These are short summaries of my best reads of 2017. It was a very mixed year reading wise, but very entertaining. In total, I had 17 5⭐️s, 18 4⭐️s and 4 3⭐️s. This blog is the best out of my 5⭐️ books.
Stats: Published in 1862. Total pages 1232p.
Goodreads synopsis: In this story of the trials of the peasant Jean Valjean – unjustly imprisoned, baffled by destiny, and hounded by his nemesis, the magnificently realized, ambiguously malevolent police detective Javert.
Victor Hugo achieved the rare imaginative resonance that allows a work of art to transcend its genre.
This was my last read of the year and it took me the entire month of December to read it. I loved it. I’ve seen the films, the musicals, the stage shows and always thought “one day I’ll read the book”. Now I have and I don’t regret a single minute of it. Yes, Victor Hugo, the author, like to go on tantrums and philosophies, or explain the historical situation and maybe dedicate 30 pages on the battle of Waterloo, especially of the layout of the towns involved, and these parts make the book almost drag a bit. However, personally, I loved the chapter about the Parisian sewage system and its refurb efforts in the 1830s. I know, Nerd! Lol. If this is not your thing though, I would understand reading it can be a challenge (as if the 1200 pages isn’t challenging enough). If you can overlook those details and skim through them (i know it bad to skim), the story is amazing.
I loved everything about this book; the length, the detail, the story, the loves, the deaths, the cons, the criminal activity, the kindness, the hardness. At the time of reading, I was focusing on saving money, and the book affected me so much I lost interest in buying anything because the characters couldn’t afford anything. I felt a part of the book, and therefore I had no money either. Lol, it a bit random, but its true 🙂 and I did manage to save some extra cash.
This book is definitely something I will re-read at some point in my life.
The Well of Loneliness
Stats: Published 1928. Total pages 447 p.
Goodreads synopsis: First published in 1928, this timeless portrayal of lesbian love is now a classic. The thinly disguised story of Hall’s own life, it was banned outright upon publication and almost ruined her literary career.
A woman grows up wanting to do man stuff during the turn of the century when cars were introduced and slowly replaced horses. Being different was almost frowned upon, especially for a woman who would need a man to bring in an income. When she starts falling for women too the rumours start to spread and her family isn’t happy. At this time in British history, it wasn’t legal to be anything but straight. She then moves to London, then Paris, then joins the British army in WW1 to try and fight at the front, to then end up in post-war Paris in 1920. I mean whats not to love?!? Seriously? The storey is almost biographical as the author experienced several similar events. To top it all of, the writing is amazing! There is a paragraph talking about woman’s role in WW1 and the lack of recognition which made me get up from my comfy sofa shouting “YES Radclyffe!!”. It’s probably worth a re-read at some point when I get over the fact it was published only a few years after Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen but is still so extremely different!!
Poison Study (book #1 in the Poison Study series and #1 in the Chronicles of Ixia series)
Stats: Published 2005. Total pages 409 p.
Goodreads synopsis: About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She’ll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace—and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia.
And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly’s Dust—and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison.
As Yelena tries to escape her new dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and Yelena develops magical powers she can’t control. Her life is threatened again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren’t so clear…
I had this on my shelf for a few years before picking it by and do I beat myself off for it now. Why did I not do it earlier!? It’s amazingly good. I think my favourite thing about the entire story is that the romance takes a backseat, and there are no sexy times as people seem to call it these days (its just sex people, no big deal…). It was refreshing after reading some other YA literature which has sex in it without giving the story any more significance, that’s just a waste of pages! The magic situation was great, and Yelena as a poison taster puts her situation on the edge. I loved the twist at the end with Emperor Ambrosio (won’t say too much bc you know spoilers!). Definitely finishing the series starting with Magic Study in 2018.
Stats: Published 1847. Total pages 643 p.
Goodreads synopsis: Jane comes from nothing but she desires everything life can offer her. And when she finds work as a governess in a mysterious mansion, it seems she has finally met her match with the darkly fascinating Mr Rochester. But Thornfield Hall contains a shameful secret – one that could keep Jane and Rochester apart forever. Can she choose between what is right, and her one chance of happiness?
I mean, do I have to defend why I love this book? I originally bought this book for high school/college but never read it. Its been on my shelf for about 10 years now (God I’m old). Not only that but the cover is not great. Its the same as the photo on the left, but in real life, it’s not green its brown. Very brown. It’s not very nice, to be honest, and it put me off reading it. I’ve watched the BBC series which is sooo good and I love it so I should love the book, right? I finally read it as part of my reading challenge last year, which gave me a kick in the butt. I don’t regret it. I love it. I had problems putting it down. I had problems not thinking about it. I had problems not feeling anything on Jane’s behalf. I will definitely re-read this again and again and again until my copy is falling apart at the seams. I will then buy a new copy and do the same 🙂
Fate of the Tearling (book #3 The Queen of the Tearling Series)
Stats: Published 2016. total pages 468p
Goodreads synopsis of book #1: Magic, adventure, mystery, and romance combine in this epic debut in which a young princess must reclaim her dead mother’s throne, learn to be a ruler—and defeat the Red Queen, a powerful and malevolent sorceress determined to destroy her.
On her nineteenth birthday, Princess Kelsea Raleigh Glynn, raised in exile, sets out on a perilous journey back to the castle of her birth to ascend her rightful throne. Plain and serious, a girl who loves books and learning, Kelsea bears little resemblance to her mother, the vain and frivolous Queen Elyssa. But though she may be inexperienced and sheltered, Kelsea is not defenceless: Around her neck hangs the Tearling sapphire, a jewel of immense magical power; and accompanying her is the Queen’s Guard, a cadre of brave knights led by the enigmatic and dedicated Lazarus. Kelsea will need them all to survive a cabal of enemies who will use every weapon—from crimson-caped assassins to the darkest blood magic—to prevent her from wearing the crown.
Despite her royal blood, Kelsea feels like nothing so much as an insecure girl, a child called upon to lead a people and a kingdom about which she knows almost nothing. But what she discovers in the capital will change everything, confronting her with horrors she never imagined. An act of singular daring will throw Kelsea’s kingdom into tumult, unleashing the vengeance of the tyrannical ruler of neighbouring Mortmesne: the Red Queen, a sorceress possessed of the darkest magic. Now Kelsea will begin to discover whom among the servants, aristocracy, and her own guard she can trust.
But the quest to save her kingdom and meet her destiny has only just begun—a wondrous journey of self-discovery and a trial by fire that will make her a legend . . . if she can survive.
This book will be a beautifully designed package with illustrated endpapers, a map of the Tearling, and a ribbon marker.
After 3 books I was chest deep in all elements of the book. I loved the characters, the world, the direction of the books, everything. The first book introduces you to the world and the situation as the synopsis above tells. It’s a political heavy series, with some magic on the side. I loved it all. The second book it the quickest, in my opinion, I think I read it in a day. Then the third book hits and you know something badass is going to happen. Without spoiling anything (i hope), I would like to give my opinion to the ending of the series. I know there were a lot of unhappy readers. I personally loved the ending; finally a book with a logical, perfectly reasonable ending. I’ll happily discuss in person 🙂
I don’t think I will read it again, but it’s on my love shelf.
Stats: Published 2015. Total pages 438
Goodreads synopsis: Agnieszka loves her valley home, her quiet village, the forests and the bright shining river. But the corrupted wood stands on the border, full of malevolent power, and its shadow lies over her life.
Her people rely on the cold, ambitious wizard, known only as the Dragon, to keep the wood’s powers at bay. But he demands a terrible price for his help: one young woman must be handed over to serve him for ten years, a fate almost as terrible as being lost to the wood.
The next choosing is fast approaching, and Agnieszka is afraid. She knows – everyone knows – that the Dragon will take Kasia: beautiful, graceful, brave Kasia – all the things Agnieszka isn’t – and her dearest friend in the world. And there is no way to save her.
But no one can predict how or why the Dragon chooses a girl. And when he comes, it is not Kasia he will take with him.
First of all, I love the cover of this book. In real life, there is a lot of gold and it glitters 🙂 Story-wise, I wasn’t expecting the story I got, in a positive way. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but this wasn’t it. I loved it, and I wouldn’t change it for anything else. I was thinking about this book months after I finished it, and it really stuck with me. It was again nice to have a not very sexual romantic element to the story which causes more friction and complication and adds to the story. There is magic, frustrations, politics, war, and a creeping forest. What’s not to love, readers? If you haven’t read this yet, do it now! What are you waiting for? (unless you don’t have it ready, then get it (somehow)).
A Court of Mist and Fury, Book #2 ACOTAR (and the rest of ACOTAR series)
Stats: Published 2016. Total Pages 0p – audiobook.
Goodreads synopsis of book #1: Feyre’s survival rests upon her ability to hunt and kill – the forest where she lives is a cold, bleak place in the long winter months. So when she spots a deer in the forest being pursued by a wolf, she cannot resist fighting it for the flesh. But to do so, she must kill the predator and killing something so precious comes at a price …
Dragged to a magical kingdom for the murder of a faerie, Feyre discovers that her captor, his face obscured by a jewelled mask, is hiding far more than his piercing green eyes would suggest. Feyre’s presence at the court is closely guarded, and as she begins to learn why, her feelings for him turn from hostility to passion and the faerie lands become an even more dangerous place. Feyre must fight to break an ancient curse, or she will lose him forever.
I mean, the entire series is really good no matter how much sex there is. Yes, I am a prude and sometimes there is too much for me. The first book was good, but not amazing and I left about 9 months between the first and the second. Then the second book hit me… oh. my. god. The feels. The ups and downs. The ending. The endings! The amazement. The people! I don’t know. Just I know. No words. Love it!!
The Name of The Wind
Stats: Published 2008. Total pages 662p.
Goodreads synopsis: ‘I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during the day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep.
My name is Kvothe.
You may have heard of me’
Based on that synopsis, why wouldn’t you read it? It sounds epic! And it is! It is truly EPIC in every sense. The main character sits down and tells his life history through the entire trilogy. As this is book #1 it takes place from his childhood through to university. Kvothe is cheeky, intelligent, but kind. I loved the adventure, the well-formed world, and the characters, especially Auri. I think she is my favourite. I can’t wait to ready A Slow Regard of Silent Thing which is all about her. I will finish the second book and book #2.5 in 2018, I promise!
The Abhorsen Chronicles
Stats: Published 2008. Total pages 1232p.
Goodreads synopsis of book #1: Sent to a boarding school in Ancelstierre as a young child, Sabriel has had little experience with the random power of Free Magic or the Dead who refuse to stay dead in the Old Kingdom. But during her final semester, her father, the Abhorsen, goes missing, and Sabriel knows she must enter the Old Kingdom to find him.
With Sabriel, the first instalment in the Abhorsen series, Garth Nix exploded onto the fantasy scene as a rising star, in a novel that takes readers to a world where the line between the living and the dead isn’t always clear—and sometimes disappears altogether.
A necromancer in a world where magic is focused on necromancy struggles to live up to expectations. I read the entire trilogy in one go (not one sitting, that is crazy). I would probably get more immersed in it if I was younger, but the story was still fresh to me. I previously read other series by Garth Nix and had no problems reading more 😁
I highly recommend it. It doesn’t get old or out of fashion. It will be one of the great middle-grade adventures of our time, similar to Narnia (or I believe so). There is also a talking cat.
I mean just look at that fan art from Cinderella in Rubber Shoes.
Sabriel looks badass amazing with all her bells (for controlling the dead), her sword, and the talking white cat on her shoulders.
If I ever have children I’m making then read this!
That’s my favourite 9 books of 2017. Hope you enjoyed my summary 🙂