I know it's only October, and I've got a good 3 months more to read all sorts of fantastic books, but I'm really excited about some of these and I just can't wait until December to tell you all to read them! Here are some of my favorite reads (some ARCs, some not) from this year.
Uprooted is one of those books that is really slow and you don't realize how much you're falling for it until you're halfway through and you realize you just can't put it down. It's lyrical and beautiful, but it also has one of the most unconventional fantasy protagonists I've ever written. Agnieszka is an unapologetic klutz and actually pretty terrible about learning how to control her magical powers, but she's also fiercely loyal and headstrong and brave. The setting is such a big part of this story, which I loved.
No surprises here! I cannot believe how much this series has changed from book 1 to book 4. I really disliked the first book, and thought it was full of every cliche young adult fantasy trope I disliked. I also really didn't like Celaena as a character. Not only have the characters grown immensely over the past three books, Maas has grown as a writer as the series progresses. Now the Throne of Glass world is just as nuanced and rich as all the other fantasy series I adore. I never imagined my opinion on a series could change so drastically, but I'm glad I gave this series a second chance!
If you haven't heard how fantastic Illuminae is, clearly you've been living under a rock. Not only did I love the story itself (a spunky hacker girl taking on rogue artificial intelligence on a spaceship), I loved how everything was laid out on the page. This book is full of awesome spreads and words that twist across the page, making pictures and images that I can't get out of my head. It's just plain awesome! I'll have a full review of this one up very soon.
I didn't think I'd even come close to finding another SF book I enjoyed as much as Illuminae, but I did! Sleeping Giants comes out early next year, so I won't spoil too much, but for once the description on the book jacket actually makes sense. This one really is an awesome combination of World War Z (it's told in interviews) and The Martian (legit science and snarky characters). I cannot wait for more of the Themis files...it's killing me that book 1 isn't officially out yet because I need book 2 NOW.
I'm one of those Black Sheep readers who read To Kill a Mockingbird in high school and didn't fall in love. I don't know if it was just the way my English teacher taught or if I just didn't like the book, but I remember thinking it was nothing special. Go Set a Watchman is another story! I loved this book, because it's so much more real to me. People are hardly as heroic as we think they are, especially our parents. As children, we think of them as wonderful people who do no wrong (as we should) but as we grow older, sometimes our rosy glasses are yanked off quite forcefully and we're left reeling as we try and accept the real world. I adored this book and I'm so sad that there won't be any more from Harper Lee.
I really don't know why I enjoyed this book so much, but I loved it! The satire of both our workaholic, capitalistic culture and the suburban mom stereotypes was excellent. The story was never dull; I'd go from laughing to being very concerned to shocked. I really enjoyed how the whole book was a chronicle of a little girl's attempts to find her mother but it had many more layers than that. Told in emails and scavenged files and memos, this book is a lot of fun but also surprisingly insightful.