It's one week until Christmas which means 2 weeks until the new year (did you know New Year is exactly 1 week after Christmas?) and on top of thinking of what I'll pack for my overseas trip, I've been reflecting on the books I read in 2016.
I will always love YA. ALWAYS. No matter how old I get, YA is a demographic with a variety of genres that I can always go back to. That being said, I've branched out this year. The books that really stuck with me and left an impact were all 'adult' fantasy and science fiction.
Looking back I started off with The Final Empire back in 2014 which was the first time I really tried adult fantasy. And I loved it so much I went out and bought the rest of Mistborn and all of Sanderson's books. Even with his writing prowess, there's only so many books Sanderson can write in a year though and I've read all the ones I wanted to thus far (mind you I still need to tackle Words of Radiance in preparation for Oathbringer in 2017).
2015 was spent navigating my way through Sanderson's books and it wasn't until this year that I discovered some really amazing reads (props to Crini for a lot of the recs actually). One of the many reasons why I don't read 'adult' fiction books is because I can't connect to the characters. Their experiences aren't something I can relate to - divorces, the drama and a lot of family centric issues just don't interest me. I'm really glad I found the adult fantasy and sci-fi genre which transcends these themes.
Let's talk about these books (and here begins my book pushing - ha did you think I'd go a post without trying to book push?) and my thoughts on them. Emily May on Goodreads put in a few words exactly what these books makes one feel - they make us feel small. It's sort of scary at how these authors can elicit such a feeling in the space of 300 pages. Reading these I was struck by the epicness of the universe.
The Martian by Andy Weir - I was very late to the game on this, only reading it when the movie came out (I still haven't seen the movie and don't think I plan to lol). Weir is a genius and I could easily tell he's a scientist. As we follow the main character on his journey being stuck on Mars there's feelings of happiness when it seems he's going to make it and then the disintegrating hope when it all goes wrong. Because as soon as something goes wrong he's screwed. He has nearly no resources, Mars air is unbreathable and there's a nearly 2 year wait until someone can come save him. I couldn't put this down it was so fascinating. It's a very quick read as they're journal entries. The science goes over one's head sometimes but yes, good stuff.
The Way of Kings (The Stormlight Archive #1) by Brandon Sanderson - of course there's Brandon Sanderson in one of my fantasy/sci-fi post. This whopper is over 1000 pages and daunting af. It took me ages to bring myself to commit to reading and it took me 3 weeks but so worth it. This is the epitome of epic/high fantasy. The Stormlight Archive joins Sanderson's Cosmere which connects his books into one sort of universe/greater world system. There's multiple perspectives from a scholar, slave soldier, brother of a king, all linked by the magic system which is essentially infusing gems with the power of storms (hence Stormlight). I would always recommend people start with Mistborn for their first Sanderson but damn Stormlight is sooooo epic.
Sleeping Giants (Themis Files #1) by Sylvain Neuvel - I could not believe this was Neuvel's debut because this totally blew my mind. I finished this one in like 2 days and it was utter, brilliant, mind fuck. A girl uncovers a gigantic metal hand as a kid and the book talks about just what this discovery could mean. Its makeup is impossible as the compounds go beyond human discovery and history. It's another one with a lot of science but I was fascinated with what this hand could possibly be. Neuvel takes the story in a totally unsuspecting direction and I cannot wait for Waking Gods in 2017!
The Fifth Season (The Broken Earth trilogy #1) by NK Jemisin - this stuck with me for the unique style it's written in. We follow 3 females - a young girl, a young woman, and a woman in her early 40s. The plot centres on the world ending and a power called orogeny that some people possess where they can manipulate kinetic energy around them to cause seismic movement. There's heaps of intrigue and it's a wonderful set up for the next book which I'll be reading in January.
Dark Matter by Blake Crouch - this left me totally mind blown (I know I've said this about all the books in this post but seriously) like wow how do people come up with these ideas? Our protagonist Jason Dessen is professor with a wife and son he loves. One day he gets kidnapped, asked "are you happy with your life?" and wakes up as Jason Dessen but the life he knows is gone. He has never married, never had a son and he's an award winning physicist. Dark Matter is not just a sci-fi book, it's a story that makes one question their choices in life. Would you change your decisions knowing where you'd eventually end up? Does that one small regret from a past choice make you wish for something else? I still can't get over how impactful this book was.