Instead of doing a Top 5 Wednesday video for our favourite reads of 2015, we decided that we would do a top ten list. Honestly, we read so many good books this year there was no way we would ever be able to narrow the list down to only five.
This list includes books that we’ve read in 2015, the books don’t necessarily have to have been published this year, but that being said a good chunk of them were. This was a really great reading year for us. Looking back at all the reviews we posted, almost everything was positive. 2015 was a great reading year here at Death of the Author.
So without further ado, I give you Part One of our Top Ten Reads of 2015. As Samuel L. Jackson would say: hold on to your butts!
#10. Illuminae by: Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
It was hard to avoid Illuminae at BEA. There were piles of the bright orange novel everywhere. Without really knowing what it was we dutifully picked it up and brought it home with us. Illuminae is is a fast paced science fiction novel that blows through enough plots to comfortably furnish multiple movies. That being said the book never feels like it’s too much. The layers of story build naturally onto one another and the story kept upping itself. There was never a dull moment in Illuminae, as the stakes were always being raised.
The story of Illumiae is told through email chains, video transcripts, chat room dialouges and other classified documents. It would have been very easy for the book to lack any real developmental depth. Yet character voices and their emotional states shine through the story. AIDAN, the ship’s AI was easily my favourite character, and his slow grasp of human emotions and how they cloud his decisions made for a fun (and mildly terrifying) read. The document formats also add another level of believably to the narrative.
Illuminae is the first book in a trilogy which is super exciting news. The sequel is set to be coming out sometime in 2016. I look forward to see where the story will go from here. Given how this book ended, the sky is the limit. Check out our review of Illuminae here.
#9. Carry On by: Rainbow Rowell
I’m not a big romance fan and I have never been a big romance fan. Yet the romance in Carry On was just so cute and perfect that I found myself sucked in. Chelsey even admitted to getting butterflies. She never gets butterflies.
Carry On is a character driven story that centers around Simon, your usual YA hero and Baz, your usual YA bad guy. The novel begins in their last year at Watford School of Magicks. When Baz, Simon’s nemesis doesn’t show up it slowly begins to drive Simon crazy. Set against the growing unrest of the magical world, Simon and Baz are forced to come to terms with their relationship and the fine line between love and hate.
Other than the romance, I really loved the magic system for this world. Spells are based off of phrases that either gain power or lose it based off of the popularity or cultural importance. This opens up all these different doors for how magic is used in different countries and different spells based off of their language systems.
From start to finish, Carry On is both a reflection and a love letter to the fantasy genre, specifically series like Harry Potter. Carry On can be read as a companion to Rowell’s previous novel Fangirl or on it’s own. Check out our review of the novel here.
#8. Carter and Lovecraft by: Jonathan L. Howard
When we talked to Jonathan L. Howard, he was really excited for this novel. It was his first book that was set fully in the United States. If this novel had been written under a pen name I would have never realized that it was Howard because this book feels so American. Carter and Lovecraft breaks from his tongue in check humour of the Johannes Cabal books and instead is written like a straight forward thriller, at least for the first half.
The book follows Carter, an ex cop who quit the force after a traumatic experience catching a serial killer. Carter, not able to leave the world of crime fighting fully behind becomes a private detective. His life is further derailed when he finds out that he has inherited a bookstore. There he meets Lovecraft. As they try to come to the bottom of the unexplainable things that begin to happen, the two of them strike up a friendship. Lovecraft was my favourite character in the novel, she takes nothing from anyone. She has a subtle sense of humour that slowly surfaces as she begins to trust Carter. She’s the type of character who would never let herself take the backseat to anyone else, making herself a great foil and someone you would want to have your back in a gun fight.
The novel starts out as a pretty standard police procedural, but eventually it begins to be taken over by the Lovecraftian cosmic horror. Carter is the first book in a series and by the way it ended, I’m hooked and am super excited to see where the series goes. Check out our review for Carter and Lovecraft here.
#7. Rat Queens by: Kurtis J. Weibe and Roc Upchurch
Rat Queens is something that I’ve wanted all my life. The story is set in a fantasy world and followers a band of adventurers/mercenaries that call themselves the Rat Queens. Each character fulfills a traditional fantasy character class: the fighter, the mage the rogue and the healer, but that’s about where the stereotypes end. Most importantly: they’re all women.
In Sass and Sorcery, the Rat Queens are sent on a mission to clear out a goblin horde as punishment for their actions at a party the previous night. With their job completed and ready to head home, the girls are ambushed by an assassin. Upon their return, they realize that they were not the only band of adventureres that were sent to their deaths. The Queens have to not only figure out who wants them dead, but navigate their own personal relationships and problems.
This series is so quipy, making it impossible to flip through. You find yourself getting dragged back into the story and its crude sense of humour. It’s hard to choose who your favourite character is because everyone is well rounded, fully developed and hilarious. Best of all, you never feel like you’re being pandered too, Rat Queens isn’t trying to make a statement, instead it’s having a great time telling a fun story.
Check out our review for the first two volumes here.
#6. Six of Crows by: Leigh Bardugo
I dragged Chelsey to a book signing event earlier this year and Leigh Bardugo was one of the authors participating in the tour. Neither of us had read any of her novels but her Grisha Trilogy had been on our radar. Chelsey was completely won over by the beautiful Six of Crows (BLACK TIPPED PAGES). This novel takes place in the same world as the Grisha Trilogy, but follows a different group of characters who have to pull of a heist. Characters get themselves into crazy situations and use clever means to get themselves out in one piece on the other side.
Watching the characters learn to work together, have fights, make up and then have fights over other things was a lot of fun. Chelsey also admits to loving another romance, I have a feeling she’s going a little soft on me…. How horrifying.
So if you haven’t checked out Six of Crows, you totally should, I know that I’m making time to read the Grisha trilogy some time in 2016 as a way to hold myself over till the Crows sequel set to release some time in 2016. Because for every series that we finish, a new one rises to take it’s place.
So there you have the first half of our Top Ten Reads of 2015! Check out the second part here!
Do you agree with our picks? Do you have any ideas what made the top five? Tell us about them in the comments below, but until then… Happy Reading!