With 2016 behind us and 2017 just beginning I thought I would share some of my favorite and most memorable reads from 2016!
Granted, it was not my best year for reading, but I did surpass my original goal of reading 50 books with my final count being 62 books for the year. (A tip to easily surpassing a reading goal—read a lot of graphic novels/manga, which was the bulk of my reading for 2016). I will not be giving a full synopsis or spoiling anything about these books; I simply want to share why I enjoy these books. This lists is by no means everything that I read, but mainly what books stand out for me the most during 2016, beginning with…
Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard
The Sword of Summer by Rick Riordan
Yes, this book is in fact a middle grade book (1 of 3 on this list actually), and yes, I will still read middle grade books especially if they are coming from this author. Rick Riordan is one of my favorite authors out there and I have been in love with his crazy world of gods and demigods since I first read Percy Jackson and The Olympians. His addition of Norse mythology to the wider web of his world is definitely becoming one of my favorites.
When I started reading The Sword of Summer at the beginning of the year I was a bit worried that it would be too similar to the Percy Jackson series, but I was quickly proven wrong within the first few chapters. This story and its characters really stand apart from Riordan’s past books for me. Every chapter is engaging and I never felt I had to force myself to sit down and finish the book. It has all the hilarious flair that Riordan’s writing holds as well as the more serious moments that push the development of the characters and story.
While anybody could pick up this book and read it, I definitely feel a lot of the clever inside jokes that add such a nice depth to the series would be lost on the readers who have not read his previous books. So do you need to read the Percy Jackson series and the series that follow to enjoy the story—no, but reading the previous books does add to the experience.
Black Bird, volume 12
By Kanoko Sakurakouji
Black Bird is one of my “guilty pleasure” manga series because it does have a lot of drama and romance. Volume 12 is filled to the brim with a TON of that said drama, plus some darker moments. This series as whole has been really good. The art and layout of the speech bubbles are done really well, and I never feel overwhelmed by any of the elements. I always love the covers! This one may be my favorite yet…. I would definitely recommend this manga series to anyone a fan of the supernatural, mythology, and the previously mentioned themes. This series is rated T+ for “older teen,” and that is understandable since it does have more mature content and features violence.
The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
You give me a retelling of Little Red Riding-hood, some Beauty & the Beast feels, and good writing…then you are sure to please me! That is exactly what the second book in the Lunar Chronicles did. This Young Adult series found a good place in my heart with the first book (which is a retelling of the classic Cinderella story, but with a twist), but Scarlet is my favorite so far. Great story, great connections to the first book, and (I’m just going to say it) my favorite ship yet! (“Ship” or “shipping” if you are not aware is a term used in relation to pairing characters together).
I love rewrites of fairy tales and Marissa Meyer is doing a fabulous job at it by combining those well-known elements of the tales with her own original ideas. I’m pretty bored with the whole dystopian mania that was all the rage a few months ago, but I don’t mind it so much in this series since its more sci-fi based than other books I’ve read in the genera.
By A. G. Howard
On the similar train of retelling classic stories, here is yet another new favorite of mine! Now, I did try to read Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland but I honestly could not get into it. Weirdly enough though, I love a ton of Alice in Wonderland inspired or retold stories—it’s just one of those weird things I really enjoy. Splintered is of course one of these retold stories and it is so much fun to read! I love all of the characters and Howard’s version of Wonderland. The presentation of book is another thing I love about this book; from the cover to the surprising purple ink that the whole book is printed in. I don’t know what it is about a book that is printed with colored ink, but they just feel special.
This book also introduced me to one of my top favorite male characters ever, and that’s Morpheus. I won’t spoil anything of course, but he is just so much fun—he kind of has a “Loki-ish” personality and you never quite know what he’s planning…which makes things all the more exciting!
I will probably reread this book in the coming months because I love it that much! I seriously need to get the next book in the series!
The Kiss of Deception
The Remnant Chronicles by Mary E. Pearson
Another beautiful cover in my opinion, but this title is not kidding when it says deception. Out of the books I read in 2016 this book takes the cake for messing with my head. Not only is deception a big part of the plot itself, but how the book is written and the format of the chapters are designed to deceive you. As embarrassing as it is to say—I had NO IDEA that the book was messing me, because I was so certain of *some very spoiler worthy things* that I didn’t even realize it until the bomb dropped. I was literally sitting there thinking, “Wait…what just happened? I need to read that again!”
My silly brain not picking up on this fact really made the book all the more fun to read, because I’ve read a lot of books now in the young adult section, so it can be hard to find one that truly surprises and throws something at me that I wasn’t already suspecting. Plot wise, I’m very curious to see what happens next and how the characters continue to develop.
Another thing I really want to praise this book on is the world building. Fantasy worlds are really tricky and I often find that if I struggle to feel comfortable in the world that it can ruin the reading experience. Luckily, that is not the case for me with this book. The fantasy world in this book is written really well and I never felt like I had to decipher anything to understand it.
The Trials of Apollo
The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan
Yes, another Rick Riordan. I know I’ve said that other books on this list were fun to read, but this book is truly funny (but it does have a serious plot and scenes or it wouldn’t be a Riordan book otherwise). Now first off—you really have to have read the Percy Jackson and Heroes of Olympus series to understand the events and characters in this book, otherwise to could be very confusing. You will definitely be spoiled for the other books.
Moving on from there— for quite a while now I’ve been wondering if we would ever get a book from Riordan that actually told a story from the perspective of one of the Gods that pepper his world. Finally we have it, and there was no better choice than Apollo. He is one of the funniest Greek Gods that Riordan has written about. Every chapter beginning with a haiku from Apollo is so funny and so in character! I also really love that this book has a lot of focus on the “side characters” from the main series that have become such fan favorites, and seeing them more fleshed out is very cool. It’s also great that beloved main characters from the other series make their cameo appearance, something Riordan does so well. He really understands his readers from all age groups and knows how to keep us hooked and excited to read more.
The Twice Lost
The Lost Voices Trilogy by Sarah Porter
You want me to read a book, just throw the words mermaid or merman at me. I’m a huge fan of mermaids and I have been since I was a little girl (Can you guess what one of my favorite Disney movies is? Lol).
This is the third and final book in the trilogy, and I would say that it does a very good job of wrapping up the story. Something I’ve really loved about this series is how the mermaids come to be—it’s very dark when you think about it, but I guess that’s what impressed me so much. I also really appreciate while there is a romance that eventually appears in the books, it doesn’t dominate the story or the final decision that Luce makes in the end. I found that very refreshing in a young adult book, because it’s just a fact of YA books that some of them can be too dependent on the romance driving the actions of the characters.
Monstress: Volume One, Awakening
By Marjorie Liu and Sana Takeda
As far as graphic novels/comics for 2016, Monstress bewitched me. I had no idea what the story was about beforehand, but I just saw the cover and knew I had to have this book for my collection. This happens to me on occasion; I will fall for a cover and buy the book on a whim, and often these books turn out to be gems.
Monstress has a very beautiful and dark art style (seriously, the palate for the art is on the muted side, so I don’t recommend reading it in a dimly lit room), and the story is unique, to the point that I did have a slight struggle to get used to the world. By the end of the volume though I was very pleased with everything from the action to the characters. The art is still the biggest selling point for me though.
If the art style of a graphic novel is not appealing to me than I’m going to have a hard time enjoying the story, even if it’s one of the best series around. Luckily, Monstress delivers pretty well on both plot and style. Also, this is rated M for mature, and it is not kidding. There is a lot of violence, but that’s the price you pay for some pretty epic action scenes. Well worth it in my opinion.
A Court of Mist and Fury
By Sarah J. Maas
And the winner for my best & favorite book of 2016 goes to…A Court of Mist and Fury!
So when I first heard about all the hype around Sarah J. Maas and her other series, Throne of Glass, I was very wary to read her books, and I’ll explain why….I find that while a lot of extremely hyped books are not bad, they’re often not my favorites and I could have easily gone without reading them. So I was in no hurry to jump onto the hype train, that was until I heard about this new series she was writing called A Court of Thorns and Roses, and what sold me on it were two things—
1. It was Beauty & the Beast inspired (Like, yes yes, I must read), and 2. This series is actually a NEW young adult series. If you are not aware, New Young Adult books are prompted to college age individuals (like myself) and the stories feature more mature content than the typical YA book. On this point—I honestly could see this series easily sitting next to your normal ADULT series, and I think the only thing keeping it from that may just be because the main character’s age is 19.
I cannot praise these books enough—especially A Court of Mist and Fury. What I love so much about this book is how real the relationships feel. The events at the end of the first book have such a huge impact on the characters personalities that their relationships drastically change, and things just can’t be as they were, and that makes so much sense since the events in question are very traumatic.
I love the growth of Feyre (the main character) in this book and the struggles she goes through. The other characters are also fabulous—such a great mix of personalities. There are fantastic action scenes, and by the end of the book I was on the edge of my seat. Just thinking about what happens makes me sick to my stomach but I’m dying to read the next book! One thing I am hoping for in the next book is the redemption of some of the characters, because this is definitely a series where everyone is not cut and dry “good versus evil.” Everyone is flawed and has made some very poor choices, some more than others…*that character has to remain unnamed* but if you have read the books than you know who I’m talking about….and yes, I’m totally silently judging that character.
Waterfire Saga by Jennifer Donnelly
Moving back into the realm of YA books; the third book in the Waterfire saga did a good job continuing the journey of the main characters and the plot. Yes, this is another mermaid book and a very well done series at that. These books definitely hit me in a nostalgic part of my heart, because the basic idea of the story (a group of mermaid’s fighting against evil forces) does strike a close resemblance to one of the first anime series I really got into when I was younger called Mermaid Melody.
I do really like how the mermaid world is designed in this series, and the growth of these young mer-girls is well done—without having to relying on romance to do so! While there are some budding romances (some more serious than others), it’s more about the relationships of these mermaids together and how they help each other realize their own potential and strengths.
Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard
The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan
It’s only fitting that I finished my 2016 reading in almost the same fashion I began it! The second book in the Magnus Chase series wins second place for my best & favorite books of 2016 easily!
This book is another fantastic leap forward for the story and characters. There are some really unique things that Riordan has done with this series in regards to its characters. They’re not your typical group of heroes or main characters for that matter, and that’s because through these character Riordan is addressing some pretty heavy issues that we see in today’s world. The addition of my favorite character in this series, Alex, is only one of many perfect examples. Sadly, I can’t say more without spoiling anything, but I think that the positive way Riordan deals with these issues is very inspiring and appropriate for the intended younger audience of readers.
This series has impressed me and is continuing to do so, and I can see how much Riordan has grown as writer since publishing the first Percy Jackson book in 2005!
Wow, I didn’t even realize how long I have been growing up reading Riordan…and I still love his books 12 years later! ~
So there you have it! My 2016 book wrap-up! I hope you guys enjoyed reading this, and maybe have found a book you would like to read in 2017, or maybe a book you think someone in your life would enjoy!
If any of you have read these books, what do you think of them? What other books did you read in 2016 and love?
Comment bellow with your answers or suggestions for books that you think I may also like to read. After all…it’s a New Year which means new reading goals!
My aim is to read a 100 books in 2017! What’s your reading goal for 2017? 😉