Can you believe that we’re already halfway through 2018? Because I certainly can’t. Six months of reading have passed and six months of more reading lie ahead. I’d like to share with you the best books I read since January today. I’ve read a total of 25 books up until now and I decided to give you a top 5 (in order of the date I read them).
The Bear and the Nightingale
TBATN was the second book I read this year. My first read, The Hazel Wood, disappointed me and I really wanted to read something better. When I received my Book box club for the month of December I was stoked that it contained both The Bear and the Nightingale and the sequel, The Girl in the Tower, which I read immediately after. Set in the Russian wilderness, TBATN has a major cold and mysterious fairy tale vibe that will have you hooked straight from the start. Our main character Vasya is a little badass you can’t help but root for.
When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi
I don’t even know where to begin when talking about this book. It’s the story of Paul Kalanithi, a neurosurgeon in his last year of training, who gets diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer. He goes from being a doctor treating dying patients to become a patient struggling to live himself. In beautiful, gripping sentences Paul Kalanithi describes the last moments of his life. He talks about his family, friends, his fears and he does so with so much love that there’s no way for you as a reader to not get attached. This is the kind of book I feel like everyone should read because it will make you look at life in a different way.
The Beast Player by Nahoko Uehashi (full review)
The Beast Player was the biggest surprise for me. I fell in love with the cover before I fell in love with the book, but the story ended up being even better than I had hoped. In The Beast Player, we follow Elin’s journey. After her mother gets sentenced to death, but before she dies she manages to get Elin to safety. Elin comes under the care of a friendly beekeeper, who soon realizes that Elin is not just an ordinary girl and sends her to the Kazalumu Beast sanctuary. Here, Elin learns the craft of taking care of Royal Beasts. She is, however, the first person to find a way to communicate with them… and this leads to all sorts of trouble. The writing is so atmospheric and beautiful that it will envelop you completely.
Scythe + Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman
(full review Scythe) (full review Thunderhead)
I can’t even remember the last time I read a Dystopian novel before I entered Neal Shusterman’s incredibly interesting and well-crafted world in Scythe! This exceeded all my expectations. It’s set in a future where a benevolent Artificial Intelligence has taken over the world. All problems (like natural death) that belonged to the Mortal Age are eradicated, and the only way to die is when a Scythe ‘gleans’ you. Our main characters Citra and Rowan get chosen to become Scythe’s apprentices but they soon realize there’s much more going on in the Scythedom than gleaning. Once you finish Scythe, you’ll immediately want to continue with Thunderhead, and once you finish that… join me in the achingly long wait for the third book.
Only Love Can Break Your Heart by Katherine Webber (full review)
I’ve said it a million times already: I’m not a fan of YA contemporaries. I can’t remember the last time I picked one up just because I wanted to read it for myself. I usually get them from publishers and in some way, I’m very glad that makes me pick one up every now and then. Only Love Can Break Your Heart was such a surprisingly beautiful story about Reiko’s struggle with herself about who she wants to be, what she wants to do and who she wants to be with. I couldn’t stop reading and I couldn’t stop crying. Please read this book.
Bonus: To Kill a Kingdom by Alexandra Christo
I originally didn’t plan to include this in my list, but I devoured it last night and it’s definitely a worthy addition. The book felt like a combination of two of my favourite books, Six of Crows & ADSOM, but then mixed with some siren action. When notorious siren princess Lira (who only hunts human princes) gets turned into a human as punishment, she has to hunt without her siren skills for the heart of a notorious siren-killing prince. You guess what happens next ;). To Kill a Kingdom has badass (female) characters, pirates, lots of banter and beautiful writing: I would 100% recommend it.
Did you read any of these yet? What are your faves of 2018 so far? Do let me know in the comments!