This year was a blast for me when it comes to reading. Since I started tracking what I read with Goodreads I never read so much, the number was 152 ‘books’ although I must confess that around the half of them were comics or graphic novels, in single issues or collected editions. This was the year I read (and loved) the whole Saga, Monstress, and East of West series and these graphic novels were page-turner-addicting reads. Besides them, I also read more of fantasy, young adult and sci-fiction. I also read around six non-fiction books on writing, a number smaller than I wanted to read this year, and a couple of books outside my favourite genres, thrillers or historical fiction, since I consider retellings another branch of fantasy. I discovered new favourite authors (Brian K. Vaughan, Leigh Bardugo, Victoria Aveyard, Collen Oakes, Brandon Sanderson, Erin Morgenstern) and gave up on others too. So now, without further ado, here are the challenge categories I managed to fulfil this busy year:
1. A book written by a member of The Dragon’s Rocketship:
P.A.W.S. (P.A.W.S. #1) by Debbie Manber Kupfer. (Rating: 4 Stars)
What a cute shapeshifter story, I could not put this book down. I’ll also quite curious to see what will happen to all the characters, so I’ll go on reading this series.
2. The next book in a series you still didn’t finish: Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4) by Sarah J. Maas. (Rating: 4 Stars)
** spoiler alert ** I liked this book more than the third in the series. Manon is a very interesting character and I’m curious about how she’ll develop in the next book. I was disappointed on how Chaol lost space in the story, but perhaps that was the right thing for the plot. Also disappointed on the extremely rushed-up resolution with the two main villains, not enough was said or developed so it was a well-rounded resolution, and the main character didn’t play the central role in both climaxes, perhaps for emotional reasons(?) For this reason, I rate this book 4 and not 5 stars even though this is a very interesting series and I’ll probably read the next book.
3. A book you can read in one sitting: How to Be Perfectly Unhappy by Matthew Inman, The Oatmeal. (Rating: 5 Stars)
What a lovely and poetic short graphic novel! I can totally relate to the questions and answers in this book. After all, what means to be happy nowadays? Is happiness or a pretence of happiness the ultimate goal? Or is it fine to be “busy, interested, fascinated” and “perfectly unhappy”?
4.A graphic novel: Manga Classics: The Stories of Edgar Allan Poe (Manga Classics) by Stacy King (Author) (Adapted by), Edgar Allan Poe, Virginia-Nitouhei (Art “The Tell-Tale Heart”), Chagen (Art “The Cask of Amontillado”), Uka Nagao (Art “The Masque… Read Death”), pikomaro (Art “The Raven”), Linus Liu (Art “Fall of the House of Usher”), Man Yiu (Art “Fall of the House of Usher”). (Rating: 5 Stars)
Gothic, eerie, and beautiful. I liked this Manga version of Poe’s classics a lot. I haven’t read all these stories in their original version but the dark atmosphere from them seems to have been well translated into this format. The art was overall well done and the classic stories dark and eerie depth strengthened it. My favourite stories were The Cask of Amontillado, The Raven and The Mask of the Red Death.
5.A book with a LGBT Character: Nimona by Noelle Stevenson. (Rating: 4 Stars)
I liked the underlying theme, but the hype it’s kind of exaggerated. Still, an entertaining comic.
6. A trilogy: The Grishaverse #1- #3 by Leigh Bardugo. (Rating: 5 Stars)
This was the year of trilogies for me, besides this, I read three others and liked them almost as much, but my favourite was “The Grishaverse”. I liked this trilogy so much, I might get the paperback or hardcover box set of it, even if I already read it on my eReader. There are books that you must have on your shelf for a reread.
7. A book in a genre you don’t normally read: You (You #1) by Caroline Kepnes. (Rating: 4 Stars)
The writer’s voice makes this thriller an engaging and page-turning read, while quite original due to the unreliable narrator. And it is indeed a warning on the excessive use of social media.
8.A dystopian: Matched (Matched #1) by Ally Condie. (Rating: 4 Stars)
** spoiler alert ** This book is slower paced than the most science-fiction dystopia books usually are, but this perhaps due to the characters relationships being in the foreground. This slower pace, in my opinion, also created a better world description and story development, so it was all right for me. I liked the way the story was told even if the book finishes with a hook. And the touching role the Dylan Thomas poem played in the story was so beautiful, that it alone won my good opinion on this book. I’ll probably finish this series later.
9. A book with magic: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. (Rating: 5 Stars)
Magical. It deserves the hype.
10.A book over 500 pages: Gemina (The Illuminae Files #2) by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff, Marie Lu. (Rating: 5 Stars)
This book was as fun as Illuminae, and Illuminae was already a lot of fun. I’m totally spoiled for badly written and boring sci-fi after this series.
11.A book that makes you laugh: Date Night on Union Station (EarthCent Ambassador #1) by E.M. Foner (Rating: 4 Stars)
This book was quite funny and has an interesting story. It’s not exactly a complex and serious sci-fi saga but something light for an entertaining afternoon.
12. A book that makes you laugh literally out loud: Adulthood Is a Myth (Sarah’s Scribbles #1) by Sarah Andersen. (Rating: 5 Stars)
This is quite funny. My only complaint: It’s too short! I could read one thousand pages of this, lol
13. A high fantasy: Mistborn: The Final Empire (Mistborn #1) by Brandon Sanderson.(Rating: 5 Stars)
This book is so good you will take your time reading it, so it lasts longer. And so far I can remember, it’s one of the best epic fantasies I’ve read.
14. A book with a war: Old Man’s War (Old Man’s War #1) by John Scalzi. (Rating: 5 Stars)
The author’s voice gives this sci-fi war story a light and humorous (real ROFL like moments) touch.
15.A young adult book (trilogy): Red Queen (Red Queen #1-3) by Victoria Aveyard
(Rating: 3,4,4 Stars for each book)
I found the story with silver and red people quite interesting, so why 3 to 4 stars? Mostly, and this is a pet peeve I usually have with YA, I think that romance took over other, more interesting, plot components.
I would gladly hear more about how silver appeared and came to power. When did that happen? Was it radiation, selective breeding, genetic techniques that brought the silver their special powers? The mentor figure of Julian was quite wasted as he didn’t provide any information, writers nowadays are so extremely scared of boring readers with backstory they just hint at it most times. I would have liked to know how this world came to be, this exploration of a future scenario being more interesting to me than another love triangle. Even though, I still like the characters and plot so I went on reading this series up to the third book “King’s Cage”. I still feel that the science fiction side of the story is mostly left to the side as no background explanations are given to the story world. Instead, the reader gets a lot of action and really long battle scenes, perhaps this was done so the target audience wouldn’t consider the book boring? I don’t know the reason for the lack of depth of the story world but even though missed it. Well, let’s see how the series will go on.
16. A standalone book: Northanger Abbey (The Austen Project #2) by Val McDermid
(Rating: 5 Stars)
A fresh and modern retelling of a classic. Now, can someone please tell me where can I find the Hebridean Harpies series? 😉
17a.) A book that was later made into a movie, play or tv show: Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy, #1) by Richelle Mead
(Rating: 4 Stars)
I liked this book and its vampire/high school drama mixture. I may go on reading this series, I’m just not intrigued enough at the moment to do that right now.
17b.) Watch the movie you read a book based on
Vampire Academy – I can’t really recommend doing that…