Because I’m very much a character-reader, I’m going to start with a “best of” character list. These characters either stole my heart, made me proud, or climbed in my head and refused to get out. Though it’s nearly impossible to do so, I’m going to limit myself to a top ten. In no particular order:
- Farley from Rita Murphy’s Bird (Review)
This is what I had to say about Farley after first meeting him: “Farley, a boy from Ireland’s coast…burned with hope and lived as though he held the flame of happiness in his hand.” In short, I adored him. Still do.
- Lord Neill from Rachel Neumeier’s The City in the Lake (Review)
Strong and calculating, dangerous and arrogant in the best sense of the word, but fiercely protective of those he’s allowed himself to care about. The question would then be: What is there not to love about Neill?
- Alanna from Tamora Pierce’s Song of the Lioness Quartet
Remarkable in every way. Alanna is a character I’ll be more than happy to introduce my little miss to when she’s a bit older.
- Fire from Kristin Cashore’s Fire (Review)
More than I did Katsa, I understood Fire. Her fear, her doubts, but it was her strength that made me admire her so, and the fact that she didn’t so much rise above those fears and doubts as beat back at them with both fists.
- Vel from Ann Aguirre’s Doubleblind (Review)
It was Vel more than anything that turned an already excellent installment in the wonderful Sirantha Jax series into something special. The friendship he shares with Jax makes my heart happy.
- Alex from Simone Elkeles’ Perfect Chemistry (Review)
Can I talk coherently about Alex? Nope. Because as soon as I think his name, I hear him say “mamacita” in my head and it’s all over.
- Cassidy & Gray from Anne Bishop’s The Shadow Queen (Review)
Lucivar, Daemon and Sataen are on my permanent, best of ever list. But I couldn’t create this list without adding Cassidy and Gray. Troubled, both of them, but undeniably sweet and learning to hold their own in a dangerous world. I can’t wait to read more about them in Shalador’s Lady.
- Jax & Amanusa from Gail Dayton’s New Blood (Review)
One of my top five favorite couples from this year. Individually strong, but together…Wow.
- Magpie & Talon from Laini Taylor’s Dreamdark: Blackbringer (Review)
I love how fierce Taylor’s characters are. Magpie is all independence and headlong flight and Talon is all steadfast determination and bravery. They are, in a word, awesome.
- Red from Juliet Marillier’s Daughter of the Forest
The “story” he tells at the end? Sealed the deal. Red gets a sigh out of me every time I think of him.
- Bonus: Briar Wilkes from Cherie Priest’s Boneshaker (Review)
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Briar is one hell of a woman.
Best series continuations. Again, in no order:
- Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
This kind of goes without saying, doesn’t it?
- Silent on the Moor by Deanna Raybourn
Everything about this one was just so right. Windy moors, Egyptology, Julia, Nicholas…So very right.
- The Trouble with Demons by Lisa Shearin (Review)
Raine’s adventures get better and better with each book. And waiting for each new book is pure torture.
Best of the debuts:
- The Manual of Detection by Jedediah Berry (Review)
I loved every word of this book. Every word.
- Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler (Review)
Grabbed me from the first page and held my emotions hostage until the very last page. This one lingered for a very long time.
- Ash by Malinda Lo (Review)
Loved Lo’s writing. I felt like I was actually in a fairy tale.
And to round out the twenty:
- Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater (Review)
It wasn’t exactly love at first read with this one, but after giving it some time I truly came to appreciate the mood and atmosphere Stiefvater created.
- Heart’s Blood by Juliet Marillier (Review)
What can I say? If Juliet Marillier wrote it, I’m bound to love it.
- Song of the Sparrow by Lisa Ann Sandell(Review)
I was thrilled with this look at the Arthurian legend. I would love it even more if Sandell would, perhaps, pluck another from it to work her magic on.
Now, twenty of my most anticipated reads of 2010. Painfully limiting, but…In no particular order:
- Shalador’s Lady by Anne Bishop
- Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles
- The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova
- Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder
- Lord of the Changing Winds by Rachel Neumeier
- Bewitched & Betrayed by Lisa Shearin
- The Dead Travel Fast by Deanna Raybourn
- The White Road by Lynn Flewelling
- Hunger Games #3 by Suzanne Collins
- Eternal Kiss of Darkness by Jeaniene Frost
- The Boy with the Cuckoo-Clock Heart by Mathias Malzieu
- The Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan
- Sing Me to Sleep by Angela Morrison
- Incarceron by Catherine Fisher
- Kiss of Death by Rachel Caine
- Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
- Changes by Jim Butcher
- The Last Stormlord by Glenda Larke
- The Gaslight Dogs by Karin Lowachee
- Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta