The Worst Books
Last year was a year of transition for me when it comes to my taste in books. If nothing, it proved to me that I am really tired of Paranormal Fantasy and my reading tastes are now turned towards Science Fiction, more specifically Space Opera. More than that, it also showed that if a book is well written or not makes a huge difference for me. If your book and characters are well written I will even rate a zombie post-apocalyptic book five stars, and I don’t usually like books with zombies, but I digress…
Six of the eight Paranormal Fantasy books I read in 2019 didn’t impress me, to a point that I stopped reading four series after the first, second or tenth book because they were mostly a repetition of previous books or other books in the genre. I just started to feel that, if a book series doesn’t bring anything new to a genre which I have now read for many years, than that series isn’t worth following.
In the same way, an author that constantly rehashes the same plot and characters; who always keeps the character and story development you wish it would happen above your head, only as a hook to make you buy the next book in the series; isn’t an author I want to keep on reading. Sorry, but if every book of a series isn’t good enough on its own, I’m out for good. I’m not going for the fan club excuse that the series will eventually become better, not anymore.
My boredom with three stars or lower Paranormal Fantasy books has become so strong that next year I plan to stop buying new books on the genre altogether. Since I don’t like getting rid of unread books I will still keep one or two Paranormal Fantasy unread books by new to me authors on my shelves, but I will donate many others away.
The exception will be books by my favorite author in the genre, Ilona Andrews, because she has innovated her new plots with the inclusion of space opera elements. Apart from that, when it comes to light reading, I’ll mainly substitute Paranormal Fantasy for space opera, young adult, or short stories.
In addition, the whole concept of “light reading” has lost much of its allure. I need stories with more content and that aren’t a repetition of old tropes, with new fresh story worlds, and original characters. The rehashed kick ass hot girl/hot guy, who jumps from one rehashed plot point to another without adding anything new, aren’t working for me anymore. And that is great, it’s time I challenge my mind with new stories, because the old ones bring no more surprises.
Let me know if you would like a detailed list of my worst books of 2019. Meanwhile, let’s move to more positive considerations:
The Best Books
This is a list of books that I, not only rated five stars on Goodreads, but also that brought new story elements on board. All but one were by authors I haven’t read before 2019, and all are by authors I will be following more closely in the next decade.
1.The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein by Kiersten White
A magnificent retelling of Frankenstein. And the Audiobook Performance of Katharine McEwan was five stars too.
2. An Unkindness of Magicians (An Unkindness of Magicians #1) by Kat Howard
This is a masterpiece, it has magic but even though it managed to have an extremely original plot of fantasy filled up with so many important themes and written in such an awesome style that I can’t believe it doesn’t has a higher rating and it isn’t all that hyped. Quality food-for-thought that everybody interested (or not) in stories with magic should read.
3. Children of the Nameless (Magic: The Gathering #72) by Brandon Sanderson
I read this for the r/fantasy Bingo Challenge. This was awesomely well written. Brandon Sanderson is one of the best fantasy authors at the moment. And you can read this story for free at the Magic The Gathering Website
4. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart
I rarely read mystery and even more rarely contemporary, but even though I could not stop reading this well written book, so it took me a day to read it entirely.
It is… Quite surprising and I like that in books, I won’t say more not to spoil it.
5. Rebel of the Sands (Rebel of the Sands #1) by Alwyn Hamilton
This was a wonderfully written tale of the desert, with so many important underlying themes and a compelling story with awesomely developed characters.
I will surely be following this series and Alwyn Hamilton is a new favorite author to watch for. The “Goodreads Choice Winner of 2016” prize this book has won is completely deserved.
I also read the second book in this series:
Traitor to the Throne (Rebel of the Sands #2)
This is the second book on this awesome YA trilogy with desert setting and Arabic mythology. It reminds me of City of Brass, but imo this is even better.
The writing style, the story world and the characters, everything is masterly written in a page-turner, edge of your seat way, until the very last phrase. If I could give this book more than five stars I would. 😉
I’ll be picking the series third book in the library soon, so stay tuned.
6. Circe by Madeline Miller
A well written and inspiring story. I’ll be surely reading more books from this author. Perdita Weeks is a great Audiobook narrator too.
7. Killing Gravity (Voidwitch Saga #1) by Corey J. White
An entertaining, page-turner novella, with great world, characters and a nice twist in the space opera sub-genre. After reading the first book in just one sitting, I will surely go on reading this series. I also read the next novellas, #2 and #3, and I’m looking forward to more books in this amazing space opera series!
8. Empire of Silence (Sun Eater #1) by Christopher Ruocchio
This is extremely well written. I see it more as epic fantasy with space opera elements than the other way around, but what matters is that once you start reading this, you won’t be able to put it down.
Note: The Blurb gives way too much of the story away, so I would not read it.
9. Snow White Learns Witchcraft: Stories and Poems by Theodora Goss, Jane Yolen (Introduction)
This is a beautifully written collection of short stories and poems, not only inspired, but also composed of “fairy tales fractured, reinvented, re-imagined, retold” as Jane Yolen describes in her Introduction “A Welcome to the Coven.”
Poetic, feminist and literary, the stories and poems are at times obscure, rich with symbols, and at times convey relatable women’s experiences and feelings in a deeply touching way. It also discusses women’s life experiences, and themes like women’s love, desire, marriage, motherhood, artistic expression, freedom, aspirations. It’s rich in themes deeply embedded in all its ‘tales’.
My favorite stories were:
“Blanchefleur”, with a beautiful quote about empathy.
“The Other Thea”, about a witch and her passional shadow.
“The Bear’s Daughter” about a girl who dreams of the south.
“Diamonds and Toads” about the interpretation of morality in fairy tales.
“The Princess and the Frog” with a nice twist on the outcome of the tale.
“Conversations with the Sea Witch” with the “old women sitting together in the sunshine”.
and finally “The Nightingale and the Rose” that was so touching it made me cry.
I consider this book a modern classic. I read it slowly because its richness of themes and meanings requires time to absorb and think over. I’ll probably reread this later on and also also check other books by this awesome author.
I would like to thank NetGalley and Mythic Delirium Books for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
10. A Memory Called Empire (Teixcalaan #1) by Arkady Martine
It did take me a while to hear this because I didn’t want to loose any detail of this book full of political intrigue and twists. I will following this series for sure. The audiobook narrator, Amy Landon, was quite good too.
11. Planetfall (Planetfall #1)by Emma Newman
This was a very suspenseful, and character-driven science fiction. I’ll be following this series.
12. The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic (Grishaverse) by Leigh Bardugo (Author), Sara Kipin (Illustrator)
This book was very nicely illustrated, and the ‘rewritten’ fairy tales were so original. It is a book I’m happy to have bought a hardcover physical copy of, because it is such a beautiful book.
My favorite stories were the last two, but the whole collection was five stars.
And you, have your reader preferences changed in 2019? Which were your favorite books from last year?