Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl.
This week’s top ten Tuesday is a little ambiguous since surprising books can be surprising in any way. It can be good, bad, or even perhaps in the middle. As far as surprising goes for me, I don’t know for sure if I’ll get to ten, but here it goes:
10. Unhooked by Lisa Maxwell
I went into this book with a lot of reservations about it since I can be pretty judgemental of Peter Pan retellings, especially when Peter is not the hero. But this book was pretty good. I was impressed with the way everything was handled and with the story that was told. It’s certainly not the best Peter Pan retelling I’ve ever read, but it’s definitely one of the good ones and worth giving a read if you haven’t picked it up already.
9. Roseblood by A. G. Howard
I wish I could’ve said I wasn’t surprised by this book because I’d genuinely already decided that Howard did not write well in terms of character and plot, but I guess I just couldn’t help getting really excited about the idea of a novel that took The Phantom of the Opera and retold it in a modern setting. It sounded really fun and amazing and even though I knew I hadn’t liked Howard’s other books, I never imagined she’d butcher and destroy the story of the Phantom so effectively. There was nothing good about this book, plain and simple. It completely derailed the entire premise behind The Phantom of the Opera in the first place, somehow managing to romanticize abuse and push this idea that it is acceptable to blame Christine for his disturbing behavior. I just…I couldn’t be more surprised at how bad and problematic this book was.
8. Oblivion by Anthony Horowitz
I really enjoyed The Gatekeepers (Power of Five) series and so the fact that this novel is on here is more because I did not see a vast amount of those plot points coming, at all. It wasn’t what I had expected and was, in fact, better and more emotional than probably anything I could have imagined. I actually have this series on my to reread list since it has been a while and I definitely think that these books are pretty amazing.
7. Windrunner’s Daughter by Bryony Pearce
I think the thing about this book that was most shocking to me wasn’t that I enjoyed it after I believed I would dislike it, but rather because I had absolutely no expectations for how this novel would go and it still kind of just blew me away. Any book that manages to impress me immensely is a book I find somewhat shocking, in truth, because if I’m impressed either something has been written exceptionally well or I just didn’t see it coming. And either way, that’s something to be praised.
6. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
At the end of the day, basically, I did not expect to enjoy this book. I’d put off reading it solely due to this fact, even though I still knew I would read it eventually. I’d not enjoyed the first book I read by this author and therefore didn’t hold a lot of high hopes for any of her others. That said, I was also very aware of the fact that I might change my mind which is why I read another book she’d written. I almost always give authors a few chances with their books before I eventually decide that I won’t be reading any of their other books and Maas has done well.
5. Fifty Shades of Grey by E. L. James
This book is only on this list, and only high on this list, because I am utterly shocked (and disgusted, if I’m being honest) that this book ever managed to get published. Not only does it rather disturbingly romanticize abusive relationships (and, no, I am not referring to the BDSM but rather Christian’s disgusting controlling and uncaring behavior) but it’s just terribly written. I can’t even make it past the first page in this book without finding a slew of grammatical errors. I mean, I just…really? What the hell does anyone find good about this disgusting and pathetic book? I don’t get it.
4. Candor by Pam Bachorez
This book just surprised me simply by being the first to ever address this particular type of dystopia in YA that I’d ever come across. To tell you the truth, I still don’t think I’ve managed to find a book with this premise since then? Granted, I haven’t actually gone out of my way to look, but I think in the end what this book did exceptionally well that surprised me most was the way it ended, especially considering the fact that, as far as I’m aware, Bachorz never wrote a sequel and meant this to be a standalone novel, which is pretty amazing in itself.
3. Queen Song by Victoria Aveyard
Oh my skies, this book was so utterly beautiful and exceptional in writing and plot that I have nothing but praise for it. It’s been some time since I was this impressed with something I’ve read and even though it’s a novella, I think it deserves a really solid place on this list. I honestly believe that everything this novella does, it does well, to the point that it was infinitely better than the first book for the entire series.
2. Cinder by Marissa Meyer
In this respect, I really didn’t think I’d like Cinder. The cover alone turned me off to the book, which initially made me avoid reading it for nearly three years before I finally picked it up on a whim because I had nothing else to read. Cinder blew me away. There’s a reason this is my favorite series and my favorite author. These books are the very reason that I love retellings as much as I do. I cannot ever fully express how much I love this series, though I have tried on many occasions.
1. Nevernight by Jay Kristof
Nevernight surprised me in a lot of ways, but mostly in how brilliantly it was written. I have to admit that the comparison to Hogwarts doesn’t do the book justice and is, in fact, rather ridiculous. Aside from the fact that it’s a school with kids that’s hidden away from the rest of the world, I thought there was very little reason to make the comparison and it was ultimately this comparison that made me think the book would be terrible. I could not be more pleased that I was wrong. This book was fantastic. The writing was masterful and impressive. And that’s all anyone needs to know.