I was going to call this my Quarterly Round-Up of great reads, but it turns out that we’re more than a third of the way through the year already (not sure how that happened…) and ‘Thirdly Round-Up’ just doesn’t have the same ring to it.
Although I didn’t set out to read thematically, the best books I’ve read so far this year all have an element of magic to them. Some have a subtle nature-weaving-its-mystery magical feel to them, and some are more outright magicians-waving-their-wands types of stories. All are highly recommended.
Himself by Jess Kidd
This is the best book I’ve read so far this year. The story takes place in a small town in Ireland: orphaned Mahoney, now in his twenties returns to the village of his birth to discover what happened to his mother. The cast of characters, both living and dead, are hilarious and sinister, sweet and sad. I loved the dialogue, the humour, and the inherent mystery that drives the story, so much so that I had to put the book down as I reached the conclusion because I didn’t want it to end.
The Lonely Hearts Hotel by Heather O’Neill comes a close second in the best book ranking. Another magical book about orphans. (Hmm… completely unintentional, really!) The magic is less overt in this book. Rose and Pierrot meet in an orphanage, come of age in Montreal in the 30s, and eventually create a fantastical circus that travels to New York. Beautifully written, it’s a gritty tale filled with sex and drugs, prostitution and poverty, danger, destitution, and the Depression, but mostly it’s about love.
A Conjuring of Light by V. E. Schwab
I mentioned A Darker Shade of Magic in my New Year’s Best Of list. A Conjuring of Light is the third and final installment in the trilogy. (The second book is A Gathering of Shadows.) This is one of the best series I’ve ever read. Three Londons in three parallel worlds: our London, a magical London, and a dying London, and certain characters who can travel between them. It’s a classic tale of good vs. evil and a must-read if you’re a fan of fantasy, and even if you’re not.
Traitor to the Throne by Alwyn Hamilton
In other trilogy news, Traitor to the Throne follows Rebel of the Sands, which I’ve mentioned before. Another fantasy must-read, this series takes place in an Ottoman Empire-like desert world, populated by djinnis and their offspring, and features rebellion and political intrigue. Looking forward to number three which, sadly, will not come out for another year or so.
What made your Best-Of list for the first third of 2017?