I feel like this would be a good time to wrap up the year*, and talk about the best books of 2010, and why I think they were the best, except that I’m honestly a little lazy, and I’m not sure what more I can say about some of these books that wasn’t already said in the review, so instead I’m going to compose a list of 10 great books from 2010.
In no particular order, my favorites from 2010:
I found it on an approved list of books for an extra credit assignment, and I ended up tracking it down. I’m glad I did, because it was hilarious, and I found myself enjoying it, laughing out loud and anxiously waiting to find out what was going to happen– besides the predictable romance plot. One doesn’t read romances expecting un-romantic endings; it wouldn’t sell.
Sometimes impulsively-selected books are terrible, and sometimes they’re amazing. Luckily, The Total Tragedy of a Girl Named Hamlet featured a fun narrator with a great voice and a sense of humor. She felt true to her age, and carried the entire story off because of her well-managed perspective. (And it had a few Shakespeare jokes which I enjoyed, as well.)
I wasn’t expecting to love this book as much as I did. I knew I would like it; there were too many good reviews for me to not like it, but I didn’t realize quite how amazing it was until I was absorbed in it. I am definitely glad I took the time to read it; Bianca was a fascinating character with a brilliant narrative voice, even if she wasn’t the wisest character ever.
I really loved the fact that this was Rumpelstiltskin, but re-imagined in such a way that it was a totally unique story. I loved the world building, the characters, and the plot. I enjoyed the way the mystery unraveled, and all the things that happened along the way. It was a strong debut novel (and deserving of the award it won.)
I wasn’t expecting to love this book. I saw the cover and thought “huh, lime green?” but decided to check it out anyway. It’s not my usual fare; it’s sarcastic, and a little dark. Vera’s life isn’t sunshine and daisies, and her life doesn’t magically get better by the end. But her voice is brilliant, her story enthralling, and the flowcharts entertaining. I’m glad I took the time to read it; it’s one of the better books I’ve read recently.
I didn’t know what I was getting into when I picked up Moon Called; I thought I might like paranormal romance, but I wasn’t sure. Soon after, I was reading all sorts of paranormal series; Cassandra Palmer, The Hollows, Kate Daniels, and Women of the Otherworld. I blame Patricia Briggs for being my gateway author, yet I love her for it. Mercy is amazing, and I can hardly wait for the next book in the set (due March 2011).
This is a perpetual favorite which I re-read for what felt like the millionth time, and I loved it just as much as I did the first time. Aerin is amazing, Damar fascinating, Luthe mysterious, Maur terrifying, and the story brilliant. I always read The Hero and the Crown and then The Blue Sword back-to-back, so in many ways they feel like a single book. There are, of course, people who don’t appreciate the brilliance of the Damar books, but they are silly.
At the time it made sense to review this set in three parts; short fiction isn’t meant to be read in one gulp, but I’ll admit right now that with as much as I talk about it, it would be much more convenient for it to be in one post. Regardless, it was an entertaining, lightly romantic, and fun supernatural anthology, and I’d suggest it to anyone who’s looking for some easy-to-read paranormal stories.
Another perennial favorite is Howl’s Moving Castle, which has the honor of being one of the first DWJ novels I ever read. (Shortly behind it is the first omnibus of Chrestomanci.) Sophie is a great narrator, the land of Ingary is entertaining– your classic fantasy-land– and the story is mysterious and adventurous enough to keep you hanging on for more. The other two Sophie-related books, Castle in the Air and House of Many Ways are also very entertaining.
Immediately after reading Kiss Me Deadly, I decided that I wanted to read more about killer unicorns, so I sought out Rampant, and then I found myself reading Ascendant (the sequel). It’s not often that you come across a book which manages to be unique without being terrible. (Admittedly, the idea of evil man-eating unicorns is either hit-or-miss, I do know people who didn’t enjoy it as much as I did.)
Books which might have made the list if I were not so attached to a “top ten” list: Toads and Diamonds by Heather Tomlinson, Beastly by Alex Flinn, Unexpected Magic by Diana Wynne Jones, and The Other Mr. Darcy by Monica Fairview.
Reviews t0 look forward to (from me, at least) in 2011:
Tortall & Other Lands by Tamora Pierce, River Marked by Patricia Briggs, Hold Me Closer, Necromancer by Lish McBride, The Eternal Kiss ed. by Trisha Telep, Corsets & Clockwork ed. by Trisha Telep, Matched by Allie Condie, and Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry, to name a few.
So tell me, what books did you love in 2010? Which books are you excited for in 2011?
* I’ve been trying to write this post for the last week, so I’m glad it’s finally done! (Now to write the monthly wrap-up for tomorrow…)