“Top 10 Tuesday” is a weekly meme by The Broke and the Bookish
Usually I’ve always been looking forward to the „Best of the year“ Top 10 Tuesday list but to be honest this year I’ve been dreading this topic a little bit because I had the feeling that I hadn’t really read a lot of overwhelming books in 2016 – and sadly I was right.
When I went through my Goodreads shelf to gather all the 5-star books of 2016 I had to realize that I didn’t even have enough to fill a Top 10 list with them since I only counted eight books that had gotten the highest rating – not counting my re-reads because then my list would have consisted mostly of Harry Potter and the Red Rising series…
Also this is the first time since I started blogging that I didn’t read a single book that eventually got 10 out of 10 points from me and this feels really disappointing so that this year’s list feels more like a „best of the rest“ list than a list I’m really excited about. But enough gibberish, let’s finally talk about the 10 books that I enjoyed the most in 2016…
#10: Six Four – Hideo Yokoyama
I’m pretty sure that this Japanese crime novel won’t make it into a lot of end-of-the-year surveys since this massive and 600-pages long monster requires a lot of patience and concentration and can be confusing or even boring. But even though there wasn’t really a typical investigation going on this book had me hooked almost from the very first page and provided a very tense atmosphere and once I had gotten to the fantastic and totally unexpected plot twist in the end I knew that all my efforts were absolutely worth it. If you’re looking for a unique and intelligent crime novel with a rather unusual setting then this is a 2016 highlight you shouldn’t miss.
#9: City of Blades – Robert Jackson Bennett
The sequel to „City of Stairs“ made me even happier than the first book because it did not only have the same fantastic and complex worldbuilding with a literally divine setting and amazing characters but also came with an exciting mystery that made the book almost feel like a classic crime novel just with a very extraordinary setting – I already can’t wait to read the next (and sadly final) book in this series in 2017.
#8: Papierjunge („The Chosen“) – Kristina Ohlsson
When I started Kristina Ohlsson’s Swedish crime series a few years ago and had a rather hard time with the characters I would never have expected that it would one day become one of my favorite series but her books always seem to get even better and better and this fifth novel about Fredrika Bergman and Alex Recht had me on the edge of my seat all the time. Combined with the fantastic narration of the audiobook by Uve Teschner it totally deserved rank #8 of my top 10 books of the year.
#7: Ghostly Echoes – William Ritter
I’ve enjoyed Ritter’s highly entertaining fantasy crime series from the very first chapters but with his third Jackaby novel the author took it to an even higher level and entered a much darker chapter that not only added a lot more depth to the characters but also provided a more complex and gripping story than before combined with a very intense atmosphere.
#6: Memory Man – David Baldacci
This opening book of a new thriller series by David Baldacci was completely different than I had expected: Instead of getting to read a fast action thriller this book turned out to be a really exciting detective novel with an insanely addictive mystery and a very unique investigator – a former NFL player who became a cop after a serious injury and ended up in homelessness after his family got murdered. Blessed with a perfect memory due to his football accident he now sets out to find the killer who ruined his life and if this thriller isn’t a page turner then I don’t know what is.
#5: Macbeth – David Hewson
If someone had told me that a Shakespeare story would make it into the top 5 of my favorite books of the year I would never have believed it but David Hewson managed to turn the Macbeth drama into a fantastic and absolutely epic audio drama that made Shakespeare’s classic appear like a dark and violent Game of Thrones season. Amazing narrators, great music, incredible sound effects and the good old Macbeth story with an exciting new twist – please give me more Shakespeare dramas like that!
#4: Monster 1983: Season 2 – Ivar Leon Menger
Talking about fantastic audio dramas: There has been an audio drama that I enjoyed even more than Hewson’s Macbeth version and that was the second season of Ivar Leon Menger’s mystery series „Monster 1983“. Going back to the small town of Harmony Bay with all its dark secrets felt amazing and the story finally delivered some long-awaited answers to my many questions from the first season. If you enjoyed watching the Netflix show „Stranger Things“ and don’t try this gripping horror series with the same nostalgic 80s charme then you’re definitely making a huge mistake.
#3: Evil at Heart – Chelsea Cain
Oh boy… I admit that the Gretchen Lowell series takes a lot of its dark fascination from cruel murders and very graphic violence but oh my God, this book was so evil that I just couldn’t stop reading. I don’t think I’ve ever met such fucked-up characters before and the story was so disturbing but as a thriller addict who has already read so many books from this genre that it’s hard to still shock me this wicked piece of a thriller was just exactly what I needed.
#2: The Knife of Never Letting Go – Patrick Ness
The first book of the Chaos Walking trilogy was a very early 2016 highlight and actually the first book that I’ve finished this year but it was still probably the most addictive one I’ve read all year. I loved the original but terrifying setting and it was so easy to relate to the protagonist which only made his torturous adventure even more painful and all those evil little cliffhangers just didn’t let me put this book down. Thinking about how much I’ve enjoyed „The Knife of Never Letting Go“ makes me feel deeply ashamed for still not having read the sequels yet.
#1: Morning Star – Pierce Brown
And here it comes, my favorite book of the year. I was a bit afraid that the conclusion to the Red Rising trilogy would become another disappointing 2016 series ending just as Rick Yancey’s „The Last Star“ or Brandon Sanderson’s „Calamity“ but Pierce Brown even exceeded my expectations and delivered an almost perfect ending to his epic science fiction saga. This book had just everything I already loved about the first two books – an amazing worldbuilding, complex and interesting characters, a gripping story about hope, betrayal, grief, fear, love and terror – and it perfectly wrapped up Darrow’s long and painful journey. The only reason I didn’t give 10/10 was because I found one or two things a bit too predictable which ruined quite a big plot twist for me but this is only a minor flaw of my bookish 2016 highlight.