Best books of 2017 part two


The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo

Leigh Bardugo is a perennial favourite of ours in Cinders, we really enjoyed her Six of Crows series and her recent Wonder Woman story Warbringer has been hailed as one of the best ever renditions of Diana of Thymiscera. The Language of Thorns however is somehting different,  a collection of six novellas set in the Grishaverse – the fantasy world that five of Bardugo’s novels have been set in. These stories however are designed to stand on their own, suitable for fans of the novels but also for anyone who can appreciate a good fairytale. They are inspired by myth, fairytale and folklore, with haunted towns, and angry woods, mermaids and gingerbread and are gorgeously illustrated throughout. You’ll be delighted curled up with a blanket, this book and a hot chocolate.

Jane, Unlimited by Kristin Cashore

Kristen Cashore is the fabulous author of Graceling, Fire and Bitterblue. The three fantasy novels, set in a world where people are granted magical powers in a variety of disciplines, are excellent and well worth a read. Jane, Unlimited is the latest offering from Cashore.  An odd little novel, Jane, Unlimited is no less of a powerhouse than her original trilogy. It follows Jane, newly left alone after her aunt and guardian was lost on an Antarctic expedition. Jane, is alone, has no direction and is obsessed with creating umbrellas inspired by her dreams. That is until she is swept away by Kiran Thrash who invites Jane to the glamorous and mysterious Tu Reviens, a place she always promised her aunt she would go. Soon when she arrives at Tu Reviens, Jane realises that not everything is as it seems and every choice she makes has unimaginable consequences.

Warcross by Marie Lu

Warcross is more than a game. For the millions who log in everyday, it’s a lifestyle. Launched ten years before the beginning of the novel, it’s a place where people can escape their lives and even make a profit. Teen hacker Emika Chen makes a living as a bounty hunter tracking down people who are betting on the game. Needing to make some money fast Emika unintentionally inserts herself into the international Warcross Championships, and becomes an overnight hit. Instead of being hauled off by the authorities – which is what she expects – she is introduced to the game’s creator, Hideo Tanaka. He has a challenge for Emika – to be a spy within the system for him – but her investigation may not uncover everything she was expecting. Marie Lu is the acclaimed author of the Young Elites and the Legend series. Warcross has already had excellent reviews and promises to be the start of an excellent new series.

Girls made of Snow and Glass by Melissa Bashardoust

If you’re in the mood for fairy-tale re-imaginings, then this autumn will give you more than you could have asked for. Girls Made of Snow and Glass is the brand new Snow White retelling by Melissa Bashardoust.

Already with a starred review on Kirkus, the novel has been praised as a worthy edition to the fairytale retelling landscape.

The feminist take on the fairest of them all follows both the stepmother and Snow White herself, here named Mina and Lynet. Girls Made of Snow and Glass interweaves both of their stories in past and present. It examines the relationship of these two women, who are destined by folklore to be rivals and enemies and looks at how they can perhaps escape their fate and change their story.

A must for anyone who felt that Snow White was too thin of a story and wanted something new.

Best books of 2017 part one

Turtles all the way down by John Green

You’d have to be living under a large and leafy rock not to know that John Green (of Fault in our Stars and Vlogbrothers fame) has released a new book this October. Turtles all the Way Down is the newest volume about an unusual girl trying to find her way in a strange world. The novel follows 16 year old Aza who has embarked on a quest to solve the mystery of fugitive billionaire Russell Pickett – who could say no to a $100,000 reward? Well, Aza possibly could, but her best fearless friend Daisy wants to investigate, and Aza can’t think of many more reasons to say no. Throughout this adventure, Aza struggles with mental illness, and with her friends expectations of her. Turtles All the Way Down heroes female friendship and is the off-kilter narrative we have come to expect from John Green. If you were a Nancy Drew girl and loved the Secret Seven then this strange little mystery will brighten your day.

La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman

Philip Pullman is one of my top three authors and His Dark Materials has been one of my all-time favourite books since I was twelve. I waited years and years and eventually gave up on ever hearing anything about The Book of Dust (the sequel to the series). That was until February of this year, when Pullman announced that the first ‘equal’ to the acclaimed  fantasy series would be released in October. I’ve been hyperventilating ever since. La Belle Sauvage follows eleven year old Malcolm Polstead and is set in the same universe as Lyra Belaqua’s. In fact, baby Lyra is just a few miles away from Malcolm, and he decides that he wants to meet this very special girl. La Belle Sauvage is the first in a trilogy of books planned to accompany His Dark Materials. The first is set ten years before and the second and third will be set ten years after. Fans (including myself) are hopeful that Lyra and Will will get to somehow meet once more in the sequels but knowing Pullman, we’re sure to get a surprise.

All the Crooked Saints

Maggie Stiefvater is a powerhouse of YA fantasy. Her Raven Boys series is a gorgeous mix of magic, mysteries, fortunes and teenagers. This new series, All the Crooked Saints features the talents of the Soria family who are no strangers to miracles. In every generation of the Soria family each member have the power to perform unusual miracles. At its heart are three cousins, Beatriz, Daniel and Joaquin, all of whom are looking for miracles of their own. But ‘be careful what you wish for’ is a cliché for a reason. There has been some controversy surrounding Stiefvater’s new book, questions about the way that it portrays Mexican and Latinx culture. However Stiefvater published a frank and honest essay concerning her feelings about the book and responding to the criticism. I’m going to give Stiefvater the benefit of the doubt and look forward to seeing for myself how she develops this new world.

Runaways by Rainbow Rowell and Kris Anka

Our favourite YA romance author, Rainbow Rowell has turned her very talented hand to re-launching Marvel’s teen superhero title, Runaways. According to Rowell, Runaways is her favourite comic and she was blown away that she got to revive the series. Her six-comic arc began in September and continues this month. It follows a team of five teenagers who are the children of supervillains and decided to – you guessed it – run away. They also acquire a friendly dinosaur sidekick, as you do. The series ended over ten years ago and Rowell has brought it back – with a few changes and a new beginning for the characters. Quite frankly, we would read Rowell’s to-do lists, so we can’t wait for this.