The Best and the Worst of 2012 Readings

I have been thinking about making this list for months but I never had a chance (mood) to compile it until now.

For the full list of the books that I’ve read in 2012 is in this thread of mine. Some of which I never had gone around to review but feel free to discuss if you find it contradicts with your choices.

I never actually like having black and white mentality…. that include the rankings of good or bad books… But I’ll specified it with the genre categories so I could have a bunch of best and worst books of the years.

The category is separated by the bulk of my reading, namely Young Adult and Adult books and the later are Children and Non-Fiction. The books consisted of the stuff I’ve read in 2012 and may be or not be written within the year of 2012.

Best Young Adult in 2012

Best Book Series

  • Urban Fantasy / Paranormal : Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Chronicles of Nick

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  • Fantasy : Melina Marchetta’s Lumatere Chronicles

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Runner up: Cinda Williams Chima’s Seven Realms

Best Book – Individual

  • Urban Fantasy /Paranormal Romance- Jana Oliver – Forgiven

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Runner up : Andrea Cremer – Bloodrose 

(For both books, I might be a minority in this. I really love Forgiven’s conclusion and the story structure. In Bloodrose, I really like the conclusion and the sacrifice elements in it. Some may not agree but who am I to let other people judgement to bug me.)

  • Science Fiction (Steampunk) – Caitlin Kittredge – The Nightmare Garden

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Runner up : Marissa Meyer’s Cinder

(some might not agree with me but in terms of Steampunkness, Kittredge win hands down. I like Cinder’s fairy tale like story and the structures and the character but… I think it is a series  that probably will get better with age so as a beginning, its not much as a book)

  • Science Fiction (Dystopian) – Mari Mancusi’s Alternity

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Runner up : Marie Lu’s Legend

(Despite ‘Legend’ having awesome rebellion war against the corrupted militaristic government. But Mari Mancusi’s wordbuilding which I adore is more immersible and though provoking and more a proper Science Fiction anyway)

  • Fantasy : Cinda Williams China’s The Demon King

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Runner up : Melina Marchetta’s Froi of the Exiles

(I know its weird but trust me on this. I really love the beginning of Cinda Williams Chima’s Seven Realms series. It started really strong with the whole legends and destiny but the ending of the series is a disappointment to me. For Lumatere’s series, Finnikin of the Rock doesn’t have the desired impact on me. But the continuation is superb)

  • Urban Fantasy (Male POV) : Julie Kagawa’s The Lost Prince

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Runner up : Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Invincible

(I’ve read the whole Iron Fey series last year but as a beginning of a new series, I think as a new series, it fair better with Ethan’s point of view. In Invincible, I love the whole UF-ness in it and the worldbuilding as a DarkHunter series. It is amazing but as individual book, probably not much.

I would consider Richelle Mead in this section with the sequel “Golden Lily” but I still felt the book lack something substantial enough on its own.)

Worst Book – Individual 

(No worst series categories since I’m not sadistic enough for it)

Urban Fantasy /Paranormal Romance : Karen Mahoney’s The Wood Queen

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Runner up : Jennifer L. Armentrout’s Pure

(I read the first book of the Iron Witch series because I like the cover. Both books just fail as a series. Poorly written for something I’ve waited months for – which is the usual case in YA)

  • Science Fiction (Dystopian) – Veronica Roth’s Insurgent

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Runner up: Julie Kagawa’s The Immortal Rules

(Oh.. yes, I just love to put two of the most favorite book of the year in this slot but hear me out.

‘Insurgent’ might be the most popular book of the year but its also one of the most overrated book of the year. The writing is unimaginative, the world-building broke apart -literally- in this book. The first person narrating of the main character is much even worst and shallow that made reading this book causes me real-time nausea and facepalming. The author made a ‘creative decision’ which might have work if she produce a clear storyline and not being so preoccupied in occupying the mind of a 16 years old that was very unlikable that it distracts the reader.

I never really like the idea of ‘putting one shoe’ in YA genre. Most of the time, the author wasn’t mature enough to do it that the character came out as very tedious and often suicidal. Besides, I get tired of being Tris in this book. She’s moderately likable in the previous book but in this one, she’s so self-absorbed all the time. Even the POV strengthened my dislike of her because she simply too much with the whole self-depreciating thing.

As for ‘The Immortal Rules’, since I don’t have any other least favorite dystopian YA book so at 3-star, unfortunately it has fallen as a runner up in this section. To be honest, I like the book, but personally I still think the sequel is probably much better than this one.)

  • Fantasy – Jay Kristoff’s Stormdancer

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Runner up : Sarah J Maas’s Throne of Glass

(I never hide the truth. ‘Stormdancer’ made me angry about the whole reviewers sucking up to authors thing. The guy blatantly ignore Japanese culture and made up the whole thing to look Japanese and think its fine to mix up Asian culture for creative fun. Why wouldn’t I be angry?

Even as a writer, the lack of consideration towards a possible real Japanese reader is insulting enough, let alone an Asian like me who learn Japanese from anime.

That and the fact that the writing is as pathetic as the story. Even badly translated Japanese manga give more entertainment value than reading this book.

and as for Throne of Glass, another hype up book from writings published on fictionpress. Its not that bad like republishing a fanfiction but if you are a gamer, id you are more likely to have played games about teenage girl assassins, this book is a bad incarnation of it)

Best Adult Books 2012

Best Book Series

  • Urban Fantasy : Patricia Briggs’ Alpha and Omega series

ScreenHunter_51 Jan. 02 15.17

Runner up :  Keri Arthur’s Darkness Unbound

(I really like Alpha and Omega series more than Mercy Thompson’s series and Darkness Unbound solely for the noirish detective kind vibe )

  • Fantasy : G.A. Aiken’s Dragon Kin series

ScreenHunter_51 Jan. 02 15.20 ScreenHunter_52 Jan. 02 15.20

Runner up: Elizabeth Vaughan’s Chronicles of the Warlands series

(Don’t fear the bodice rippers.. lol. Its actually a very decent Dragon-related fantasy with some heavily sexualize content. But as the books goes, the story get into more world-building especially about the country and the prophecies and the gods. So its one of those book that you can overlook the cover for the content. Plus, who don’t want to read dragon (in human form) sex anyway.

As for Chronicles of the Warlands, it reminded me of the whole Daenerys and Drogo romance in A Game of Thrones. The romance in GoT was cut short but in this book, its much more intense in worldbuilding and characterizations and conflicts.

If you like to read about warlords without the boring details, you should give these book a chance)

  • Paranormal Romance Thea Harrison’s Elder Races series

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Runner up: Jennifer Ashley’s Shifter Unbound series and Larissa Ione’s Lords of Deliverence series

(Despite it flaws, I really did enjoy the whole Elder Races series until the end. As for Shifters Unbound, the beginning is a bit redundant but later the series get better. As for Lords of Deliverence, I read the beginning it from last year’s reading challenge and then continued on to this year. Again, bodice ripper… sigh)

*Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance are more defined that Young Adult. In other words : UF have less sex than PNR. LoL

Best Book – Individual

  • Urban Fantasy – Ilona Andrews – Gunmetal Magic

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Runner up : Patricia Briggs’s Fair Game

(As a standalone, Gunmetal Magic does wonders for the soul. If you have any reason at all to read side stories of a series, just read this book.)

  • Paranormal Romance : Jennifer Ashley’s Wild Cat

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Runner up : Larissa Ione’s Rogue Rider

(Since I haven’t reviewed both Wild Cat and Rogue Rider yet, I still think they deserved to be one of my favorite book of the year.

I love Wild Cat because although its is primarily a PNR, the characters aren’t much any different with UF. Besides, the multiple complex conflicts in it was very engaging as a whole and I was surprised how well weaved the story together.

Why does good story have to have sucky cover these days…. sigh…)

  • Science Fiction (Steampunk) : Meljean Brook’s Riveted

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Runner up : Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Moses from the Old Manse and other stories

(Even if I didn’t won Riveted from the author, I am a fan of her Iron Seas series and would get the book ARC or not ARC or ebook or not-ebook. I am surprised that I adore the book. Some of the contents in the book was the details in it including airships, mechanical limbs, trolls and the whole lesbianism stuff…. Besides, I love steampunk in anime and videogames and the author is probably the only one who could make me enjoy steampunk in book form.

As a series, Riveted is a stand-alone book that can be read even without reading the previous books. That fact alone made this book top of my favourite steampunk list. And the cover is so awesome….

as for Nathaniel Hawthorne… I never would have thought his writings was more of a science fiction interpretation of things. As for steampunkness, maybe I wanted to see it in his writing especially when the story is about mechanics and science but steampunk is still subjective as a genre… and he’s more suitable in steampunk genre than Poe did)

  • Science Fiction (Dystopian) : Anthony Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange

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(I adore the fact that Anthony Burgess created ACO in pre-independent Malaysia despite being a Russian-centric novel and that I get the title which initially meant A Clockwork Orang (Man). The book is very hard to comprehend but still a literary magnificent. The man is just fluent in his world-building and I always use him as an example. I know ACO somehow overshadowed his later work but to me, the author is still a genius with his words

And actually a lot of the books I’m reading in Science Fiction section was  in my currently reading section. I won’t put DNF in this list but Ursula Le Guin would likely be a great contender with Burgess)

  • Fantasy : G.A. Aiken’s How to Drive a Dragon Crazy

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Runner up : Peter S. Beagle’s The Last Unicorn

(Wouldn’t it be funny that I decided to put a wacky bodice-ripper title in this section that should be Game of Thrones, Tolkien and stuff. Lulz…

I actually read a bunch of classic fantasy books like Grimm’s and Alice in Wonderland because of Coursera but I do think HtDaDC is much appropriately a Fantasy book like any average Fantasy book.

I never actually care for Tolkien-recipe books. I don’t know why people always associate Fantasy books with these kind of stuff. A lot of Fantasy books make a good television but most of the time, it most of all, most of them made good bookends.

HtDaDC is a pretty funny but serious book about how a warrior lady and a warrior dragon prince trying to prevent a possible extreme cultist uprising that allow a demonic god to terrorize the world. Most of the time, its about the characters fighting about everything. But the world building is awesome in this. Dragon kingdoms, Dragon gods, Desert Dragons, insane dragons… oh.. the fact that its very Dragon centric kinda help in this case.

As for The Last Unicorn, I do think the story is wonderful on its own even without the animated movie. Both complements one another and it does give a whole new depth to Unicorn as a creature despite of my familiarity of the story. )

  • Horror : John Ajvide Lindqvist’s Let The Right One In

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(This book really is good….)

  • Mystery/Thriller : Lene Kaaberbol’s The Boy in the Suitcase

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(And another gem from my favourite Danish author. The Scandinavians do have great authors in these genre, I just hope they translate them enough.)

Worst Book – Individual 

  • Urban Fantasy / Paranormal Romance : Jeanine Frost – Once Burned

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(Moi, don’t get the hype around this novel… I like Angela Knight’s short of Vlad Tepes more than this book… and that was erotica with a good story)

  • Fantasy : Edgar Rice Burroughs’ A Princess of Mars

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(Only boys would love this. A world where nobody wear clothes in a desert planet….naked girls everywhere *eye rolls*)

  • Science Fiction : Fabien Vehlmann & Gwen de Bonneval’s Last Days of an Immortal

ScreenHunter_53 Jan. 02 16.50

(I tried liking this graphic novel… but its like a bad version of Aeon Flux)

*****

and for the rest of 1-2 star ratings.. just go check out Goodreads… even I got bored talking about it. As for Malay Fiction… I don’t really think anything that I read other than Ramlee Awang Murshid’s books is worth of note

If you think I might have been wrong in the head for placing some of the books in places they shouldn’t… jangan marah… hehehe

I will get on my reviewing schedule as soon as my holiday mood wore off. For now, I’m enjoying the fresh start of 2013 Reading Challenge.

These is just some of my book recommendations from my last year readings, if you have better offerings, just comment down below.

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