Another year come and gone–and some fantastic reading adventures along with it! As I typically do in January, I want to take some time to review some of my favorite reads of 2016. In week two of this series, we move up to the next two books on my top ten.
Note: These are the best books I read in 2016, not necessarily published in 2016.
#8 Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
A promising start to a dystopian YA series with more of a fantasy bent, I found myself enjoying this title despite the whole “compromised-by-romance-with-a-boy” trope. The worldbuilding was fascinating to me and the story itself is engaging and interesting. There are some fun twists to be seen as the story unfolds. (I just wish the sequel had turned out to be better than it was…)
Read my review from February 21 for more on this title.
#7 Reclaiming Hope by Shell Taylor
I don’t know what else to say about this book that I didn’t say in my review, but it’s one that still sticks with me a while after reading it. It tells a story that you definitely don’t see much in popular entertainment or mainstream books, but it’s a story that needs to be told. I’m hoping for the potential to see more of these characters or similar stories from this author.
Read my review from January 8 for more on this title.
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Series: Red Queen, Book 1
Published by: HarperTeen on February 10, 2015
Rating: 4 stars (★★★★☆)
Mare Barrow is resigned to a bleak fate. She’s a Red (meaning she bleeds red and has no magical abilities) and has no skills to offer, aside from being an adept pickpocket. She is able to provide for her family using that tactic, though she knows her mother isn’t exactly fond of who she gets the things she brings home. But it doesn’t matter, since she knows it will be less than a year before she is conscripted and will go to fight a war being waged by the Slivers (the ruling class, who, yes, actually bleed silver and possess magical abilities) with Reds as their (often unwilling soldiers). But after Mare chances upon an odd young man one evening who gets her a job at the palace, everything changes. It is here that she (and the Silvers) discover that she’s no ordinary Red. In fact, she’s so extraordinary that her mere existence could threaten the entire balance of their society. Mare quickly finds herself wrapped up in the world of the Silvers, still clinging to her Red heritage, and not really knowing which way to turn. But in a power-based society where people will step over each other to get to the top, there may not be any direction that is entirely safe.
Although there is the female-YA-protagonist-with-some-romantic-subplot syndrome going on here, I did enjoy this book. The world that’s been created here, the major players, and the sharp twists and turns this one takes made it difficult for me to put this book down. It’s easy to get lost in Mare’s world. The writing is excellent, and I find myself looking forward to the next book in the series. This would probably be a five-star recommendation from me if it wasn’t for the subplot mentioned above. While it didn’t overtake the story in the ways it often does in YA lately, it’s overdone to the point that its existence in a book gives me pause at this point. If you are like me and put off by that trope, I still suggest giving this a chance as I think there are more enough redeeming qualities to make up for it in this one.
Red Queen at the HarperTeen website