As an avid reader, I like to keep track of the books I read throughout the year and then at the end of the year, reflect on what I’ve read, looking for patterns and choosing my favorites. In 2017, I read mostly fantasy novels and that also means several series or books in a series. Winners for various arbitrary categories: [drum roll please]
Surprise novel of the year: Uprooted by Naomi Novik. I enjoyed it on several counts.
- It’s not a series.
- The heroine, Agnieszka, is not a ravishing, Amazon-type character, but rather is a very plain, frumpy peasant girl who on the surface has nothing to recommend her but who is gifted with powerful magic.
- The setting is old-world European, layered with magic and the supernatural.
- While the survival of her community is at stake, the outcome is not dependent on the massing of armies for one final battle that decides the fate of the world.
Most read author: Brandon Sanderson. Not sure why as I’m not an avid Sanderson fan, but I ended up finishing the two Mistborn trilogies and started his ambitious projected 10-book series, The Stormlight Archive. The best of the lot was The Way of Kings, the first in that series, which focuses on Kaladin Stormblessed, one of many characters who will each have a book devoted to his or her backstory and how he or she fits into the grand scheme of things. I have to say that Sanderson’s world building is phenomenal, including the history and mythologies of the peoples populating his world. On my list for this year is Oathbringer, the third book in the series.
Best series: A toss-up between King Raven, by Stephen Lawhead, a fresh retelling of the Robin Hood legend, and The Liveship Traders Trilogy by Robin Hobb, which takes place in the same world as and enriches one’s reading of the Farseer series. It is best read between The Farseer Trilogy and The Tawny Man Trilogy.
Best classic fantasy: Homer’s Odyssey. While perhaps not technically a fantasy, it certainly is a precursor to the genre, including such elements as the hero’s journey, the flawed hero, and the supernatural.
Best fantasy novel of the year: Assassin’s Fate by Robin Hobb, the final book in the three trilogies chronicling the life of FitzChivalry Farseer. It is a bittersweet choice; check out my review at https://wordpress.com/view/annehcampbell.com and you will understand why. I recommend the entire series; if you have not waded into it, start with Assassin’s Apprentice. You have an advantage starting now in that the trilogies are complete, and once you start, you won’t have to wait for the next in the series to be released.
Reading resolutions for 2018
- Read a greater variety of authors and genres, including more classics.
- Read fewer series, which should be doable if I keep the first resolution.
What about you?
What were your favorite books or authors of 2017? What is on your must read list for 2018?