I’ve read 75 books so far this year, so narrowing it down to my 5 favourites was hard work, but these books blew my socks off. Here are my top books of 2015:
Six of Crows // Leigh Bardugo
Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can’t pull it off alone…
A convict with a thirst for revenge.
A sharpshooter who can’t walk away from a wager.
A runaway with a privileged past.
A spy known as the Wraith.
A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums.
A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes.
Kaz’s crew are the only ones who might stand between the world and destruction—if they don’t kill each other first. Summary from Goodreads.
I LOVED The Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo. Like LOVED it so much I have re-read it three times. So although I was pretty excited for Six of Crows, I was pretty darn sure it wasn’t going to top the original trilogy. I was wrong. This book blew my mind. The beautifully intricate world building from The Grisha Trilogy is present with the addition of fully fleshed out, morally corrupt, flawed characters and a heist. It’s basically my book dream come true. GO. READ. THIS. BOOK. Also: I am already freaking out about the sequel!
Murder Most Unladylike // Robin Stevens
Deepdean School for Girls, 1934. When Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong set up their very own deadly secret detective agency, they struggle to find any truly exciting mysteries to investigate. (Unless you count the case of Lavinia’s missing tie. Which they don’t, really.)
But then Hazel discovers the Science Mistress, Miss Bell, lying dead in the Gym. She thinks it must all have been a terrible accident – but when she and Daisy return five minutes later, the body has disappeared. Now the girls know a murder must have taken place . . . and there’s more than one person at Deepdean with a motive.
Now Hazel and Daisy not only have a murder to solve: they have to prove a murder happened in the first place. Determined to get to the bottom of the crime before the killer strikes again (and before the police can get there first, naturally), Hazel and Daisy must hunt for evidence, spy on their suspects and use all the cunning, scheming and intuition they can muster. But will they succeed? And can their friendship stand the test? Summary from Goodreads.
I have raved about this book and its sequels to EVERYONE– I’ve raved online, to the kids I look after, to my hairdresser — everyone. These books got my slightly hooked on mysteries – I have read three or four since I finished these, but they don’t quite live up to the world Robin has created. Also: BUN BREAKS. Nuff said.
The Dreamsnatcher // Abi Elphinstone
Twelve-year-old Molly Pecksniff wakes one night in the middle of the forest, lured there by a recurring nightmare – the one with the drums and the rattles and the masks. The Dreamsnatcher is waiting. He has already taken her dreams and now he wants her life.
Because Moll is more important than she knows… The Oracle Bones foretold that she and Gryff, a wildcat that has always been by her side, are the only ones who can fight back against the Dreamsnatcher’s dark magic. Suddenly everything is at stake, and Moll is drawn into a world full of secrets, magic and adventure. Summary from Goodreads.
If you have been looking for a middle grade fantasy book that feels wholly and completely original, read this book. The Dreamsnatcher gave me the kind of feeling I got when I first read Harry Potter – that need to know everything about this richly imagined world and mythology. That is how good this book is guys, it gave me serious HP vibes. The fact that the sequel is coming out in 2016 is making me happy dance all over the place.
Bone Gap // Laura Ruby
Everyone knows Bone Gap is full of gaps—gaps to trip you up, gaps to slide through so you can disappear forever. So when young, beautiful Roza went missing, the people of Bone Gap weren’t surprised. After all, it wasn’t the first time that someone had slipped away and left Finn and Sean O’Sullivan on their own. Just a few years before, their mother had high-tailed it to Oregon for a brand new guy, a brand new life. That’s just how things go, the people said. Who are you going to blame?
Finn knows that’s not what happened with Roza. He knows she was kidnapped, ripped from the cornfields by a dangerous man whose face he cannot remember. But the searches turned up nothing, and no one believes him anymore. Not even Sean, who has more reason to find Roza than anyone, and every reason to blame Finn for letting her go.
As we follow the stories of Finn, Roza, and the people of Bone Gap—their melancholy pasts, their terrifying presents, their uncertain futures—acclaimed author Laura Ruby weaves a heartbreaking tale of love and loss, magic and mystery, regret and forgiveness—a story about how the face the world sees is never the sum of who we are. Summary from Goodreads.
Bone Gap is one of the most hauntingly beautiful books that I have ever read. It was gorgeously written, and the mystery of Bone Gap was tantalizingly unraveled. I don’t really have the words to describe Bone Gap, just that the story stayed with me for weeks after I had read the final page, and I still think about it now. Also, I absolutely adored the feminist undertones!
A Darker Shade of Magic // V. E. Schwab
Kell is one of the last Travelers—rare magicians who choose a parallel universe to visit.
Grey London is dirty, boring, lacks magic, ruled by mad King George. Red London is where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London is ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne. People fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. Once there was Black London—but no one speaks of that now.
Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell smuggles for those willing to pay for even a glimpse of a world they’ll never see. This dangerous hobby sets him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations. She robs him, saves him from a dangerous enemy, then forces him to another world for her ‘proper adventure’.
But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive—trickier than they hoped. Summary from Goodreads.
Victoria Schwab is now pretty much a must buy author in my books. Everything she writes is GOLD, but A Darker Shade of Magic is extra-ordinary even for her! Everything from the character development (Lila is AMAZING) to the world building is spot on. This book epitomizes why I love fantasy so much, and I had to stop myself from re-reading this book again this year — that is how much I love it! Victoria Schwab is such an inspiration, and I am already so freaking excited about A Gathering of Shadows and pretty much anything else she writes.
Happy Holidays Everyone! 🙂