Honourable Mentions of 2013

To come tomorrow, a post containing my favourite books that I read in 2013, sadly lacking any I had for judging as I can’t quite reveal that until early April. For now though, the books I loved in 2013 that were so very, very good.

Books read and published in 2013

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

An accurate and genuine YA novel that follows a character who’s a bit of a fangirl. It’s a fun novel that follows Cath who’s just started uni, as she tries to deal with social situations, balancing real life and her online life, whilst trying to keep her twin sister, Wren, safe, while Wren doesn’t want to be saved. A lovely book for anyone who’s written fanfiction at some stage, or part of fandom in general.

Longbourn by Jo Baker

Set from another point of view of Pride and Prejudice we see a tale from a servant. Sarah feels real in all senses, as we see her at work, in her good and bad thoughts, and the troubles she goes through which are neither too dull nor overly dramatic. From this you really get a sense of what life could have been like.

Necessary Evil (Milkweed Triptych #3) by Ian Tregillis

Goodness, what an ending. This series had everything. Alternate history, wizards and mutants, time travel, gritty characters and characters so insane you are honestly disturbed by them. This series remained strong throughout – if you like the first book, you’ll love them all. Tregillis’ writing is dependable, and I can’t wait to see what he has next – which happens to be Something More than Night – a noir novel.

Without a Summer (Glamourist Histories #3) by Mary Robinette Kowal

The characters continue to be delightful and I spent a lovely afternoon reading this in an artificial garden in Melbourne Central whilst on holiday. I then chanced to meet the lovely author at Brighton WFC and she’s beyond amazing.

Books read in 2013 (yet published earlier)

Child of the Prophecy (Sevenwaters #3) by Juliet Marillier

Darker than the previous books and takes a step away from the usual family tale, approaching it from a slightly different angle, yet beautifully written like the rest and just as effective. This is the series I turn to when I need a reliable book to be lost in.

The Diviners (The Diviners #1) by Libba Bray

I expected the hype for this one to pass me by, but I’m so glad it didn’t. A highly enjoyable book that’s darn well written in both essence and tone – you get such a feel for the time, and the characters are marvellous – believable and well rounded.

The Eye of the World (Wheel of Time #1) by Robert Jordon

Yes, about time I read this one. It was decent, though I’m not sure how quickly I’ll follow with the rest of the series. There’s many issues with reading this book so late in the game – it was a different time when it was first written, and it shows. Found the pace to be steady and dragging in parts, but overall, well, it’s one of the greats of the genre and that also shows.

The Girl from Snowy River by Jackie French

Goodness, Jackie doesn’t hold back when working her young characters into a hard place. There’s few adults around, the main character goes through hell and you see such a detailed piece of Australian history throughout. Very well written, lovely characters, and you learn some history as you read.

The King’s Bastard (King Rolen’s Kin #1) by Rowena Cory Daniells

This manages to take several clichés and produce something very readable. Though the books are larger than most, nearly all in this series are just as hard to put down as the last. Set in the bad kind of snow where it smothers everything and never seems to leave, this series is fairly oppressive with how trapped you would feel as the main character, whether it be by the snow or plot. With a large cast of characters, there’s someone for everyone to love.

Out (アウト) by Natsuo Kirino

At some stage through the year, I asked friends to recommend books that gave a good sense of Japanese life, and this is one of the books I was linked to. As it was by Sam, I knew I didn’t have to worry about whether or not I enjoyed it. And enjoy it I did – delivering a sample of what it’s like living in Japan in a grim sort of way whilst also being a very decent crime novel.

Reconstructing Amelia by Kimberley McCreight

A fast-paced novel that could be hard for parents of teenagers to read. A mother tries to put together the last moments of her daughter’s life through social media to figure out why her daughter jumped from the roof of the school building – or prove that she didn’t. Possibly one that needs to be read in a certain mood, as some find it fairly melodramatic.

Winter Be My Shield (Children of the Black Sun #1) by Jo Spurrier

Another snow-is-oppressive series!  The magic feels more detailed in this series than in King Rolen’s Kin, the cast of characters is much smaller, but it also has characters where you have no clue what side they’re really on. This shows that not everything is black and white – sometimes people aren’t on a side, they’re just out for themselves or are trapped in something much bigger than ‘sides’.

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