Now that the year is coming to a close, I've decided to do a series of posts highlighting the many wonderful books I've read this year. It's my own personal Best of 2015. While I've read many recent books, my list isn't based on books published in 2015, but books I've read in 2015.
Note: I will occasionally highlight a series rather than a single book.
I picked up this fantasy on a whim. I never expected to fall in love with it, but the lush prose, mystical setting, and delightful dialogue drew me in immediately. The complex characters leap off the page, inviting you into their dreams and heartaches as they face an enemy that is both unique and terrifying. In three words: beautiful, dark, romantic.
I could not choose just one. The two series are so different, but they both took my breath away. With Bardugo, I was caught up in the romance of it all. Never before have I seen a protagonist fall in love with an antagonist who is really an antagonist. Not an anti-hero. Not a Beast-like figure who changes for the sake of Beauty. No, a real villain who's evil and stays evil. Gorgeous and heart-wrenching, the relationship between Alina and the Darkling will keep you guessing -- and rooting for them -- until the very end.
The Raven Cycle is just as delightful. The story of five friends who get tangled up in magic during their hunt for a long-dead Welsh king, it's exciting and touching -- and most of all, hilarious. While the very realistic characters offer plenty of touching moments, the series stands out for its ability to get a laugh. And it has everything: psychics, street racing, hit men, teenage ghosts, forgotten kings, aerial yoga, enchanted forests, secret tunnels, and bees. Seriously, what more could you want?
Set in Oaxaca, Mexico during the 1950s, this book explores the forbidden friendship between a poor Mexican boy, Teo, and a Roma girl, Esma. Their zest for life impacts everyone around them. The writing is beautiful; the story is moving. And Teo is never without his orphaned duck, blind goat, and three-legged skunk, which is tons of fun.