My Best and Worst Reads of 2017

In 2017 I made a concerted effort to read more books, even though I was at university and couldn’t read as much as I wanted. According to Goodreads, I managed 19 books – nothing for some, but impressive for me – some of which were AMAZING, some of which were, well, just okay, and some of which I really wasn’t a fan of. So, even though it’s a couple of months overdue, here are my favourite and least favourite reads of 2017!

Favourites

The Hero Of Ages by Brandon Sanderson

I can’t believe I had never picked up a Brandon Sanderson book before 2017! But he’s quickly become one of my favourite authors, and the Mistborn trilogy became an instant favourite when I read it over the summer. Sanderson’s magic system and plots are outstanding throughout the series, but the third book, The Hero Of Ages, is particularly impressive; it’s epic, full of plot twists, and it brings the series to a satisfying yet unexpected and heart breaking finale. While Sanderson isn’t the best at characterisation and makes little attempt at pretty prose, I still found this to be an entertaining, engrossing, and endlessly exciting book.

Oh, and I got to meet Sanderson at his Oathbringer tour in December, and he signed my copy of The Hero Of Ages for me!

You can read my full review of The Hero Of Ages here.

The Name Of The Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

The Name Of The Wind is the first book in The Kingkiller Chronicle, a fantasy unlike any other. The trilogy follows once-legendary Kvothe, now in hiding as a village innkeeper, through the challenges and adventures of his youth, as he seeks to learn magic and unravel mysteries, and begins to garner a hero’s fame.

While they are both fantasy writers, Rothfuss and Sanderson are almost opposites; unlike Sanderson’s books, Rothfuss’s books excel in their prose and characterisation, and it was these rather than any epic plotlines which had me falling head over heels for this book. Rothfuss plot is a little slow, but the world and the writing is beautifully crafted and immersive. It’s a story with a lot of tension and even more feeling, and it’s truly un-put-down-able.

You can read my full review of The Name Of The Wind here.

Least Favourites

Twelve Kings (in Sharakhai) by Bradley P Beaulieau

The first book of The Song Of Shattered Sands, Twelve Kings follows orphaned fighter Çeda in her quest for revenge and answers. Other than my own, I’ve actually only read very few bad reviews of this book. And to be fair, that’s because it’s not a bad book. The premise is interesting; the worldbuilding is good; the writing and the plot are decent. The series promises to become epic, but I’m not going to be reading it. Why? Twelve Kings also promised to be epic – and fast-paced and badass and exciting. It was none of these things. I couldn’t even get attached to the characters either. By the time I finished reading it, over a year after I’d started it, I was frankly sick of it. And also quite disappointed – I’d gone through all that, for a finale and “plot twist” which I didn’t even find that exciting or satisfying.

So while I didnt enjoy and wouldn’t recommend this book, I also won’t go around yelling that no-one should read it. Just don’t expect anything bombastic.

You can read my full review of Twelve Kings here.

Talon by Julie Kagawa

It’s a book about dragons. What more do you need to know?

Except you do need to know more. Because it’s not just about dragons, it’s about teenage human-dragon shapeshifters. It’s about their summer at the beach, which they spend mostly in their human forms. It’s also about the evil organisation that ‘protects’ them. And also some angst, some rather rash decisions, and a love triangle.

So, again, it’s my expectations being disappointed (and very, very annoyed, by the protagonist who I didn’t like, and the writing style which I didn’t like, and the love triangle which I saw coming a mile off) which is bringing down my opinions of this book. But I’m not going to say “it’s good, just beware of your expectations”. Not this time. Instead I’ll say, if you want a good fantasy story, don’t bother. But if you want a teenage romance that happens to involve dragons? Go ahead.

You can read my full review of Talon here.

So those are my best and worst reads of 2017! Do you agree with my choices? What are your best and worst reads of 2017? Let me know in the comments!

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Jane, Unlimited: Book Review

20171128_121946 (1)Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore is a mix between a standalone novel and a collection of short stories, which Cashore describes as something resembling a choose-your-own-adventure story. It follows the title character, Jane, as she follows her late Aunt Magnolia’s advice to go to Tu Reviens, a mysterious grand house on its own island, if ever she gets the chance. The book is split into six sections: Tu Reviens, which introduces the characters and the situation, and five short stories, each in their own genres, and which each follow Jane as she makes a particular choice. The stories are, however, designed to be read in the order, as they do have a plot arc between them.

I picked up Jane, Unlimited because Cashore is one of my favourite authors: I loved all of her previous books, Graceling, Fire, and Bitterblue, which are all standalone but related fantasy novels. So I knew that, even though it’s completely different, I would love Jane, Unlimited too.

Continue reading “Jane, Unlimited: Book Review”

November Writing Update

Another month has come and gone, so it’s time for another writing update! For those who don’t know, I’ve been posting monthly updates on the progress of my fantasy novel, The Secrets The Dead Keeps, throughout 2017 – at the beginning of the year, I was about to start work on my third draft, and I’m now on Draft Four!

My goals for November were to keep editing and keep improving my worldbuilding and my characterisation. But my most important goal was to write something every day.

So, how did I do?

Continue reading “November Writing Update”

The Slow Regard Of Silent Things, Kingkiller Chronicle 2.5: Book Review

The Slow Regard Of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss is a companion novella to Rothfuss’ bestselling Kingkiller Chronicle. It follows Auri, a strange girl who lives under the University, who Kvothe, the protagonist of the Kingkiller Chronicle, meets during the first book of the series. If you haven’t read my reviews for the first two books in the series, The Name Of The Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear, here and here. Continue reading “The Slow Regard Of Silent Things, Kingkiller Chronicle 2.5: Book Review”

The Wise Man’s Fear, Kingkiller Chronicles 2: Book Review

The Wise Man’s Fear is the second installment in Patrick Rothfuss’ bestselling Kingkiller Chronicles. This is the second day of Kvothe telling his life story, covering a shorter time period than the first book, The Name Of The Wind (you can find my review of it here) – only a year or two – during Kvothe’s time at the University and his break from studying in which he travels, and yet it is longer than the first book – almost a thousand pages long.

I simply had to pick up this book as soon as I finished The Name Of The Wind – the first book leaves us with many unanswered questions.

Continue reading “The Wise Man’s Fear, Kingkiller Chronicles 2: Book Review”

October Writing Update

This year I’ve been setting myself monthly writing goals to help keep track of my progress on my fantasy novel, The Secrets The Dead Keep! October’s writing goals were:

  • To continue editing Draft Four,
  • And to continue to improve my worldbuilding.

I also wanted to work on my novel every day – even if just for a few minutes – to establish a daily writing habit.

So, how did I do?

Continue reading “October Writing Update”

The Name Of The Wind, The Kingkiller Chronicles 1: Book Review

The Name Of The Wind is the first book of Patrick Rothfuss' unique and ambitious high fantasy series, The Kingkiller Chronicle. Is it any good? Hell yes! Should you read it? Definitely! Read more to find out why...The Name Of The Wind is the first book in Patrick Rothfuss’ bestselling fantasy series, The Kingkiller Chronicles. Amazingly, The Name Of The Wind is Rothfuss’ debut, and the series has reached critical acclaim without even being finished yet.

This book is a little different to most fantasy books: rather than follow some powerful hero on an epic and noble quest, we meet simple innkeeper Kote, who does not turn out to be the chosen one destined to save the world. However, he does turn out to be Kvothe, killer of kings and feature of many myths and rumours. Dismayed though he is to have been discovered in the remote part of the world he has chosen to hide in, he is persuaded to tell his life story, and finally reveal the truth behind all the far-fetched stories about him.

In The Name Of The Wind, Kvothe tells of his childhood in a performing troupe, of his time at the famed University, and of the beginning of his search for the fearsome magical creatures known as the Chandrian, hinting all the while at the grand and infamous future that is to come.

Continue reading “The Name Of The Wind, The Kingkiller Chronicles 1: Book Review”

September Writing Update

This year I set myself monthly writing goals to track the progress of my fantasy novel-in-progress, The Secrets The Dead Keep. September’s goals were as follows:

  • To keep editing until I complete Draft Four
  • To improve my worldbuilding
  • To start finding beta readers

So how did I do?

Continue reading “September Writing Update”

Adventures in Switzerland

Back in late July/early August I went to Zurich, Switzerland, to visit my boyfriend Alex for his birthday, along with his family. We had a really lovely time visiting some fantastic places, so I thought I’d share some of my favourite pictures of my trip!

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August Writing Update

This year I set myself monthly writing goals to track the progress of my fantasy novel-in-progress, The Secrets The Dead Keep. August’s goal was to edit Draft Three and work on worldbuilding by building my world’s wiki.

So how did I do?

Continue reading “August Writing Update”