Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Epic Reading List Mark Two: Overview and Awards

I fail. I know.

Let us do a brief recap.

The List:
1. Mockingjay -Suzanne Collins
2. First Test -Tamora Pierce
3. Darkness Falls -Cate Tiernan
4. Page -Tamora Pierce
5. Where Things Come Back -John Corey Whaley
6. Squire -Tamora Pierce
7. Beautiful Darkness -Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
8. Lady Knight -Tamora Pierce
9. Cinder -Marissa Meyer
10. Trickster's Choice -Tamora Pierce
11. The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight - Jennifer E. Smith
12. Trickster's Queen -Tamora Pierce
13. Halfway to the Grave -Jeanine Frost
14. Tortall and Other Lands -Tamora Pierce
15. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer -Michelle Hodkin

The Add-On Books:
Black Heart - Holly Black
Insurgent - Veronica Roth
Flight of Angels - Rebecca Guay
City of Lost Souls - Cassandra Clare

The Ratings:

Beyond Epic:
First Test
Where Things Come Back
Black Heart
Lady Knight
City of Lost Souls
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer

Massively Epic:
Beautiful Darkness
A Flight of Angels
Trickster's Queen

Darkness Falls
Trickster's Choice
Tortall and Other Lands

Sort of Epic:
Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight

Not So Epic:
Halfway to the Grave

So, I had a lot of Beyond Epic books again. I'm still not sure if I am just an easy reader or if this list was just awesome. I read a lot of books that I really liked and had a couple I went into expecting to absolutely adore and just didn't. Basically, this list went along the same lines as the last one. There were a few delays and moments of frustration about the whole structure.

Let's do the awards thing. I added a few new categories. Huzzah!

Favorite Read: Okay, so we have a tie.

I loved this book. It has so much heart and a narrative unlike anything I've ever read. The characters felt true to their age, something that I find different from most of the books that I read. It's a quirky heartache of a book. I was so skeptical since it's not my typical sort of book but it sucked me in. I laughed, I teared, my heart hurt so bad. Cullen is very similar to me in a lot of ways. I cannot wait to see what John Corey Whaley does next.

This book surprised me as well but in a different way. I had grown a little complacent in my reading. Not that the books I've been reading weren't challenging in their own way but most of them were part of a series that I've already started. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer is completely different and totally new. I love the snark factor of Mara. She's awesome. I can't wait for The Evolution of Mara Dyer.

Favorite Hero/ine:
Kel from The Protector of the Small. I did try not to do any of my rereads but I can't help it. Kel might be my all time favorite heroine. She's witty and dry and determined. She grows up so much on the page and I love seeing that. If nothing else (and there is plenty else) she stays true to herself and her beliefs. Kel has always been someone I've aspired to be like.

Favorite Crushables:
So, I can't do Finnick again. Even though...Finnick...poor broken Mockingjay Finnick. So, and we'll tie it again. I am fickle that way.

Noah Shaw from The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer. A boy letting me sleep in his bed with pet animal crackers has been added to my boyfriend requirement list. His thinly veiled compassion and not caring what others think are both traits I love in my fictional men.

Second Raoul of Goldenlake. Okay, so he's in his forties in Protector of the Small. I love him. His ferocity and shyness. He's funny and firm but not harsh. He knows how to welcome people. He takes the time to learn about those he commands. Raoul also doesn't care what people think and is more than willing to help along any cause he deems worthy.

Favorite Villain:
Sebastian/Jonathan, or as I call him Sebonathan from City of Lost Souls. He is closely tied with Incy from Darkness Falls but the whole incest, you're my only other half thing gives Sebonathan the edge. He's sinister. You almost want to root for him at one point because he wants to be understood so badly. But, of course, you'd be foolish. He's twisted and delightful, sickeningly so. Clare out does herself with him.

Favorite Cover:
This one seems like a no-brainer. I mean, look at that. It's beautiful. The story it's from is beautiful. It suggests the type of stories that are inside without giving everything away. It's sensual and gorgeous. Intimate and not. I love it.

Favorite Plot Device:

Okay, so I made this one up for Matched but I kept it because it fit a book I read this list too. This time I chose Mara's madness. I loved that I wasn't ever entirely sure what was real. I'm still not. It was a great way to hide some things that were happening and make important moments seem unimportant. Hodkin masterfully weaves this into the fabric of the novel.

Favorite First Book:

This might seem like an odd category but a first book can make or break a series. It's the hook. No matter how good the second book is, if the first isn't good no one will read the second. I'm giving this one, again to Mara Dyer. I am practically aching to know what happens. I can't wait to see what Hodkin does with what she's established, how it all fits together.

Favorite Last Book:
This might be the only last book that's not a reread but it definitely deserves recognition. Holly Black's Black Heart is everything we could have hoped for from the end of The Curse Workers. It's witty and twisty and kept me, at least, guessing. I feel like I learned a lot from the series. I might be a decent conwoman.

Best Surprise:
My intensity of feeling for Where Things Come Back startled me. The big thing was the idea of losing one of my sisters. John Corey Whaley shows amazing understanding of the connection between siblings. I hurt in the best way possible thinking about that book. I loved the cynicism and soul it embodied.

Worst Surprise:
I so wanted to like Halfway to the Grave. I really did. My mum and sister liked it so much I tried. I really did. I guess this is a really bad "award" to give but it needed to be said. It's just not my thing. It all seemed so over done. It was a definite struggle to get through.

And last:

Favorite Reread:
This was more of a struggle this time around. It was torn between Squire and Lady Knight. I have to go with Lady Knight. I really liked that this book is more of an ensemble deal. I never really picked up on it before. But the character relations are my favorite things about Tamora Pierce so this book really hit home with me. It has everything she excels at and takes it further. I loved and enjoyed this book more than I ever had before. It is all about the characters.

So, those are my award-type things. I guess. I know this post was really late. And I suck at life.

As for a new list. There won't be one for a while. I am going to do a little reading free-for-all for a bit. So, let's see how that goes. I'm not too far into Size 12 is not Fat but my word count has been awesome, so there's that. Huzzah.

I'll see you all tomorrow for Weigh in Wednesday.


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