Hello! I’ve been somewhat absent. Again. I’m trying very hard not to make this a habit, though I’ve really no excuse for my lack of posts. Obviously Christmas happened, and I work in retail, so I’ll let you imagine exactly how fun that was. I’d hoped to get this post up on Monday, but then New Year’s Eve happened and I was, perhaps, a touch hungover on New Year’s Day. Mostly, however, I was very full of cold, so my plans for a productive New Year’s unraveled very quickly. I promise I’ll be better at this (it is, actually, one of my goals for this year).
Anyway, it’s time to talk about my favourite books that I read in 2016! Much like my 2015 favourites, there’s not one single reason all of these books are on the list. Frankly, some of them are poles apart in terms of content and tone. This list basically consists of all the books I gave five stars this year, and some I gave four stars to (I’m remarkably stingy about five star ratings, for some reason). These books aren’t in any particular order, and there’s roughly ten books overall. This is very likely going to be a lengthy post, so I’ll get right into it!
THE CAPTIVE PRINCE TRILOGY BY C.S. PACAT.
I read this series at the beginning of the year, and immediately knew upon finishing that it was going to be a favourite. I picked it up after seeing it everywhere on Tumblr, though I put off picking it up for a really long time. I’m really, really glad that I set my hesitation aside and read it, because I loved it. The series just gets better and better (if pushed, however, I’d say that the second book, Prince’s Gambit is probably my favourite). The characterisation is incredible; Laurent has quickly become one of my favourite characters of all time, though I’ll always have a soft spot for Damen. I’m hoping to reread these in January/February, to sort of mark the occasion when I first read them. I did write a full review of the series, way back in April, if you’re interested in my fuller, mostly spoiler-free thoughts. While they do have my full recommendation, the list of potential trigger warnings for this series is pretty substantial. Overall, I gave Captive Prince 4 stars, Prince’s Gambit 5 stars, and Kings Rising 5 stars.
THE LIES OF LOCKE LAMORA BY SCOTT LYNCH.
If you’ve read any of my quarterly wrap up posts, you might have noticed that I seemed to be reading this book for most of the year. I started reading it when I was in the mood for fantasy, then became completely overwhelmed while writing my dissertation (which, realistically, I should have known was going to happen) and after about 50 pages, had to put it aside. Sometime in November, I decided to dedicate the time to finish it and—oh my god, did I love this book. I am so mad at myself for constantly putting it aside. Once I picked it up, I absolutely devoured it. Frequently I had to take a moment to just savour how good it was. The characters are brilliant, and the plot is so clever and engaging. I’ve been trying to write a proper review, but I find it so hard to write reviews for books that I completely and utterly love without feeling like I’m just repeating myself? Honestly, to me, this was just the perfect book. I immediately went out and picked up the next two books in the series, and really, at this point I don’t even mind that the fourth book has an undetermined release date, because it just means I can read them all over again. As you might have guessed, I gave The Lies of Locke Lamora 5 stars. Please read it.
THE SECRET HISTORY BY DONNA TARTT.
The Secret History had been sitting on my shelves unread for years. I feel like this was another book that I picked up after seeing it all over Tumblr, and for whatever reason, I felt a little intimidated by it so I kept picking up other books instead. Really, though, there was no reason for me to feel intimidated, because this book was so engrossing. Tartt’s writing is fantastic. I’ve absolutely no idea how she managed to make me care so much about characters that are, for all intents and purposes, absolutely awful people. Arguably at times the plot was slow, but I can’t really say that I noticed. Even when nothing was happening I was so engaged by it, and swept up by the writing. I’ll definitely be reading more of Donna Tartt’s books, and I’ll definitely be rereading this one at some point in the future. I gave The Secret History 5 stars.
THE NAME OF THE WIND BY PATRICK ROTHFUSS.
There appears to be somewhat of a theme regarding me finally reading books that have been sitting around, quietly intimidating me, only for me to read them and absolutely fall in love with them. This was once again the case with The Name of the Wind. This book is perfect in its construction, the narrative and the world building are so completely solid. I don’t mind if a book isn’t “believable”, but that was absolutely the case with this. I’m a huge fan of the way this book is narrated, and though it’s long, it never really felt that way. It definitely warrants all the hype its got over the years, and I’m very excited to pick up the next book. I gave The Name of the Wind 5 stars.
HOMEGOING BY YAA GYASI.
This book has made it onto a lot of people’s favourites lists, and for good reason. I requested this on NetGalley, and was so thrilled to be approved for it. The book is an absolute triumph. Gyasi manages to encompass years and years of history and numerous characters in such a rich and dedicated way. It’s remarkable. I wrote a full review, so you can read more of my thoughts there, but needless to say, I loved this book. The hardback isn’t out until 5th January (it is available as an ebook, however) but as it’s my birthday on the 9th, the finished copy might just be a little birthday gift to myself. I gave Homegoing 5 stars — and honestly, if you pick up just one book off my recommendation on this list, let it be this one.
PRETTY ICONIC BY SALI HUGHES.
And now for something completely different! This was actually a Christmas gift that I began reading on Christmas day, and then couldn’t put down. Essentially, the book discusses iconic beauty products, but it’s all with Sali’s personal insights and anecdotes. It’s this personal aspect that makes it such a wonderful read. The book covers everything from Chanel No5 to Johnson’s baby shampoo. I love make-up, so all of this was just fascinating to me. If you’re not into beauty, then it’s definitely not going to be your bag, but I learnt so much from this book. It’s also beautifully designed, with really excellent photography. I gave Pretty Iconic 5 stars.
BIRD BOX BY JOSH MALERMAN.
This book just took me by surprise. Given that while I was at uni, my main topic of interest was Gothic horror, it takes a lot to freak me out, but somehow, this book managed to do that. The book is so, incredibly tense. It deals with not being able to see, which is probably why it managed to freak me out. Every encounter, or imagined encounter, with the “creatures” outside had me on the edge of my seat. It was so absorbing, and so easy to get lost in. It probably does beg more questions than it answers overall, but I loved it nonetheless. I gave Bird Box 5 stars.
ROOM BY EMMA DONOGHUE.
I’m sure that, at this point, most people know the premise of Room. It’s hard to say that you love a book that’s about such an awful topic as kidnapping. The thing that made this book stand out to me was the choice of having the child, Jack, narrate the story. This really worked for me, and it was so interesting seeing not only the way he interprets the world, but the gap of knowledge between him and you, as an adult reader. The book also depicts trauma very well, and I like that their lives after capture were almost as difficult as their lives during capture. I’m very glad to have read this, too, because it introduced me to Emma Donoghue’s writing, and I’ll definitely be reading more of her books. I gave Room 4 stars.
A DARKER SHADE OF MAGIC BY V.E. SCHWAB.
I am so glad I gave into the hype and picked up this series, because I completely fell head over heels in love with so many of its characters. Of course, I’m also included the second book A Gathering of Shadows in this, because how could I not? I don’t know that I can really say anything about this series that hasn’t been said time and time before, but so far this is my favourite of Schwab’s novels that I’ve read. I’m simultaneously excited and nervous for the final book to be released! I gave both A Darker Shade of Magic and A Gathering of Shadows 4 stars.
SOFIA KHAN IS NOT OBLIGED BY AYISHA MALIK.
Last, but most certainly not least, is Sofia Khan is Not Obliged. I completely fell in love with this book. Sofia is definitely one of my favourite characters, I completely adore her. The book was so funny and so heartwarming, and its one that I recommend to absolutely everyone. Even people I know that don’t normally read. Also! I cannot believe that I didn’t mention its sequel in my most anticipated releases! I can’t believe I forgot! The Other Half of Happiness comes out in April and I’m so, so excited about it. I gave Sofia Khan is Not Obliged 4 stars.
Those were my favourites of 2016! I had a pretty good reading year overall. I can’t say that there were too many, if any books, that I absolutely hated. For the most part I gave the books I read 3 stars or more, and to say that I managed to read 53 books in 2016, that isn’t so bad.
What were your favourite books of 2016? If we share any I’d love to know!