Best Books Discovered in 2011

Not unknown to reviewers is the recap, and the end of the year recap is a pretty special one. In it, we get to go over the best — and worst — books of the year.

So far be it for me to miss out on this chance. I know I said I wouldn’t be posting again until the new year, but oh well, one day early isn’t going to kill me.

And so I present to you, in no particular order, a run-down on the top 7 books that I discovered in 2011.

Tabitha Suzuma’s Forbidden (review here). If you have a mind open enough to accept that true love can strike in the most unexpected places, even within your own family, then I can’t recommend this book enough. Suzuma’s writes with a wonderful stream-of-consciousness style that perfectly suits the situations at hand, and your preconceptions will end up blown out of the water. Not to mention the fact that if you’re like me, you’ll bawl like a baby at the end. I cannot express how fantastic this book is, and if you give it a try, you won’t be disappointed.

Jo Walton’s Among Others (review here). Magical realism at its finest, this book is less a story of the supernatural and more of a story about a bibliophile who knows more about how the world works than those around her. The novel is written in the style of a diary, which suits the tale very well, and gives us an intimate look into the protagonist’s mind. Walton weaves a tale of darkness and betrayal that will speak to anyone whose priorities lie more with books than anything else.

Daniel Abraham’s The Dragon’s Path (review here). While the most interesting parts of the book were nearly always confined to being from Geder’s perspective, Abraham set up a very interesting world with interesting characters, and I really enjoyed the chance to experience this first book of what I hope will continue to be a great series!

Courtney Schafer’s The Whitefire Crossing (review here). When it seems like the bookshelves have been taken over by teenage vampire romances and gritty dark fantasies, take a turn back to some classic epic fantasy with Schafer’s mountaineering adventure. This one was well-received by damn near everybody who read it, proving ultimately that traditional fantasy tales still have their place today, even when most advice seems to be to the contrary. I discovered this book at just the right time, when I was craving the kind of fantasy novel I would have read in high school but didn’t fancy reading something a decade or more old. Fantasy fans can’t go wrong with this one.

John Ajvide Lindqvist’s Let the Right One In (review here). After watching the movie, I was thrilled to have gotten this as a Yule gift in 2010. It was a dark and rich tale, one that disturbed as much as it entertained. From the cold dark setting the the chracters that were so well defined and so realistic that it was hard to believe they were fictional, this one was a fantastic novel from beginning to end.

Cory Doctorow’s For the Win (review here). Far from being a preachy rant about foreign sweatshops and the ridiculous lengths people will go to in order to corner virtual markets, Doctorow presented the whole situation in a way that entertained as well as horrified. I couldn’t imagine, before reading this, that economics could be interesting, and I was also tremendously impressed at the way Doctorow shone light on the appalling conditions that many virtual gold farmers live and work under. This book will open your eyes to the world around you, and you won’t be the same person at the end that you were at the beginning.

Veronica Roth’s Divergent (review here). I waited long enough to read this book, and it was worth every second. Roth took an idea for a dystopian world that had been done a dozen times over in other places, but twisted the cliches until they were both more and less than you’d expect. Most impressive was the way the main character was not an ultimate goody-goody who was right while everyone else was wrong, who fought with guns instead of with tears and pouts, and who, when faced with tough choices, did what she had to in order to survive. If you want a strong female protagonist, look no further than this amazing YA novel.

2 comments on “Best Books Discovered in 2011

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