Here’s my list of the best books I read in 2017! Yes, it’s late. I have exams ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Once again, I won’t be doing a ‘worst books of 2017’ post, because I didn’t read that many god awful books last year. (Let’s not talk about ACOWAR)
The links will take you either to the Goodreads page of the book, or to my review. Enjoy!
5. The Famous Five by Enid Blyton
Enid Blyton was such a favourite of mine as a child- namely The Magical Faraway Tree and The Wishing Chair. She had an amazing talent for creating likeable young characters and brilliant magical worlds to become immersed in. They always leave me with a sense of nostalgia, even though they were written in the 1940s.
I didn’t read The Famous Five when I was younger, and my friend has the collection, so I read the first two (Five on a Treasure Island and Five go Adventuring Again) over the summer. It was just as nostalgic as it had been ten years ago. They’re so quick to read, so entertaining and generally lovely. I absolutely recommend these books to anyone (of any age!) and everyone.
4. And I Darken by Kiersten White
I’m still yet to write the review for this (procrastination, am I right???), but I can’t not put it on the list.
This follows the story of Vlad the Impaler, but a gender-bent version. The main character, Lada, is vicious and savage, but her brother Radu is sensitive and quiet. Their father essentially abandons them in the Ottoman Empire, not knowing whether or not they are to be killed or married off or ignored. The exploration of culture, love, religion and sexuality is really interesting. I haven’t read many books where religion is explored, but in And I Darken you learn about Islamic culture in the Ottoman Empire, Orthodoxy in Eastern Europe, atheism and spirituality.
I don’t usually enjoy love triangles, and there is one hell of a love triangle in this book, but somehow White made it enjoyable. The political intrigue and struggle between duty, morals and family loyalty make the entire novel extremely thrilling. Definitely pick this one up!
3. 1984 by George Orwell
This is by far my favourite classic.
I’ve never been a huge fan of classics, because they’re usually long and dull and use ridiculously intricate language- I just don’t have time for it outside of my studies. But I read one of Orwell’s other books Animal Farm a few years ago, and really enjoyed that, so I thought I would read 1984 too, as it is his most famous work.
I knew something about the plot, as I had performed part of it in my GCSE drama, however this did in no way impede my reading experience. If you know the outcome of the story, and this is putting you off from reading 1984, please don’t let it! This is really an important experience. It made the twists and turns even better to me, because despite the better moments for the characters, I knew where it would inevitably end up.
I also read this whilst I was in Berlin, learning all about Nazi Germany and Germany under Stalin’s rule. The oppressive atmosphere of 1984 made the learning experience much more potent for me.
Of course this series had to make my top five.
My reviews have positively beamed about how brilliant both of these books are, and it means I cannot pick which one is better than the other. They’re both fantastic.
This is a high fantasy series following the life of Kvothe, who has been set up as one of the greatest figures in modern history. We follow both his past, told in first-person, and his present, told in third-person. The switch between time periods keeps you on your toes and buzzing for the next part of the story, whilst also longing to know what is going to happen to Kvothe in the present day.
Overall, I’d say 2017 was a successful year of reading for me! I have rated fewer books highly, but I think that’s because I’m expanding my mind as a critical reader, and finding out what makes a good book (which is extremely helpful for my own writing).
What have been your favourite reads of 2017?