Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme created by the bloggers of The Broke and the Bookish. This week we are supposed to list the top ten books we read in 2012. This actually wasn't that hard for me to figure out which books made my top list - partially because I haven't read too, too many books this year, partially because my favorites just always manage to stand out to me.
Graceling & Fire by Kristin Cashore - I remember reading and enjoying Graceling years ago, but all the hype surrounding the release of Bitterblue this past year made me want to re-read Graceling and then read its sequels/companion novels Fire and Bitterblue. I adore everything about this series, from the fact that each focuses on a different character who is a strong female protagonist in her own right. I loved Graceling and Fire a bit more than I loved Bitterblue. Graceling and Fire really explored the limits of what it means to be human and "normal" for their two protagonists.
Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst - Another quality high fantasy that was released this year, this time taking place in a desert world. Liyana is a wonderful protagonist and Durst skillfully weaves together legends, mythology, and new cultures to create a wonderfully real world. I loved the philosophical questions that Durst posed about sacrifice for the greater good and whether it was wrong to have personal wants and desires with one's own life.
Eon & Eona by Alison Goodman - Through an Asian-inspired fantasy world, this duology creates its own Chinese mythology, examines gender roles, and has created a flawed, powerful, and incredibly realistic protagonist. I loved reading this story through Eona's first-person perspective. And I have yet to go wrong with political machinations leading a fantasy. Although Eona has the power to control dragons, I loved how they were basically confined to a spirit world and most of her power is spiritual and therefore internal, as are her struggles.
Seraphina by Rachel Hartman - I will never not love every protagonist who has a major identity crisis, but I think that Seraphina takes the cake this past year. In a world where humans and dragons live in a precarious peace, neither willing to admit the other's innate traits and characteristics, Seraphina is someone who should not exist: she's the daughter of a dragon and a human. The story itself has many major issues at stake, from political machinations to prejudice to forbidden romance, and at the center is Seraphina, struggling to accept her own identity.
Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta - A high fantasy that examines the political/societal/cultural implications of displacement and loss of identity. A flawed hero who wants to bring the displaced people of his country back together. If this sounds like the recipe for a wonderful high fantasy, that's because it is. Not only is Finnikin a great hero, but Evanjalin is utterly fantastic and together the two of them really bring out the best in the other.
Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta - I don't like contemporary YA novels as a general rule. I like using books to expand my imagination, rather than reading about people who could live very similar lives to mine. But this mindset of mine was altered after reading Jellicoe Road. The book was actually incredibly difficult to get into, but all my reading struggles were worth it once I saw how Marchetta deftly wove together different storylines and time periods in this spectacular novel. Because of this book, I'm not quite as resistant to contemporary YA novels.
The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater - Everything about this story is so subtle and atmospheric. As a general rule, I dislike dual narration. I'm one person and have a limited understanding/view of the world, so sometimes I feel like authors are copping out by using multiple points of view. But I actually did love the dual narration of Sean and Puck. It really helped me understand both characters' motivations and the growing relationship between them. Such a beautifully written book that also defies the idea that there has to be tons of action in YA books.
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor - Taylor hands-down wins the award for the most stunningly written story. Everything about Daughter of Smoke and Bone is beautifully descriptive, which made for a unique and satisfying reading experience. This is also probably the most imaginative book I've read not only this year, but for many years now. I loved reading about the hidden world of seraphim and chimera and how protagonist Karou fit into their neverending battle.
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein - I'm pretty sure that no female friendships will ever compare to that of Maddie and Verity. Their friendship is tested in so many ways during World War II and is unsurprisingly tragic, but it's also one of the most raw and realistic female friendships I've ever read about. I also loved the unreliable narration. Plus through the story of two young friends in World War II, we are able to envision the war effort in new, powerful ways.
Agree with any of my choices? Let me know what your favorite books of 2012 are!