As the year draws to a close, I am very aware of the number of un-reviewed titles on my list and, ever the pedant, am determined to clean it up. I took inspiration from Bookertalk’s great post and decided to do my own review backlog.
Some of these books were loved, others were not-so-loved; some were too difficult to review, others too short. But none should be forgotten so, here’s a quick review of each.
I’m going to be controversial here and say I preferred Tom Sawyer to Huck Finn. Though the plot was more complex, I just couldn’t condone Huckleberry Finn’s motives – the boy just needed a good whooping, in my opinion! The plot felt a little forced at times, but in general a good classic read.
A great read, but a difficult one to review, especially as it’s so short. Beautifully written, and even more beautifully laid out, this is a novel about the difficulty of writing about love and loss. The only way to do it, it seems, is to begin.
A brilliant read and a beautiful book.
Unfortunately this isn’t one that would make the top ten of the year; in fact, I’m still struggling to remember the ending! The concept is there, but it felt a little too convoluted at times.
Shamefully my only library read of the year. The Graveyard Book is a great read packed with gorgeous illustrations. As children fantasy’s go, this was one of my favourites this year.
As a die-hard HP fan, listening to the audiobooks has been a long time coming. This has become my favourite Harry Potter audiobook because, put simply, Steven Fry as Dumbledore is magical.
A quick read and a great concept, but the writing fell a little short for me. I just didn’t feel the suspense I should have and, again, have slightly forgotten the ending. Definitely worth a read for those interested in historical fiction with a twist.
The great finale as told by Steven Fry. He was one of my favourite people anyway, but after listening to these books, he has zoomed up to the top spot. The Harry Potter audiobooks are something that I will very likely listen to again, and again – potentially between re-reading the books.
A brilliant, thought-provoking and somewhat heart-breaking novel. The first time I read Things Fall Apart I was at the age of 12; we didn’t have many books in the house and my brother was studying this at school. I absolutely loved it then, but wanted to re-read it as an adult. Any worries that I might not have liked it as much disappeared from the first page. If you’ve not read it yet, do so soon!
Weird and wonderful, this was my first dip into Murakami’s world. I was intrigued by the concept and sped through the novel. But I wasn’t in love with it either. I’ve got Norwegian Wood to read next so hopefully his writing will grow on me a little more.
As with all YA trilogies the second book is a little bit of a let-down. The protagonist gets quite annoying and whiny, and the plot works too hard to get from book one to book three. Despite this, I whizzed through Cruel Crown; it’s a quick read and grabs you from page one and won’t spit you out until you’re done.
Another great book, even potentially in the top 10 of this year. I don’t actually know why I never got round to reviewing this. The writing was brilliant, the protagonist relatable (especially to a nerd like me). I’ve already lent this book to multiple people, who have loved it too. Just don’t watch the movie. Ever.
A great read from debut author, Jane Corey; I genuinely couldn’t guess where the book would take me. This is a real page turner and a must read for Girl on the Train fans.
I have a love hate relationship with Nabokov, I love some of his writing, I hate some. I love some of his concepts, I hate others. I loved and hated Humbert Humbert, as well as Lolita. Despite giving the book 4 stars, I just couldn’t gather my thoughts enough to write a review. I am still undecided about the book and am starting to think it might need a re-read before I make a final decision.
The bane of my existence for around 4 months. I bought the book, struggled through the first 100 pages before temporarily giving up. I then got the audiobook, adamant that I wasn’t reading it because it was too big. It then took me another 5 months to finish the book. 5 months of painful listening, of half listening, of listing whilst distracting myself with other tasks – just to get it done.
The only reason why I didn’t review this book is because there is no way to do it without having a million spoilers. It’s quite clearly not up to the same par as the original HP’s – but it was equally gripping and incredibly exciting to delve back into the magical world we know and love. I will definitely be reading this again before I see the theatre production next year. In fact, I might read all seven and this again.
Despite being one of the most beautiful books I’ve picked up this year, I was a little let down by the plot. Again, the idea is good but the execution let it down. The book put me in a bit of a reading slump so I just couldn’t give it a great rating.
Easily the shortest story I’ve read this year; at 14 pages, there’s not much you can say about it. It was interesting and well written and has made me want to read a full length novel. That’s about as much as I’ve got here!
After reading The Bone Season, I jumped straight into the second book, because it was that good. But, again, this suffered from second book syndrome and dragged. It didn’t help that my favourite character makes very little appearance. In its defence, however, the plot is complex and needed a lot more explanation than your average YA.
It has taken me over a year to complete A Feast for Crows, I could never commit fully to it and instead read a few chapters at a time whenever I had a slump, or was between books. George R.R. Martin explains that he wanted a ‘full novel’ about half the characters, rather than half a novel about all of them. I can’t fault his reasoning, but the fourth book in the epic series just happened to contain all the characters I care little for.
An Ember in the Ashes was one of my favourite YA’s of last year. When this came out, I re-read it in a day so I could be up to speed with all my favourite characters. Of all the ‘second’ books I’ve read this year, it’s easily the best. I devoured this in a matter of hours. Tahir’s characters are colourful, not too annoying, and the plot is fast-paced and exciting. Now I just have to wait ANOTHER year for the final book.
I was so excited when I got this book, not only is cover beautiful, but the concept was gripping – it had all the promise of a great new series to settle into. Annoyingly (I really wanted to love it), the reality fell a bit flat. The characters are stereotypical goodies v baddies and the plot was really quite formulaic. I’m still hoping for a comeback though and will read the next book, just to see if it gets better.
The … installment of the Chronicles of Narnia, this is everything a C.S. Lewis book should be: imaginative, with a moral lesson, and just a tad formal for what I’m used to in a children’s book. A quick and easy read, which has gotten me back into the series.
Think Life after Life, but with the ability to remember everything. A great concept that North executes beautifully. It took a little while to get into this, simply because you need to get through a few of Harry’s lives to get the ball rolling. But once it does – it is completely worth it. A brilliant story, and a very good audiobook.
An unfortunate example of the old adage “don’t judge a book by its cover“. The cover for this book is gorgeous. The synopsis equally gripping. But, in reality, the hook just wasn’t there. I struggled through hoping that the twist would make it all worthwhile. It didn’t.