each book is familiar–lots of scenes of domesticity in the compound, while outside narrative voices tell of impending doom. No matter how much the humans who know The Others, try to warn the aggressors, their calls go unheeded and everyone suffers. But mostly those ignorant greedy humans. It’s contemporary politics wrapped up in a carefully controlled, beautifully realised fantasy world.
Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices #1) Cassandra Clare (March 2016)
The highly anticipated latest blockbuster from the City of Bones world did not disappoint. It’s epic, it’s detailed, and it’s great storytelling. As much as I liked it, Lady Midnight didn’t make my list of first in a series because secretly, for me, there was just a little bit too much pandering to ‘shippers of couples from previous series. I think we should focus on Emma and her LA posse, and their troubles. Because believe me, they have plenty!! And I just checked and she’s getting the next one out in May 2017. Awesome!
The Unexpected Everything Morgan Matson (May 2016)
This is messy, complicated, and full of tropes, but it’s done in a way that is thorough, warm, and witty, so it’s hard to find fault with it. Andie is the best kind of narrator–generally a nice person, who just has had it too good up till now, to realise her privilege and her self-absorption. When she loses (what she understands to be) everything, her growth is commensurate with her increase in humility, compassion, and generosity. The secondary characters are well developed, and the situations, experiences, and resolution all feel true. I loved this a lot.
A Court of Mist and Fury (A Court of Thorns and Roses #2) Sarah J Maas (May 2016)
Probably the biggest hit of 2016. I actually read both books this year, which is always better with these epic fantasy novels, involving many characters and plot twists and cliffhanger endings. Sarah J Maas is alternating between two major series, and how she keeps them separate in her head astounds me. Lots of charting and timelines I suspect. Anyway, Feyre is another great character, and her involvement in this immortal war will hopefully mean the awful dudes get what’s coming to them. I am definitely all in for the ride.
The Call Peadar O’Guilin (August 2016)
I thought this was a standalone, but it’s apparently not. More horror than anything else I read, it felt astonishing fresh and incredibly exciting. Dealing with Celtic fey (here known as the Sidhe, pronounced ‘shee’), O’Guilin offers us Nessa, disabled yet stubborn, and full of pride. Her peers are living a nightmare. Any of them (including Nessa) could get ‘the call’ at any time. Disappearing into the world of the Sidhe, they have to survive 24 hours of torture, chasing, wickedness and whatever else these revenging immortals think up. For the people in the ‘real’ world, the whole experience lasts only 2 minutes. This tense taut tale is executed in brazen tones–snark into next week, drama between the teens, mostly useless adult mentors, most of them suffering PDST from their own horrifying encounters, and don’t even ask me how he pulls off that glorious resolution. It’s a killer!
A Torch against the night (An Ember in the Ashes #2) Sabaa Tahir (August 2016)
The importance of world building in paranormal action novels should never be downplayed. It’s crucial that the landscape could exist, and Tahir pulls off this dystopian Ancient Roman alternate history like a pro. There is much reliance on violence to try to curtail the actions of the resistance, but that just makes the story stronger. Our heroes, Laia and Elias, are pulled through some rough circumstances, requiring tough choices, and readers must be prepared for a long haul here, before we see some light. Gosh, it’s good.
Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass #5) Sarah J Maas (September 2016)
The other popular tome of the 2016 clocks in at nearly 700 pages, and to have made it all the way through to that ending requires not only persistence, but also patience with Maas, because I am certain our feisty queen, Aelin, DID NOT deserve that. You can tell I remain riled up when I ‘caps lock’ text. Luckily we only have to wait a year… I still don’t know how she does it. Two blockbusters a year. Hope she’s getting some sleep.
That’s it for 2016. Hope you’ll join me again soon, for more reviewing, some useful lists, and my anticipated reads for 2017. Have a happy and safe New Year’s Eve. I am off to watch ‘Sing!’