It’s happening, y’all. We’re winding down on what seemed to be the longest freaking year ever. I mean, Black Panther came out THIS year! I don’t know about y’all, but it feels like it was released in 2017. Anyways, I know with the end of the year comes a flurry of best-books-of-the-year lists, so I wanted to add in my own two cents. I was going through my GoodReads read list (I’m so close to meeting my reading goal!), and I wanted to discuss some of the books I read this year.
Let me just note here: I won’t be doing full-fledged reviews just yet. Some of these books will already have reviews somewhere on this site, and I’ll link which ones do! Also, when it comes to the ‘worst’ books of the year, that’s a bit of a misnomer. They’re just the ones I did not particularly enjoy when compared to some of the others. These are also in no particular order.
Okay. We all good? Good. 🙂
One of the books that was a pleasant surprise this year was Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend. This is only one of two or three Middle Grade books I read this year, and I was blown away by this book! The world Townsend created was so rich and magical that I could definitely see this becoming an instant classic. The characters are so vivid and richly drawn that they feel real. In the beginning of the story, I felt so bad for Morrigan, I just wanted to hop in the book and give her a hug. While reading this (in less than 24 hours, I might add), I also listened to the audiobook, which is WORTH EVERY FREAKIN’ PENNY. It’s narrated by Gemma Whelan (of Game of Thrones!) who does a phenomenal job in the audio version. When listening and not reading along, I could still tell who was speaking because she was able to differentiate between characters. I haven’t read the sequel Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow just yet because I’m waiting for the audiobook to be available in the U.S., so I can listen to it while I read along. If you’re hesitant about picking this up because it’s a Middle Grade, don’t! Books are for everyone, and this book is just so ridiculously lovely.
A second book on my ‘best’ list is The Cruel Prince by Holly Black. I hadn’t read anything by Holly Black before, but I was familiar with her work. I won’t go into my love for this one too much, because I already wrote a full-length review which you can read here. The sequel is coming out in less than a month, and I’m PUMPED. I need more Cardan/Jude banter.
I knew when crafting this list that I was going to include Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare. This was the series finale in the Infernal Devices series, and it broke me. Let me back up a bit. Back when the first book, Clockwork Angel, was released, I was immediately hooked. It’s one of the millions of Shadowhunter books set in Victorian London and features a clockwork army. The relationships between Tessa, Will, and Jem make this the only love triangle that I like. This is a beautiful story that was PERFECTLY wrapped up. Clare knows how to write a good finale, and this one is heart-wrenching. When I got to the end, I sobbed like a baby. It was done so well that it is easy to see why it is the favorite Shadowhunter series for many, including myself.
Lastly, I couldn’t end the ‘best’ section without talking about the A Court of Thorns and Roses series. This book reignited my love of reading this year. Similar to Clockwork Princess, A Court of Wings and Ruin was also a series finale (somewhat, anyway). While ACOMAF is most people’s favorites, and it’s easy to see why, ACOWAR was my personal favorite. I had an issue or two with the end, but overall, I just love this one. Mainly because it features more Nesta/Cassian goodness, and that’s always a good thing. (NESSIAN FOREVER). The climax of this book just had a bigger payoff than ACOWAR, and I caught myself smiling like a goober at more than one scene. Please give this series a chance if you haven’t yet. Just make it to ACOMAF, and it’ll be worth it.
Okay, now we’re getting to the “worst” books. I use quotes because I don’t actually hate these books. I had a few issues with these that I’ll get into, but don’t be put off by my upcoming opinions or be offended because one of these might be a favorite of yours.
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. Oh, boy. I want to love this. I do. Really. When I bought it, the cashier at Barnes & Noble wouldn’t stop gushing about it, and I took that as a good sign. I was ready for this series to become one of my favorites, so I immediately dove into the book when I got home. However, after getting over 80 pages into the book, it failed to grip me. I was left more confused than fascinated. One of the reasons I think I was put off is that I listened to the audiobook as well, and I can’t stand the narrator’s voice. I know, that’s not Stiefvater’s fault. I’m more than willing to give this another chance in 2019; I’ll just do so without the audiobook. If I love it, I’ll definitely write about it! 🙂
Another book I couldn’t seem to finish was Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy. I wanted to read it before the movie came out, so I picked up a copy from my local library and started reading. After 50 pages, not much was happening, and it felt like there was a scene or two that could’ve been cut out for the sake of brevity. Willowdean didn’t grip me as a character, and I didn’t get that fun, can’t-put-it-down feeling. I did watch the Netflix movie and loved it, so maybe I’ll pick this one up again in the future. It’s rare for me to prefer the movie to the book, but it doesn’t put me off Murphy’s writing for good.
And with that, my fellow readers, concludes this list. Of course, books could be added to this list throughout the month of December, but this is more my thoughts up until now. Perhaps, I’ll write up a post containing my most anticipated 2019 reads! And, there are A LOT of those. It’s almost embarassing. 😉