Book articles

The Best Books I Read During 2016

So it’s almost the end of 2016 and everyone’s rounding up their reading year. I’ve had a pretty good year, and wanted to look back on some of the best books I picked up, so I’ve chosen seven that simply blew my mind.

I should note that these books aren’t all books that have been published during this 2016, but are novels that I read them during the last twelve months.

So let’s just get down to it!

1. A Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab

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Synopsis:

A Darker Shade of Magic follows Kell, one of the last antari magicians, as he travels between the different versions of London -Red London, Grey London, White London and Black London. But no-one goes to Black London, not since it was been sealed off. Yet when a dark artifact makes its way into the other Londons from Black London, Kell is the only one who can send it back.

Why it made the list:

If you’ve been following me for a while you’ll probably not be surprised that this book made me list. Of course I had to include a V. E. Schwab book. Of course I did. I couldn’t make this list without ADSOM because, although I love everything I’ve read by her so far, this book has got to be my favourite. When I thought about what to include on this list, this was the first book that came to mind.

This book has everything I love – a brilliantly-crafted world, dynamic characters (that I can empathise with hugely and fall in love with), a witty, engaging narrative and a stunning magic system. From the first pages I was entirely hooked and I’m desperate to read the rest of the series. I know that when the final book comes out in 2017 it’ll most likely end up being one of my all-time favourite series.

My rating: 5 stars.png

2. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

six of crows

Synopsis:

Six of Crows follows Kaz Brekker as he recruits a gang of thieves, gamblers and miscreants to undertake the most difficult heist the world has ever seen. Their reward will be enough to make them for life, if they can manage to complete their mission without dying or taking each other out in the process.

Why it made the list:

Oh this book. This book. My love for this book is endless and timeless and will transcend the ages. Never have I read a book where the characters were so dynamic and three (more like seven) dimensional, where I could empathise with every single one and where I cared so deeply about the outcome of their storylines.

My rating: 5-stars

3. Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo

crooked-kingdom

Synopsis:

Following on from Six of Crows, our six heroes (or anti-heroes if you prefer) are now on the run from one of the most powerful merchers in Ketterdam, who is determined to see them all dead. After one of their crew is kidnapped, they must fight to reclaim their reward and pride and save their friend.

Why it made the list:

I read Crooked Kingdom immediately after Six of Crows, and it was just as much of a whirlwind of adventure, lies, double-crossing and magic as the first book. The writing was brilliant and the characters were developed even further (though I didn’t think that was possible because they were developed so thoroughly/brilliantly in the first book). I was constantly on edge wanting to know where the story was going and how it would conclude.

My rating: 5-stars

4. Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

rebel

Synopsis:

Amani is a sharp-tongued sharpshooter who lives in a deadbeat town where women have little to no value. She can’t wait to escape and when a stranger turns up one day he offers her the perfect opportunity. As Amani rides out of the town on the back of a mystical horse, she has no idea just how much her life is about to change.

Why it made the list: 

I loved Amani’s character. She’s quick-thinking, empathetic and filled with razor-sharp wit, but she’s also flawed and makes mistakes, which made her very relatable. One of the best parts of her character was the way she tried to learn from those mistakes and used them to become a better person. She also refused to give up no matter how dire the situation, and I love that trait in a character.

My rating: 4-5-stars

5. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

night

Synopsis: 

(I’m going to use the Goodreads synopsis because it’s perfect).

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it, no paper notices plastered on lampposts and billboards. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Beyond the smoke and mirrors, however, a fierce competition is under way–a contest between two young illusionists, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood to compete in a “game” to which they have been irrevocably bound by their mercurial masters. Unbeknownst to the players, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will.

Why it made the list:

Many books have magic and magical abilities as part of the storyline, but I’ve never read any that presented magic in quite the way The Night Circus did. Simply put, it’s nothing short of enchanting and the magic seems almost mythical in the way it brings people to the circus and changes their lives. The characters too are so heart-warming, unique and (in some cases) eccentric that it’s easy to become swept up in their nomadic lives. And swept up I was.

My rating: 4-5-stars

6. The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

the-raven-king

Synopsis:

Blue has always been told that if she kisses her true love she’ll cause him to die. And the year is finally here. The search for Glendower, the battle against dark forces, everything that Blue, Gansey, Ronan, Adam and Noah have gone through up until this point has lead to this.

Why it made the list:

I read all four books in this series during 2016, and the final book was so full of drama and wonder that it left me both fuller and emptier at the same time once I finished it. The Gangsey is quite literally squad goals. Their friendship is a close and deep-running entity because they understand each other so well. And the way they’re so in tune with each other made me want to be part of their squad. Also that ending left me thinking about the series for weeks after I’d finished the final page.

My rating: 4-stars

7. Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

snowlikeashes

Synopsis:

After her home kingdom, Winter, was conquered sixteen years ago, Meira has been on the run, living as a refugee ever since. Having spent those years training with her best friend and the future King of Winter, Mather, she desperately wants to help restore their home to its former glory. So when a locket containing power enough to restore Winter’s magic is discovered, she jumps at the chance to save their home.

Why it made the list:

I loved the world-building in this book and thought the seasonally-themed magic abilities were pretty unique. As the MC, Meira was likable and very easy to empathise with. Raasch’s writing had me hooked from the first chapter because her style is so fluid and boy does she know how to write a plot twist (or twelve).

So those are the seven best books I read this year! I was going to do a ‘Worst Books’ version of this post, but when I looked back over my Goodreads, I didn’t actually read that many books I didn’t enjoy and it would thus be a rather short list! Instead, I plan on doing an overall 2016 Wrap Up to summarise my reading over the last 12 months and make some goals for 2017.

My rating: 4-5-stars

I would love to know what your favourite books have been from this year and if there were any books you really didn’t enjoy! Let me know in the comments if any of these seven made it to your best books list too!

until-next-time-1

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9 thoughts on “The Best Books I Read During 2016

  1. Rebel of the Sands made my list too! I was getting so bored of the same thing in YA but Alwyn Hamilton gave me hope because it’s just so vividly beautiful and the characters are wonderful.

  2. A lot of books on your list would be on my list as well! I loved the Six of Crows duology, and I know I’ve mentioned this before but Crooked Kingdom is actually my number one book of this year! I also really enjoyed ADSOM, Rebel of the Sands, the Raven King and The Night Circus (though that one I read a couple of years ago now so I’m not sure it counts as a favourite for 2016).
    I haven’t read Snow Like Ashes yet, but based on the fact you added it to your list for this topic it’s one I need to get around to soon.
    Great picks Kate! 😀

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