Last year I assigned Kate a summer of horror. It was a last minute change. I originally planned on assigning her four first books in a series. It turns out that at least one of those titles, she read with her carpool partner (Mom), Red Queen by the Victoria Aveyard so I’m pretty sure she this is a challenge she will like. I do have a good taste in books if I do say so something. So here we go. Kate’s pop culture homework assignment.
Cinder by Marissa Meyer A new twist on the classic fairy tale Cinderella. This time Cinderella is a cyborg living in New Beijing and there’s a threat of Luna. A kingdom on the moon. Strong female character that looks at Cinderella in a different way and did I mention Moon people. I think you’ll like it. The first book in a four book series.
Firebug by Lish McbrideThis was one of my favorite books I’ve read in a long time. It is beyond hysterical and full of life and magic. Ava is a firebug. She can light things on fire and unfortunately, her special powers has got her caught up with the Coterie, a magical mafia organization. She has to go on the run when she refuses a job. I can’t wait to hear what you think. First book in a duology.
The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow. This is a definitely different from the others. It was truly gripping. The world has fallen apart and is now ruled by an AI named Talos. To keep the world from going to war, they have taken an Medieval approach and demanding that every country give a hostage. If they decide to go to war, the hostage is killed. Morality tale and coming of age story. It’s a little trippy. First book in a duology.
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi. This one you are going to have to read because an audio book is not going to fully illustrate Juliette’s mental state. When we meet Juliette, she is imprisoned for being a danger to herself and others. A little dystopian story mixed in with supernatural powers. First book in a series of six.
It was a great year for books and some of my favorite series ended this year. I’m looking back at some of the series I loved that gave us their last chapters in 2017.
Prisoner’s of Peace Duology by Erin Bow -This was an unexpected ending as I didn’t know it was even in the works before I bought it. The Swan Riders, the follow up to the Scorpio Rules was quite a ride. Greta forged her own path to save her people but not everyone was ready to let her go.
Firebug Duology by Lish McBride – Lish McBride has left it open for a return to this series but for now Pyromantic is the last book of the Duology. I do hope we get more adventures with Ava, Lock and Ezra because these books have been nothing but delightful
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before Series by Jenny Han – I thought this series was over before and while I enjoyed it I’m not sure if Forever and Always, Lara Jean was truly necessary because I felt Lara Jean ended up in the same place she was before. I will make allowance that her decided to go to school out of state was a big growth for her.
Reawakened Trilogy by Colleen Houck – This one I’m glad ended because I’m not sure I would kept up with it for another book. I just never really connected with the characters I did with her last series, The Tiger’s Saga. I am very happy that she will be going to back to her Tiger’s in 2018.
Chronicles of Nick Series by Sherrilyn Kenyon – Technically, Nick Gautier’s story will continue in a new series but the narrative that is Chronicles of Nick is at an end. I can’t tell you how much I love Nick and I’m not ready to let him go.
Magnus Chase and the Gods of AsgardTrilogy by Rick Riordan – This was a groundbreaking series in a lot of ways. Positive representation of Muslims, Queer, Trans and those with disabilities is so important and to have all of them represented in the main cast of characters is amazing. Thank you Rick!
The Swan Riders is the sequel to The Scorpion Rules that I didn’t even know existed until I made a little trip to The Strand last year with a friend. When I saw it, I knew I had to buy it. The Scorpion Rules was one of the better books I read in 2015. It’s yet another dystopian novel but this time with a very sassy AI. It takes place about 500 years in the future after several devastating natural and non-natural disasters. The biggest problem is a shortage of water that has lead to several violent wars. So the U.N. decided to appoint the A.I. named Talis to come up with a solution. His solution was to go all medieval on the world. Every government must give a child as hostage and if they open war on another nation, the hostage dies and oh, a city is going to be blown up too. At the end of The Scorpion Rules, our heroine Greta, the crown Princess of the PanPol Confederation that covers Canada to Great Britain, volunteers to become an A.I. not save herself but also save Elian, the hostage from the neighboring country that openly declared war on her nation. It turns out that turning Greta into an A.I. doesn’t sit well with a lot of people. The new King of PanPol Confederation refuses to give up a new hostage to replace Greta and soon rebellion starts to take hold. As for Greta herself, the transition from human to A.I. isn’t an easy process. In fact no many new A.I.’s survive the first couple of days so it’s a race to get Greta to the home of A.I. across Saskatchewan through an open rebellion. The thing is the rebellion isn’t from the people Talis thinks it from. Talis, Greta and two Swan Riders race across the country they are attacked and Talis is gravely injured. Now they all must figure out why he was attacked before he dies and the city of Halifax is destroyed. In way they have to convinced an A.I. to be more human and a human to be more A.I to change the world. I’ll admit that I liked the ending of the first book. I liked the open ending so when I did see the sequel I wasn’t sure how I felt about it beyond I had to read it. This wasn’t as good as the original but it was still good. While The Scorpion Rules was fast paced, this one was at times a little sluggish. It just didn’t have the same flow. While the main theme of this one is what makes us human and if we take out our human emotions from solving our problems then when do we cross the line of turning into a monster. Can you really have peace through terror? The threat of killing off a hostage or destroying entire cities hasn’t stopped countries from declaring war on another. Maybe there are less conflicts but I wouldn’t say this world was peaceful by any means. So while Talis rule may have saved billions people statistically but it hasn’t changed the world for the better and everyone needs help now and then.
While I wait for my copy of March to get here, I’m going read the follow up the Scorpion Rules. I didn’t even know there was sequel so I’m excited but a little anxious because it had a good ending. Open ended yes but somehow fitting for the story. I’m not sure it needed a sequel but we shall see.
So I haven’t been reading as much lately because well life and Gilmore Girls. I’ve recently just finished watching all 7 seasons of Gilmore Girls. I know it’s weird it’s taken me this long to watch the show but what better time to do it then right before the new season, right? Anyway, while I was binge watching several books have come out and now I’m hopelessly behind. I’m still reading Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas. I have waiting in the wings.
The Hammer of Thor by Rick Riordan just came out. The latest in his Magnus Chase series with Norse gods. Then there’s Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo the sequel to Six of Crows. And then The Bronze Key by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare. Also The Midnight Star by Marie Lu the finale of The Young Elites Trilogy.
I have also recently picked up The Swan Riders by Erin Bow, the sequel to Scorpion Rules. I had no idea there was a sequel so I’m super excited for that. A Study in Charlotte by Brittany Cavallaro and The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin are two books that were impulse buys. I have so much to read but what else is new.
This year it was hard to narrow it down to just 10 books as there were so many books I really loved this year. So to narrow it down, I had to ask myself which ones was I still thinking about even after I started reading the next book? Those are ones I choose for the list. (These are really in no particular order
Beauty Queens by Libba Bray – This book I really wish I read when I was a teenager as so many of the messages I could have really used. You would almost think that a book about teenage beauty queens stuck on a desert island would be caricatures but they weren’t. They were very like girls I know or were me. I could pretty much identify with all of their struggles. Plus it was a lot of fun.
Winter by MarissaMeyer -I am really going to miss this series so much. Cinder, Scarlet, Cress and Winter made me laugh, cheer, angry ( on their behalf) and proud of all of them. Winter was by far the longest book of the series and it was non-stop action. There wasn’t any filler or time to relax. It was the perfect ending.
CarryOn by Rainbow Rowell – A little bit Harry Potter and a little bit of fanfiction. It was a great final book to an imaginary series. I was surprised by many of the twists and turns and touched by the romance.
Lair of Dreams by Libba Bray – I loved the first book in the series and so I was nervous this one wasn’t going to be as good. It was better. Now my only complaint is that she doesn’t write fast enough.
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard – It was fun, tense and very interesting. I thought I knew where things were going and then I didn’t. I’m looking forward to what lays in store in the next book.
Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow – This wasn’t anything like I thought it would be. It was surprising. It was fresh. It had the sassiest A.I. in the history of A.I.’s. For that reason alone, you all should read it.
An Ember in the Ashes by Sabaa Tahir – It was sorta historical fiction with a dystopian vibe and boy did it work. It was brutal and it was tense but entertaining.
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo – This was very much an Ocean 11’s style caper with a little bit of a magic and darkness in only the way that Leigh Bardugo could do it. It’s set in the same world but after the events of her last series but a completely different vibe.
The Shadow Cabinet by Maureen Johnson – This is the third book in the series so the stakes are so much higher and it didn’t disappoint. It’s full of humor, action and ghosts. What else can I say.
The Rose Society by Marie Lu – This is the second book in the series that tells the story from the villainess point of view (though I’m not convinced that Adelina is the real villain but whatever) It was intense and was surprising, maybe a little problematic but worth the read.
There was two books that I enjoyed so much that I read the other books in the that were out in the series this year too. So I thought they would get their own category.
Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas – For those looking for a Game of Thrones fill in until George publishes the next book, I recommend this. It was has all the twists and turns and is not afraid to kill of a character or two. I’m never really sure where it’s going to take us next but I know it will be well worth the ride.
Talon series by Julie Kagawa – It has a little bit of everything. A Romeo and Juliet Love, a love triangle, a betrayal and yeah dragons. Who doesn’t love dragons? Ok, the idea isn’t that original but I do love it anyway.
All right I’m going to just get into it. Talis is by far the sassiest AI in history. I knew that I was going to love this book from the the get go. Talis starts things off with outlining how he took over the world. It truly was love at first read. So, here’s the deal, the world was in chaos, the icebergs in the Arctic have melted. Humanity was killing each other with war after war after war so the UN decided to give Talis the task of finding solutions to stop the chaos. So he blew up a couple of cities, just to get people’s attention and then went medieval on all of them and demanded royal hostages. You declare war, well, then your beloved heir to your throne is going to die. Talis’ number one rule. Make it Personal. Mission accomplished. Fast forward 400 years and for the most part, Talis’ rule has worked. The nations of the world have been almost peaceful. Greta is the heir to the PanPol throne aka Canada and has been raised to be the perfect hostage and heir. She knows that the likelihood of her living to rule her people is getting slim. Her people have been at the brink of war for years and she has become sort of ok with it since it is her duty. That is until Elian shows up and challenges everything she thought was true. Elian is everything she is not. He wasn’t raised to rule or to be a hostage. He knows that he is going to die and instead of accepting it, he fights for it. He, with the help of Xie, Greta’s roommate and fellow royal, open Greta’s eyes to different possibilities. Show her how to be strong and how to rule. They show her what she has been missing by only doing her duty. She makes real friends, falls in love and possibly changes the world. All the while Talis is there being his sassy self, keeping the jokes coming and his no nonsense rule. I highly recommend this book. Come for the sass but stay for the heart.