Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, with a different topic set each week. This week the top ten topic is:
Top Ten Books I Thought I’d Like MORE/LESS Than I Did
Oooh, it’s an interesting topic this week! I expect this will depend a lot on how hyped something was, and whether we read it before or after all the praise or derision.
As I’m doing a ‘my favourites’ theme for my blogoversary, I’m going to stick with books that I ended up liking more than I thought I would. In other words, the ones that pleasantly surprised me.
1) The Iron King, by Julie Kagawa. Yes, I admit to being slightly put off by the ‘The Next Twilight’ sticker on the front. Something about the cover suggested a very airy-fairy type of faery story too, I’m not sure why. This book surprised me in all sorts of good ways. Non-stop things happening, disturbing evil faeries, danger, some genuinely scary and funny moments, and characters I actually liked. Really enjoyed it!
2) Holes, by Louis Sachar. I knew it won an award, so I was expecting it to be good, but I didn’t think it would be that good! This is exactly the kind of story I love, one that wraps up all the elements in it, so that even seemingly insignificant details are important, that ties past and present, that slowly unravels layer after layer, that is entertaining as well as having something to say about the world, and that has a sense of fatalism and a slight folklorish feel. A truly amazing book.
3) Catch 22, by Joseph Heller. I’m not usually a fan of war stories so I thought I might not like this, but this is hardly a typical war story. I actually didn’t know much about it before reading it, and at first was baffled, and then started to grin at how quirky and clever the whole thing was. Very glad I read it.
4) The Left Hand of Darkness, by Ursula le Guin. Id’ always heard that this is a great work of science fiction, and that it’s an important feminist story, which sounded good, but I have to admit that I was expecting something dryer than what I got. It is those things, but it’s also an exciting story with an epic feel, about two people battling against extreme elements. It’s perfectly paced, with great worldbuilding and psychology, some wonderful chapters that explore the myths of the planet, and finally a very touching love story.
5) Bitten, by Kelley Armstrong. I’d never read a Kelley Armstrong book before and expected it to be your average paranormal read. But Kelley’s writing is fantastic and the book gripped me and just didn’t let go. It was completely addictive.
6) Warm Bodies, by Isaac Marion. I’ve never had a great love for zombie stories, and now they are totally overdone. I’d love to read a zombie book featuring magic and a zombie-master, but it seems like all zombie stories are some variant of the ‘zombie disease’ idea now. I was interested in this book because of seeing trailers for the movie, as I thought it might be funny. It was so much more than funny. It was really clever, written in a literary style from the zombie point-of-view, and it managed to be quite a dark story while still being very funny and romantic.
7) Life As We Knew It, by Susan Pfeffer. Natural disaster brings about the end of the world as we know it, yawn. Only, this is good. Really good. Great characters, believable circumstances and actions, a slowly growing sense of doom rather than instant mayhem, and some really nail-biting tension.
8) Geek Girl, by Holly Smale. I thought this would be a light, fun read. It was, but it was also incredibly funny, moving and real. Holly Smale is not only a fantastic writer, she completely gets what it means to be a teenage girl, and the friendship between the main character and her best friend is inspiring. I adored it!
9) Embassytown, by China Mieville. A lot of people seemed to think this wasn’t a great example of his books, some pointed out how flawed it is, and then there was that whole Christopher Priest thing... yeah. But this book really blew me away. I thought it was fantastic. It’s quite different from the usual Mieville stuff, I suppose, and perhaps even more difficult, so I can see why some might not like it. But this is just the kind of science fiction story I love.
10) The Eternity Cure, by Julie Kagawa. I know, another Kagawa. I’m so unfair to her aren’t I? I did actually expect to like this one, as I loved The Immortal Rules, but I was also nervous. Now the character will surely go find Kanin and get into a love triangle and blah blah urgh. I should have trusted the author more. This book is pretty perfect.