Unfortunately in 2017, I didn’t have too many 5 star reads, and that’s super disappointing. Nonetheless, I am going to be listing my favourite books of 2017 in a similar style to my 2016 favourites (which can be found HERE)! Like the previous year, instead of listing my overall favourite reads of the year, I’m going to choose the best in specific categories. So, welcome to the first post of my yearly wrap up series: the book awards of 2017!!
(Let’s just pretend this was posted in January).
(Another note: I decided not to include any rereads because I reread the entire Harry Potter series and that’s not particularly fair on other books if I include them because THEY’RE AMAZING!!! Ahem).
(Click on book titles for the full synopsis)
1. Most UNEXPECTED…
(Favourite, ending, plot twists, finale, backstory, etc.)
The Wrath & the Dawn by Renée Ahdieh
FAVOURITE! Going into this novel, I low-key thought I wasn’t going to enjoy it because premise suggested a Stockholm syndrome-esque romance and I rather loathe it. However, this novel has received so much hype and I was subject to peer pressure and mild curiosity. The novel was much more romance heavy that I usually enjoy, but I didn’t mind it at all! The setting and foodie descriptions were lush and intoxicating, and I fell right into the story. The magic was very subtle (and I kind of wished that it had a greater presence), but this was such an addicting read. I couldn’t put it down once I started!
In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad’s dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph’s reign of terror once and for all…
2. Most UNIQUE…
(Book, plot, setting, characters, etc.)
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
BOOK! Everything in this novel felt strange and unique to me. The tone, the characters, the magic created such a surreal reading experience and confused and intrigued me. The peculiarity of this novel really stood out for me. There’s Welsh mythology, complex characters, unique drama and simply enchanting writing. The plot to this today still has me puzzled, but I really had such an amazing time reading this book.
It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.
Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her…
3. Most SATISFYING…
(Ending, finale, events, etc.)
The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan
FINALE! It’s only recently that I’ve delved into the works of Rick Riordan… and he has NOT let me down. I started and finished the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series in 2017 and it was one of the best marathoning a series experiences. I tend to be a bit too critical about series finales because expectations are right up there, but I should not have doubted because this was such an epic and satisfying conclusion. All the characters had their chance to shine, tensions were high, but Percy’s trademark humour didn’t falter. There was a perfect blend of Greek mythology fun and frightening moments for the characters and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
All year the half-bloods have been preparing for battle against the Titans, knowing the odds of victory are grim. Kronos’s army is stronger than ever, and with every god and half-blood he recruits, the evil Titan’s power only grows. While the Olympians struggle to contain the rampaging monster Typhon, Kronos begins his advance on New York City, where Mount Olympus stands virtually unguarded. Now it’s up to Percy Jackson and an army of young demigods to stop the Lord of Time…
4. Most POETIC…
Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor
WRITING! Although it took a while for me to get into this sequel, the writing was super addicting. The prose in this novel fit perfectly with the atmosphere, and the author did such a great job in expanding this world with beautiful writing. Usually more “poetic” styles of writing either soars and captivates me, or falls flat and makes me cringe. Luckily, this novel fit the former. It can’t explain it that well, but Laini Taylor’s writing just flowed across the page and didn’t feel heavy or clunky.
Art student and monster’s apprentice Karou finally has the answers she has always sought. She knows who she is—and what she is. But with this knowledge comes another truth she would give anything to undo: She loved the enemy and he betrayed her, and a world suffered for it…
5. Most EPIC…
Illuminae by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff
SPACE NOVEL! Once I got past my confusion and adjusting to the novel’s unique formatting, I was completely absorbed in this epic story. The size of the novel was a little intimidating at first, and the plot was steady until the halfway point for me. The story took a completely unexpected turn and the intensity of the events in the novel just accelerated sky-high. This was such an exhilarating read, and I highly recommend.
The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit…
6. Most FUN…
The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
I can’t believe how long it took me to pick up this series. I was a little worried that the style of this novel would be too juvenile for me since it is directed towards a middle grade audience, but I had the best time reading it! Percy was such an entertaining and witty character, surrounded by other interesting characters. I’ve never read any fiction that surrounds the topic of Greek mythology, so reading this book was a new experience, and I actually learned quite a bit from it.
Percy Jackson is a good kid, but he can’t seem to focus on his schoolwork or control his temper. And lately, being away at boarding school is only getting worse—Percy could have sworn his pre-algebra teacher turned into a monster and tried to kill him. When Percy’s mom finds out, she knows it’s time that he knew the truth about where he came from, and that he go to the one place he’ll be safe…
7. Most EMOTIONALLY SOUL-CRUSHING…
Daughter of Smoke & Bone by Laini Taylor
This was such an unexpected, heart-wrenching story. For a novel with whole lot of romance in it, I was surprisingly invested in it, and there was never a moment where I thought it was cringeworthy or too much. Karou was a unique, intriguing heroine and it was easy to root for her. It’s tragic, it’s beautiful, it’s rich and it hits you with all the feels.
Meet Karou. She fills her sketchbooks with monsters that may or may not be real, she’s prone to disappearing on mysterious “errands”, she speaks many languages – not all of them human – and her bright blue hair actually grows out of her head that color. Who is she? That is the question that haunts her, and she’s about to find out…
8. Most THOUGHT PROVOKING/PERSPECTIVE CHANGING…
We Should All be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
I’m actually disappoint that I didn’t get to many non fiction reads in 2017, but this work was definitely a standout. This is a quick and insightful read on the subject of feminism. This is such an important read and I think everyone should read it no matter your view on the subject matter. The writing is eloquent and is no way pushy or patronising. A powerful piece of writing and such a great opening discussion on feminism. My full review can be found HERE.
With humor and levity, here Adichie offers readers a unique definition of feminism for the twenty-first century—one rooted in inclusion and awareness. She shines a light not only on blatant discrimination, but also the more insidious, institutional behaviors that marginalize women around the world, in order to help readers of all walks of life better understand the often masked realities of sexual politics…
9. Most RECOMMENDED…
The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken
I was VERY late to start this novel because one was released during the YA dystopian phase. I found that I kind of grew disinterested in this genre because whenever I read one, I would find them pretty meh. LUCKILY, I heard a whole of of hype for this series and decided to give it a go. I loved these characters, but what especially stood out among them was how the love interest wasn’t brooding, cold or particularly aloof towards the protagonist. This never happens anymore, and that was so refreshing. The “disease” and how it manifested was super interesting and I enjoyed the story so much.
When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something frightening enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that got her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that had killed most of America’s children, but she and the others emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they could not control…
10. Most ATTRACTIVE…
Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater
Yes, I’m a little superficial but let’s give some coverly love. THAT is a beautiful cover. I enjoyed the story as well but just look at that cover. It’s just so detailed, pretty and relevant to the book.
Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs…
11. Best ANTICIPATED RELEASE
Lord of Shadows by Cassandra Clare
What a surprise! Another Cassandra Clare book is my most anticipated release. Of course, it was fantastic. I love the characters. I love the family dynamics. I love the politics. I love the world. I love the writing. The first novel of the series was stellar, and this sequel only fell slightly below. I found that this novel was a bit on the slower side but the tension and high stakes were still prevalent throughout the novel. There were a lot of complicated relationships which seemed a little melodramatic at times but overall, this novel met my expectations. I have a full spiel of a review HERE!
Emma Carstairs has learned that the love she shares with her parabatai, Julian Blackthorn, isn’t just forbidden—it could destroy them both. She knows she should run from Julian. But how can she when the Blackthorns are threatened by enemies on all sides?
12. Best DEBUT NOVEL
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
You may be a little confused because Leigh Bardugo was not a debut author in 2017, but I didn’t manage to read any 2017 debuts so I chose the best debut novel I read in 2017. And this was definitely it. From the first page, I was addicted. I was immediately invested in Alina’s story and the plot was fast-paced. Despite being a fantasy novel, the writing was engaging AND easy to read. However, I did find the Russian inspired world a little difficult to visualise. However, imagining this as Leigh Bardugo’s first published work, she did amazing.
Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life—a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling…
13. Best SEQUEL
Gemina by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff
I was so excited after finishing the first novel of the series, Illuminae because that was a RIDE. This was actually my last read of 2017, so reading wise, I definitely finished on a high. Being able to get comfortable with the its unique formatting in the first novel really helped me get right into the story. It’s super fun and stressful all the way through. (Trust me, that actually makes sense in this novel). The stakes are high and you’ll need to suspend your disbelief a little, but it’s some cool space stuff.
Hanna is the station captain’s pampered daughter; Nik the reluctant member of a notorious crime family. But while the pair are struggling with the realities of life aboard the galaxy’s most boring space station, little do they know that Kady Grant and the Hypatia are headed right toward Heimdall, carrying news of the Kerenza invasion…
14. Best FINALE
Winter by Marissa Meyer
I had an alright start with The Lunar Chronicles, but it didn’t take me until this novel to truly enjoy it. The fairytale inspired aspect of Snow White was executed perfectly and the ones from the previous novels weaved in so well. I love a good band of misfits, and the group dynamics in this novel were were so fun. High stakes and plenty of conflict, the tension stayed right up there. This monster of a novel could have been condensed, but this was a truly satisfying end to the series.
Winter despises her stepmother, and knows Levana won’t approve of her feelings for her childhood friend–the handsome palace guard, Jacin. But Winter isn’t as weak as Levana believes her to be and she’s been undermining her stepmother’s wishes for years. Together with the cyborg mechanic, Cinder, and her allies, Winter might even have the power to launch a revolution and win a war that’s been raging for far too long…
15. Best HIDDEN GEM
The Long Game by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Gah. This was so good. I’ve actually been a fan of JLB’s works, but I don’t see a lot of people talking about them. The Long Game is the sequel and finale of a series is set in a VERY politically heavy world, lots of suspense and action, interesting characters, and such an intricate plot. It is so not your “typical YA novel” – for starters, it’s a YA political thriller. Also, there isn’t any romance because it mostly focuses on familial and platonic relationships. Like adults are present and useful in the novel *mind-blown*. It’s been compared to the TV shows, Scandal and Veronica Mars. Please give the series a go. Full review HERE.
For Tess Kendrick, a junior at the elite Hardwicke School in Washington, D.C., fixing runs in the family. But Tess has another legacy, too, one that involves power and the making of political dynasties. When Tess is asked to run a classmate’s campaign for student council, she agrees. But when the candidates are children of politicians, even a high school election can involve life-shattering secrets…
16. Best NEW AUTHOR DISCOVERED
I only started reading Leigh’s work in 2017, mainly because of the hype. And the hype did not lie. Shadow & Bone was the first novel I read from her, and as I said above, I was addicted from the first page. I really enjoy her writing style – it’s beautiful and easy to read. I ended up reading all her novels and short stories from the Grisha Trilogy and had an awesome time. I’m super excited to read more of her works in the future.
(It was a super difficult choice between Leigh Bardugo and Rick Riordan).
17. Best NEW WORLD DISCOVERED
The Archive from The Archived series by Victoria Schwab
What a fascinating setting Schwab has created in this series. The Archive is a weird and chilling place. The dead are literally “shelved” in a library, and sometimes they escape and roam around The Archive hallways. It’s a little confusing, but super interesting. It felt magical, creepy, haunting and mysterious, and I loved it! I just wanted to learn more about this unique and strange world, and I’m still hoping the last book of series will come out soon.
18. Best NEW CHARACTER DISCOVERED
Mackenzie from The Archived by Victoria Schwab
I discovered a whole bunch of awesome characters in 2017 and it was a real struggle choosing number 1. Some honourable mentions first up:
- Percy Jackson from the Percy Jackson series
- Nikolai from the Grisha trilogy
… but Mackenzie really resonated with me. She has gone through some tough times, but she’s resilient and kind of stops escaping Histories (dead peeps) from charging into the “real world”. Mackenzie’s a real strong, silent and withdrawn type, but she wasn’t emotionless or bland. I just found her super relatable and admired how sharp-witted she was.
19. Best NEW RELATIONSHIP DISCOVERED
Percy x Annabeth AKA Percabeth from the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan
Another thing I was super late to – the ULTIMATE ship that is #Percabeth. Although a romantic relationship isn’t explicitly explored throughout the series (it is middle grade), their interactions and banter just shows their adorableness and how complementary they are. How are they so cute??? Ship, ship, SHIP!
Other new relationships I found and adored in 2017:
- Kit and Ty AKA Kitty from Lord of Shadows (I say it counts. Also, isn’t that the greatest ship name EVeR?!?)
- Mik and Zuzana from Days of Blood & Starlight (a relationship that is sweet, supportive and has the most entertaining banter – this couple right here).
20. Best BOOK QUOTE
“So shut the window tight and make sure the latch is fastened. Dark things have a way of slipping in through narrow spaces.”
from The Witch of Duva by Leigh Bardugo
Leigh has already been featured SO MUCH in this post already, but this quote just stuck with me for some reason. Just in two sentences, it showcases Leigh’s writing talent. There’s just something dark and haunting about this quote that isn’t particularly deep, but it perfectly encapsulates an AMAZING short story. I recommend. More gushing in my review HERE. An honourable mention goes to this one:
“The funny thing about armor is that it doesn’t just keep other people out. It keeps us in. We build it up around us, not realizing that we’re trapping ourselves.”
– The Unbound, Victoria Schwab
And finally, we are at the end. Thank you for your patience and congrats if you made it ALL the way through this post. Clearly, I have many thoughts. Although I did find some fantastic reads, I’m hoping that I’ll read even more 5 star books in 2018!
What were some of your favourite reads of 2017 in those categories or just in general? Link me your lists! Any good surprises? Comment below!