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Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Top Ten Books of 2012

Once again, it's time for the top ten books of the year!  As usual, my most-read genre was fantasy, though this year I've started to delve more into more solid sci-fi type things (like A Confusion of Princes or Glow--a genre that I've taken to calling "spaceshipy sci-fi"). 
This past year there was a little bit of a rise in the number of YA epic fantasy, which is a trend I'm hoping will continue into 2013.  The Divergent and Hunger Games-type dystopians seem to be slowing down...a bit.  What new trends will pop up next year?  I predict more sci-fi/romance, and maybe some more unique steampunk settings (like Stormdancer).
Here's the top ten list!
10. The Drowned Cities by Paolo Bacigalupi
Of all the dystopian novels published in the past few years, this series is a huge standout.  This book's predecessor, Ship Breaker, made my top ten list last year, so it's not surprise that its sequel also made the list.  As I mentioned in my review, if you like mediocre, bland, copycat dystopian settings, this book is not for you.  This book has such a gritty and real-feeling setting, with characters to match.
9. A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
This series has become a bit of a personal challenge for me.  I'm to the point where I'm going to finish the series, whether I like it or not.  Fortunately, I've enjoyed the first two books, especially this first one.  I love how complex it is.  There are so many tangled plot threads that sometimes it's a challenge in itself to keep track of them.  And in this case, I like that aspect.  I love how many layers this series has, how many layers each character has.  But apparently I have to wait until 2020 for the final book.  Um...what's up with that?

8. Fear by Michael Grant
What can I say about this series that I haven't already said?  We're getting close to the final book now, and the tension is high.  Fear rose to meet my high expectations for this series, and has risen the bar once again.  Light had better be amazing beyond belief, to top this.

7. Every Day by David Levithan

I took a risk in picking up this book.  I typically avoid romance (especially contemporary romance) like the plague.  It just isn't my thing.  And yet, the premise of Every Day was just too unique for me to pass up on.  It was one of those occasions where just the blurb itself made me so curious that I had no choice but to go read it.  And I'm glad I took that risk, because this book is beautiful.  It's gorgeous and wonderful and there's really no other way to describe it.

6. Icefall by Matthew J. Kirby
This is an exciting, well-written, captivating little book.  It took me a little while to get into it, but once I did I was hooked on this story and its characters.  And its simple, honest writing style.  Most of all, though, this book has some beautiful messages that make it well worth the read.

5. Witchlanders by Lena Coakley
This book's cover and blurb are deceptive.  From the cover, you'd think this is a book about a girl, probably a girl who is a witch.  In that, you'd be wrong.  This book is about two boys, Ryder and Falpian (though Falpian's POV takes up half the book, he isn't mentioned at all in the blurb).  The author does a wonderful job contrasting the two POVs, and making them clash and conflict with one another, and then showing us how intertwined they really are. 

4. The Crimson Crown by Cinda Williams Chima
This, for me, was a much-anticipated series finale of 2012, and it did not disappoint.  Series finales can be tough--we have a way we want the series to end, and sometimes endings can be a letdown.  Not so with this book.  The ending just felt right.  This was a great end to the series, and left me feeling satisfied (though I also would've been happy to read a ten book series instead of a four book one ).  I've seen rumors that the author might return to this world in the future, which I'm really hoping is true!

3. The Last Guardian by Eoin Colfer

 Oh, Artemis Fowl.  I've been in love with this series since I first read the first book in fifth grade.  Since then I've read and reread all of these books many times.  It's sad to see the end of this series come around, but at the same time I'm glad.  Some series are stretched out way too long, but this was the perfect time to finish the Artemis Fowl series.  I love the character growth, not just in Artemis, but in everyone else as well.  And besides, this book made me laugh out loud.  Literally.

2. Starclimber by Kenneth Oppel

 This book is just so much fun.  Everything about it makes me happy.  It's a good old fashioned adventure story with lively characters and cool gadgets.  It isn't weighed down by unnecessary angst like so many young adult novels.  It's  It's fun to read, and it's one of those books where you can tell the author had fun writing it.  This is another fabulous series conclusion, though again, I would've happily read a dozen more Matt Cruse novels.

1. The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness

Though the third book of this trilogy, Monsters of Men, wins the Came Closest To Actually Making Annie Cry award, The Ask and the Answer is still my favorite of the trilogy, and my favorite this year.  Where do I begin?  Everything about this book is so real.  The characters are as real as I've ever read.  The writing style is raw and unpolished, which makes it honest and true to life.  The plot is intense and gritty, and raises some very real and difficult questions.  Todd and Viola had a beautiful relationship that just felt right, and all throughout this book I was desperate to find out what would happen next.  This book is raw and beautiful and again, utterly real.

Here are some of my reading stats:
# Books read: 81 (on Goodreads it says 83 but two were short prequel stories)
Average rating: 3.8
Average time to read one book: 4.5 days
# Pages read: 31,236
Avg. pages per day: 85
Avg. pages per book: 386

Interestingly enough, the avg. time to read one book, avg. rating, and avg. pages per day have not changed at all since last year.

If you missed the 20 questions recap, it's right here.

What were your favorite books this year?  What trends do you want to see/think we'll see in 2013?
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