We love the holidays at Dark Faerie Tales, but we all know that this year has not been the easiest, nor has it been a year full of amazing books. We cheered for books with an amazing love story, a strong heroine, or a swoony boy, but we also disliked books that fell short of expectations, didn’t have a progressive storyline, or even a believable plot. We have listed out our favorite books to cheer for, and sadly our least favorites that we have jeered.
But don’t let this list curb your merriment. There are many books out there that deserve all of the attention in the world, and while we may have listed them in one list or another, this is our personal opinion.
From the history, to the culture, and finally to the characters, there wasn’t anything that I didn’t like about the characters. It was evident that Maas spent a lot of time perfecting the world that came to her imagination. Maas has translated this world and allowed for her reader to see it, feel it, and experience it. It was an experience to read Throne of Glass, and to say it was amazing is not enough.
A strong heroine, a beautiful world, and a story with so much depth transports each reader into Bardugo’s world of Ravka. From the smallest character role to the main and significant ones, the reader gets a sense of their importance and significance. There is a purpose for each word written and each action taken. As a reader, I wanted to read about the world over and over again, simply mesmerizing me each time.
In a world of romance and erotica, there hasn’t been much room for sweet love stories. Edenbrooke was perfect, from the cover to the story. This love story fulfilled what I’ve been longing for, and alongside that the wonderful emotions to fall in love again. Donaldson wrote this love story with real affection and an open heart, allowing me to truly feel what her characters felt. I felt the slow blush as did the main character, and many other moments of heartfelt warmth.
While there were other books that could have been put on the top of my Jeer list, I added this one because I couldn’t connect with any part of this story. It was filled with depressing content from the beginning, stories about struggles and family dysfunction. The history of the family alone, told through generations, could have been the one thing to make me stop reading it altogether.
This story fell short of my expectations. Too much detail and background unbalanced the lack of character development and story plot. I felt like there could have been more of one thing and less of another. The dialogue of the characters felt realistic, but also forced. At times, I disconnected with the characters, and my feelings were bordering annoyance. While I thought some things were thought provoking, I felt lost more times than I would care for.
I definitely could not relate to the characters, nor could I place myself in this historical setting. The varying points of views confused me, with no particular order of how the story was told. It was easy to lose track of what was going on and I didn’t feel connected to any of the characters. After a few chapters, it felt a little cumbersome to follow a long.
Everyone ever needs to read this novel. Talk about a book hangover—I still get a twisted up inside when I think about this book. Being tortured by Nazis is not a humorous topic, but our narrator sasses back at her captors with so much attitude you can’t help but laugh with her. Verity and her pilot Maddie are hands down two of my favorite heroines in YA history. Code Name: Verity sits on my all-time favorites shelf, not just a good book from this year.
This book took everything I thought would happen in a YA science fiction and then used those expectations to tear out my heart. It has high stakes and strong, realistic characters that make this lengthy novel fly by. I turned pages so fast I gave myself a paper cut. The plot is layers and complicated and kept me guessing the whole way through, which is not an easy thing to do.
Basically while I was reading this novel I bounced around on my bed going “This is so exciting!” and wishing it wouldn’t end. It’s hilarious and has a complex premise. We’ve got a mysterious genius boarding school with startlingly unique and loveable characters, a Never-Was demon-ish world that’s never quite explained, and a Hierarchy that seems to take the role of Heaven. Our hero lives by rules laid out by his father while they were on the run and they come in to save his life as the plot unfolds. It’s the first in a series, though I don’t believe the next book has been picked up yet I’m dying to get my hands on them.
Bloom’s writing style might be fantastic, but the plot nosedived fast. Insta-love with a vampire and a best guy friend that Quinlan, our heroine, completely takes advantage of. Sound familiar? Our narrator is selfish and into slut-shaming while the author triesreally hard to make us believe she’s a cool kid. The novel is Gossip Girl meets Twilight Saga, without the originality of either.
A poorly done contemporary retelling of Romeo and Juliet, Serle’s characterization of our heroine starts the novel off badly. Rosaline over-analyzes everything Romeo (AKA Rob) says until you want to scream. She makes sure to point out to the reader how slutty and psychologically unstable Juliet is after she steals her man Romeo. Romeo, in turn, degenerates into a threatening character with questionable sanity. This novel managed to miss the mark on every count, from characters to writing style.
Not the psychological thriller I was expecting. The story has a solid, intriguing premise, but wow did it fall flat. There’s one big, massive, world-spinning plot twist that actually only made me want to tear my ARC in half. The romance aspect was forced so the readers could have a smexy hero to love, and I couldn’t trust the heroine to tell me the truth about what color t-shirt she was wearing, much less follow the plot.
Can you say super awesome world? The Araneae Nation is as amazing as it is unique even within its genre. This is one of those worlds that stick with you long after the book is done.
Anyone that talks to me more than 5 minutes knows that I am completely addicted to the St. Croix Chronicles. The sexy yet brooding Micajah gives me shivers everytime I think about him. (shivers) Where was I? Oh yes, I remember now. Lady by day, bounty hunter by night, you just can’t go wrong with this book. You just can’t!
I do love me some epic books. The Raven series is a rivoting and detailed account of a boy becoming the Viking he was destined to be. Lots of fighting and drinking and even a little wenching. Reminds me of my high school days…
I have been in love with Anita Blake and her men for years and I found this book to be a let down. What it lacked in substance it filled with recounts of how she met ALL of her men. I want to know what HAPPENS to Anita, not what did happen to her. It felt very reflective yet didn’t hold my attention.
I am not a big fan of YA to begin with but this one was…. yeah. Great idea, bad execution. I was willing to give it a chance due to its mythological themes but half-way through even that wasn’t enough for me to like it. Trust me, there are better books out there with the same general theme.
It tried to be dark and mysterious but fell before the finish line. Not only did it jump back and forth between several characters without warning (annoying), it made NO sense until the end. For me, that is WAY too long to wait to figure stuff out. Throw out a bone every now and again. Plus, the lead guy was Omega male and nothing really to write home about. *sigh*
I know this may be cheating a bit because we were only supposed to pick three books but Firelight and Moonglow absolutely blew me away this year. Firelight with its gothic retelling of beauty and the beast and creatures that I’ve never experienced. Moonglow captured me yet again with the excellent world that Kristen Callihan created and her emotional characters. Miranda and Daisy are strong women in their own right while their men Archer and Ben show enough vulnerability to their monstrous sides that had me invested in each of their happy endings. I absolutely loved this refreshing and unique paranormal romance series with a hint of steampunk.
This was one novel that I picked up with no expectations. I love fantasy novels and the synopsis intrigued me but at this time I hadn’t read to many young adult fantasy novels. Except for Alina’s naivety at times this novel really didn’t feel to young adult to me. Shadow and Bone has a really dark atmosphere that I love. This was another series that had a unique magic system and world. I really loved Alina and Mal’s relationship but there is something about the Darkling that has me breathless for more to this series.
Okay, I have to admit that I haven’t read any Jane Austen. I’ve only seen a few movies/miniseries that are based off of her work. So I did a little research looking up Persuasion the book that For Darkness Shows the Stars is based off of. I’m usually a little leery about books like this, but I really shouldn’t have been. This was a fully emotional book that I devoured in one quick sitting. When it ended I wanted more but I’m pretty sure this is just a standalone novel. This is a beautiful and enchanting novel that I will read again!
Above had an absolutely beautiful cover and an intriguing synopsis but I was completely underwhelmed by this novel. The writing style was very distracting and made the story difficult to follow. I really couldn’t connect with the lead character and by the end of the novel I just didn’t understand Ariel “bee girl” pictured on the cover. I felt sorry for her but I didn’t really like what she emotionally did to the other characters in the novel. The ending left me with just an “eh” feeling.
His Dark Embrace was a novel that I had no idea where it was going. I struggled to get through this novel. The plot was all over the place and the romance was a little strange. This novel felt like it could have ended at several different points but instead it just kept going and going. Plot devices were entered late into the novel just to give it a climactic ending that wasn’t that surprising at all. Skylynn was just a little too spunky yet naive for me and Kaiden just a little too broody about his vampire nature that made these characters tough to care about.
There were parts of this novel that I did enjoy, like the viking vampire angel creatures. The lore of this world was pretty creative but there was something about this novel that fell a little flat. The main girl character kept acting all tough, like she could go it alone, yet she allowed herself to be locked in a “castle”. Slow pacing and action that occurs off screen really hinder this novel. This novel had a very silly tone, I enjoyed most of the humor but sometimes it was a little to silly at times. Not a totally horrible book but it was one of the least favorite novels I read this year.
From the complex plot to the angst-ridden characters, Insurgent is the best book I’ve read this year. Not only is it a dystopian (my favorite genre), there’s also a rebellion brewing, reaching a peak on the last page. Plus the main character, Triss, is probably the strongest character I’ve read about. She has overcome mental and physical obstacles while still keeping her morals or changing for a guy. Overall it’s a fantastic read with honest insights on human nature.
I wasn’t a fan of the first book. In fact I though it was a boring plot with good morals. It was for this last reason I gave the series a second chance. Everything in this book is more mature and more relatable. Elisa grows from the beginning of the book to the end and learns that she doesn’t need magic to be a good leader. Great morals, fabulous characters and a beautiful world (who doesn’t like an oasis in the middle of the desert?) make this book a highlight in the piles of books I’ve read.
The selling point of this book: the humor. I bet I laughed on every page of this book: that is proof of Banks’ witty writing. Not only is the writing entertaining, the minor characters really push the book in the right direction. Toraf, Rayna, Rachel and the others were the cherry to the ice cream sundae. PLUS: mermaids. ‘Nuff said.
This book is just plain weird. I give Fukuda props for creativity, but really? the entire plot focuses on a human boy trying to fit into a world of classic vampires, but gets chosen as a contestant to hunt the “last” remaining humans. I didn’t like the characters and wasn’t a fan of the plot or the world. This isn’t a book that has terrible writing or cheesy plot, but it just wasn’t my type of book. Honestly, other people could like the dark unhumane world, but as for me, I’ll pass.
There is no point to this book. Okay there is, but “survival of the fittest” isn’t my type of book. The writing isn’t fluent, the characters are boring and the plot is very predictable. The heroine is a wimp with family issues who tries to find solace in the wrong things. While some minor characters aren’t flesh deep, about 50% of them were static (and in a cast of 6, that’s a lot). I found myself not caring what happens to the characters: if they escape or not, who dies, etc. The detachment I developed throughout the book is the main reason the book doesn’t appeal to me.
This is not an Ally Carter or Meg Cabot book, no matter what the back cover says. The writing and plot and characters are not appealing at all. Keeble tries to be funny but fails spectacularly. Also, just a note to other vampire writers out there: please, please, please don’t base it off of or make fun of Stephanie Meyer’s books. I’m a firm believer in the brand new and not-thought-of-yet, NOT piggy-backing off of other books. Also, the entire plot was cheesy and the characters were stereotypical. I do not advise anyone to read this book unless they like drawn-out, stereotypical dramas.
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