Saturday, January 2, 2016

FRIDAY FIVE: Books of 2015

Okay, this is a day late. Maybe I should just start calling this "Sometime During the Weekend Five." But better late than never, I suppose. And continuing with the obligatory end-of-the-year lists, here are my favorite books read in 2015 (and proof that fantasy rules my heart).

Rat Queens: Volume 1: Sass and Sorcery, Kurtis J. Wiebe and Roc Upchurch

I've frequently lamented about how difficult it is to find adult high fantasy with female protagonists, and this one offers four. That and the recommendation of a friend were enough to get me to give this a chance. All four heroines are different and bring their own strengths to the team, and the world is interestingly fantastical so far. I already have the second volume in my TBR pile.
Beauty Queens, Libba Bray

I decided to pick this up after hearing good things about it on Tumblr, but I had reservations because I didn't love A Great and Terrible Beauty. This turned out to be quite the pleasant surprise. The story follows thirteen teenage beauty queens who crash on a seemingly deserted island while in transit to the Miss Teen Dream pageant. Like Rat Queens, Beauty Queens features a large cast of diverse female characters, all of whom have secrets and quirks and charms. This tale of friendship and bravery deserves a spot on every teenager's reading list.

Falling Kingdoms, Morgan Rhodes

I'm a sucker for high fantasy, obviously. This is the story of Mytica, a land of three divided kingdoms, and four teenagers whose lives intersect: Cleo, a princess who discovers that privilege ; Jonas, out for revenge on his brother's murderer; Lucia, whose magical powers are awakening in a land where magic is forbidden; and Magnus, who harbors a damaging secret. Although there's no real new ground broken here, it's light fare and makes for a fun, easy read. Again, I've got the second book in my TBR pile.
Days of Blood and Starlight, Laini Taylor
I adored Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and the second installment didn't disappoint. It opens up the world and delves deeper into the conflict between chimaera and angels. It also depicts the very real and awful consequences of war on those who wage it. Through it all, the relationships, especially the friendship between Karou and Zuzana, ground the story. And Taylor's lyrical writing borders on magical. The third and final book is, once again, in my TBR pile.
The Circle, Fire, and The Key, Sara B. Elfgren and Mats Strandberg

I don't even know what to say about these books because they're amazing and they were such a surprise! I got the first one in July on a whim because I had a gift card. When I finished, I immediately bought the second. Then I suffered for two months while I waited for the last one to be released. Basically, the trilogy follows six teenage girls who discover that they're witches and that their destiny is to stop the apocalypse. Only they're not even friends. How are they supposed to save the world?

The heart of this story is the girls: Minoo, Anna-Karin, Linnea, Vanessa, Rebekah, and Ida. All six girls are fully realized characters with their own hopes, fears, flaws, and strengths. Although they don't start out as friends, their relationships--both with the group as a whole and with other individuals--develop in realistic and moving ways. I want to re-read these already, and I've spent the last few months talking them up as much as possible!

No comments:

Post a Comment