2016 was a strange kind of reading year for me.
From failing in my Goodreads Reading Challenge for the first time (I think) ever, to finding myself in three substantial reading slumps, it will probably go down as the kind of year that I’d like to forget. It was also the year when I read more than a handful of books that I really didn’t enjoy for one reason or another, sometimes because I just wasn’t into the books I was trying to read, or because I was trying to force myself to read when I wasn’t in the mood to read, or even just because the books I was reading were just plain bad.
Of course, not everything was bad. I read some truly fantastic books this year, and below are just some of them. Of the 40-something books, I read this year, this is eight of the best that I got around to over the last twelve months. Six of them are 2016 releases, but I’ve added a couple of non-2016 releases too.
There were a lot of other books I read this year that deserve to be on this list too, but these are just eight of my personal favourites. As always, they aren’t in any particular order!
I can’t remember when I first found out about this book, but I was instantly interested in reading it. The premise of a historical Russian setting for a fantasy book hooked me, as did the idea of a magical competition to the death between two main characters. As I was reading the early chapters I was enjoying it but not loving it — this was during one of my aforementioned reading slumps! — but it quickly had me devouring every page.
Is anyone surprised? If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you know that Alexandra Bracken is my favourite author. I love everything she’s ever written, and from the hour that Passenger was announced, I was so excited to read it. While it isn’t my favourite Alex Bracken book, I adored Passenger and it was completely one of my favourite 2016 releases.
Early this year I decided to read RED RISING, Pierce Brown’s debut novel from a few years ago. In my first sitting I managed to get through over a hundred pages (which, for a relatively slow reader like me, is pretty great!) and instantly bought the sequel, GOLDEN SON, and pre-ordered MORNING STAR, the final book in the trilogy. I binge-read the series over a few weeks, and loved every page of it. The finale, MORNING STAR, was one of the best final books in any series I’ve read. It was epic, emotional, and extremely fulfilling. If you haven’t read this series, you have to. You HAVE to.
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t really excited for this book. I was a fan of The Mortal Instruments and The Infernal Devices, but I was fairly content with missing this book — for a while, anyway. The Shadowhunters TV show had sort of sucked the joy out of the Shadowhunters world, and the ending of the two series had been so satisfying that I felt alright with taking a break from the world for a while. However, when I saw that Waterstones was doing a special limited edition that was stunning, I just decided to go for it and buy it. I’m so glad I did. This was possibly Cassandra Clare’s best book yet, introducing a great new cast of characters in an enjoyable new setting. I can’t wait for the rest of the series to come out.
I hadn’t planned on reading this book as soon as it came out, but when V.E. Schwab announced a signing in Glasgow I decided to read it so that I could go and get it signed and say hello to the author. Thankfully I went into the book without huge expectations, because I was able to just enjoy the book as its own thing rather than read it through a lens of my own hype.
If you were around in late 2015, early 2016, then you should be well aware that I was absolutely blown away by TRUTHWITCH. It was one of my most anticipated reads of the year, and I was lucky enough to be able to read an ARC. Everything about this book just falls into place, weaving awesome characters with riveting plots and stunning settings to create one of the best novels I’ve read in years.
Honourable Non-2016 Release Mentions
This book sat on my shelf for the longest time before I finally got around to reading it, and when I did it was every bit as good as I hoped it would be. It was dark and funny and profound, a definite must-read for anyone!
For years I’ve had people badger me to no end to read the Thrawn books. This year I finally found all three books for fairly cheap and read the first one. I was so pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it, and despite the fact that they’re not canon anymore (but the character is — the Star Wars universe, expanded and canon, is very confusing these days!) I can’t wait to get to the sequels!
Did you read any of these books in 2016? Let me know what you thought of them, and let me know what some of your favourites of the year were!