Kristen’s Best of 2017

Oh 2017. You flaming garbage dumpster of a year. So much has happened that has made you shite, but at least we had a good year for books.

A really good year for books! SO GOOD THAT I HAD TO MAKE THIS A TOP 15 INSTEAD OF A TOP 10.

Unlike last year, this year I read and absolutely adored enough books published in 2017 that this post only includes those. I even had to exclude a couple to keep this post a manageable beast at 15. Sorry, other books *hug* I still love you too. And of course, there’s an entire library of books published this year that I just didn’t have a chance to read. I’m hoping to get to them all soon. You know the ones I mean. 😀

So, without any further yammering, I give to you, my best of 2017 list!

#15 – The Disappearance of Winter’s Daughter by Michael J. Sullivan

32177852You mean, that book that you listened to literally the day before yesterday? Are you sure it’s one of the beeeessssst of the entire year??

Riyria is one of those series that I have read more than once. Or, to be a little more specific, read, then listened to, then listened to again. I don’t normally read or listen to any book more than once, these days. But, this is one of those series that never gets old or boring for me. I love a character-driven story, and Royce and Hadrian are very, very easily my two favorite characters in all of fantasy to read about. That’s not even an exaggeration. I read a metric asston of fantasy, and Royce and Hadrian are yet to be dethroned from being supreme emperors of my favorite fictional characters.

So, yeah. I’m sure. 😀

My review of it is here! It got five glasses of Montemorcey! 🍷🍷🍷🍷🍷

#14 – Age of Assassins by RJ Barker

33296298Another great audiobook that I loved from beginning to end. I even took to listening to it while I was level grinding in a video game, it kept my attention so easily.

Girton is the apprentice to Merela Karn, a master assassin. Perhaps the best assassin in all the land. This land has been poisoned by magic, and so food is scarce and magic is outlawed. More than outlawed, it’s pretty much anathema. Girton is mage-bent- he was born with a club foot, thought to be something like the result of the remnants of  the poisonous magic in the land. Despite his disability, he’s quite skilled as an assassin and as a jester. He doesn’t at all let his club foot stop him from being awesome.

My review of it is here! It got 5 jesters! 🃏🃏🃏🃏🃏

#13 – The Court of Broken Knives by Anna Smith Spark

32469783This is one of the darkest books I think I have ever read (listened to in this case. I love audiobooks. Can you tell?).

Anna Smith Spark is known as the Queen of Grimdark for a very good reason, ladies and gents. This book, on more than one occasion, had me just blinking and uttering a soft ‘goddamn‘ to nobody in particular. This happened most especially around a lot of Marith’s escapades. I’ve read a lot of dark stories but this one definitely sways to the darker side of things, while not being completely grim. Thalia, for example, seems to generally enjoy her life as the high priestess, at least at the beginning of the story, despite having to do some fucked up things. Necessary things, to her. She has never known otherwise. Sometimes you have to do necessary things, even if they are unpleasantOrhan, the politician and King’s advisor, is also leading a pretty great life, fucking his bf and eating lavish food while plotting an assassination on the side.

My review of it is here! It got 5 knives! 🗡️🗡️🗡️🗡️🗡️

#12 – With Blood Upon the Sand by Bradley P. Beaulieu

30212517It took me approximately 15 minutes into the audiobook of Twelve Kings in Sharakhai to know without a doubt that I wanted to listen to this one as well.

The world is so richly described, I felt that I could clearly imagine myself in this vast desert with Çeda and company. Yet again, just like in the first book, I got legitimately misty-eyed here a few times, as emotional things took place. This book, as the one before it, has such intense feeling, and I don’t know that I can describe that in a way that does it justice. I got very, very emotionally invested in these characters, and this lead to quite a thrilling listen, for me. When I am this invested in a character, the relationship I hope for them going sideways and then up and down and round and round, wrenches my poor little heartstrings. When thrilling things happen to Çeda and Emre, I am also thrilled. When Çeda gets upset, I get upset. It’s not exactly a bad thing (though it can admittedly be a bit exhausting), but most of all, getting me this invested says a lot for the character development here.

My review of it is here! It got five deserts! 🏜️🏜️🏜️🏜️🏜️

#11 – Already Comes Darkness by T.L. Greylock

32050890Yeah, I only read this book like two weeks ago, but I loved it so much that it had to be included in this list!

It was like reading about Ragnarok, but with actual Ragnarok being something largely happening in the background. It’s important, yes, but it’s something that’s just… going to happen to these guys. Every Norseman knew the consequences of the coming of Ragnarok, but it wasn’t something you actively participated in. It was something you died from and then maybe participated in. Best get all your shit done before the gods fucked up the entire universe. If you’ve got beef, better go take care of it. Gotta make sure you make it to Valhalla before Heimdall blows Gjallarhorn to summon the Einherjar to battle, because there isn’t really a chance after that. Yes, I know I am a nerd. So, we see this story unfold as Ragnarok unfolds, from Midgard. A really unique and awesome point of view in a world that I thought was fantastically realized.

My review of it is here! It got five bright, burning suns! 🌅🌅🌅🌅🌅

#10 – Faithless by Graham Austin-King

34023133This book was an absolute thrillride of zombie miners and creepy priests with a twist that made me cheer out loud!

The bulk of the story takes place in a mine, and it’s written in a way that really brought me right into the story. It was dark, dirty, and legitimately frightening in parts. I didn’t read the whole blurb before I jumped right in, either, so the second half of the book caught me off guard, and took me for a bit of a thrill ride through the mines with a bunch of creepy shit chasing after me.

My review is here! It got 5 mining picks! ⛏️⛏️⛏️⛏️⛏️

#9 – Sufficiently Advanced Magic by Andrew Rowe

34403860Which just happened to be the 1000th book on my ‘read’ list on goodreads! An excellent book to be so.

This book was ‘magical school’ done right. A really great adventure through both school, and a sort of dungeon tower.

We learn about this world’s magic as the students learn it, and that worked for me a lot. It definitely has the feel of a magical school, but it really feels like the world of a video game sometimes too. It doesn’t feel like a LitRPG at all, but I still feel like if there was a video game made of this particular universe, I would play the absolute shit out of it. Each person has a class. Sometimes more than one. There are levels of power in a class. You can do more spells if you’re a higher level. That sort of thing. It’d make a good game. Okay… maybe it is sort of a LitRPG, lol.

My review is here! It got 5 mages! 🧙🧙🧙🧙🧙

#8 – Those Brave, Foolish Souls From the City of Swords by Benedict Patrick

35895961I love me some Yarnsworld! This was a really great over-the-weekend read that once I picked up, I couldn’t put down.

Really wonderfully put together world here. The Bravadori are fencers, and they wear masks which they decorate based on their exploits or their special Bravadori names, like Crazy Raccoon, Sinister Crow, Preening Owl, and the like. It gave me the image of luchadores, rather than Zorro, even despite these masks being clearly described as domino masks, and the idea of the Bravadori being very Zorro-esque. They are men (and women- seemingly equally, so that was awesome) who have the Yarnsworld’s trademark Knacks for swordplay. They are tasked with protecting the innocent from the monsters that live in the area, like chupacabra and cadejo, as well as bandits and other rabble.

Except they don’t… really do that anymore. Not like the stories say they should. Now, Espadapan is more or less a city full of master fencers who lord themselves over everyone else and publicly brawl in the streets.

My review of it is here! It got five fencers! 🤺🤺🤺🤺🤺

#7 – A Gathering of Ravens by Scott Oden

31450847Being a book with a cover that had me excited about reading it from the very moment I saw it. I took a sick day to finish this book, that is how much I liked it.

Grimnir is the greatest orc ever, in my humble opinion, and I really can’t wait for more adventures with him at the head.

The plot is never slow, there’s usually a lot going on, and usually none of it good. One of our protagonists does not at *all* have a good time of this journey, and sometimes this story can be gory, but in a way that shows how horrible two factions with differing views on religion can really be to each other. This book is a grimdark AF ride through 3 different lands full of really well written mythological beings.

My review is here! It got 5 burning day-stars! ☀️☀️☀️☀️☀️

#6 – On the Wheel by Timandra Whitecastle

51wulw523alI read Touch of Iron this year too, but it was technically published last year. We can include it in this as a pair, really, because both books are fantastic. Nora is and will always be one of my favorite characters in all of literature, because Nora is… she’s sort of my spirit animal. Once I start reading about her, I can’t stop until the story is finished. It happened with both books so far and I’ll wager it happens with the third.

She’s not a proper lady. She swears and she’s snarky. She will fight some bitches, if necessary. She is totally realistically DTF sometimes- aren’t we all though? 😀 – She’s no waif, and doesn’t need any help, thank you very much (except when she does). She’s cold as ice sometimes, but not completely without any feeling, though she does try and make it appear so. She’s just trying to survive in this crazy world, and this world has done nothing but shit all over her. I want all the good things for Nora, because I feel like Nora and I would be best friends. Alas… the world is going to shit on Nora because that’s what this world does.

My review is here! It got five shocked AF faces! 😲😲😲😲😲

#5 – The White Song by Phil Tucker

35838849Or ‘the ultimate ending to one of my favorite fantasy series ever.’ This was a book that once I got my little hands on it, was gobbled up immediately. This is a book that I cleared my damn schedule for, it was that important to me. No regrets there, either.

It started out strong and never ever let up. It went mostly where I wanted… maybe needed… it to go, but it still got there in a way that had ups and downs, hopes and fears, uncertainty, and legitimately emotional parts. Things I lamented the end of three books ago are not over after all! Things that I’ve hoped for since the very beginning of the series are here, and they are AMAZING. I laughed, I cried, I got angry, and I cheered. It was an actual roller coaster of emotions at times, and I fucking loved it. I started reading, and then I read until it was done.

My review of it is here! It got five fuck-yesses! 📣📣📣📣📣

#4 – Blackwing by Ed McDonald

33916060One of the very first NetGalley books I was ever approved for (and really, that was only 3 months ago, lol.).

One of the very best debuts of the year, for sure. It is one of the most well written books I have ever read, for sure.

It brought to mind a great many different things as I went, but is wholly something amazing and different. It’s sort of swords and sorcery that meets steampunk somewhere vaguely nowhere near the middle. It’s mostly been called grimdark to me though, which I will definitely agree on. It’s pretty grim, and pretty dark. I have trouble assigning genres to things. It’s fantasy. The good kind.

My review of it is here! It got five moonlight batteries! (but only due to lack of a raven emoji) 🌔🌔🌔🌔🌔

#3 – Red Sister by Mark Lawrence

25895524Being the first ARC that I’ve ever received from a publisher without having won a contest. I might have celebrated a bit. With cake. I mean, who knew you could just *ask* for things? 😀

Many people have said that this is the best book Mark has ever written and I can certainly see why. I’m not that great a judge of how well a book is written, but based on my own enjoyment of it, I’d say this one ties The Wheel of Osheim for making me forget to eat dinner because I was too busy reading. This, for me, means this book was indeed fantastically written, because chubby girl with a bit of a cake obsession needs her nom-noms (let’s just say that like our eponymous red sister, it takes a lot to make me forget a meal, lol). It does have some great prose, it’s super quotable, has wonderful depth of characters, and great worldbuilding. It’s engaging, it twists, it turns, and it’s very difficult to put down.

My review of it is here! It got all the visible stars in the night sky! 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟

#2 Artemis by Andy Weir

34928122The very second this book was available to request on NetGalley, I was all over it, because despite having this pre-ordered since the beginning of time, the opportunity to read it *early* was too tempting to pass up! I loved The Martian with the passion of a thousand fiery suns, and so I hoped for more of the same. I was not disappointed. Granted, it didn’t top The Martian for me, and it wasn’t my favorite book of the year, but it was close. Daaamn close.

It has all the wonderful sciencey science that you’d expect, and hell, if all the science isn’t actually feasible if a city on the moon existed, then it sure as shit sounds like it is. It sounds like it knows what it’s goddamn talking about. I have no idea how a welding torch would work in a vacuum, but I’m pretty sure it would work how this book says it’ll work. It’s got all the snark, nerdy humor, and thrills that I hoped for as well.

My review of it is here! It got five moons! 🌕🌕🌕🌕🌕

#1 – Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames

30841984You’d probably guessed this after you got to 3 or 2 or so and didn’t see it yet. I chirp about this book and how much I liked it quite a lot on various forms of social media. I spent a not-small amount of money to get a signed hardcover of it from the UK. I haven’t deleted this book from my kindle since reading it because I occasionally just like to have a read of random bits of it. I quite literally carry this book everywhere I go. It’s one of thooooose.

It’s superbly written, full of action, has a really solid plot line that never lets up, some of the most awesome characters I’ve ever read, and a really well built world full of all kinds of mythological and legendary creatures.

And it has a Portal reference in it, FFS. That wins on levels that are only accessible via the Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device® – have I mentioned that this is a fantasy novel?

My review of it is here! It got seven out of five fucking sweet guitar solos!! 🎸🎸🎸🎸🎸🎸🎸

Happy 2017 is finally almost over, everyone! Here’s hoping that 2018 is better! 😄 I’m excited for more great books!


7 thoughts on “Kristen’s Best of 2017

Add yours

  1. I have to finish reading King of the Wyld so I can make a list of my own! Superb. Going to steal a few names to read next year. Didn’t manage a lot this year. Loved your rating system btw. Very Kristenmasy. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Blackwing will definitely be on my year-end list, and Age of Assassins might make it. I haven’t read any of the rest, although I really want to get to Kings of the Wyld by the end of the year.

    Liked by 1 person

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