The Best & Worst Books of 2017

2017 is coming to an end, and while I’ve had a fantastic year filled with fantastic books, there’s always that select few that let the whole class down. These are the best and most disappointing books I’ve read in 2017.

Best

Godsgrave (The Nevernight Chronicles) by Jay Kristoff

I’ve been excited for Godsgrave since I finished Nevernight, sat on a balcony in Bavaria Germany, back in June 2016. I couldn’t wait for it to actually be released, and entered every competition, giveaway, and even emailed the publisher to get my hands on it early. But to no avail. Thankfully, the Netgalley gods blessed me and finally provided a UK e-arc online and when I received that email saying I was approved to read it, I dropped everything to start it. Of course, it was fantastic, and I loved every minute. I then bought a signed hardback and am now sat here waiting for the third book. As you do. My review is here.

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The Arsonist by Stephanie Oakes

This one did not exist in my life until I saw it as an ARC while perusing through stalls at YALC. There was no queue, no competition, there was just a pile sat there which you could take if you just provided your email address. It was a floppy paperback, which instantly made me want to own it, and I’m so glad I read it. It’s such an epic story that spans generations that no one seems to be talking about. I love it when a book that I knew nothing about surprises me. My review is here.

A Conjuring of Light by V.E. Schwab

Of course a V.E. Schwab book is going in here. For every year I’ve been blogging, I’ve had a V.E. Schwab book wriggle it’s way into a favourites. I adore her writing, her characters, her magic systems. It’s all so elegant. So, you bet your ass I cried when the finale to The Shades of Magic came out. I bought it at Waterstones, just a few doors down from my then-work, on my break, and snapped a picture of it to mark the occasion. My review is here.

Now I Rise by Kirsten White

I think I gave And I Darken, the first in this series, four stars, which is a bit strange because I absolutely adored Now I Rise. I don’t think I knew what to expect when it came to this series and grabbed And I Darken at YALC last year and have become hooked. It’s a retelling of the story of Vlad the Impaler as a young girl named Lada and her childhood and how she becomes a bloodthirsty ruler, along with her soft boy brother, Radu. My review is here.

History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera

I mean, is it really an Adam Silvera story if it doesn’t make you cry? History Is All You Left Me is by far my favourite Silvera novel; I cried on the first page. Every line, every part of this book is so beautiful and emotional and so real, I think that’s why I cried a lot. I couldn’t read this in public out of fear of bursting into tears. I don’t know if this will persuade you to read it but hopefully my review will.

Worst

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

This book was such a shame. The hype and marketing for this book was incredible. I saw it everywhere; in ads, in interviews, in people’s tweets just going crazy for it. The amount of people who had already added it to their TBR was incredible. Proofs had been sent out and people were glowing about it. So, I asked for it for my birthday, and read it, and gave it two stars immediately. This book was TERRIBLE. It was boring, poorly developed, and annoying. My review is here.

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Love and Gelato by Jena Evans Welch

Love and Gelato was just a flop. It definitely has the appeal; about a girl who, after her mother dies, goes to live with her estranged father in an Italian countryside villa and learns about the past of her mother. It gave me The Arsonist vibes, but a cutesy summer version rather than a harrowing war-torn country version (like The Arsonist was). But actually, it was just a lot of blah. It was luke-warm porridge left out too long. However, I feel like others would enjoy it, but not for me. And it’s in this list because I was stuck in Italy with it. That’s right, I bought set in Italy while in Italy because I thought I would be all cute but instead it did this to me.

All The Crooked Saints by Maggie Stiefvater

This book was also a shame, but I’m not surprised. I love The Raven Cycle so much. I love how, you may think this an urban fantasy that’s plot heavy, I found it to be an in-depth character study that kind of allowed me to ignore the plot if I so wished. I think that’s what All The Crooked Saints was trying to be too and of course; this is Maggie Stiefvater’s writing style. But it was her writing style x100. It was super confusing. There was so much purple prose and going off on tangents that I didn’t know what was going on. I didn’t even review it because what would I review? They were just a bunch of words strung together that I didn’t understand.

The Love Interest by Cale Dietrich

Now if we’re gonna talk about shame, then this book takes the cake. Oh my God what a SHAME. Most of the time, if a book has LGBT focus, I’ll pick it up. I gotta rep my community and honestly? They just make for better reading, in my opinion. I got super excited about The Love Interest because it was a twist on the spy genre. You know, the spy genre? Coated in misogyny and heteronormativity. But this book was going to be different; about two boys tasked with seducing the same woman only to fall in love with each other. DOESN’T THAT SOUND AMAZING?

Thing is, I read the first page and knew this wasn’t going to be as fun as I thought. I explain why extensively in my review but to sum up my feelings: very, very bad writing.

If you’re looking for more books I’ve adored throughout the years, I have a category on Goodreads called ‘faves’ which you should definitely check out! As for my most hated books? Here’s the category ‘just awful’.

Happy reading!

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They Both Die At The End by Adam Silvera

Publisher: Simon & Schuester
Release Date: 7th September 2017
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Goodreads

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When Mateo receives the dreaded call from Death-Cast, informing him that today will be his last, he doesn’t know where to begin. Quiet and shy, Mateo is devastated at the thought of leaving behind his hospitalised father, and his best friend and her baby girl. But he knows that he has to make the most of this day, it’s his last chance to get out there and make an impression. 

Rufus is busy beating up his ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend when he gets the call. Having lost his entire family, Rufus is no stranger to Death-Cast. Not that it makes it any easier. With bridges to mend, the police searching for him and the angry new boyfriend on his tail, it’s time to run.

Isolated and scared, the boys reach out to each other, and what follows is a day of living life to the full. Though neither of them had expected that this would involve falling in love… 

This is the first Adam Silvera novel where I haven’t cried, which is sad in itself because I love it when I cry at Adam Silvera novels. You’re supposed to cry; you’re supposed to have emotion pouring out of you. So while I enjoyed They Both Die At The End, there was always a small voice in the back of my head wondering why I don’t have butterflies in my stomach and my eyes not on the verge of tears.

I loved both Mateo and Rufus and how distinct their voices were. They definitely complimented each other and would have loved to see their relationship evolve, but I think it would have felt a little more realistic if maybe there was a bit more time in between them meeting and falling in love? I already had to suspend my disbelief with Death-Cast which, I really couldn’t, and it glared out at me while I was trying to concentrate on other part of the stories.

I want to point how happy I was when I found out that Rufus was bisexual. This isn’t a spoiler, a character’s sexuality isn’t a spoiler or a plot reveal, but it was so lovely to see the word used, to have a character to say that they are bisexual and to be proud and wear the label on their sleeve without any ‘I don’t use labels’ or ‘I’m just fluid’. Sometimes, people are bisexual, and characters who allude to be don’t say it enough in canon. So thankyou Adam Silvera. BISEXUAL VISIBILITY! *raises fist*

Great third novel by one of my favourite authors. But not my favourite novel by one of my favourite authors.

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