I know I don’t post here often but that will change soon enough. I’ve got a project up and coming that I hope will prove interesting. But for now I’d like to post my top ten books of 2013 for genres in Young Adult and Urban Fantasy. Young Adult is listed below for this post. Please note that these are books that I have READ in 2013, but weren’t necessarily published in 2013 (although the majority of them were). I’ll be counting down from ten to one, giving a little insight to the book and links to the author’s page. Feel free to leave comments on your own top ten faves of this year.
10. Steelheart – Brandon Sanderson
There are no heroes.Ten years ago, Calamity came. It was a burst in the sky that gave ordinary men and women extraordinary powers. The awed public started calling them Epics.
But Epics are no friend of man. With incredible gifts came the desire to rule. And to rule man you must crush his wills. Nobody fights the Epics… nobody but the Reckoners. A shadowy group of ordinary humans, they spend their lives studying Epics, finding their weaknesses, and then assassinating them. And David wants in. He wants Steelheart—the Epic who is said to be invincible. The Epic who killed David’s father. For years, like the Reckoners, David’s been studying, and planning—and he has something they need. Not an object, but an experience.
He’s seen Steelheart bleed. And he wants revenge.
Like all the books on my list, I LOVED this one. Revenge, justice, lots of anger and redemption. The hero has a lot of qualities I adore in stubborn male characters. He has the amount of pride that moves the story along and captures the attention. And since I’ve always been a big fan of the idea of superheroes, it made me love it even more.
Brandon Sanderson also writes the fantasy series Mistborn and The Stormlight Archive. He can be found here: http://brandonsanderson.com/
9. Quintana of Charyn – Melina Marchetta
There’s a babe in my belly that whispers the valley, Froi. I follow the whispers and come to the road . . .Separated from the girl he loves and has sworn to protect, Froi must travel through Charyn to search for Quintana, the mother of Charyn’s unborn king, and protect her against those who will do anything to gain power. But what happens when loyalty to family and country conflict? When the forces marshalled in Charyn’s war gather and threaten to involve the whole of the land, including Lumatere, only Froi can set things right, with the help of those he loves.
The third installment to the Lumatere chronicles satisfies my lust for high fantasy quite well. Froi and Quintana are magnetic and pull you under their spell so you desperately crave for that happy ending.
Melina Marchetta is a wonderful Australian writer and can be found here – http://melinamarchetta.wordpress.com/
8. The Pirate’s Wish – Cassandra Rose Clarke
After setting out to break the curse that binds them together, the pirate Ananna and the assassin Naji find themselves stranded on an enchanted island in the north with nothing but a sword and their wits. But Naji has unseen enemies, and Ananna must face the wrath of the Pirate Confederation. Together, they must travel afar, defeat their foes and break the mother of all curses. With all this going on, falling in love would be such a bad idea… All of this and much, much more await, in the swashbuckling sequel to The Assassin’s Curse.
Pirates…romance…sword fights….Damn, this was a good one. I love the author’s writing style and how her characters have such strange chemistry. It’s a very original, unique follow up to the Assassin’s Curse and I’m eagerly awaiting to read the third installment.
Cassandra Rose Clarke can be found here – http://www.cassandraroseclarke.com/
7. The Collector – Victoria Scott
He makes good girls…bad. Dante Walker is flippin’ awesome, and he knows it. His good looks, killer charm, and stellar confidence have made him one of hell’s best—a soul collector. His job is simple: weed through humanity and label those round rears with a big red good or bad stamp. Old Saint Nick gets the good guys, and he gets the fun ones. Bag-and-tag. Sealing souls is nothing personal. Dante’s an equal-opportunity collector and doesn’t want it any other way. But he’ll have to adjust, because Boss Man has given him a new assignment: Collect Charlie Cooper’s soul within ten days. Dante doesn’t know why Boss Man wants Charlie, nor does he care. This assignment means only one thing to him, and that’s a permanent ticket out of hell. But after Dante meets the quirky Nerd Alert chick he’s come to collect, he realizes this assignment will test his abilities as a collector…and uncover emotions deeply buried.
Stepping away from high fantasy for a bit to highlight a 2013 debut author Victoria Scott. Her Collector series, featuring the super-sexy Dante Walker, is full of laughs and great plot. This is a series that left me giggling and waiting eagerly for the second. The third and final installment to the trilogy is set to release in 2014. (Remind me again why it can’t be today? I mean, come on, early Christmas present?!)
Join Victoria Scott and her V-Mafia here: http://www.victoriascottya.com/
6. The Art Of Wishing – Lindsay Ribar
He can grant her wishes, but only she can save his life. Margo McKenna has a plan for just about everything, from landing the lead in her high school play to getting into a good college. So when she finds herself in possession of a genie’s ring and the chance to make three wishes, she doesn’t know what to do. Why should she put her life into someone else’s hands? But Oliver is more than just a genie — he’s also a sophomore at Margo’s high school, and he’s on the run from a murderer. As he and Margo grow closer, she discovers that it will take more than three wishes to save him. A whole lot more.
I wants the sequel. I admit it. I’m lame and tend to get tired of the same old “boy/girl meets girl/boy and one has a secret power that brings the other into their world full of prophecies and secrets and all that” but this refreshed my mind. I love Margot and her budding relationship with Oliver. The romance is sweet and just what I was looking for.
Learn more about Lindsay Ribar’s books and life here: http://lindsayribar.com/
5. The Trials Of Renegade X – Chelsea Campbell
Can a half villain ever be a full hero? Damien Locke didn’t choose for his supervillain mom to disown him — just because he sort of defied her and ruined her evil plans to take over Golden City — and he didn’t choose for his superpower to be flying, a superhero ability that involves his least favorite thing: heights. But now that he’s living with his dad’s superhero family and enrolling at Heroesworth Academy, he’s ready to embrace his new life, get his H, and finally belong somewhere. But belonging isn’t as easy as signing up for classes, and Damien finds himself struggling to fit in more than ever.
Just when he’s sure his fate as a hero has been decided, though, he gets a new villain power that he can’t control. And things only get worse when he accidentally screws up one of his sidekick Sarah’s gadgets, altering her personality and turning her into a crazed, anti-supervillain vigilante — leaving him no choice but to team up with her annoying superhero boyfriend if he hopes to have any chance of getting the old Sarah back, before she captures — or kills — another supervillain like him.
Aaaannd superhero/villain love. Damien – oh Damien – you angsty goofball. If you’re looking for some action, humor, and a tinge of romance, Renegade X is what you need. This series is full of explosive danger, evil villains, and laser-shooting mamas.
Chelsea M. Campbell and her comic book hero can be found here: http://www.chelseamcampbell.com/
4. Grave Mercy – Robin LaFevers
Why be the sheep, when you can be the wolf? Seventeen-year-old Ismae escapes from the brutality of an arranged marriage into the sanctuary of the convent of St. Mortain, where the sisters still serve the gods of old. Here she learns that the god of Death Himself has blessed her with dangerous gifts—and a violent destiny. If she chooses to stay at the convent, she will be trained as an assassin and serve as a handmaiden to Death. To claim her new life, she must destroy the lives of others. Ismae’s most important assignment takes her straight into the high court of Brittany—where she finds herself woefully under prepared—not only for the deadly games of intrigue and treason, but for the impossible choices she must make. For how can she deliver Death’s vengeance upon a target who, against her will, has stolen her heart?
When I first read the back cover for this book, my brain went….”WHAT? ASSASSIN NUNS YOU SAY?” To say the least, I bought it. So glad I did. This book will hook you from page one. Full of intrigue and beautiful, weapon-wielding characters, this is one book that had me up way past my bedtime. Such a unique, fresh idea and great story line to match.
R.L. La Fevers and her books can be found here: http://www.robinlafevers.com/
3. Falling Kingdoms – Morgan Rhodes
In a land where magic has been forgotten but peace has reigned for centuries, a deadly unrest is simmering. Three kingdoms grapple for power—brutally transforming their subjects’ lives in the process. Amidst betrayals, bargains, and battles, four young people find their fates forever intertwined: Cleo: A princess raised in luxury must embark on a rough and treacherous journey into enemy territory in search of a magic long thought extinct. Jonas: Enraged at injustice, a rebel lashes out against the forces of oppression that have kept his country impoverished—and finds himself the leader of a people’s revolution centuries in the making. Lucia: A girl adopted at birth into a royal family discovers the truth about her past—and the supernatural legacy she is destined to wield. Magnus: Bred for aggression and trained to conquer, a firstborn son begins to realize that the heart can be more lethal than the sword. . . . The only outcome that’s certain is that kingdoms will fall. Who will emerge triumphant when all they know has collapsed?
Yes, yes, yes, yes, and more yes. Every time I think of this book, my whole day just gets better. I love high fantasy and I love this series. The characters are so wonderfully done (my heart currently belongs to Magnus) and this plot line is just one of the best I’ve seen. They say the series is the Game Of Thrones for teens and well, with all the action, betrayal, politics, and magic, I can see why. But I feel it’s much more than that – a wonderful story that blends genres so beautifully, this book will have you emotional for days.
Morgan Rhodes is one of my writing muses. http://www.fallingkingdoms.com/ is her pseudonym site. (She also writes under Michelle Rowen.)
2. Deception – C.J. Redwine
While the other girls in the walled city-state of Baalboden learn to sew and dance, Rachel Adams learns to track and hunt. While they bend like reeds to the will of their male Protectors, she uses hers for sparring practice. When Rachel’s father fails to return from a courier mission and is declared dead, the city’s brutal Commander assigns Rachel a new Protector: her father’s apprentice, Logan—the boy she declared her love to and who turned her down two years before. Left with nothing but fierce belief in her father’s survival, Rachel decides to escape and find him herself. As Rachel and Logan battle their way through the Wasteland, stalked by a monster that can’t be killed and an army of assassins out for blood, they discover romance, heartbreak, and a truth that will incite a war decades in the making.
I’m not even sure I can come up with words to describe how much I love number one and two on my list. But C.J. Redwine is like my hero. This is just the kind of book I love – the characters have a history, the females are badass, and it’s got fantasy, magic, and danger. If I could see a movie come to life based on a book, this would be in the top three. Rachel has a beautiful soul that just shines when she’s with Logan and her father. I adore this series.
C.J. Redwine is also one of my writing influences. Her site is here: http://cjredwine.blogspot.com/
1. The Burning Sky – Sherry Thomas
It all began with a ruined elixir and an accidental bolt of lightning…Iolanthe Seabourne is the greatest elemental mage of her generation—or so she’s being told. The one prophesied for years to be the savior of The Realm. It is her duty and destiny to face and defeat the Bane, the greatest mage tyrant the world has ever known. A suicide task for anyone let alone a sixteen-year-old girl with no training, facing a prophecy that foretells a fiery clash to the death. Prince Titus of Elberon has sworn to protect Iolanthe at all costs but he’s also a powerful mage committed to obliterating the Bane to avenge the death of his family—even if he must sacrifice both Iolanthe and himself to achieve his goal. But Titus makes the terrifying mistake of falling in love with the girl who should have been only a means to an end. Now, with the servants of the Bane closing in, he must choose between his mission and her life.
Holy shit. Just yes. Hooked me from the first page. Wonderful, vivid imagery. Beautiful characters. Blazing romance. Magic, deception, danger… Man, this is all I wanted for Christmas. Such an epic story. When is the sequel coming out again?
Sherry Thomas writes romance for teens and adults. Her website is here: http://www.sherrythomas.com/
And there you have it. My top ten choices for young adult in 2013. The urban fantasy list will be posted later today.