Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created and hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, in which we all talk about a bookish topic and have fun making lists. This week we’re looking at our favourite books of 2016 so far.
Technically this week is all about 2016 releases, but I’ve read (and reread) a lot of older books as well so far this year, so I’m going to mix it up a bit.
Top 5 2016 releases so far
There have been some cracking books released this year. I’ve not got to half of them yet (oh so many books on my wishlist!), but the ones I’ve read and loved most so far are:
Ninefox Gambit – Yoon Ha Lee
Calendrical equations. Formations. Servitors. Heretics. Traitors. Heroes. This is rich, original space opera with two spectacular central characters and a fascinating host in support. What a debut – maths as magic and treachery as honour. I can’t wait for the sequel.
Like A Boss – Adam Rakunas
Padma Mehta is my favourite anti-Corporate grouch, and her chaotic Union-run planet of Windswept is a vibrant melange of cultures and characters. I loved this best for not solving its crisis with violence, and for insisting on a politics of hope in the face of despair. I needed this book this year, and it wasn’t until I read it that I realised how much.
The Terracotta Bride – Zen Cho
A gorgeous steampunk afterlife fairytale, in which a young woman married off to an older man finds unexpected solace when he takes a third(!) wife – a terracotta woman. There’s so much world-building in this dense little novella, and so much heart.
Stiletto – Daniel O’Malley
The Checquy are back, and this time they’re conducting a corporate merger with their old enemies the Grafters. But pretty much nobody except Myfanwy thinks this is a good idea. Two young women at the heart of the negotiations need to forge a friendship and stop all hell breaking loose. Another entertaining riot from O’Malley.
Echoes of the Ascended – Mark Gelineau & Joe King
I love the Echoes for telling epic stories in a tiny package, world-building as they go through the first phase, which gave the second phase more space to focus on character. The results are compelling, and I’m cheerleading on the sides in the run up to the third phase later this year.
Top 5 backlist books
I’m engaged in many read-alongs this year, which I’m loving as a way of exploring backlist books that I had missed out on (also, it’s just so much fun comparing notes and sharing excitement with a bunch of likeminded readers). Favourites are:
Temeraire (His Majesty’s Dragon) – Naomi Novik
I am so beguiled by this bromance between a straight-laced young Naval Captain and a newly-hatched Chinese dragon. Temeraire’s bravery, intelligence and politics are irresistible and watching Will get tied in knots as he tries to adapt his outlook to his new world is hilarious.
The Privilege of the Sword – Ellen Kushner
My favourite Riverside book so far, this isn’t entirely the fairytale of the impoverished daughter of a noble family being sacrificed to the monstrous rich uncle to redeem her family (and inadvertently redeeming him on the way). Not entirely, but the thread is there and the broader tapestry of subverting expectations and living for your dreams made my heart sing.
The Lies of Locke Lamora – Scott Lynch
Thief. Liar. Gentleman Bastard. This is one of my favourite books, but I don’t think I’d ever stopped to appreciate how intricate the world-building is. It’s alchemical Hustle in an alternate Venice, with the heist-driven joys of a super-competent and ultra-loyal gang taking on everyone in town – until a new power threatens to destroy the very fabric of their beloved city.
The Fellowship of the Ring – J R R Tolkien
I haven’t reread The Lord of the Rings in forever, and I’d forgotten just how gorgeously-written it is. The detail makes the landscape so lived-in, and if your feet feel as tired as Frodo’s, well it’s not entirely inappropriate.
The Masked City – Genevieve Cogman
Librarian Irene must seek a dragon’s help to rescue her apprentice Kai from a chaotic world after he is kidnapped by the Fae. We get to properly understand the intricate personas and peculiar powers of the Fae, and to enjoy the diverse insanity of one of their worlds – an alternative Venice.
What’s your favourite read of 2016 so far?