FIVE Great Debuts and Sophomore Books

This is an end-of-the-year challenge originally hosted by Adele of Persnickety Snark (I don’t know if she still does it, but I don’t think she does); normally I do it much sooner but with computer issues and switching to this WordPress from Livejournal I wasn’t able to do it until now. Here it is now, though. I’ve decided to do Five Great Debuts and Five Great Sophomore Books since they both work with two of my year-long challenges. So, here they are, in no particular order.

ViciousDeepScarletAlchemyofForeverMothershipShadowandBone

1. The Vicious Deep (Zoraida Córdova)

I read this in the first half of the year, I believe, so my memory of it is a little fuzzy, but it was a confusing-but-otherwise-fairly enjoyable debut. I feel like I didn’t read a lot of amazing debuts this year, which is why it’s easier for good-but-not-great books to make it on the list this year. I plan on reading the sequel and I just hope that it keeps the fun things and improves on the other issues.

2. Scarlet (A.C. Gaughen)

This was another earlier read, but I still remember a fair amount of it, so it left a decent impression. One thing I remember especially is the use of incorrect grammar and such, which made for a more authentic narrator (low-class in 1400s or somewhere around there). I can’t tell if there’ll be a sequel or not, it certainly seems like there could be, and if so, I’ll read it.

3. Alchemy of Forever (Avery Williams)

There have been a lot of slightly-forgettable-but-overall-decent debuts this year and this is yet another one. It wasn’t a very deep story and fairly short, but it was interesting enough and a fast enough read that I wouldn’t mind picking up the second book to see where the story goes. The idea of reincarnating people is interesting enough, but it needs to be better developed into a more engaging book.

4. Mothership (Martin Leicht and Isla Neal)

I read this book more recently so it’s easier to remember it. I like the story itself – a bunch of pregnant teenagers who are being chased by aliens on a spaceship – but the main character irritated me a lot. I felt like the authors were trying a little too hard to sound like a teenager and just came off annoying. I want to read to read the next book in spite of the protagonist, though I don’t know how much more I can take of her if she doesn’t improve.

5. Shadow and Bone (Leigh Bardugo)

I just read this book about a week or two ago so it just barely made it on the list, but I feel like it was one of the most enjoyable debut books I read this year. I wasn’t a big fan of the main character but the story captured my attention and interest a lot and I’m tentatively excited to read the second book in the series. This was a fantasy book, which isn’t something I read a lot, but it was a good experience in the genre for me.

HallowedRivalsMillionSunsGirlofNightmaresPerception

1. Hallowed (Cynthia Hand)

This was a great book overall, not just in the sophomore book category. Like the first book, its summary did little to draw me in but based on the awesomeness of the first book, I ignored it and continued with this book, which was really sad but still great. At the beginning I was kind of worried because I thought I saw a twist coming really early, but the twist ended up not mattering as much. The main point was the great way she handled it, which was also part of the sadness. Anyway, I cannot wait for the next book, which comes out this month!

2. The Rivals (Daisy Whitney)

This was another good book, which makes me sad because I think the series wasn’t popular enough and this is the last book. There was a scene at the end that made me really mad (not mad at the book, but at the cruel people who did it, which was probably the point). At least Whitney will continue to write in the future – she has another book coming out this year, I believe, and I definitely plan on checking it out.

3. A Million Suns (Beth Revis)

I wasn’t the biggest fan of Across the Universe. It was the kind of book where I felt like I had to like it, since so many people loved the book, but it just didn’t really catch my interest enough. A character I liked died and I didn’t really care about the two main characters. The mystery was interesting enough and the writing was good but I just wasn’t a big fan. I decided to try this book just in case I changed my mind about the series and I’m really glad I did because I thought this book was great, a huge improvement upon the first book. I’m slightly worried about the third book but I’m going to remain optimistic for now.

4. Girl of Nightmares (Kendare Blake)

I just read this book a couple of weeks ago, so it’s fresh in my mind, but I think it would have made the list even if I hadn’t read it recently. I’m not sure if I liked it as much as the first book, but it was still good. It’s less contained than the first book with its shadowy secret society and multiple locations and there was a rocky moment in the relationship between the trio but I still enjoyed it.

5. Perception (Kim Harrington)

Again, I’m not sure if I liked this book quite as much as the first book, but I think that’s mainly because it took place during the school year rather than the summer. In the first book, Clare didn’t spend as much time with her peers but now that she is, there’s more judgment on her part, which isn’t a good thing. I wouldn’t go as far as saying that there’s a lot of slut shaming but judgmental protagonists overall are quickly becoming pet peeves of mine. Overall, though, it was a fairly enjoyable mystery and I hope the series continues, although I don’t know whether it will. Either way, I’m checking out Harrington’s haunted house book that comes out later this year.

Next: FIVE Great Covers

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