I’m kind of amazed we’re already at this point in the year again, time really does pass by faster as you get older. How bothersome! Overall, I think 2014 was a pretty good year. There were no books that I downright loathed. I can’t even pull together a “Worst of” list for the year. You go, 2014! The list is a mix of young adult and adult. If there’s an overriding theme to my list is that I rewarded books that tried to put their own spin on traditional. Outside of my picks for the 9 and 10 spot, they all do something just a little bit different. Finally, the only criteria for being on the list was that I reviewed it in 2014. A good book is a good book and deserves a shout out regardless of publication date.
So without further ado, let’s take a look at my Top Ten books of 2014. Click on the covers for links back to the original review 🙂
9. The Casquette Girls – Alys Arden & A Taste of Blood Wine – Freda Warrington Paranormal Fantasy (Vampires) YA and Adult, respectively
I honestly couldn’t rank one above the other because they’re on the list for the same reason: they take the tropes of their given genres and spin fantastic tales using those tropes. It shows why the tropes have hung around and proves that you don’t need to reinvent the wheel to create a great book.
8. Sword of the Bright Lady -M.C. Planck Traditional Fantasy, Adult
A mostly traditional fantasy novel with the twist of a modern protagonist trying to find his way in the new land. The author was careful with both avoiding over-explaining how he got there (important to avoid immersion breaks) and made sure to touch on how the people from that time to react to him which helps ground the novel.
7. Zodiac – Romina Russell Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Young Adult
A wonderful surprise of a Young Adult novel. Clever world-building, likable and smart protagonists, and no dreaded love-triangle! This is the kind of book that the fantasy YA genre should aspire to in general, and I’d easily recommend it for someone new to Young Adult and is looking for something to dip their toes with.
6. Libriomancer – Jim C. Hines Urban Fantasy, Adult
A book lover’s fantasy novel. Between the almost endless references that are fun to find, but don’t feel added for the sake of being added and a very clever and well-thought out magic system, it’s a must read.
5. Clariel – Garth Nix High Fantasy, Young Adult
A high fantasy YA title that is YA in name only, it made me get why Nix has been around for twenty years. If Zodiac gently bucks against tropes of the genre, Clariel more or less gives the tropes a middle finger and it’s awesome.
4. The Waking Engine – David Edison Urban Fantasy, Adult
Literary fantasy that at times is highly surreal, has some wonderfully creepy imagery and some heady and heavy themes. This is easily the most divisive book I have on the list, but I implore you to at least give it a look.
3. Written in Red – Anne Bishop Paranormal, Urban Fantasy. Adult
A series that turned all the tropes of paranormal fantasy on its head by simply approaching it from the angle of: what if the shifted form was human, and not beast? It’s a simple, yet brilliant, twist that makes you wonder why no one thought of it earlier.
2. The Goblin Emperor – Katherine Addison Traditional Fantasy, Adult
Never has a book let me see the world from the point of view of its narrator as effectively as this book. It’s narrative style – a first person point of view that uses a formal second-person English tense – is rough to get used to, but works wonders in showing you the lonliness of the protagonist and the sense of isolation that comes with being Emperor. Give it a shot, and you’ll be rewarded.
1. City of Stairs – Robert Jackson Bennett Secondary World, Adult
If you follow me on Twitter, you’ll know I’ve been pimping this book like crazy, and for good reason. A fantasy that reads like historical fiction due to the wonderfully developed secondary world that has strong, smart women as its leads. I will recommend it to anyone and everyone. It’s that good.
So what do you think? What should be on there that I left off? Let me know!