Serena’s Favorite Reads of 2017: Picks 5 Through 1

Another a year, another almost impossible task trying to each choose our Top 10 Reads of the year! And don’t forget to check out our “12 Days of Christmas” giveaway that may even features a few books from these very same lists! Today I’m going to countdown my favorites reads, five to 1. 

23909755Pick Number 5: “City of Blades” by Robert Jackson Bennett

“City of Blades” Review

This is the special snowflake of a pick because it’s the middle book of a trilogy. And that’s when you know you have something special. Without the crutches of introducing a new world or wrapping up a complete series, a middle story must stand on its own. “City of Blades” capitalizes in all of the strengths of world-building and creative magic systems given to us in the first book. But it expands on them with a deep look at the cost of war and what it means to be a solider. Add to that the fact that we have a middle aged veteran woman as the leading lady who turns into my favorite character in the entire series, and “City of Blades” is a must for this list.

32718027Pick Number 4: “City of Brass” by S. A. Chakraborty

“City of Brass” Review

“The City of Brass” has been compared to “The Golem and the Jinni,” and as someone who loved the latter, it’s quite something for me to now report that this book is even better! Especially for those looking for more magic, more action, and more complicated political and religious maneuverings ala “Game of Thrones.” I completely loved the lush descriptions of the cities (both real and magical) in the historical Middle East, as well as the brilliantly-drawn characters each exposing a new, and deeper, version of a history that is still playing out as the story progresses. I love books where I can’t decide who is right or really have any clue how this whole mess will be resolved.

31817749Pick Number 3: “The Broken Earth” trilogy by N. K. Jemisin

“The Fifth Season” Review
“The Obelisk Gate” Review
“The Stone Sky” Review

The first of what, as you will see, is a cheaty pattern of mine in these reviews: the entire series pick! But really, it’s just a way of saving you all from hearing me blather on about multiple books in a series/by an author over and over again as they fill up the entire list. But especially in this case, I feel justified. In many ways, this trilogy reads as one long book that has simply been cut into three parts. If you had the wrist strength, you could mash all the books together and read it that way and probably not notice a thing. The story takes places in a diverse world where power and privilege don’t necessarily go hand in hand, where one woman unwilling finds herself in a battle for the future, with allies who were enemies and an enemy who may too have been a victim in its own time. These books are winning all the awards and they are all deserved.

34050917Pick Number 2: “The Bear and the Nightingale” & “The Girl in the Tower” by Katherine Arden

“The Girl in the Tower” Review
“The Bear and the Nightingale” Review

It’s hard to believe that “The Bear and the Nightingale” technically came out in 2017, but it did, thus dooming me to a second (but not last) multiple-book-entry. But really, how can you ask me to choose? With both of these books, I absolutely adored the beautiful fairytale-like quality of the storytelling, the unique setting of Medieval Russia, and the haunting story of a young woman who doesn’t fit into the role the world wants of her. The first book was dark, quiet, and dangerous like a winter’s night. The second was moving, pushing, willing itself forward and through,like its young protagonist and her magical horse. They are both exquisite reads and I confident that the third book will make its way on next year’s list as well.

29939230Pick Number 1: “Shades of Magic” trilogy by V. E. Schwab

“A Darker Shade of Magic” Review
“A Gathering of Shadows” Review
A Conjuring of Light” Review

I don’t know why it took me so long to pick up the first book in this trilogy! And while I have tons of side-eye for my past self’s decision making process, I also was lucky enough to blow through the first two books in this trilogy mere weeks before the third, so that dreaded cliffhanger was barely a blip for me. This trilogy had everything I could ever ask for: action, magic, world-hopping, romance, an awesome hero and an even more awesome heroine. Lila Bard is everything. Just typing out this mini synopsis is making me hanker for a re-read; maybe this will be my late Christmas present to myself! Gift yourself as well and check these books out immediately!

So there’s my complete list! What were your top five reads of 2017?

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