And with the end of the year fast approaching, now is the time for wrap-ups to begin and new plans to be made! I thought I’d start out this year with my the books that surprised me the most throughout 2016- the good, the not-so-good, and the in-between. These were the books that were not as I expected them to be!
#5- “Huh, this is a little different…”
Ehh: Miss Mayhem (Rebel Belle #2) – Rachel Hawkins
After such a strong setup in book one, I was pretty let down by this sequel. I felt that the humour and satire was lost, as well as big plot opportunities falling a bit flat. I still enjoyed reading this sequel, but it was hard to really feel empathy toward characters who weren’t growing and bringing in extra depth. I feel like there were a few missed opportunities for world building too.
Ooh: The Chimes – Anna Smaill
A unique and refreshing take on dystopia. It was consistently engaging and felt as though all the details fit together really nicely. I could tell that a lot of work had gone into the world building, as it really shine through in the language, laws and characters in the novel. I also thought that the writing was beautiful and skilful in the way it described the world and characters. Its also impressive how the author was able to convey the muddiness of memory loss and amnesia.
#4- “Oh? Well then…”
Ehh: Rebel of the Sands – Alwyn Hamilton
I think in this situation, this book was a victim of hype for me. I picked it up in the store because of the beautiful cover, and whilst the story is quite unique and original to me, I had trouble getting behind the main character. For this story to have worked for me I think I would have needed more character development, as I couldn’t get a real sense of that human element.
Ooh: Red Rising – Pierce Brown
I don’t think I was prepared for how intense this book was going to be. I loved many aspects of the writing, and could actually trace character development as it was happening. Overall, this was such a refreshing read that I thoroughly enjoyed. The world, the politics, and the thoughts running through the protagonist’s mind left me hanging on for me.
#3- “Oh my…”
Ehh: The Sin Eater’s Daughter – Melinda Salisbury
Wasn’t overly impressed, I personally felt that the first person writing style worked against the main character. There was some character growth across the book, but not enough to really get me emotionally attached to any of them. Not all that much really happens, and I was just disappointed to find that a story with so much potential fell rather flat.
Ooh: A Monster Calls – Patrick Ness
Original, creepy, gripping. I loved the concept of the book and thought that it was executed beautifully. By this point I had read Chaos Walking by Ness, but was not expecting something like this at all. Everything was executed so beautifully, and I was thoroughly satisfied with the ending.
#2- “More than I bargained for.”
Ehh: Firefight (The Reckoners #2) – Brandon Sanderson
Whilst I was left feeling a little bit disappointed after the first novel in this trilogy, the second installment was the nail in the coffin. I was incredibly surprised by this, as so many people have raved about this series, and about Sanderson’s work…I was left confused. It was one of those situations where I was sure I should be loving what I was reading. I would read this series for the world-building, which is interesting, but cant seem to bring myself to care about any of the characters, especially since we know little about the majority of the cast.
Ooh: The Princess Bride – William Goldman
I was really unprepared for this novel, right across the board. I went into this book knowing very little, and it was probably the best experience due to that. Darkly funny humour, running jokes and satire at its best. I couldn’t predict anything, and was certainly caught off guard by the format of the novel –as a fictional ‘abridgement’ of another story.
#1- “Not what I expected”
Ehh: The Last Star (The Fifth Wave #3) – Rick Yancey
This books is where it all really fell apart for me. I felt that the first book in the fifth wave trilogy started so strongly, that it was really hard to go wrong. However, the second book felt like a novella, with no real action happening to our ‘main’ characters. And much to the same effect, this third book left me wanting….more? Less? I’m still unsure. I felt like there was a huge change-up in character dynamics and personality, and that the real driving force in this novel was actually the side characters.
Ooh: All the Bright Places – Jennifer Niven
I was blown away, because although this book is YA, and was definitely riding the hype wave for quite some time, it still exceeded my expectations. The characters have depth; they have interests, backstory, and are so relatable. There is some beautiful writing in this book, and some amazing, inspiring lines. I was in tears by the end of course, but I regret nothing!
And there you have it! Did anyone have any similar thoughts? Or perhaps totally opposite experiences? What book surprised you the most this year?
Let me know below!
– Datsu, xox