Best and Worst Books of 2016

2016 wasn’t my best reading year. Out of the 34 books I’ve read, a lot of books entertained me, but didn’t blew me away. I still read a bunch of great books and a few books I didn’t enjoy.

Best

Illuminae + Gemina (Illuminae Files #1) by Amie Kaufman
Unfinished YA sci-fi trilogy. The last book will be published in October 2017. These books are incredible. The story is told through chat logs, descriptions of video footage, interviews etc. The first book is basically about a couple that just broke up a day before their home planet gets invaded and their struggle to get to safety. There’s a lot of crazy shit happening in both books, yet somehow it doesn’t feel overdone or ridiculous. The characters are also very well rounded.

This Savage Song (Monsters of Verity #1) by V.E. Schwab
Unfinished YA urban horror/fantasy duology. The last book will be published in June 2017. The goodreads description is kind of spoilery, so I try to explain it as well as possible. The best way I saw this novel described was as Romeo & Juliet without romance but with monsters. The concept of the story really intrigued me, basically from every violent act monsters are born. This story takes place in a city that is split into two territories, controlled by the opposing families of the main characters. However, when all hell breaks loose they help each other to survive. The characters are great and the lack of romance was very refreshing.

A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic #2) by V.E. Schwab
Unfinished YA fantasy trilogy. The last book will be published in February 2017. I love magic, but sometimes books about magic can feel like they’re all the same. But this world is super unique. There are four different worlds, one of them is assumed dead, because it got consumed by magic. Only certain types of magicians can travel between worlds, but only if they have a token of the world they want to go to. The first book is great, but the second is even better. There’s also a tournament for magicians in this book, which is just epic.

Wolf by Wolf (Wolf by Wolf #1) by Ryan Graudin
Finished YA alternate history duology. Incredible story, in which Germany won the Second World War and basically invaded most of Europe. The main character is a Jewish girl, who acquired shape shifting abilities, when she was experimented on in a concentration camp. With this ability she participates in a motorcycle race from Germania (Berlin) to Tokyo, impersonating last year’s winner Adele Wolfe. Her goal is to win, so she get’s invited to the Victors Ball, so she can kill the Führer. My one and only complaint is the wrong use of German words in this book. The second book is not as good in my opinion.

The Call by Peadar Ó Guilín
YA horror/fantasy stand-alone novel. Ireland is cut of from the rest of the world and every teenage will be ‘called’. When you’re called, you’re trapped in the land in the Sidhe for 24 hours. The Sidhe once lived in Ireland but were banished to a grey fruitless land, obviously holding a grouch against humanity because of this. The Sidhe are magical creatures, which are able to change the human body when touching it. Only few people survive the Call, often returning disfigured because the Sidhe got a hold of them. The story follows a disabled girl who is eager to survive the Call. I loved it because it’s quite grotesque, however the ending is very predictable.

Monsters by Emerald Fennell
Mystery/Contemporary. I don’t know if this is considered an adult or YA book. The main characters are twelve-year-old kids, but the story is quite dark for YA. The girl in this story has to spent every summer at the hotel her uncle owns in a small town. She gets obsessed with the murders that happen in this town and investigates them with a boy who’s a guest at the hotel. She also obsesses over that boy who’s a f*cking psychopath. It’s told in the perspective of the girl, who’s brutally honest and describes the world in its true ugliness.

The Lie by C.L. Taylor
Mystery adult novel. If you liked the Pretty Little Liars series or are interested in the series, but the amount of books intimidates you, this is a great stand-alone novel with a similar vibe. This story follows a woman, who changed her identity, because of something, that happened in the past. However someone knows who she really is and wants to expose her identity.


Worst

Firstlife (Everlife #1) by Gena Showalter
YA sci-fi series. I think this is possibly the worst book I’ve read so far. Bad writing, an unnecessary overly cheesy love story and info dumbs without thoroughly explaining the world building are my biggest complaints. The concept of the world is interesting, but badly executed. You basically have two lives, when the normal life ends, you go to ‘Everlife’. However you have to choose one of two realms – Myriad and Troika – that constantly fight each other, if you don’t choose you basically end up in hell. I personally don’t understand how anyone in their right mind would choose Myriad. (except that this realm has glow-in-the-dark turtles, please someone get me a glow-in-the-dark turtle for my birthday)

Girl Online Going Solo (Girl Online #3) by Zoe Sugg
Contemporary trilogy. [Warning, Spoilers!] I like the general message of these books, they all encourage kindness. However there are a few things that really bothered me in the last book of this trilogy. The first part of the book was actually enjoyable, but the rest of the book just irritated me. First of all Penny and Noah’s relationship is so toxic, yet they end up together again, I hate it. I hate the fact, that this kind of relationship is portrayed so often in books and isn’t criticized by any characters in the book. In contrary everyone goes on about what a great couple the characters make. I could’ve looked over that, but there’s another thing that bothered me so much. I find this often in contemporary literature and I really hate it. The thing I’m talking about is young people, often students, that are incredible successful, without putting a lot of work into it. Obviously Penny got in contact with important people and got the chance to prove herself in her industry, so that would’ve been fine. But her best friend got an internship at a big magazine in Paris and a girl at her school got accepted into a prestigious private school, just like that! There’s no indication that this was achieved by working their butts of, or that these characters had to prove themselves against many other talented young people, they just seemed to stumble upon it. I just hate this naive and unrealistic view of success. Especially when you know that Zoe – the author – had a different experience. She struggled a lot after finishing school. Not knowing what she wanted to do, she worked in jobs, that made her unhappy, until she found her passion. Why not include a character who shares her experience in this book?

The Dark and Hollow Places (The Forrest of Hands and Teeth #3) by Carrie Ryan
Finished YA horror/zombie trilogy. The reason I didn’t like this book, which is the last in the series, is the fact, that it negates everything you read in book #2. It also tries too hard to show, that people (more so men) are the real monsters in this story.

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