Best Young Adult of 2015

Best Young Adult of 2015

Young Adult the genre that triggers young minds (and old). Writing Young Adult fiction is a league of itself. Though of course each story has it's roots in one or another genre, Epic or Urban Fantasy inspired. They set themselves apart when it comes down to telling the story and more importantly the focus on the protagonist, often these are young heroes or heroines who go through a remarkable transition. For me the combination mentioned above was most notable in the following books. Brandon Sanderson took over the Young Adult world by storm with his novel Steelheart. This year Firefight was released and wow. Storytelling at it's finest. The one sentence I always take into account now when reading the Steelheart series is. Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Brandon Sanderson also cleverly questions what it is to be an Epic. Uprooted by Noami Novik really surprised me. It was my first book that I read from her, the synopsis of the story promised a lot. But when you finally get reading, the richness of the story is just utterly enchanting. Agniezska is an outstanding protagonist even perhaps a great role model.  Michael Alan Nelson first started the Hexed series as an comic book series. The Sisters of Witchdown is the first novel. First take a look at the cover, the protagonist, Lucifer, holding a flaming teddybear, bad ass. Ari Marmell's Covenant's End, as the name already implies, is the ending of a fine series. Over the last three years I had a blast with Widdershins and her private God Olgun. They make up for a lively duo. Way Down Dark, wow. This book shocked me. James Smythe's idea has already been done before, big ships into space to seek for new worlds isn't a theme that is new. But what is new is the shocking twist at the end. Of course the protagonist of Way Down Dark helps to the fullest to create an emotional side to the story. Living isn't easy on The Australian, there is no way out. But remember the truth will always surface. 


  • Firefight by Brandon Sanderson, Steelheart #2
This all combined makes  the story of Firefight is a non stop action packed wet and wild rollercoaster ride that you don't want to miss out on. Though this is marketed as a young adult book I know that the majority if not every adult reader who reads the Reckoners books will enjoy them just as well. Brandon Sanderson is a master storyteller and his books should be made compulsory reading material. In Firefight he expands the whole Reckoners universe in full color, choosing a different city to let the story take place was a wise decision as nicely avoided any possible repetition of events in the first book. It allowed Brandon Sanderson to invest time in introducing the new surrounding and new characters that live in Babylon RestoredHowever as I said a new place doesn't make it a great sequel alone, Brandon Sanderson also invests a lot of time and effort in developing his characters, he does start to blur the lines when it comes to Epics, are there good and bad Epics or is every Epic evil? Many questions are answered but even more are raised, also a hallmark of a good sequel. The wait now will be long as the third book in the Reckoners series, Calamity, will be released in the spring of 2016. But if you haven't picked up this series yet, you have the time to read all three books so far! 

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  • Uprooted by Naomi Novik
Of course there are a lot of combinations that make the world of Uprooted a beauty to read, but one that stands out head above shoulders are the characters of the book namely Agniezska, Kasia and Dragon, whose true name is Sarkan (Dragon sounds cooler though). Agniezska was for me the most remarkable one, there is something about her from the start that captured me. She was a simple girl, just making by nothing special, not the best looking one, not special in anyway. But she does get chosen by Dragon to be his new servant (read trainee). In the beginning Agniezska makes a big fuss in the start but slowly grows into something more. This is owed to the influence of Dragon, when I first read his description he does come over as a very gruff and strict man and in the beginning he does seem to have this attitude but he just as Agniezska is going through a big transition. What I liked most about the Dragon is the mysterious air that Naomi Novik managed to create about him. He is perceived as a very bad guy, but once you learn a bit more about him, it is acutally reversed, he does things out of necessity and if it wasn't for him well, nobody would be able to live in the forest. In their relation there is a spark of romance that does accelerate things. It is not a fully romantic story but there are some subtle hints here and there. As for Kasia, she was not chosen to go to the Dragon, but her whole mind was set on this just was that of Agniezska and as the story develops there is a nice coming of age and growing up for both girls, different and there are still some encounters between the two. 

With Uprooted Naomi Novik really caught me by surprise. The cover shows some stunning art work and in combination with the synopsis does already promise a lot but once I actually got down to reading, wow, such an beautifully crafted story. There are a lot of details but none feels like to much information at one point. Due to the gradual learning of Agniezska everything feel natural and as it should be. A truly magical story!


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  • The Sisters of Witchdown by Michael Alan Nelson, Hexed #1
When it comes to world building, Michael Alan Nelson has created a rich and brimming world. The world felt alive and vibrant even though the setting was at times very dark and dangerous. For me the world gets a lot of extra's in the way that the surroundings are being explained to you. It comes clearly to note that Lucifer is the one that gives the reader a tour of the world, even though she is young she is experienced and by relating her plan of actions to her new friends, David and Gina's father, the information that you receive isn't at all an information dump but fits nicely into the current state of the investigation and gives a clear lead to where the story should go to. Now don't think the story is predictable, it's far from it, there are some very nice twists and turns along the way. Because messing with the supernatural will do that. The ending of the book really, really surprised me. I think that the stakes have been raised, Lucifer... watch out...

I enjoyed reading Hexed a lot. It had all the good things working in it's favor. A great heroine for main portagonist, who in many different way brings the story further and also takes it to a new level. Complex relations of Lucifer with the different characters. Even though she is named Lucifer, what is often related to devil, she is far from the embodiment of the devil. She is just a young girl who would love to be out of it all. The world in which this story takes place in as I said interesting to say the least. It's dynamic and never in motion and with a lot of the Urban Fantasy worlds that I have seen, has a lot of possibilities. After finishing the last page of the book I wished the sequel was out already. If you are looking for a easy and highly enjoyable book to read, make sure you add Hexed to your list .

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  • Covenant's End by Ari Marmell, Widdershins Adventures #4
It is a sad and I feel having to part with Widdershins and her friends. Ari Marmell couldn't have written a better conclusion to the series in my opinion. With each new book in the series he seems to have outdone himself but with Covenant's End he really did it. It alone is a must to read the three books leading up to Covenant's End to just see what he has in store for you. From the first moment I picked up Thiefs Covenant till the ending in Covenant's End I have had a big smile on my face, granted Widdershins has gone through a lot of personal struggles, she is also a very strong female protagonist and a very funny character, even when situations get bleak, she always finds that light point somewhere and find a bit of strength to pull through. Once again The Widdershins Adventures is an amazing series and couldn't have gotten a better conclusion than what Ari Marmell wrote in Covenant's End. I do hope that there might be more in the making for Widdershins, or should I say Adrienne Satti from now on? Highly recommended.

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  • Way Down Dark by James Smythe, The Australian Trilogy #1 
Concerning the world building, James Smythe did a very good job in showing just how limited the space is on the Australian, yes it is a massive ship but the population is big and there are a lot of hostilities going on with warring gangs and such, so living is tight. The descriptions of the living area´s, the ways of going from different levels really inspire a claustrophobic feeling to the story, added to this comes of course that fact that the spaceship itself floats somewhere in out space and there is no way of the thing...There are no escape pod aboard to escape, you just have to learn to deal with it... if you well.. tough luck. 

All of the singular pieces, storyline, characters, world building are top material but they work even better when you take it on the whole, then you see a true amplification of each factor that take the story to a new place. James Smythe convinced me just a few paragraphs in that Way Down Dark was a solid book but proved it double even so with the ending that he wrote, that piece is just top material and for a twist that I haven´t yet encountered. He has already created a terrific storyline for the continuation of the series that will proof to be highly eventful. In the end of the book I was literally shouting and cheering on Chan to succeed, she is a great character who you will adore and who you want to see succeed in her plans.  And remember... The truth will always surface.

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