I’m a bit late to the party here, but since I’ve read over 70 books in 2017, it’s been very hard to decide which ones I loved best. On this list I won’t include just the 5-starred novels, but all the ones that made me feel or learn something new and therefore deserve their place here.
I’m seriously late to this party and don’t know what the hell was I thinking not picking up The Raven Cycle earlier, as it’s obviously one of my favorite YA series ever! A paranormal fantasy about a girl named Blue and her gang of boys in search for lost Welsh kings. Friendships, ghosts, dream-weavers, ravens and much, much more. Maggie Stiefvater is now officially one of my favorite writers – she is amazing.
I may have an obsession with carrion birds. Six of Crows was my favorite read of 2016, and Crooked Kingdom was a perfect sequel/ending of this terrific magical-heist duology. Leigh Bardugo invented an amazing world and magical system in her debut novels, the Grisha trilogy. Luckily, she reused and expanded that scenery in Six of Crows books, which are far better in my opinion. Her writing gets better with each subsequent novel, and she definitely deserves her spot as one of my all-time favorite authors.
One more closure, but this time to a trilogy. Victoria Schwab’s Shades of Magic is another fine example of excellent world-building and a great set of characters. Four parallel Londons, elemental and blood magic, many-sided coats, pirates, thieves, and a truly great villain – what more do you need? Answer: more novels in this unique world.
This dystopian world which Margaret Atwood created 20 years ago is unfortunately becoming a reality for some, now in this modern age. Mass infertility led to the creation of a twisted Republic of Gilead, where the few women still able to give birth are being used as Handmaids – women whose sole purpose is to give a child to their current
owner commander and his infertile wife, and then move on to the next one. Handmaids are not allowed to read, abort a child, own money or be gay – because it’s evil. Sounds familiar?
What first drew me to Kent’s debut novel was that it was set in Iceland – a beautiful country I’ve always wanted to visit. What I wouldn’t want is to find myself there in 1829, being convicted or murdering my master, and now awaiting my execution. Agnes Magnúsdóttir, the main protagonist, slowly unfolds the story of that fateful night and the events leading up to it, showing that there’s more to the truth than the tales told by others.
Short Stories / Anthologies
One more work by Leigh Bardugo on this list proves not just my admiration for her writing, but the fact that she is both a prolific and a great author. This is a collection of short stories in a fairy-tale manner, set in her fantastical Grishaverse world. Some say these stories are her best writing. I say these are totally different from her novels, and that she has easily mastered the old art of storytelling and established a new fairy-tale legacy.
This is a must-read anthology for any fan of all-things Victorian. Put together by the fantasy/horror connoisseurs Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, this collection of 18 stories features anything from faeries, spiritual seances, freaky sideshows, to the Queen Victoria herself. Written by some of the well-known voices of fantasy and by exciting new talents, this is an anthology you don’t want to miss.
Ransom Riggs is best known for his supernatural YA trilogy Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children. In terms of peculiar powers and talents, same rules apply here, except this collection is a kind of legendarium for the peculiars – a book that tells stories of their origins, myths and history – a book that is actually present in the original trilogy. A book taken out of a book, if you will. Since it features original stories about the peculiar folk, this collection can be read as a standalone.
If you like cute, and you like weird, then you’re probably in the right place. The Kerascoët illustrating duo, combined with the unsettling storytelling mind of Fabien Vehlmann, created a truly disturbing tale of tiny folk who suddenly have to learn to survive and adapt after losing their home in a horrific accident. A tiny girl Aurora rises to the task as a natural leader, creating safe space and peaceful existence for her fellow creatures. But some people (creatures) are simply too wicked/vain/envious to let others live in harmony.
Honorable mentions: Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman, Random Illustrated Facts: A Collection of Curious, Weird, and Totally Not Boring Things to Know by Mike Lowery, The Invisible Library by Genevieve Cogman, Duels and Deception by Cindy Anstey, Let the Right One In by John Ajvide Lindqvist.