Best Reads of 2014
I’ve read way less books than I wanted this year, which makes me a bit sad. Life has gotten a bit in the way of my reading and though I’ve had a very busy and fun year, I miss the many hours spent on the couch with a book. But the books I did read were all very, very good. I think there was only one book that wasn’t really my cup of tea, some books that I thought were ok, but most of them were such awesome reads! There are only 3 more days left in 2014, so it’s time to pick the Best Reads of 2014. It was a tough choice this year, but I selected a few that really struck a chord or that left an impression.
Gemsigns and Binary – Stephanie Saulter (Jo Fletcher Books)
(R)evolution is one of the best Science-Fiction series I’ve read to date. My background in Biotechnology might be what drew me to these books in the first place, but it’s the fantastic writing and the powerful characters that kept me reading. To survive a deathly Syndrome humans needed to be genetically modified. The Gems, as they are called, are however not the same as normal people or Norms. Some have convenient powers, but others are disabled or violent. After years serving the Norms, they are now finally free, but as you can suspect this raises a lot of suspicion. Are these Gems really still human?
A great story about acceptance (in every form you can imagine) into a suspicious and unwelcoming society, the power of mega corporations and what may well be a realistic possible future of biotech.
The Mad Scientist’s Daughter – Cassandra Rose Clarke (Angry Robot)
There are very few books that have succeeded in making me cry and this is one of them. It’s such a tragic story. In this book we follow Cat as she grows up, sheltered at first and tutored by the android Finn. As she gets older and leaves the only world she’s ever known, her views and feelings get challenged. Cat is very easily influenced and in trying to be what others want her to be, she only succeeds in making herself feel miserable. The relationship between Cat and Finn was complex and heartbreaking. The bond Cat has with her father is feeble at first, but deepens as the story progresses. A sad, but beautiful tale of love, losing yourself to please others and trying to find happiness.
Traitor’s Blade – Sebastien de Castell (Jo Fletcher Books)
Traitor’s Blade may be one of the best debuts of this year. The Greatcoats used to be heroes, but when they surrendered when the Dukes invaded and executed their King, they were marked as traitors. What the people don’t know is that the Greatcoats promised to fulfil the King’s last wish, to find the King’s Charoites. Exciting surprises, awesome fights and great characters and world building make this a fascinating read. I absolutely can’t wait to read the second book!
The Leopard and The Lady – K.V. Johansen (Pyr)
I’ve only just finished The Lady and I couldn’t help but love the story. The Leopard is quite a complex book, that lost me sometimes. I had to re-read a few passages to really get what was going on, but ultimately it didn’t throw me off and I couldn’t stop reading. There are a lot of characters involved, all with their own mysterious background and I enjoyed reading about them all. It’s a majestic tale about Gods, Goddesses, Devils, Demons and Wizards, but in a composition you might never have seen before.
The Everness Trilogy – Ian McDonald (Jo Fletcher Books/Pyr)
Steampunk! I love some good steampunk. Although Electropunk might be better suited here. Ian McDonald certainly delivered an interesting trilogy that got me hooked straight away. First of all, it features something I’ve been fascinated with since I was young: parallel worlds. Everett gets the map to all the parallel worlds from his scientist dad when the latter gets kidnapped right before Everett’s eyes. This is the beginning of an exhilarating adventure where Everett tries to rescue his dad, travelling through the parallel worlds with his new friends, the crew of the airship Everness. Lots of different world with different cultures, pulse-racing action and a whole new dialect! What do you want more?
The Three – Sarah Lotz (Hodder & Stoughton)
Chilling, suspenseful and mysterious. The Three sucked me in and didn’t let me go. It’s an eerie story about four plane crashes that happened simultaneously around the globe. Only four people survive, three kids and Pamela May Donald who dies shortly after leaving a cryptic voice message on her phone. The survival of the kids is seen as miraculous, but somehow they are changed. And then strange things start to happen and people start believing that there’s something wrong with the kids. Is there, or is this just mass hysteria? The Three is a captivating page-turner that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
City of Stairs – Robert Bennet Jackson (Jo Fletcher Books/Broadway Books)
Robert Bennet Jackson brought us a whole new, fascinating world where Gods have been slaughtered and caused the collapse of part of the city of Bulikov. Shara Thivani travels to Bulikov to investigate the murder of Dr. Effrem Pangyui. There’s more to this mysterious murder than first meets the eye though and Shara finds herself knee-deep in the complicated history of the Continent and Saypur. The world building in this book was more than amazing, I enjoyed reading about it very much. The quirky divine objects were a great magical touch and the characters were interesting and well fleshed out. City of Stairs is a book that kept me reading well into the night.
Red Rising – Pierce Brown (Hodder & Stoughton/Del Rey)
My most recent read and also one of the very best of this year. I read through the night to finish this book, even though I already have finals and I should have been studying the next day. I absolutely loved it. It’s brutal, gory, full of suspense and surprising twists. I’m still writing the review for this one, so I’ll keep it short, but this is one hell of a book. I’ve already ordered the second book, Golden Son, and I can’t wait to get my hands on it. The story is set on Mars in a dystopian future. Though this might sound like a space opera kind of book, it’s far from it. The protagonist, Darrow, is one of the oppressed Reds that are mining the planet Mars to create a climate that can support human life. When his wife is executed for singing a forbidden song, he realises that he can do more to change Red’s lives. Red Rising is a fast-paced, incredible book that is well worth the hype.