Topic of the Month: C's Favorite Books of 2016

Well, another year has come and gone, and this means that a whole year's worth of reading has come to an end! To celebrate the new year, I thought I'd share some of my favorite books and series that I read in 2016. Enjoy!

1) The Child Thief by Brom


Amazon Summary: 

Peter is quick, daring, and full of mischief—and like all boys, he loves to play, though his games often end in blood. His eyes are sparkling gold, and when he graces you with his smile you are his friend for life, but his promised land is not Neverland.

Fourteen-year-old Nick would have been murdered by the drug dealers preying on his family had Peter not saved him. Now the irresistibly charismatic wild boy wants Nick to follow him to a secret place of great adventure, where magic is alive and you never grow old. Even though he is wary of Peter's crazy talk of faeries and monsters, Nick agrees. After all, New York City is no longer safe for him, and what more could he possibly lose?

There is always more to lose.

Accompanying Peter to a gray and ravished island that was once a lush, enchanted paradise, Nick finds himself unwittingly recruited for a war that has raged for centuries—one where he must learn to fight or die among the "Devils," Peter's savage tribe of lost and stolen children.

There, Peter's dark past is revealed: left to wolves as an infant, despised and hunted, Peter moves restlessly between the worlds of faerie and man. The Child Thief is a leader of bloodthirsty children, a brave friend, and a creature driven to do whatever he must to stop the "Flesh-eaters" and save the last, wild magic in this dying land.

Why I Loved It:

This is the first literary work of Brom that I have read, and it was a freaking masterpiece! Forget Disney's lighthearted take on Peter Pan, Brom's adaptation has become my favorite. Brom drew from Peter's much darker and sadistic side in order to craft a thrilling and dark retelling of the classic Peter Pan tale, and I loved every second of it! The book is extremely twisted and the world building is superb. I have never read anything like it, and I was hooked from the first page. You can't miss out on this!

2) Tokyo Ghoul Volumes 1 - 9


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GoodReads Summary of Volume 1:

Shy Ken Kaneki is thrilled to go on a date with the beautiful Rize. But it turns out that she’s only interested in his body—eating it, that is. When a morally questionable rescue transforms him into the first half-human half-Ghoul hybrid, Ken is drawn into the dark and violent world of Ghouls, which exists alongside our own.

Why I Loved It:

I have to admit that I originally watched the first season of the Tokyo Ghoul anime and fell in love with it. The animation is spectacular, Kaneki was automatically a character that drew me in, and the storyline was intriguing. Consequently, I had to pick up the manga as well. I guess I'm a sucker for a conflicted main character and the classic question of whether what you've become truly erases your humanity and makes you a monster. 

3) The Violent Century: A Novel by Lavie Tidhar


GoodReads Summary:

They never meant to be heroes.

For seventy years they guarded the British Empire. Oblivion and Fogg, inseparable friends, bound together by a shared fate. Until one night in Berlin, in the aftermath of the Second World War, and a secret that tore them apart.

But there must always be an account...and the past has a habit of catching up to the present.

Now, recalled to the Retirement Bureau from which no one can retire, Fogg and Oblivion must face up to a past of terrible war and unacknowledged heroism, - a life of dusty corridors and secret rooms, of furtive meetings and blood-stained fields - to answer one last, impossible question:

What makes a hero?

Why I Loved It:

Due to my love of X-men, I constantly read YA and adult novels involving superheroes or individuals with strange powers. This Violent Century is perhaps one of the first adult novels that I have come across that includes individuals with strange gifts and a touching story that draws you in. The characters' powers were not over the top and the people seemed so real. Tidhar did a spectacular job of crafting a believable world filled with characters that you feel for. The story unfolds by following immortal individuals with special powers through present events and their pasts. Tidhar created a masterpiece, and it's a definite must read!

4) Wildenstern Saga by Oisin McGann


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GoodReads Summary of Ancient Appetites (Book 1):

Murder, betrayal, and power . . . Welcome to the Wildenstern empire

The slow collapse of the British Empire in the nineteenth century meant opportunity for anyone with ammunition and wit. Now the Wildensterns are by far the most powerful family and the most ruthless. Trained from childhood in the arts of assassination and conspiracy and endowed with the supernatural ability to live for more than a century, the clan has grown rich, vicious, and seemingly invincible.

After nearly two years away, eighteen-year-old Nate has returned. But his homecoming is shattered when his eldest brother, Marcus, is mysteriously killed. Following the Rules of Ascension, which allow one male family member to murder another, Nate is being blamed. Nate knows he isn t the murderer, but who is? With the help of his sister-in-law, Daisy, and his cousin Gerald, Nate intends to find out. Their investigation brings them into the underbelly of the Wildenstern empire, where living machines, conspiring relatives, and undercover mercenaries do their dirty work. But when a disaster uncovers the ancient remains of Wildenstern ancestors, the lives of the family members and their struggle for power will take a bizarre and gruesome turn."

Why I Loved It:

There aren't many steampunk novels that contain worlds and plots that are done extremely well, and I finally found my happy medium in McGann's epic Wildenstern Saga! So many books that are labeled as being part of the steampunk genre take place in a Victorian era London that's been depicted far too many times. This mold is fabulously broken with McGann's Ireland-based family feud. Some readers may complain that the story doesn't contain enough features of the steampunk genre, but I'm satisfied with the engimals and the odd, "supernatural" qualities of the Wildenstern bloodline. Plus, many steampunk stories are way too complicated with their politics and technology, and I love the fact that the Wildenstern Saga wasn't over-complicated in these aspects. McGann did a superb job in creating an awesome, unique, and interesting family whose problems only escalate in countless fashions as the story progresses.

5) An Unattractive Vampire by Jim McDoniel

GoodReads Summary:

"Jim McDoniel's first novel is quirky, wild, and weird, and definitely for those who hate those sexy vampire stereotypes who like their monsters nice and gross." -Geeks of Doom 

Jim McDoniel's debut novel, "An Unattractive Vampire," is a darkly comic urban fantasy of ancient horrors in suburban cities. After three centuries trapped underground, thousand-year-old Yulric Bile, also known as The Cursed One, The Devil's Apprentice, He Who Worships the Slumbering Horrors, awakens only to find that no one believes he is a vampire. Apparently he's just too ugly. Modern vampires, he soon discovers, are pretty, weak, and, most disturbing of all, good. Determined to reestablish his bloodstained reign, Yulric sets out to correct this disgusting turn of events or, at the very least, murder the person responsible. 

With the help of part vampire-wannabe Amanda; Simon, the eight-year-old reincarnation of his greatest foe; and a cadre of ancient and ugly horrors, Yulric prepares to battle the glamorous undead. But who will win the right to determine, once and for all, what it truly means to be a vampire?

Why I Loved It:

McDoniel is a fresh new voice in horror and has completely redefined the vampire genre! I was pleasantly surprised when I came across this book and discovered how unique and incredibly freaking awesome it was. The humor was spectacular, the characters had great chemistry, and the world finally has a new vampire that doesn't sparkle. Yes, I went there.

6) This Monstrous Thing by Mackenzi Lee


GoodReads Summary:

In 1818 Geneva, men built with clockwork parts live hidden away from society, cared for only by illegal mechanics called Shadow Boys. Two years ago, Shadow Boy Alasdair Finch’s life shattered to bits.

His brother, Oliver—dead.

His sweetheart, Mary—gone.

His chance to break free of Geneva—lost.

Heart-broken and desperate, Alasdair does the unthinkable: He brings Oliver back from the dead.

But putting back together a broken life is more difficult than mending bones and adding clockwork pieces. Oliver returns more monster than man, and Alasdair’s horror further damages the already troubled relationship.

Then comes the publication of Frankenstein and the city intensifies its search for Shadow Boys, aiming to discover the real life doctor and his monster. Alasdair finds refuge with his idol, the brilliant Dr. Geisler, who may offer him a way to escape the dangerous present and his guilt-ridden past, but at a horrible price only Oliver can pay…

Why I Loved It:

I have a slight obsession with reading recreations of older tales. From Brom's The Child Thief (a re-imagining of Peter Pan) to Jim McDoniel's An Unattractive Vampire (a reboot of the vampire genre that brings back the frightening vampires of old), I absolutely love it when authors take a well-established idea or story and alter it so that it becomes something unique, original, and utterly fantastic. This Monstrous Thing is one of these tales.

For some reason, I have always found deep relationships between brothers to be fascinating. In fact, This Monstrous Thing slightly reminded me of Fullmetal Alchemist, which was a huge plus. And I believe that Lee explored one of the most important aspects of Frankenstein -- what it truly means to be human.

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