Books of 2016

All the cool kids are doing it, so I thought I’d join in with a list of my Top Ten Books[1] of 2016. Buckle up kids, here we go.

12. The Woman in Cabin 10 – Ruth Ware

Utterly brilliant locked-room mystery from the super-talented Ruth Ware. A journalist is invited onto a luxury yacht for a press junket only to witness a murder. But no-one is missing from the boat…

Tense, fast, twisty plot. Loved it.

11. Revenger – Alastair Reynolds

Revenger - Alastair Reynolds

‘Firefly meets Iain M. Banks’ – a swashbuckling pirate adventure of a small ship and crew against a starry backdrop with enough hard SF to appease the most ardent fan. There are hijinks galore, treasure chests hidden in far-flung nooks, daring adventures and more than a touch of the high seas. Revenger is splendid fun. Easily one of the best sci-fi novels I’ve read for a long time, and I really hope we get to meet Fura Ness again.

10. Poison City – Paul Crilley

Poison City

Poison City sits firmly on the List Of Books Dave Will Insist You Read (Or Else). Imagine Harry Potter grew up, moved to South Africa and adopted a sherry-loving spirit guide called Dog – Poison City is a hard-boiled urban fantasy detective noir (and we do so love such things). It’s like a bit of Ben Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London mixed with Paul Cornell’s Shadow Police, with a healthy dash of Lauren Beukes. Very *very* recommended but not for the faint-hearted.

9. Epiphany Jones – Michael Grothaus

Epiphany Jones cover - 500

One of the more… unusual books I’ve ever read. Jerry Dresden is a man with issues. Serious issues. He keeps seeing people, figments he calls them and we, the reader, are never quite sure what to make of them. It’s sharp and graphic and uncomfortable, and nothing is simple or straightforward in Jerry Dresden’s world. I flat-out adored Epiphany Jones. She’s a brilliant, brilliant character and you’re never quite sure what she’s going to do next.

I’ve read a lot of thrillers over the years, but never one quite like Epiphany Jones. It’s unusual, quirky, dark, graphic and unsettling in equal measures. Michael Grothaus is a seriously talented guy and one to watch very, very closely.

8. Black Night Falling – Rod Reynolds


Black Night Falling is a dark and deeply atmospheric thriller and Rod evokes the time and place (Arkansas in the 1940’s) of the story beautifully and there’s a wonderfully gritty, noir feel. Rod certainly knows how to tangle a plot, expertly draping it with red herrings which leave you guessing. Highly recommended.

7. Deep Down Dead – Steph Broadribb

Deep down dead - steph broadribb

Featuring a kick-ass heroine, Deep Down Dead is a helter-skelter thrill ride pretty much from the off. I love nothing more than a good thriller, and Steph has delivered a *great* thriller, steeped in Americana with settings and characters which feel completely authentic and with a plot which insists that you don’t put it down. I read this on holiday recently and found myself staying up entirely too late to read just one more chapter. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.

6. In Her Wake – Amanda Jennings

In Her Wake HBcover copy 4

What if someone told you that you’re not who you think you are? Who you’ve been brought up and lived your whole life as? At the most basic level, this is a story of family dynamics, secrets and relationships. The fears that face parents when something endangers the safety and well-being of their children. The catastrophic sense of loss and sadness when someone is taken from us.

But it’s so much more than that. In Her Wake is a complex, layered tale of identity and control – husbands controlling wives, wives controlling husbands, and how it feels to break those shackles, to become your own person and not who everyone else is insisting that you are.

5. Morning Star – Pierce Brown


Regular readers will be well aware of my complete fanboyness when it comes to Mr Brown and his books. So you might be surprised to see Morning Star, book 3 of the Red Rising trilogy coming in a number five in this list. That’s no reflection on Pierce’s book but merely serves to show just how bloody brilliant the others in the list are. Morning Star is the utterly brilliant conclusion to one of the best trilogies I’ve ever read. It’s astonishing in its scope and ambition and delivers on every level.

If you’ve not read the Red Rising books, do yourself a favour and go buy them all, find a nice comfy sofa with a large glass or mug of whatever you fancy and settle in for a treat.

4. Zero-G (Outer Earth #2) / Impact (Outer Earth #3) – Rob Boffard


Huge fan of Rob’s work. HUGE. And he delivered not one but two books into my reading list for 2016, both of which were brilliant, white-knuckle rides of awesomeness. Having turned the action up to 11 for Zero-G, could Rob find a new setting on the dial for the finale? Of course he could. He knocked it out of the park.

Again. Cracking trilogy, not to be missed.

3. Nevernight – Jay Kristoff


Nevernight is just simply wonderful. The worldbuilding is astonishingly good. Shades of Locke Lamora, with a ton of Pratchett-esque footnotes[4]. Superb, complex characters. And a sand kraken called Alfi[5].

Imagine if Hogwarts was a school for assassins where a young girl goes to learn how to avenge her father’s murder[6]. A school where you learned how to kill or be killed, with a blade, with poison, or with your wits. And you might learn some of the more… subtle[7] arts too.

The characters are plentiful and wonderful. Even the bad ones. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry[8], you’ll tell yourself ‘just one more chapter’[9]

2. A Closed and Common Orbit, by Becky Chambers

closed and common orbit

Sequel to the utterly wonderful The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet, Closed and Common Orbit is another delight, heartwarming and gorgeously written. One of those books you’ll go back to time and again just to spend time in the company of the characters. Read Long Way first, for here be spoilers…

And the book of the year is…


The Wolf Road – Beth Lewis

The Wolf Road | Beth Lewis

2016 has been a bumper year for fantastic books, but The Wolf Road was just astonishingly good, with a truly distinctive and unforgettable narrator. I said in my review that if this book didn’t place very highly in my books of 2016, I would be very *very* surprised. I am completely unsurprised to see it at the top of the list. I can easily recommend any and all of the books on this list, but if pressed to choose just one, this would be it.

And that’s that. Lots of lovely books. Still reading a few, but thus far, these are my books of the year. Go, enjoy.

But first, tell me about your favourite book that you’ve read this year!

[1] yes, I know there are 12[2] books on the list[3].
[2] yes, I KNOW. I’ve counted Rob Boffard’s books as one.
[3]It’s my blog and I’ll do whatever I want. So there.
[4] I *love* footnotes. Possibly a little too much, some would say.
[5] I mean, how could you not love a sand kraken? Especially Alfi. Alfi is awesome.
[6] Shades of The Princess Bride as well then. Seriously, have you not already ordered and read this book? WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?
[7] You might blush. No, seriously. I didn’t blush. Much.
[8] no, really. Page 553. I’ve still not forgiven Jay for *that*
[9] and we all know how *that* ends, don’t we?

Author: dave

Book reviewer, occasional writer, photographer, coffee-lover, cyclist, spoon carver and stationery geek.

11 thoughts on “Books of 2016”

  1. Lots to add to my to read list here. I enjoyed Poison City a lot. I’ve been on the waiting list at the library for Morning Star for ages now, so I’m glad to hear it’s worth the wait 🙂
    I finally read In a Dark, Dark Wood this year, so can move onto The Woman in Cabin 10 soon!

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