You may recall my previous post about my top 10 reads of the year as of September. In that post, I focused primarily on new releases (which is also what I did for my Top 10 of 2017 list for Geek Girl Authority), but now I’m here to give you my absolute favorites and some of those from my previous list have been knocked out the running!
Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson – I’ll never stop being impressed by how much this book impressed me! Granted, it was my first dive into Sanderson, so maybe I was swept away by a new voice, but I 100% loved every minute of this book. To each their own about whether or not you choose to support him or not, but if you’re interested, this is a fantastic fantasy with an original magic system that I adored.
Arabella of Mars by David D. Levine – Who doesn’t want to read about Victorian-era, steampunk, space adventures in spaceships made of wood that sail through breathable atmosphere? Arabella is sassy and smart and I loved reading about the differences in ways of life and politics throughout the different planets. The sequel, Arabella and the Battle of Venus is solid too.
Armstrong & Charlie by Steven B. Frank – Meaningful middle-grade at its best. I loved the dynamic between the two boys and the friendship that bloomed between them. If you’re looking for a contemporary (well, sorta) set in 1970s America and based on the author’s childhood during a time when desegregation was just beginning, I highly recommend this.
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell – Guys. GUYS. Talk about one of the most epic books I’ve ever read – damn! I am so glad that I joined the group read for this book, because I’d never have made time for it otherwise. It’s 1000 times more moving and deep than the movie (which, let’s face it, we all just sit through because Rhett is a total hunk) and it’s absolutely NOT a love story. No easy read by any use of the word, but one well worth the time.
The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner – What’s this? A YA contemporary made my Top list!? I have Chelsea to thank for this rec. The teens in this story didn’t annoy me to the point of insanity (which is rare) and they were compelling to read about. Not to mention there were some major feels that blindsided me (in public, no less!) and if you’re looking for a quick read with no love triangles this book might just be what you need.
The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers – This is by far the most diverse sci-fi I’ve read and has the highest ratio of characters I love (because I love basically all of them) and this book just made me feel so damn good! I want to re-read it over and over and never stop! NEVER STOP.
Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire – The Wayward Children series is full of characters that have come back from magical worlds they’ve stumbled upon and now must adjust to life in the real world again. This is an excellent viewpoint to highlight and I enjoy the varied cast of characters (some good LGBT rep going on). This book had a wonderfully dark tone that left me desperate for more.
The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell– Talk about a sci-fi to make your skin crawl! My hands still hurt! (Read it, you’ll understand soon enough.) This is a slow-burn that built up a most delicious unsettling feeling in me as I read. It’s also a book that center’s around one man’s understanding of faith, which isn’t something I read about often, so that was refreshing.
Cold Counsel by Chris Sharp – Foul-mouthed troll? Check. Foul-mouthed goblins with hilarious names? Check. Bloody action scenes? Check. Old gods thirsty for revenge? Check. How many more boxes do you need checked?! I need more from this universe, stat.
The Punch Escrow by Tal M. Klein – I love me a snarky protag and teleportation mishaps. This book has all that, plus interesting and amusing footnotes, lots of action, and a beautifully shiny cover!
Sea of Rust by C. Robert Cargill – Brittle, my girl! Obviously, a robot, I love stories about robots. This was the perfect mix of desolate future where humanity has ceased to exist, and compelling non-human characters and their battle for what is essentially a human lifestyle. I mean, those are all things you look for in your sci-fi, right?
The Fireman by Joe Hill – While some of the characters in this book drove me up a wall, it was mostly in a good way (or at least a compelling way) and the plot was so awesome that I didn’t care. I don’t read a lot of plague books (is that a sub-genre? It should be…) so maybe I’m easily impressed, but I loved the concept Hill created and his lead character, The Fireman, stole the show.
The Stone in the Skull by Elizabeth Bear – Yet another diverse read, but with a fantasy setting this time. There are automatons and cat-people and a Dead Man and transgender queen and several women in power (even if they’re struggling to keep it), wrapped up in a world with a heavily Eastern flavor.
Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert – I was really late to the game in reading this and now I’m here to say, if you’ve been putting this off, please, make time for it. I don’t read a lot of travel memoirs (or memoirs and non-fiction in general) and I need to change that. Gilbert was so relatable that I wished she was my friend.
Artemis by Andy Weir – This is one of the most fun books I’ve read this year. Similar to The Martian, in that it has a wise-ass narrator and lots of whacky, lucky escapes, I didn’t want to put this down.
The Swallow by Charis Cotter – Any book that makes me cry is almost guaranteed to make my top list. This is more than just a spooky ghost mystery; it’s a story about family, loneliness and loss.
River of Teeth by Sarah Gailey – Another exciting read with a diverse cast. This novella packs in a lot of action and character history and I’m incredibly excited to read the follow-up. I mean, savage hippos lurking in the swamps in the southern US after a failed plan to farm them for meat…who doesn’t want to read about that?! Cowboys, but on hippos! HIPPOCOWBOYS!
There you have it! These are the books that impressed me the most this year (I cut it from 21, it was very hard) and I would reread any of them if only I had more time. If you agree or disagree, let me know – I’m always up for discussions! Or, if you want a more coherent and less flappy-handed recommendation, I’m more than happy to give you more details.
*cover images from Goodreads