Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Goldilox and the Ten Lists: Top Debut Books of 2014

I've had the opportunity to read a lot of great debut books this year! This made it hard to choose just five. Obviously I can't talk about them all, but I sure want to try! So after a brutal culling of the list, here are my five favorite books by debut authors. They are arranged in no particular order, because I can't decide on a ranking for these books if I tried. Let me know what your favorite debut books were down in the comments.

Jackaby (Jackaby #1) by William Ritter
Links: Goodreads Amazon
Why I love it:
Jackaby will definitely by one of my top ten favorite books I’ve read this year! I freaking loved it! Well, you all know that already since I wrote a RTFB post about it.

This book is just plain awesome! Like "immediately start rereading as soon as you finish it" awesome! I've already read it multiple times this year. It’s that amazing! It’s marketed as “Doctor Who meets Sherlock” and it definitely draws some parallels. I will admit though the second time it, I was looking specifically for why it’s compared to Doctor Who and I found several reasons why. And they were all brilliantly done!

R.F. Jackaby is the Sherlock for the supernatural and he is quirky and endearing while still being proud and more than a bit arrogant. I seriously loved everything about this book! I loved how down to earth our narrator, Abigail, was as well as her interactions with Jackaby. They’re dynamic is very much reminiscent of Sherlock and Watson.

The writing style is very engaging and creative and each of the characters are well developed. Ritter definitely deserves a slow clap for creativity. Case in point: Chapter 13. The book is nicely plotted and the pacing is spot on. I couldn’t quit turning the pages until I had finished. Hello! 3AM! Thank heavens this is the first book in a series because I seriously need more Jackaby and Abigail solving supernatural mysteries!

Child of a Hidden Sea (Hidden Sea Tales #1) by A.M. Dellamonica

Links: Goodreads Amazon
Why I love it:
Child of a Hidden Sea was a super fun read for me and it made me nostalgic for all of the portal fantasies I read as a teen. This was so good that I devoured it in less than a day. I found myself reading sneaking it in every free minute I had at work. It is smart and funny and has several elements that I love: pirates, science, magic, a strong heroine, and political intrigue all tied into a murder mystery on the high seas! It did take me a few chapters to get into the first-person narration because the main character has a habit of asking herself rhetorical questions. After I got used to it, I found this quite an endearing habit of Sophie's.

I absolutely adored the world building in this book! Stormwrack is complex and is filled with lots of different cultures, peoples, and religions. I mean the capital of the Fleet is basically a floating city in the middle of an ocean comprised of hundreds of ships belonging to the different island nations. Not only is the world fascinating but so is the magic system! It revolves around the inscribing of names and “intents” onto items and people which can make things complicated. The system places a lot of emphasis on a person's name and I found it an intriguing thing when matched with the overall story line. I fell in love with the characters and I want to know more about them! Seriously, I need more Sophie and Bram in my life. And I'm dying to know more about the enigmatic Captain Parrish and the tough Verena. I can't recommend this book enough! I need the sequel in my life!

The Martian by Andy Weir
Links: Goodreads Amazon
Why I love it:
Guys! The Martian was amazing! If you haven’t read it yet, quit reading this and go get it! Seriously. It deserves all of the stars! Mark Watney! I just can’t even tell you how much I love this character! The guy is stranded on Mars.. with no one. Does he cry? Well, only sometimes. Does he fight against the planet from hell? Heck yes!
“Things didn’t go exactly as planned, but I’m not dead, so it’s a win.”
Mark’s wry evaluation is essentially the summation of his attempts to survive on Mars. After a devastating and unexpected Martian hurricane-force storm wrecks havoc on the Martian crew, NASA calls for an ‘abort mission.’ As Mark is heading to the vehicle that will provide escape from Mars and return the crew to earth, he’s impaled by flying debris, loses consciousness and is presumed dead as the object impaled his suit bio-computer. Ironically, his injury was caused by a piece of antenna that would have enabled him to let his team–or Earth–know he was still alive. What follows is Mark’s log entry of his strategies to survive on Mars and signal Earth that he is still alive.

Mark has skills and he has to depend on his knowledge of everything from botany to Morse code to chemistry to survive. He’s a character that everyone can relate to. It was hilarious, funny, and totally believable. I fell completely in love with this book and it's going to be a personal favorite for a long time!

The Clockwork Dagger (Clockwork Dagger #1) by Beth Cato
Links: Goodreads Amazon
Why I love it:
I've already reviewed this book on this site so you all already know how much I loved it! The prize for my absolute favorite book of this year goes to this one. The world building is an amazing mix of steampunk and magic. Speaking of magic, the magic system in this book is so unique and fascinating! It's a healing magic that is a mix of science and religion. I've never really read anything like it!

Not only is the world and magic well done, the characters are amazing as well! They're quirky and loveable. Which can be a problem because you have no idea who is a friend and who is a foe. I loved this book so much! It's been months since I've read, but I seriously can’t stop thinking about it. I can't recommend this book enough!

Stolen Songbird (The Malediction Trilogy #1) by Danielle Jensen
Links: Goodreads Amazon
Why I love it:
Stolen Songbird starts with a kidnapping, adds in a pinch of fantasy, and proceeds to sweep you off your feet with a painfully beautiful romance. I loved it! I wasn’t planning on finishing it in one sitting, but I started it and all of a sudden it was 3AM and I had no more pages. The writing was beautiful and the world building was absolutely fantastic! 

Also, Stolen Songbird is one of those rare occurrences when the promo description from publisher does not lie. They recommend it “for those who have loved Seraphina and Graceling” and it has all the best elements from these books: intricate character development and cute slow building romance from Seraphina mixed with the action and political intrigue from Graceling. This is the first book in a trilogy and I can't wait to get my hands on the sequel, Hidden Huntress! It is definitely one of the best YA books I've read all year. I can't recommend it enough.

1 comment:

  1. I bought Jackaby when it was on sale a few weeks ago but I haven't read it yet. And I loved The Clockwork Dagger too. That would probably be my top debut of the year.


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