The year is nearly at an end – so that means it’s time for a roundup of my Best and Worst books of 2017!
I will also be awarding my Best Fiction and Best YA Fiction Awards for 2017 in this post!
It seems to have been a wonderful year for publishing, and I’ve been treated to a lot of amazing reads, in fact it was quite hard to narrow my list down to only 5 for the Best of, and quite difficult to choose 5 titles to go in the Worst of section!
Before we get started, there are a few things I should clarify for qualifications to end up on these lists and awards:
- The book doesn’t have to have been published in 2017 to end up in the Best or Worst lists, as long as I read them in 2017.
- To receive a Best Award for 2017 the book does need to have been published in 2017
- Although I am technically calling this the Best and Worst of 2017, my ‘bookish’ years start and stop around Christmas time! This is because I travel home for the holiday season and I focus on family at this time, not reading and my website. So any books that I read between mid-December 2016 and mid-December 2017 are what count here! I’m clarifying this because I read Warcross by Marie Lu just before Christmas this year and it absolutely would have made it onto my Best list this year, but it’ll have to count for next year!
So, without further ado, and in no particular order:
My Best reads of 2017
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline – If you’re looking for my review for this, you won’t find it. Unfortunately I read this before I got my shit together with my website, but perhaps one day I’ll do a full review! But for now, this will have to do. This book is incredible! I absolutely loved everything about it, the character development and world building were absolutely astounding and it’s completely re-readable. I just hope they don’t fuck it all up with the upcoming film!
Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake – You can read my review of this here! I found the premise of this book to be brilliant: Three triplet queens born with individual powers must fight to the death when they come of age for the right to reign over the kingdom. Sounds great right? It is! It’s by no means perfect, but I tore through this book and genuinely, eagerly looked forward to the sequel. I chose my queen and rooted for her, I cared about the plights of the characters.
Heartless by Marissa Meyer – I was a massive fan of the Lunar Chronicles so I couldn’t wait to get into this! I’m not a fan of Alice in Wonderland but this re-imaging was brilliant and, at times, heart shattering. I love hearing about villain origins and this was no exception! I’d highly recommend this for fans of Alice and retellings in general! It was also nice to have a stand-alone book in YA for a change! Check out my full review.
One of us is Lying by Karen M. McManus – If there was one book that surprised the hell out of me this year, this was it. I liked the sound of the book, and I expected a pretty solid 6 out of 10 read with a predictable but enjoyable plot. Instead, what I got was a stereotype shattering, twisty read. The characters are the absolute shining star of this book, and whilst I figured out the killer by the half-way point, it was a massively enjoyable read! I really hope future YA authors read this book, because this is the way to do it! My full review can be found here.
Pachinko by Min Jin Lee – This book was an outstanding read. To find out all the reasons why, you can click here. It was utterly heart-shattering yet such an essential read. It’s a family saga taking place over 4 generations that spans global times of turmoil, as well as times of high cultural tension. It’s a difficult read for all the right reasons and it’s haunted me for a long time after finishing reading. It’s a long read, but fully worth it.
Honourable mention: A Semi-Definitive List of Worst Nightmares by Krystal Sutherland – Full of amazingly developed characters and deep content, yet all wrapped up in an easily accessible way. I loved the characters and the story. Check out the full review here.
And now, again in no particular order:
My Worst Reads of 2017
King’s Cage by Victoria Aveyard – Urgh. A great big urgh is what I give this, that and a middle finger. You know, Red Queen was actually not a bad YA story; it was a little derivative sure, but the premise was pretty good and I wanted to continue the series. Then Glass Sword shat on it. Then King’s Cage came out to add a further insult. This whole series is a prime example of an author wanting nothing more than money from YA readers. Aveyard is milking this for all it’s worth. Crappy, uninspiring characters, repetitive dialogue and plot and cringe-worthy romances are what await you here. If you’d like to avoid that and just read my review, here you go.
Areh by Jeffrey Kinsey – Originally I gave this book a fairly positive review, but thinking about it, it really wasn’t as good as I first thought. The pacing and flow were all over the place, as were some of the character motivations and the plot. It all seemed a bit jumbled and this is likely because the author wouldn’t let anyone near it to edit etc as he doesn’t like that so many people involved in the publishing process, he thinks it’s “tragically ugly”. Looking back on it all, it’s a bit too pretentious for me.
Mr 60% by Clete Barrett Smith – This book is on here for a few reasons, but the main one is that it’s completely unremarkable. I had forgotten all about it and I don’t remember feeling all that bothered about it when I was reading it. To quote my own review: the bare minimum effort has gone in to get published, but 60% does not make a good book.
The Tiger’s Watch by Julia Ember – Fantasy stories tend to take place in their own worlds, and for this to be successful world building has to be handled really well, and it just wasn’t here. We are barely introduced to two different made-up cultures with no idea as to why they are at war. So ultimately we don’t really care which side wins or loses because we have no basis of morality to judge actions against. That, mixed with several ideas being done before (and better) by other books just didn’t give a very satisfying read.
One Dark Throne by Kendare Blake – Wait a minute, didn’t I just put the book that came before this in my Best Of list? Yes, yes I did. But this one, the second in the series, belongs on the Worst Of list because it was such a disappointment! In fact, this book flat out broke me. I didn’t so much write a review, I wrote a rant. I was so excited to continue this story, but I was given what felt like a first draft fan-fiction instead. Characters became dumber, which was insulting and frustrating. I just can’t stand stupid characters. It all felt watered down and as if the author didn’t care as much about this book. It’s redeemable, it’s no Red Queen but I was so let down.
Dishonourable mention: Turtles All The Way Down by John Green – Someone needs to tell John Green that although his name alone will sell books to empty-headed fangirls and fanboys now, it won’t make it a good book by default. This book was quite boring, there was little plot and it just seemed like he threw together some mindless notes and edited them together and rested on his name to sell the book.
The ‘Best of 2017’ AWARDS
Although I have read, enjoyed and reviewed several genres of books this year, I don’t feel like it would be fair to have more than two awards this year, as the majority of my reading has been fiction and YA fiction – no book should win an award by default of genre! Hopefully my awards for 2018 can be extended to graphic novels, and lots of sub genres of fiction too!
Usually I would find it difficult to narrow down my choices for awards, but this year presented a clear winner for each category!
It is my absolute honour to award my Best YA Fiction Award 2017 to One of us is Lying by Karen M. McManus and to award my Best Fiction Award 2017 to Pachinko by Min Jin Lee!
Well, that’s it for this year! I look forward to seeing you all in 2018, as there are many, many books to look forward to!
Happy New year everyone!