2016 was a turbulent reading year for me – I read a total of 84 books and there were highs, lows and some new favourites among them. Because I found quite a few new favourites, I thought I would share them with you! These books are not necessarily ones that were released in 2016 (although the large majority of them are) but instead, ones that I read and enjoyed this year. I can pretty easily split up the books I read into categories and so they are the same ones I am going to use to split up my favourites. Now on to the post!
Usually I struggle a lot to come up with a single book that I adored above all else but this year, it was really a no-brainer. Okay well technically I can’t choose between Six of Crows or Crooked Kingdom (you can’t possibly choose favourites amongst your children right?) so it’s actually two books topping my favourites this year but still, it’s an achievement. Honestly, the fact that these two books are #1 on my list should come to no surprise to anyone that follows my blog/Twitter/Bookstagram, anyone that talks to me, anyone that basically breathes the same air as me because I am OBSESSED. It kind of amazes me that I only picked up Six of Crows in September, because it feels like these books have literally taken over my life. Not only are they just fantastic books in their own right but they are also really important to me on a personal level – Inej is probably the first character that I have resonated with so deeply and for that, I will forever be so grateful to Queen Bardugo.
Cassandra Clare books are always such guilty pleasure reads for me and I like to think that despite writing some problematic content in the past, she’s trying to get better (but I may just be kidding myself). In my opinion, Lady Midnight is her strongest book yet and it a fantastic read all round – the extension of the Shadowhunter world and the introduction of new characters as well as the overarching plot were all done really well. I particularly applaud the fact that Cassandra Clare chose to focus on two elements that are often disregarded in YA – strong female friendships with Emma and Cristina and family dynamics with the Blackthorns.
Not Your Sidekick was such a fast-paced and incredibly fun read that takes a unique spin on the popular superhero/villain trope. C.B.Lee provides us with some vivid world building and some fantastic, diverse characters with an organic romance that was absolutely adorable. I can’t wait until the next book comes out in 2017 because I am going to be pouncing on it so fast.
It may seem impossible to re-imagine Greek Mythology in an Indian setting but Roshani Chokshi managed to do it wonderfully. The Hindu elements were woven in seamlessly with the overarching Hades and Persephone retelling and the writing was absolutely breathtaking, with the dialogue between Maya and Amar really making the characters come to life. Sometimes you read a book that is so innately magical and The Star Touched Queen was exactly that – Roshani Chokshi’s debut work was stunning and I can’t wait to see what else she has in store.
Although this book has fairly mixed reviews, I loved The Crown’s Game – a story about an alternate Russia where two magicians compete to work for the Crown. Evelyn Skye’s alternate Russia is so unique and magic system was really interesting and something I had never seen before. The whole book was quite refreshing and magical overall, with very similar vibes to The Night Circus, and I look forward to picking up the sequel next year.
I look forward to Rick Riordan’s books every year because they are always guaranteed favourites for me. However, the second book in the Magnus Chase series reached a new level of perfection, reminiscent of the Percy Jackson and early Heroes of Olympus books, and I absolutely adored it to pieces. Not only do we have Riordan’s trademark humour and meddling Gods, but we also have a cast of wonderfully diverse characters that you can’t do anything but fall in love with.
Whilst the Spark Trilogy actually concluded this year, with the release of the last book Shield (which I also adored), I decided to include the second book on this list instead as never has a book completely and utterly destroyed me like Stray did. I have become so attached to the characters in this trilogy and so invested in their lives that I found myself holding my breath for the majority of this book. It was not good for my anxiety. But hey, it was so, so good for my book lover heart.
2016 is formally going to be known as the year that I discovered, and fell in love with, V.E.Schwab. I read 4 of her books this year and enjoyed every single one but A Gathering of Shadows was my definite favourite. I absolutely loved the plot of the magic tournament, the vivid world building of her various Londons and the tension and intricate relationships between all of the characters. V.E.Schwab just writes damn good books and you should do yourself a favour and pick them up if you haven’t already.
Brandon Sanderson has firmly cemented his place as one of my favourite fantasy authors this year and the Mistborn Trilogy are some of my favourite books of all time. In particular, Hero of Ages, the concluding novel to the trilogy was particularly fantastic – the world building, plot and characters just all came together so well and this book still blows me away to this day.
Okay, I know there are many problems with this trilogy BUT I JUST LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH, OKAY? Although Laurant and Damen are two frankly brilliant characters and their slow-burn romance from enemies to lovers was everything I could have hoped for, this trilogy is so much more than that. C.S. Pacat is such a wonderful storyteller and the vivid world-building, intricate character relationships and nuances, and intense political intrigue made this book truly brilliant and I can’t wait to read more from her.
So many of my favourite series finished this year but The Winner’s Kiss was definitely one of the strongest endings to a trilogy I have yet to read. This book made me feel so many emotions – mostly heartbreak (I swear, this whole trilogy was a killer) – and I really loved going back to Kestrel and Arin’s world one last time – it was a truly beautiful ending to a wonderful trilogy that I would recommend to anyone.
*Gasp* Could it be? A YA contemporary has made it onto my favourites list? I used to be a firm believer that contemporaries were just not for me – I always found them so repetitive and just so unrelateable. And then, I was introduced to the wonderful world that is diverse contemporary fiction. Whilst I still don’t generally enjoyed reading straight up YA romance on its own, the various side plots/issues that often come with diverse fiction just make contemporaries so much more enjoyable for me. The Sun Is Also A Star is a perfect example of this because although it has an epic romance, it is also such an important book that utilises spectacular characters and a unique and interesting writing style to take an in-depth look into the migrant experience.
Even more unbelievable than a YA contemporary making my favourites list is a New Adult book making my favourites list because, safe to say, I have a very complicated relationship with NA. I swear, it’s like every single book features a “tattooed bad boy” meeting a “good girl” who then proceed to fall in love, all told to the background of frat parties and college life. It just really isn’t for me. And then I met Trade Me. This book isn’t without its tropes but it wields them in unique ways that makes this book so refreshing. Not only that but we have also have an East Asian MC and a Trans side character (who is the MC in the second book, Hold Me) which is so incredibly rare in New Adult and I loved it.
Six de los Reyes
To wrap up my list of favourites, I’m going to share one of my absolute favourite contemporaries of all time. Beginner’s Guide was such a unique combination of science, romance and absolutely wonderful characters that worked so well. This is a book that I am going to be rereading for years to come because I am so thoroughly obsessed with everything about it, from the adorable relationship between Nero and Kaya to the wonderfully vibrant setting of the Philipines.
And that’s all the favourites that I had this year! Do you share any? Is there a book that you absolutely adored that’s not on this list? Let me know so I can increase my TBR (because there isn’t enough books on it anyway *sigh*)
Until next time,