So I know I said I would be posting every Wednesday, and I didn’t this week. Shame on me I know. I couldn’t even do the first week of January. I had an impromptu visit from a friend and got caught up being social. It’s known to happen every now and then.
Anyways 2013 was a very good reading year for me, so I thought I’d share my favorite reads of the year. Picking was very difficult. I thought about doing top thirteen, but then I actually want to talk a little bit about why I liked each, and thirteen would be just too much. As I said going through my list and picking 5 was hard, but ultimately I went with what surprised me or what I enjoyed the most.
This book stayed with me for days after I put it down. That ending I swear. It’s a historical fiction that recounts the life of Agnes Magnúsdóttir who was the last person to be executed in Iceland. Agnes along with two others is accused of murder. Agnes is often represented as the mastermind behind the murder, the dark lady, and temptress. Hannah Kent wanted to depict a different side of Agnes. From what I read about Hannah Kent’s writing process, much of what we read is entirely her speculation and not real factual accounts. I still enjoyed the story and the writing which showed how beautiful the rigid cold of Iceland can be. I enjoy historical fiction, and this is a departure from what I usually read.
The wonderful thing about A.S. King is that even though her books are targeted for young adults, they are really for everyone at every age. Everybody Sees the Ants was the first book I read by her, and I instantly knew that I would read more by her. This novel deals with bullying and the ramifications of that on a child’s life. Lucky the main character has been bullied his entire life. The school administration as well as his parents take on the “kids will be kids” mentally, which leaves Lucky alone to suffer. Finally things go to far, and Lucky finds himself at his aunts and uncles house trying to figure out what to do. There he learns about sticking up for yourself and learning how to be your own protector. From the writing, to the main character, this book dealt with so many complex subjects, while still keeping a light tone. Lucky is one of the best protagonist of a YA novel I have read in a while. His transformation throughout the novel was such a pleasure to see. I loved the dream sequences, and I thought that fantasy element added such richness to the story.
This one surprised me quite a bit. The Gargoyle is a love story but definitely not your average kind. The main character is retelling his story. There is that tinge of nostalgia that colors the narrative. He starts off with an accident that left him severely burned and disfigured. Once a beautiful man who relied on his looks to obtain success, he is now entirely dependent on others. He begins to contemplate suicide, when a mysterious woman named Marianne shows up in his hospital room and tells him that in a previous life they were lovers. This is multiple stories within one, and it takes you to so many places while reading it. The ending is not a happy one, but it isn’t an entirely sad one either. It’s oddly hopeful and mystifying. This book doesn’t answer many of the questions you form along the way, and usually that drives me crazy. It still did with this one, but it also adds to the ending. While I would have liked my questions answered, I can see why Davidson chose to end the novel the way he did. You as well the protagonist are left wondering what is true and what is false.
I read this back in April and I wanted to see it before I watched the film. Funnily enough I haven’t seen the film yet. I’ve heard great things. Cloud Atlas is difficult to summarize. It’s part Sci-Fi/ historical Fiction. It’s told through six different narrations each from different time periods. At some point in these people’s lives they have connected in some ways. I thought that was really neat. You see the echoes of the same themes in each of the narrations no matter how far apart the time period is. It represents how much are lives are connected whether we know it or not. David Mitchell has written a book that expresses the wrongness of slavery and exploitation. As well as the absolute power that the corrupt have over the weak. He is a fantastic writer who writes such rich dialogue that you have to read it a few times to truly understand it. In his futuristic narrations, he invents a different kind of English that shows how the language could easily evolve in the future. I thought that was very interesting to see.While those were the most difficult passages to read, I appreciated the brilliance behind what Mitchell created. David Mitchell’s writing ties everything together so seamlessly. How he came up with this idea, and how he executed it so well blows my mind.
I lost a week of my life to these books. Don’t care. Karen Marie Moning can keep it. If you’ve heard of these books or read the description your reaction might go like this “Ew Fairies no thanks” which I’ll be honest was my reaction. I swore off fairy books awhile ago after reading some really bad and repetitive ones. Then came the Fever series. Many of the people I follow on Goodreads had this on their favorite shelves, people who I tend to trust their opinion because often time their taste are similar to mine. So on one of my trips to the library I picked up Darkfever, the first in the series. It didn’t suck me in right away, but I was intrigued enough to keep reading… and reading until eventually I looked up and it was dark out and the book was almost half way done. I probably would have finished the whole thing in one sitting if school doesn’t have that nasty habit of getting in the way. Reading these books felt like watching Buffy. Which is one of all time favorite shows. The Fever series is so much more than a book about Fairies. It’s a dark and mysterious world with a few moments of sunshine. The main character Mac is strong, independent, and funny. She likes pink, and carrying her trusty spear with her. There is romance but it is so well done. It doesn’t suck out the plot, or take our focus away from the important issues All of the characters are complex, no two-dimensional cardboard cut outs here. The plot will send you on a wicked ride. These books have ruined all other Urban Fantasy for me. I feel like I started at the top and now don’t know where to go. I think anyone can enjoy these books regardless of taste. They are just so good, and I can say more, but it will just be more gushing love. Just read them!
So there you have it. 2013 was a fun year of discovering new reads, and I am excited for 2014. Feel free to share you top books of 2013, and any recommendations for me.
Thanks for reading!