Time for the annual look back over my favourite books of 2015. According to Goodreads, I’ve read… less than I thought! I suspect my filing system on there is borked. Anyway, here are some of the highlights of the year.
The Martian, by Andy Weir. One of the first books I read this year. Fantastic stuff. I’ve not seen the movie, which I’m assured is very good, but the book is always better anyway. 🙂
Red Rising/Golden Son, by Pierce Brown. Now, regular readers and twitter followers will know that I thought that Red Rising was good (not entirely true – I thought Red Rising was spectacular), but Golden Son takes it to a new level. Pierce has clearly matured as an author and Golden Son is more assured and confident, bigger in scale, grander in spectacle. I cannot wait for book 3, Morning Star.
The Masked City, by Genevieve Cogman. We’ve got librarian spies in an alternate universe Venice. With dragons. Enormous fun. Irene is a brilliant heroine, taking no nonsense from anyone, be they dragon or fae. This is the follow-up to The Invisible Library (go read that first!)
The Last Days of Disco by David F. Ross. Funny, sad, dark, and almost Banksian in its portrayal of intertwining Scottish family tales. Wonderful characters. Cracking 80s soundtrack.
Tracer, by Rob Boffard. A kick-ass heroine on a massive space station containing the remnants of the human race, a million souls crammed into an 18-mile long metal ring. It’s tense and claustrophobic, overcrowded and dirty out there in space, and you feel every bit of it. A thrill ride of action-packed sci-fi. Fantastic. Sequel (Zero-G) out soon. Can’t wait.
Disclaimer, by Renee Knight. An interesting premise – you receive a book which turns out to reveal your darkest secret. Who wrote it, and why? And what happens when your nearest and dearest read it? Kept me up for just one more page, one more chapter.
Snowblind, by Ragnar Jónasson. Set in Siglufjörður, a quiet fishing village in Northern Iceland. Dark, atmospheric, one of the best crime novels I’ve read. It’s a small-town mystery where everyone has their secrets and not everything is as it appears. Currently reading the follow-up, Nightblind, which is even better.
Book of the year?
Tricky, but has to be The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers. Oh. My. Word. Becky has created so many memorable characters here – Kizzy, Sissix, Dr Chef and more – and they’re all wonderfully realised. I could sit and listen to them chat all day. You really need to meet them for yourself. Strong echoes of Firefly at play here (ragtag group aboard a beloved ship with a charismatic captain), but this is so very much its own book. After reading this I had to redefine what I meant by a 5* rating. LOVED IT SO MUCH.
- Meet Me In Malmö /Murder in Malmö by Torquil Macleod
- We Shall Inherit the Wind, by Gunnar Staalesen
- Trigger Mortis, by Anthony Horowitz
- Sewing the Shadows Together, by Alison Baillie
- Follow You Home, by Mark Edwards
And the worst book?
I tend not to write up reviews for books I didn’t really like, and have been really fortunate this year to only have one on the list: Matthew Reilly’s Great Zoo of China. A firm two stars (and I was being generous), and only really reviewed because I am (or was) a huge fan of his early work. They were great fun, stratospherically high concept thrillers which were fantastically silly but enjoyable. Great Zoo… wasn’t. So disappointing.
Books I’m looking forward to reading in 2016:
- Rise and Fall of the Miraculous Vespas, by David F. Ross
- Zero-G, by Rob Boffard
- Morning Star, by Pierce Brown
- Jihadi: A Love Story, by Yusuf Torporov
amongst (many!) others…
Thanks must go to all the lovely authors, publishers and PR people who were kind enough to send me review copies over the year. Where I’ve been sent a book for review, I’ll always say so, but the reviews are always my own opinion!