Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Best Books of 2016


     If you're reading this, congratulations! That means you successfully made it out of 2016- maybe not in one piece, and maybe you lost a little bit of your sanity, but you did it! 2017, I'm hoping, is going to be a very exciting year. At least for me because I will be graduating in May and possibly starting college over the summer...which may be exciting or extremely nerve-racking...
     Anyways, although this year may not have been the best year in the real world, it was a great one in the book world. This post was going to be a Worst Books of 2016 post, but to be honest, I couldn't think of that many to make a whole post, so here we are. So without further ado, in the order in which I read them, here are the best books I had the pleasure of reading in 2016.

The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes


     I typically don't enjoy mystery novels, or really any book that's not fantasy, however, this book is the perfect example of why I have been so completely wrong my entire life. If this is an indicator as to what I've been missing out on, I just want to cry because it was good. Because of this book, I've been trying to find a good, dark murder book, and I'm considering trying Gone Girl, bu if you have any suggestions please leave them in the comments down below.
     From the start of this book, I was so entranced. I always felt that murder mysteries were so unrelatable and not so entertaining because they were always told through adults and they never had anything that really stood out about them. This book, I feel like, is different from others in its genre as it is told through a young girl with a knack for profiling people. Due to this skill, she is recruited by a secret branch of the FBI for teenagers who help solve cold cases, such as the case of her mom's murder several years ago. This book left me entirely stunned, and even though I read it at the beginning of the year, I still remember when I was frozen at two in the morning reading the last few pages. If you're looking for a book that will completely blow your mind with the plot twist of the century, 10/10 would recommend.



Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas


     I started the Throne of Glass series in December of 2015, and though I read Crown of Midnight in the beginning of 2016, I believe Heir of Fire was slightly better, but only in the way of entertainment. Though the first book will always remain my favorite, this book was unique from the others as it was told in a new setting with so many new characters. I feel that this book kind of refreshed the series. And though I will forever worship Celaena and Chaol, I did like the spark between Celaena and her new romantic interest (I'm failing at not giving spoilers).
     Also, the additions of some subplots in this book are fantastic. Honestly, I got scared reading this book at night for some scenes due to the new creatures that are introduced for Celeana to try to conquer.
     Finally, I have to talk about the new evil rising in the land. The other main character of this story is completely new and pretty interesting. I didn't know what was happening at first when she was introduced, but I really grew to like her as I saw a lot of Celeana in her. I am extremely excited to see where the story goes in Queen of Shadows.




Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard


     This book is tied for my favorite book of 2016. I had been in a severe reading slump and this book ended it as soon as I picked it up. OH. MY. GOODNESS.
     First off, a lot of books have touched on separation of people whether based on looks, age, or wealth, but I feel like few can compare to the way this separation is portrayed in Red Queen. It shows the side of someone who belongs to both parts of the kingdom, and the only thing separating them is the color of their blood. The topic of the book is interesting as the silver bloods are almighty with fantastic powers rule over the ordinary red bloods, and all is changed when it is discovered there is a girl with red blood and the powers of a silver.
     Also, I really enjoyed the characters in all, even the more awful ones. Although the end of this book made me want to punch a wall because of Maven and how infuriating the queen is, the characters were done so well. I may have hated the king and queen, but I loved how much I hated them. The main character, Mare is also not one of the whiny heroines we see in a lot of books, which was really nice to see.






The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton


     I finished this book in one day. I had never done that before. I have no regrets.
     The story tells of a young boy caught up with his friends in the gang battles between the greasers and the preps after the death of his parents. After one of Ponyboy's friends kills a prep to save Ponyboy's life, everything changes, and the two are forced to leave town. Each character carries his own complexity and uniqueness from the beginning, and each grows in their own way which turns out to actually be beautiful.
     The power behind the words of this book is astounding. I nearly cried about five times reading this book because you can deeply feel the hurt each of these young boys experience. I don;t think I have ever read a book that evoked so much emotion through the entire story.
     Though the writing and the characters in the novel really help deliver the story, the themes in the book are really hard-hitting. It discusses abusive parents, the loss of parents, siblings raising each other, the effects of mistakes and bullying, and how much friendship can help a bad situation.






An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir

     Though I technically finished this book in 2017, I started it in 2016, so I am going to count it in this post anyway because this is the tie for best book of 2016 along with Red Queen. This book blew away every expectation I had for it. At first, I wasn't sure if I was going to like it as much as I had hoped but by like chapter three I was so gone in this story.
     I typically don't enjoy books set in the desert, I have no idea why, they just aren't as enticing to me for some reason, but this was so different to any book I had read. I was not expecting supernatural forces either, and because I never really read books like this, the supernatural forces of this kind were really new to me, and I liked learning about them.
     I can't talk about this book without discussing the main characters and their love interests. Laia and Elias are the two characters who tell the story, with alternating points of view. Laia is a young girl from the oppressed side of the Kingdom who loses everything when the Empire raids her home, killing her grandparents and taking her brother. Elias is a young man attending Blackcliff, a school that raises children to become Masks-ruthless killers, like the ones that raided Laia's home. Although they both have different love interests, when they start to find each other, I can't help but root for them. The gradual intertwining of these two characters' paths was so nicely done that the story could not have been told with the same impact done through only one perspective. I cannot wait to get the second book, A Torch Against the Night.

Thanks for reading!
                                                                                                                         -Taylor

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