Like the title says, this is my Top and Flop ranking of my 2017.
I’m going to list 5 book that I enjoyed, and 5 who disappointed me.
It’s not a 5 stars vs 2 starts kind of list, Goodreads exists for a reason, I considered a lot of things, not only the character development or the plot, I think about my expectations for the books, what was my reaction … (I actually have a 4 star book in my flop list!).
FIVE TOP BOOKS OF 2017
5) Eliza and Her Monsters : this book was a complete surprise. I didn’t expect much, I thought it was something like fangirl (which I enjoyed, make no mistake.). I think it showed more of the “fandom” world. The fan fictions, the fanarts, the cosplays, the friendships online, it touched a lot of themes that we, as readers, as fans, as persons who live inside the fandom, can recognize.
And I can’t ignore the other big theme of the book, which is the psychological aspect. Eliza’s world is online. Her friends, her followers, her comic, her life is online. The webcomic is an escape, a place where Eliza can be herself. I really appreciate how the author treated Eliza’s anxiety, the fact the she isn’t interest in living “the normal life” like her parents says, how she handled the catastrophical revelation that shattered all her certainties. It really touched me. And I can’t help to wonder what would have been my reaction if this book had been published ten years ago, when I was basically Eliza’s age…
4) The Hero of Ages : the third book in the mist born trilogy. I debated on putting all the trilogy, and treat the three books as one. But in the end, I decided that the final book deserved the spot a bit more than the other two. I had expectations, especially looking at the great cliffhanger at the end of the second book, and they’re completely satisfied. Reading this books was like a punch in the stomach. That event in the end of The Well of Ascension changed everything. The characters are definitely touched and they’re so changed by it that they’re almost unrecognizable.
This book, this entire series, is what I always wanted, it’s the answer to a question, “what happens when you overthrow the villains, what happens when you have freed the kingdom, what happens when you, the hero, have won?” that is rarely answered at all.
3) And I Darken : I had this book in my kindle for months. I never read it. I was scared of reading another YA heroine, a fake badass girl in the middle of a love triangle. And then, the revelation. Lada Drakul would probably rip me to pieces for thinking this about her.
This book follows the life of the man who inspired the Dracula legend, Vlad the impaler. But Vlad, in this book, is a girl. Lada. Lada who, with her brother Radu, is sold to the Ottoman Empire at an early age. Lada who wants only one thing, the crown of valacchia (keep in mind that this is historical fiction, not fantasy. Daughters can’t inherit kingdoms. It’s a very unkind world for females). She lives her life in the empire waiting for the day she’ll be allowed to go back to her country. To rule it. Her main motivation is to be better than her father, who was so weak to pledge his country to the enemy and give his children as hostages.
Lada is ruthless. Is fierce. Is not kind. Nothing is more important than her country, and her crown. Not even the friendship (and then, maybe, the love) of Mehmed, one of the sons of the sultan, the best friend of her only family, of her beloved Radu. Radu who flourish in the empire, who finds freedom and acceptance in the Islam. His conversion is one of the few points of contrast with her sister. Not that Lada is so Christian that can’t accept other beliefs, but because converting to Islam means, for her, that her brother is starting to consider the Ottoman Empire as his home.
This story is dark, truly.
Almost gory, physically and psychologically.
And I adore it.
2) A conjuring of lights : I know, I’m predictable. But if this series is one of my favorites, there is a reason. Multiple reasons. And not all of them are called Lila Bard. The world, the characters, the story. It’s original, and fascinating. I laughed, a lot, and I suffered as much, because V.e. schwab is evil and can write such beautiful, heart-wrenching characters that you cannot help to love.
Lila is always my most beloved character but two other characters shine in this book : Holland and Rhy. I was blown out by their development, and I didn’t realize I cared so much about them until I got to the point of screaming “runrunrunrundontdiedontdiedontdiepleasepleaseplease” to both of them.
Kell and Alucard are still trying to kill each other the moment Rhy doesn’t look, btw.
1) Crooked kingdom : it was obvious, right? I had to put this book in the first place, not only because I love every single detail, but because it deserve this place. It’s emotionally challenging, i almost cried in THAT scene (I’ll never forgive Leigh Bardugo. NEVER) and now I can confess that I was so so so scared for Kaz. Because usually characters like him die, or they see the light and in the end we can find them in some kind of farm raising chickens happily ever after. Thank god this is not the case.
But, really, I loved this book. All the characters are faced with difficulties, inner ghosts, traumas, the consequences of their successful heist are stalking them. It’s not a matter of putting their own unique talents at work for money, now it’s their lives at stake. We get to see them deal with all of this, how they risk to fall and and how they rise again, like phoenixes from their ashes.
THIS, is all I always wanted in a book.
In its characters.
So I guess the only thing that I have to say is thanks, LB, for writing it.
FIVE FLOP BOOKS OF 2017
5) Red sister : it’s not really a disappointment, because from an adult fantasy book I have different expectations. the story is interesting, this school for deadly nuns, raised since childhood is definitely something I haven’t read anywhere, but my problem with this bone is one, and one only. It’s too much repetitive. A lot of pages, wasted describing the same lessons, the same events.
4) An Enchantment of ravens : An example of good writing and poor plot. This book has interesting ideas, but, sadly, everything is underdeveloped or too rushed. it’s like this is the first draft of a series. I enjoyed the idea, truly, and the writing, which is very good. I feel like the story deserved more pages, maybe another book to rise to its full potential, to let the characters shine. And fix the ending. Because what happens in the end doesn’t really fix anything.
3) A court of wings and ruin : I know, I know. It’s not the place you are used to see a sjm book. I gave this book 4 stars, and I enjoyed it. Sadly, enjoying the book is not enough, not after AcoMaF. I expected so much from this book, and it disappointed me. It disappointed me because some character are different, without any reasonable explanation. Yes, Mor. I’m looking at you. And no, discovering that she’s bisexual (or lesbian? A lesbian who sleeps also with men?I need clarifications) is not what I mean. AcoMaF Mor is a shining star, a proud survivor, the epitome of hope, optimism, serenity, despite what happened to her. And now, I find a scared little girl, unable to Oper herself with her chosen family, unable to tell the truth to a man whose only fault is to love her without asking nothing in return. She’s so scared of rejection that she hides her lovers like a thief. That’s not my Mor.
From Mor, to Elain. Third book and we don’t know who is Elain. Ok, we know that she’s kind, sweet, loves her garden, etc. but what we really know about her? NOTHING. She’s a plot device.
And then, the last thing. The End. Three books of plotting, three books of war preparation, and where is the war? We are stuck to the damn Cauldron during all the battle. Where’s the blood, where’s the fight, where’s everything a ending battle needs? No, just no.
2) Flame in the mist. : I wanted to like this book. I’ve read the Wrath and the Dawn trilogy, and despite not liking the retelling as a concept, especially if, like in that case, it’s so close to the source of the retelling, I enjoyed the writing, and I thought that the author did a good job with the world. So I was anticipating this book.
Let me made something clear : this is not a Mulan retelling. No one is taking her father’s place in the Chinese army. No Huns. (No tiny little travel-size dragon). No emperor. No Shang. This book is set in JAPAN. And our main character, Mariko, reminds me more of Jasmine than Mulan, if we look at her personality. The only thing Mariko and Mulan have in common is the fact that for half of the story they are dressed as men. I have no problems with Mariko, or the other characterters. My only problem with this book is the plot. So predictable. You can guess every plot twist so early in the story that the only motive for finishing the book is to wish that you’re wrong. (spoiler : Sadly, NO).
I’ll read the second book, only because I want to see if the author will twist the story and give us something unpredictable.
1) Shadow and Bone : Well, it was obvious. I tried. I swear. I tried, because the Soc duology is my favorite and I was willing to give this trilogy a chance. The world of the Grishaverse is so fascinating, so imagine my disappointment when I started the book and I found the worst main characters in my entire history of reading. Alina, our main character, spend half of the book reminding us that she’s ugly and only for that single reason she cannot have grisha powers because everyone in the second army is beautiful. Alina who lives only for her crush, Mal. Mal, who is handsome, with a lot of girls around him, and obviously considers Alina only a friend until she starts to become someone better . She’s finally starting to believe in herself and in her powers (thanks to the Grisha and the Darkling) and Mal doesn’t like it. Half of the book shows how Mal doesn’t like Alina’s powers, and how Alina is almost ashamed of it. Every time Mal is with her, Alina regresses into the insicure, shy girl with the lowest self esteem ever.
And let’s talk about the plot. It could have been a great story, and then, after the Great Revelation, (yeah, I’m sarcastic) well, predictable, predictable, predictable. No plot twist, not even a tiny one to spin the story. Everything is going to happen exactly as you imagine. I don’t want to know what’s happening a hundred pages before the actual fact, I want to be surprised, I want to be shocked. Instead, all I got was disappointment. And incredulity, because I could not believe this was written by the same author of my beloved Soc. That the same pen that created Kaz or Matthias or Inej or Nina, created someone like Mal and Alina.
And I tell you something. The Darkling is not a villain. For what he has to endure from Alina and Mal, I rename him Saint Darkling, Martyr of the God of well written characters. He’s the only saving grace of this book.
Well, these are my top and flop books for 2017.
Let me know that do you think, if you agree with me, or if you have a completely different opinion on them!