Best of 2015

January 1, 2016 Bookish 1

Bestof2016

2015 was a hard year for me, with everything that was going on. I read 33 books (which I consider to be quite the achievement!), so it’s a little hard to compile a best of list. Here are some highlights:

Début

The Fire Sermon (The Fire Sermon #1) by Francesca Haig

The Fire Sermon is the first book in what promises to be an exciting post-apocalyptic series. Well executed and action-filled, it will grip readers from the first page.

When Zach and I were born our parents must have counted and recounted: limbs, fingers, toes. We were perfect. They would have been disbelieving: nobody dodged the split between Alpha and Omega. Nobody.

They were born together and they will die together.

One strong Alpha twin and one mutated Omega; the only thing they share is the moment of their death.

The Omegas live in segregation, cast out by their families as soon as their mutation becomes clear. Forced to live apart, they are ruthlessly oppressed by their Alpha counterparts.

The Alphas are the elite. Once their weaker twin has been cast aside, they’re free to live in privilege and safety, their Omega twin far from their thoughts.

Cass and Zach are both perfect on the outside: no missing limbs, no visible Omega mutation. But Cass has a secret: one that Zach will stop at nothing to expose.

The potential to change the world lies in both their hands. One will have to defeat the other to see their vision of the future come to pass, but if they’re not careful both will die in the struggle for power.

Australian Talent

Burn (The Rephaim #4) by Paula Weston

I was so sad to see this series finish, but all good things must come to an end. If you aren’t already reading these books, you really need to change that!

Gaby remembers everything.

For a year she believed she was a backpacker chilling out in Pandanus Beach. Working at the library. Getting over the accident that killed her twin brother.

Then Rafa came to find her and Gaby discovered her true identity as Gabe: one of the Rephaim. Over a hundred years old. Half angel, half human, all demon-smiting badass—and hopelessly attracted to the infuriating Rafa.

Now she knows who faked her memories, and how—and why it’s all hurtling towards a massive showdown between the forces of heaven and hell.

More importantly, she remembers why she’s spent the last ten years wanting to seriously hurt Rafa.

The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf (The Tribe #1) by Ambelin Kwaymullina

This is an excellent novel, one that I think deserves a home on the bookshelves of every reader of dystopian and post-apocalytpic fiction. Featuring a brilliant new voice in Australian literature, The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf s sure to impress.

“There will come a day when a thousand Illegals descend on your detention centers. Boomers will breach the walls. Skychangers will send lightning to strike you all down from above, and Rumblers will open the earth to swallow you up from below. . . . And when that day comes, Justin Connor, think of me.”

Ashala Wolf has been captured by Chief Administrator Neville Rose, a man who is intent on destroying Ashala’s Tribe — the runaway Illegals hiding in the Firstwood. Injured, vulnerable, with her Sleepwalker ability blocked, Ashala is forced to succumb to the machine that will pull secrets from her mind.

And right beside her is Justin Connor, her betrayer, watching her every move.

Will the Tribe survive the interrogation of Ashala Wolf?

Series Starter

Magonia (Magonia #1) by Maria Dahvana Headley

Magonia is one of the most beautiful books I’ve had the pleasure of reading in a long time. The prose, the characters, the world-building, everything about it is simply gorgeous.

Aza Ray is drowning in thin air.

Since she was a baby, Aza has suffered from a mysterious lung disease that makes it ever harder for her to breathe, to speak—to live.

So when Aza catches a glimpse of a ship in the sky, her family chalks it up to a cruel side effect of her medication. But Aza doesn’t think this is a hallucination. She can hear someone on the ship calling her name.

Only her best friend, Jason, listens. Jason, who’s always been there. Jason, for whom she might have more-than-friendly feelings. But before Aza can consider that thrilling idea, something goes terribly wrong. Aza is lost to our world—and found, by another. Magonia.

Above the clouds, in a land of trading ships, Aza is not the weak and dying thing she was. In Magonia, she can breathe for the first time. Better, she has immense power—and as she navigates her new life, she discovers that war is coming. Magonia and Earth are on the cusp of a reckoning. And in Aza’s hands lies the fate of the whole of humanity—including the boy who loves her. Where do her loyalties lie?

Sequels

Words of Radiance (The Stormlight Archive #2) by Brandon Sanderson

Words of Radiance is absolutely breathtaking, and fantasy fans are missing out if they’re not already reading The Stormlight Archive. I love this story-world and its characters, and am excited because there are eight more books to come!

From the bestselling author who completed Robert Jordan’s epic Wheel of Time series comes a new, original creation that matches anything else in modern fantasy for epic scope, thrilling imagination, superb characters and sheer addictiveness.

Return to a planet swept by apocalyptic storms, a world tipping into war as aristocratic families move to control the shard blades and shard plates, ancient artifacts from a past civilisation that can win wars.

As the world tips into a war for control of the mythical artifacts of power made from Shard, characters are swept up into new dangers which will threaten their integrity and their lives.

Huge, ideas-filled, world-spanning fantasy from a master of the genre.

Blue Lily, Lily Blue (The Raven Cycle #3) by Maggie Stiefvater

Reading The Raven Cycle is painful. But it’s a beautiful kind of pain that I, and many other readers, keep going back for. The lush world building, intriguing characters, and superb plotting suck people in and refuse to let them go. Blue Lily, Lily Blue is a masterpiece. It’s brilliant, evocative, vivid, and, above all, magical.

There is danger in dreaming. But there is even more danger in waking up.

Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs.

The trick with found things though, is how easily they can be lost.

Friends can betray.
Mothers can disappear.
Visions can mislead.
Certainties can unravel.

Surprising Reads

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black

The Darkest Part of the Forest is a wonderful fairytale retelling that will capture many hearts and imaginations.

Children can have a cruel, absolute sense of justice. Children can kill a monster and feel quite proud of themselves. A girl can look at her brother and believe they’re destined to be a knight and a bard who battle evil. She can believe she’s found the thing she’s been made for.

Hazel lives with her brother, Ben, in the strange town of Fairfold where humans and fae exist side by side. The faeries’ seemingly harmless magic attracts tourists, but Hazel knows how dangerous they can be, and she knows how to stop them. Or she did, once.

At the center of it all, there is a glass coffin in the woods. It rests right on the ground and in it sleeps a boy with horns on his head and ears as pointed as knives. Hazel and Ben were both in love with him as children. The boy has slept there for generations, never waking.

Until one day, he does…

As the world turns upside down, Hazel tries to remember her years pretending to be a knight. But swept up in new love, shifting loyalties, and the fresh sting of betrayal, will it be enough?

Resonance by Celine Kiernan

Resonance is a smorgasbord of delights, offering gothic fantasy, historical fiction, and horror in one 450 page novel that will readers spellbound. It certainly gripped me – I read it one sitting on a Sunday afternoon.

What does it mean to be alive? What is it worth to stay alive?

Ireland, 1890: two ruthless immortals prowl the theatre district in search of food for their ‘Angel’. Ancient, pitiless and caring for none but their own twisted family, they will stop at nothing to maintain their grip on life.

A seamstress, the young man who loves her and a penniless American magician soon find themselves imprisoned in a snow-bound country estate, the latest additions to the family’s warped collection. Here, they are nothing but food, nothing but entertainment, and soon they will be nothing at all.

Far from their homes and fighting for survival, Tina, Joe and Harry will come to understand that far more is at stake than their lives.

Special Mentions
  • The Shadow’s Curse (The Knots Duology #2) by Amy McCulloch – Witty, magical, and well imagined, The Shadow’s Curse reunites readers with their favourite characters and places while introducing new ones to love;
  • The Last Place (The Last Trilogy #3) by Michael Adams – Michael Adams has achieved what few authors can – a thoughtful and enthralling exploration of humanity and the human psyche in the face of an apocalyptic disaster;
  • Whisper the Dead (The Lovegrove Legacy #2) by Alyxandra Harvey – Emma, Penelope, and Gretchen have recently found out that they are witches of the powerful Lovegrove line, and are now struggling to control their powers in an increasingly dangerous world;
  • Butler to the Dark Lord by Sam Bowring – Sam Bowring has written a choose-your-own-adventure book for ADULTS, and I think it’s superb;

One Response to “Best of 2015”

  1. Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews

    Gah! Words of Radiance ♥♥ Man, that book (and that series) is a masterpiece. I can not wait for the third one to come out already XD I agree with Blue Lily, Lily Blue too of course, it was wonderful! I still need to read Magonia and Darkest Part of the Forest but hopefully this year 😉 Happy 2016 Shaheen! xx
    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted…2015 End of the Year Survey

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