Lots of neat books have been released in the past 12 months, and we’ve rounded up our very favourites of the bunch just for you. If you’re going to read anything from this year, give these a go.
Read right to the bottom for a chance to WIN!
Mortal Heart, Robin LaFevers – I have gone on a lot about the assassin nun books, but they are really good, honestly. In Mortal Heart Annith – who has taken a back seat in the previous two books – is desperately keen to prove herself as an assassin, but she’s foiled by the abbess’ plans for her to take over as the new convent seer. Annith must choose between being locked in a room in the convent for the rest of her life, or going against her vows and striking out on her own in search of the truth (which would you rather?).
I noticed my favourite book of last year was Mortal Fire by Elizabeth Knox, so I have a theme going now.
I also liked:
Blue lily, lily blue, Maggie Stiefvater – can’t say a lot about this book without ruining everything and spoiling things, except to say you should definitely read it, having first read The Raven Boys and The Dream Thieves. Don’t let the title (which I’m not a huge fan of) put you off.
I too loved Blue Lily, Lily Blue and I highly, highly recommend The Raven Cycle series as a whole.
I also loved Noggin by John Corey Whaley which I picked up because I loved his first book Where Things Come Back. Noggin is about 16-year-old Travis Coates who dies, but is reanimated 5 years later with his cryogenically frozen head attached to a new body. Sounds goofy, but it’s really rather lovely and insightful.
A huge hit for me was Half Bad by Sally Green! I love a good unreliable narrator, and boy was Nathan unreliable. Nathan is a half-black, half-white (good/bad) witch, and is treated abysmally for it by everyone in the magical world. Largely because his black witch father is the most dark and terrible witch the world has ever known. And Nathan must find his father before his birthday, or he may lose his powers forever. It’s the first in a trilogy, and the next book, Half Wild, is due out in 2015.
I really enjoyed Atlantia by Ally Condie! Rio lives in the underwater city of Atlantia, but has always dreamed of leaving. But her sister makes a decision unexpectedly which leaves Rio stranded and forced to find a way to save Atlantia from destruction.
Although it didn’t come out this year, I also really enjoyed reading the Uglies series by Scott Westerfield.
Once again, all predictably comics, not that I don’t read other stuff, really, y’know, books with print and all that, but these are some of my favourites from this year!
Silver Surfer 1: new dawn by Dan Slott
Gently pokes fun at the po-faced Silver Surfer we know and respect with whacked out illustration by talented iZombie and Madman illustrator Michael Allred . Maybe, we can actually enjoy his silver headed company now?
Afterlife with Archie by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa
This particular episode of the Archie stable of stories convincingly combines Riverdale’s famous teens, grubby colours with noir shading and… Zombies. Maybe cashing in on the undead thing somewhat but much better than it sounds.
Daredevil volume 2 by Mark Waid
Mark Waid’s recent run on Daredevil has been like taking an uncomplicated step back in time. To when super heroes had best friends named Foggy, where Ant-man might guest star and fight for the brain of a dangerously sick DD and where danger and gloom might appear, but only fleetingly, to be cleverly resolved in an optimistic and rounded conclusion. Ah, old fashioned comic satisfaction.
FF Vol. 2: Family freakout by Matt Fraction
“As the kids in the FF start growing apart, their adult supervision seems to be having some issues of their own. And when Dr. Doom ascends and the Council of Dooms girds for battle, it’s the eve of a war between the Future Foundation and Latveriaa. But is it also the beginning of the end for the fractious FF?” (Syndetics)
Check out volume 1 if you haven’t already!
This one summer by Mariko Tamaki
Every summer Rose and her parents go to a beach house, and Rose gets to hang out there with her friend Windy. But this summer Rose’s parents won’t stop fighting, and it’s a good thing Rose and Windy have each other, because this summer won’t be like all the others.
I had a few favourites this year, including Minders by Michele Jaffe, Nearly Gone by Elle Cosimano, The winners curse by Marie Rutkoski, The geography of you and me by Jennifer E. Smith & Nil by Lynne Matson.
Minders by Michele Jaffe
“Sadie Ames has been accepted to the prestigious Mind Corps Fellowship program, where she’ll spend six weeks as an observer inside the head of Ford, a troubled boy with a passion for the crumbling architecture of the inner city. There’s just one problem: Sadie’s fallen in love with him. Ford Winters is haunted by the murder of his older brother, James. As Sadie begins to think she knows him, Ford does something unthinkable. Now, back in her own body, Sadie must decide what is right and what is wrong… and how well she can really ever know someone…” (Syndetics)
The geography of you and me by Jennifer E. Smith
“Sparks fly when sixteen-year-old Lucy Patterson and seventeen-year-old Owen Buckley meet on an elevator rendered useless by a New York City blackout. Soon after, the two teenagers leave the city, but as they travel farther away from each other geographically, they stay connected emotionally, in this story set over the course of one year.” (Syndetics)
Nil by Lynne Matson
“On the mysterious island of Nil, the rules are set. You have one year. Exactly 365 days to escape, or you die. Lost and alone, Charley finds no sign of other people until she meets Thad, the gorgeous leader of a clan of teenage refugees. Soon Charley learns that leaving the island is harder than she thought… and so is falling in love. With Thad’s time running out, Charley realizes that to save their future, Charley must first save him. And on an island rife with dangers, their greatest threat is time.” (Goodreads)
Julie Kagawa is one of my favourite authors and I have just finished reading Talon (could one of your closest friends be a dragon in disguise?). I liked it and would probably say loved it, except that I had read a series by Sophie Jordan about the same subject and similar scenarios (Firelight series) so it already felt a little familiar. Both were very good though!
It wasn’t released this year (in fact, it came out in 1989!) but I absolutely adored Weetzie Bat by Francesca Lia Block. It is so dreamy and fairy-tale-like, but so contemporary and doesn’t firmly cement itself in the 80s. The book has such a dreamy, hazy yet vibrant atmosphere and I lived in the haze of it for a few weeks after finishing it!
I just finished The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey and I thought it was great! Plus, it’s being made into a movie soon, so I’m excited about that. I also enjoyed the Shadowfell series by Juliet Marillier — Shadowfell, Raven Flight and The Caller.
I really enjoyed Like No Other by Una LaMarche from this year. Set in Brooklyn, it’s about a comedy/drama about a disapproved-upon teenage romance between a Hasidic Jew girl and a Black boy set contemporarily. There is a history of race riots between the two communities which adds another layer beyond the religious conflict. Both main characters could be described as Manic Pixie Dream Girl/Boys. I’d highly recommend it!
“When she turns 14, Rebecca will find out who she is to marry. All the girls in her strict religious sect must be married just after their 16th birthday. Her twin sister Rachel is delighted when Saul, the boy she loves, asks to marry her. Malachi asks for Rebecca. She believes him to be a good and godly man. But will Rebecca find there is a dark side to the rules which have kept her safe? What does the future hold? Can the way ahead be so simple when the community is driven by secrets and hidden desires?” (Syndetics)
So that’s our roundup of 2014 favourites! It is by no means complete, just some of our faves that sprung to mind. We would love for you to share with us your favourite books of 2014, whether they were actually released this year or not. Let us know in the comments below! We will pick a commenter on this post to win an audiobook of Cassandra Clare’s City of Heavenly Fire so tell us your top picks!