Best (and worst) Books of 2010

Perhaps I’m a few days late for a 2010 wrap-up post, but better late than never, right? I read a total of 82 books last year, which I realized was more than a book a week!  I attribute this to all my guilty pleasure reading and the handful of multi-book series I couldn’t stop reading.

I read a lot of books this year

Best Books of 2010:
Cloud Atlas
Cloud Atlas
My co-worker suggested it for our office book-club and I’m glad he did because I don’t think I would have read David Mitchell otherwise. (review here)

The Diamond Age: Or, a Young Lady's Illustrated Primer
The Diamond Age: Or, a Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer
My favorite Stephenson book to date. I ended my Steampunk Month with it. It took me a while to warm up to it, but I thought it was great at the end. (review)

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1)
The Hunger Games
My favorite book of the series. It was heart-pounding, heart-warming, and a joy to read. I’m just sorry the series went so far downhill in the third book. (review)

Stories of Your Life and Others
Stories of Your Life and Others
This entry is kind of cheating because I haven’t read all of the stories in this anthology yet, but I’ve liked every short story I’ve read in it. My favorite so far is Story of Your Life because it’s brain-bending and heartfelt. I usually don’t read many short stories because I feel like as soon as I develop a relationship with the characters, the story ends in an unsatisfying end. No such problem with Chiang’s stories.

Worst Book I’ve Read in 2010
The Passage (The Passage, #1)
The Passage
This was probably at the top of everyone’s “best book” list of 2010, but I thought it was overhyped, overly long, and fell apart in the third act. If this book were shorter and I hadn’t spent so much time reading it, I might not feel so antagonistic towards it, but man, the guy really needed an editor to cut this book down. I’ve played video games with stories better than the one in this book.

Review: The Native Star

The Native StarThe Native Star by M.K. Hobson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As soon as I finished this book, I immediately rated it 3.5 stars in my head. After a few more hours, as I sit down to write a review, I think it deserves 4 stars.

The characters, the alternate-history world of the Wild West (or is it the Weird West??), the magic system, and the plot all came together to make a very engaging read. So engaging that I read the entire book in less than 24 hours.

The whole heroine who holds the secret to world salvation/devastation is not a new plot device, but it worked in Native Star. It’s a fun romp with pleasant characters, a sweet romance, no blush-worthy mentions of naughty bits, and giant evil mutations.

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Review: Last Sacrifice: A Vampire Academy Novel

Last Sacrifice: A Vampire Academy NovelLast Sacrifice: A Vampire Academy Novel by Richelle Mead

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a satisfying ending to a great YA series. It’s hard to talk about Last Sacrifice separately from the rest of the books and keep it spoiler free, but I’ll try.

Last Sacrifice starts right where the last book left off, plunging readers right into the action. There’s a lot of “Lets make plans!” and side-plots, but they all tie together neatly in the end. The cynical side of me would like to say that some events happened too well to be believable, but the 12-year-old-girl side of me says, “AWESOME!”

Although I sped through this book in less than two days, the Lissa sections slowed me down a lot. The sections were often put in the middle of a tense scene somewhere else, and I just wanted to skim through them to get back to where the action was.

I was reminded in this book of how much I like Rose in the whole series. She’s confident, badass (which is an adjective that gets used a lot in this book), has a strong sense of self, gets things done, but most importantly, she’s also flawed. She makes poor decisions, but she learns from them and she faces the consequences like a champ. From the first book to this, Rose is still very Rose, she’s also grown in character and maturity.

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