Krys’s Top Ten 2014
The Jewel is one of those books I was monumentally excited for since its announcement. Fortunately, reading it was everything that I wanted. It filled the hole in my heart that Kiera Cass’s The Selection series left behind, but widened the space as well for what I hope to be a promising series. This book is captivating and complicated, nuanced and excellently voiced. I probably want the sequel of this more than many other books.
Isla, Isla…Isla. I waited just like everyone else for this and every part of this book was worth it. Isla has always loved Josh and she finally captures his attention one year. It sounds simple but the story is so much more complex than this and we are with Isla through every heartbreaking turn. I wish that these books had existed when I was a teenager. I would have loved to have read them back then.
April Lindner has become one of my favourite contemporary authors in the YA field. With this book she retells one of my favourite stories, A Room with a View, in modern time. Lindner sets the story in summer, the summer between high school graduation and college. Lucy, our heroine, loves performance and Italy and slowly falls in love with Jesse, a man that she will be forced to leave behind when she attends college. I love, love, LOVE how Lindner honors these stories. Her ability to craft thematically complex retellings is pure magic.
7. The Winner’s Curse/The Winner’s Crime by Marie Rutkoski:
Ah yes, the book that everyone loved this year, including me. Fantasy, outside occupation, divided lands and loyalties, revenge and drama, and two people from opposing sides who must set aside their differences. This is a slow-moving yet completely fascinating portrait of privilege, corruption, scandal, and a slow-burning romance. I’m glossing over everything but trust me when I say this, you will want the second book immediately upon finishing this one.
(Currently reading book two, The Winner’s Crime, and it’s just as good as book one.)
I reread Leigh’s first two books in the series leading up to this one and I was very glad that I did. The book would stand alone on its own, though within the series arc it was equally brilliant. These books are so lush and visual that when I close my eyes I can see the events unfold in a sort of unparalleled beauty. One can almost hear the sounds of these books, feel the tension in your own muscles, and smell the food, blood, sweat, and tears. There’s a magic to Bardugo’s writing, an uncanny nimbleness to her craft that she wields with skill. I enjoyed watching her work through this book. It was well worth the reread.
I’ll admit it; I was sucked in by the buzz. However, picking up Gillian Flynn was one of the best reading experiences I experienced all year, so much so that I picked up Flynn’s other book, Dark Places, and was equally spellbound. Gritty and ugly, fantastically addictive, this story kept me up for nights. I couldn’t look away from these people, the super flawed, awful, completely repulsive people. Read this when you want something totally out of your wheelhouse and don’t know what to read. That’s when you will not be able to look away either.
This book was everything that I wanted from Marie Lu and more. Following her explosive debut series, Legend/Prodigy/and Champion, Marie Lu turns from Dystopian to fantasy. Her world building in this is nuts, the premise fresh, and you will adore her bitter, broken heroine, Adelina. This series has it all; compelling characters, dazzling action, well-drawn plotting, beautiful characterization… I loved this book. I can’t say more than that.
P.S. Side characters galore!!!
3. The Ring and the Crown by Melissa de la Cruz:
This seems to be the year for court intrigue and fantasy. I’ve been a fan of Melissa’s Blue Bloods series for years. That said, this is my favourite book that she has written. Hands down. She had me at Alternate History of Britain Imbued with Arthurian Legends. Yes, all of this. Much of the book details the goings-on of several people coming to London for an elaborate party. It sounds dull but, believe me, it’s riveting, and I can’t elaborate on it further without ruining it for everyone. If you like character-driven-fantasy-laden court intrigue than this book is for you.
2. Under the Never Sky Trilogy by Veronica Rossi:
I tried to read this book once before and ignored it afterwards until book three came out. Then I finally succumbed to the buzz and devoured the entire trilogy over a course of a week. Rossi details a story of a dying world and the people surviving within – those who live in Reverie (an enclosed underground compound) and those who live in the Death shops and brave the outer elements and destructively violent lightning storms. The story follows Aria and Perry, two people from different worlds who each have gifts that defy expectations. Seeing them work within this world and find one another while everything falls apart around them is what makes this series shine.
Plus, there’s Roar, who is one of my favourite side characters. Ever.
I read this book very early in January and summarily compared ever book to it throughout the year (including Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell). The book tells the story of Eleanor, a jaded outsider with a bad home life, and Park, the slightly-more-popular half-Asian sophomore who bonds with her on the bus over comic books. Eleanor and Park is a beautiful book, a rollicking up-and-down rage of emotions. At one moment the book is sweet and toe-curling, the next it’s heart-wrenching and hard to look away from. I put the book down several times, remembering the darker parts of my childhood and feeling suddenly like a terrified six-year-old. But the sweet parts, the best parts, are the moments when you press the book to your chest and sigh with delight. The best parts are Eleanor and Park finding one another and really seeing themselves through the other’s eyes. This book is worth all of the hype that you have been hearing.
– Follow the Reader –