Before I get into the nit-and-gritty of the review world, I thought I’d be a little more optimistic and talk about the series I LOVED this year. Scrolling through my Goodreads definitely brought some memories, and after a long internal struggle I’ve narrowed it down.
#5: The River of Time series by Lisa T. Bergren
“Most American teenagers want a vacation in Italy, but the Betarrini sisters have spent every summer of their lives among the romantic hills with their archaeologist parents. Stuck among the rubble of the medieval castles in rural Tuscany, on yet another hot, dusty archaeological site, Gabi and Lia are bored out of their minds…until Gabi places her hand atop a handprint in an ancient tomb and finds herself in fourteenth-century Italy. And worse yet, in the middle of a fierce battle between knights of two opposing forces. Suddenly Gabi’s summer in Italy is much, much more interesting.”
I really didn’t think I’d love this series as much as a did. For me, archaeology / medieval themes have always held a special place in my heart. So when I stumbled upon Waterfall (book #1) I definitely felt like I had to read it. And I am so glad I did. I personally think the blurb makes the novel sound really childish, but I promise you will fall in love quickly.
Read if you’re looking for time travel, fantasy, romance.
#4: The Selection series by Kiera Cass
“For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon. But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn’t want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks. Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she’s made for herself—and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.”
Yes, yes. I know! The One was released in 2014 but I didn’t read it until this year. So my thoughts? I loved it. I don’t know what it was about this The Bachelor-esque series but it seriously was awesome. Notice how I left out The Heir. I specifically left it out. Why? Because I actually hated it. Honestly, did anyone not hate it?
Read if you: a) liked the Bachelor, b) don’t like the Bachelor, c) want a romance, d) just read it.
#3: Poison Study series by Maria V. Snyder
“About to be executed for murder, Yelena is offered an extraordinary reprieve. She’ll eat the best meals, have rooms in the palace—and risk assassination by anyone trying to kill the Commander of Ixia. And so Yelena chooses to become a food taster. But the chief of security, leaving nothing to chance, deliberately feeds her Butterfly’s Dust—and only by appearing for her daily antidote will she delay an agonizing death from the poison. As Yelena tries to escape her new dilemma, disasters keep mounting. Rebels plot to seize Ixia and Yelena develops magical powers she can’t control. Her life is threatened again and choices must be made. But this time the outcomes aren’t so clear.”
I have a sincere love for Maria Snyder’s writing. If you’re looking for an author who actually has a solid world-building ability – it’s her. Just take a look at the first chapter and you’ll understand the love. The story begins with a woman awaiting her execution because she assassinated a General’s son. After a year of waiting in the dungeons, she’s given an ultimatum by the Commander’s assassin – become the Commander’s food tester or be executed. In her words? “Tell the Commander I am not a fool”. I LOVE her strength, resilience, and survival instincts. To me, this series is almost on par with Sarah J. Maas’s Throne of Glass series.
Read if you want: assassins, more assassins, magic, high fantasy galore, murder, badass fighting
“When nineteen-year-old huntress Feyre kills a wolf in the woods, a beast-like creature arrives to demand retribution for it. Dragged to a treacherous magical land she only knows about from legends, Feyre discovers that her captor is not an animal, but Tamlin—one of the lethal, immortal faeries who once ruled their world. As she dwells on his estate, her feelings for Tamlin transform from icy hostility into a fiery passion that burns through every lie and warning she’s been told about the beautiful, dangerous world of the Fae. But an ancient, wicked shadow grows over the faerie lands, and Feyre must find a way to stop it… or doom Tamlin—and his world—forever.”
A not-so-shocking admission now that I think about it. But this was one of my top books of 2015. I really wanted to but Cassandra Clare’s amazing series here but honestly, this tops it. A retelling of beauty and the beast, fae’s, curses, the works! Sarah J. Maas is queen.
Read if you want: retellings, faeries, magic, high fantasy, romance, sacrifice, curses, mystery
#1: Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas
“When magic has gone from the world, and a vicious king rules from his throne of glass, an assassin comes to the castle. She does not come to kill, but to win her freedom. If she can defeat twenty-three killers, thieves, and warriors in a competition to find the greatest assassin in the land, she will become the King’s Champion and be released from prison. Her name is Celaena Sardothien. The Crown Prince will provoke her. The Captain of the Guard will protect her. And a princess from a foreign land will become the one thing Celaena never thought she’d have again: a friend. But something evil dwells in the castle—and it’s there to kill. When her competitors start dying, horribly, one by one, Celaena’s fight for freedom becomes a fight for survival—and a desperate quest to root out the source of the evil before it destroys her world.”
I’m actually sitting here wondering how I should actually express my love of this series. It’s probably my top series ever – right beside Harry Potter. There is even more love for this series than ACOTAR, but I think that’s because this is more established. I’m sure ACOTAR will be right up here as the series continues. As much as I fangirl about Maria Snyder’s Poison Study series, the fan-girling I have for TOG is out of this world. It’s too much, Queen of Shadows killed my soul, rejuvenated it, and then blew it up… All over again. I firmly believe this series deserves a full review. When I re-read the series prior to the release of #5 you will all understand.
Read if you want: assassins, magic, HIGH FANTASY FOR DAYSSSS, badass main character, badass secondary characters, badass villains, the works.