I hope everyone has had a nice Christmas! I’ve been a bit scarce the this month due to the busy holiday season, but we’re nearing the end of the year already! This is usually the time for reflection, and though 2017 has been a mixed bag with ups and downs, the second half was pretty busy (hence, the fewer posts). Thankfully, I did get a lot of reading done this year. I’ve read 52 books so far, excluding a bunch of manga and Western comics. I don’t think I’ll finish more books this year (other than maybe the fourth volume of Fables), so I’m going to go ahead and post a list of my favourite reads of the year!
To be fair, this list was a little difficult to put together. I’ve read a lot; stuff that I liked and even <i>really</i> liked, but for one reason or another, they are just barely short of becoming a favourite read of the year. I’ve also read some books that I found ‘okay’ or even outright horrible, but I’m not going to be talking about that. Either way, I’ve managed to put together a list of books that really resonated with me and kept getting excited about even after I had finished them.
This list excludes books I’ve reread. Also: the ones I’ve listed are in no particular order and they are not necessarily released this year. I don’t think any have been released this year, actually.
The Waking Fire (The Draconis Memoria #1)
Yeah. If you’ve read my review earlier this year, this shouldn’t be a surprise. There are dragons in this book. There’s no point in repeating my own review, but in short: this book has a very intriguing setting with interesting characters who offer different perspectives on what’s going on. Moreover, the mystery of what exactly is going on makes this book a real page turner. Did I mention it has dragons? I loved its sequel, Legion of Flame, as well, but The Waking Fire was a little better and it’s definitely one of my favourite discoveries of 2017.
A Little Life
Genre: contemporary fiction
Where do I start? A Little Life follows four friends throughout their lives in New York City after graduating from college until they hit their middle ages-ish. The friendship between these four men changes over the years by success and addiction. The friendship, and the novel, heavily center on Jude, a broken man who deals with the physical and mental trauma of his abusive childhood. It’s not a very happy novel, as you might have gathered, but it’s beautifully written and I really felt for the characters (especially Jude). I keep meaning to review it but I haven’t yet been able to convince myself that I’d do it any justice.
Monstress (Volume #1: Awakening)
Marjorie Liu (story) & Sana Takeda (art)
Genre: comic, fantasy
I bought this comic for the stunning artwork and the story immediately pulled me in. It’s about a one-armed girl dealing with demonic possession and the mystery of what exactly her own mother has put her through, and various creatures and factions hunting her for the demon she harbours. All the while, she tries to maintain control over herself. The art is stunning and really shines with the amazing world building this comic has. It has a bit of a steampunkish fantasy setting. The main character, Maika, is a well-written character, and the supporting cast plays off her nicely. Monstress also deals with very mature themes such as prejudice, racism, slavery, and war trauma.
Genre: magical realism
Like I said in my review, I was impressed by the way the characters — and especially the main character, Adrian — were depicted in this apocalyptic novel. What I liked even more was its premise and the eerie yet fairytale-like quality of the woods. Though I would have liked it if Shaw did more with the mysterious Whisperers and the eerie atmosphere, which prevented me from giving The Trees a rating of five stars, this was a very intriguing novel that definitely stood out among all the other things I’ve read. So yes, it deserves a mention on this list.
Fables (Deluxe Edition, Volume #1)
Bill Willingham (story), Lan Medina (art), Mark Buckingham (art), et al.
Genre: comic, fantasy
Another comic, but I couldn’t not mention Fables. I got interested after playing the video game The Wolf Among Us by Telltale because of the premise and its characters. It’s about fairytale characters who are banished from their homelands and now live in modern Manhattan. It’s a bit gritty, but an interesting take on famous characters — my favourite being Bigby Wolf, a.k.a. The Big Bad Wolf who is the community’s sheriff. This edition contains ‘Legends in Exile’, a whodunnit with Bigby as the lead, and ‘Animal Farm’, which deals with a revolution brewing on the farm housing the nonhuman exiles, as well as Snow White’s relationship with her sister.
There we have it, my favourite reads of 2017! The list is a little shorter than last year, actually, even though I’ve read more books. There are a few honourable mentions (It by Stephen King, The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, and Seraphina by Rachel Hartman) that I really liked as well, but I had one or more reasons to decide against actually listing them here.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this post! What are your favourite reads this year?