Favorite Books of 2014

My favorite books of the year, listed in no particular order. It's a full list. I read a lot of great books this year.

UPDATE (7/17/17): Some of the covers shown aren't the original hardcover version; since this is a list of books I liked best, I went with the versions of their covers I like best, too.

Dreams of Gods and Monsters

By Laini Taylor

This book is so good, it gets its own post.

For Darkness Shows the Stars

By Diana Peterfreund

This is an adaptation of Jane Austen's Persuasion, which I love, and I thought the book honored its source material really well. It takes place in a sort of post-apocalyptic future, although it's funny because it feels more historical than future-y. It does a great job of showing how completely power can shift hands in society and how easy it is to forget about such shifts.

These Broken Stars

By Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

This books starts in an enormous spaceship (enough said, right?) yet quickly becomes a tale of survival and romance. It's a singular, focused journey with excellent character development and a good mystery to unravel.

Poison

By Bridget Zinn

This is a quick and really adorable read. It's also a pretty original take on the classic fairy tale. The protagonist, Kyra, is a potions master specializing in poisons. She goes on the run after a failed assassination attempt. She starts out with just a pig for company - this pig is arguably my favorite character in the book - but later she's joined by a charming stranger named Fred. One thing I love is that Kyra and Fred's relationship is not the focal point of the story. Kyra's mysterious relationship with her best friend takes precedence, which means this book passes the Bechdel test in a way few stories do.

Dark Triumph

By Robin LaFevers

This is the second book in the His Fair Assassins series. It's about assassin nuns living in the northwestern part of France known at Brittany. The story takes place against a backdrop of really interesting history that I previously knew little about. Grave Mercy was a fabulous start to the series, but Dark Triumph rose up to another level. I LOVED the two main characters in this book. Sybella is about 30% brains and 70% rage, and Beast is a walking hunk of granite with a heart of gold. They're a perfect match and they don't fit into archetypes I read very often. I have added Beast (who, BTW, is nothing like Belle's Beast) to my list of favorite fictional crushes.

Champion

By Marie Lu

Champion is the conclusion to Marie Lu's Legend series. This trilogy hit the ground running and never stopped. It was consistently brilliant, although I think I loved Champion the most. In typical trilogy fashion, the story started with a narrow focus and gradually expanded until the stakes were at the societal level. The story takes place in a hypothetical future where the United States has been split into two separate countries. We only see one of those countries throughout the first two books, but in Champion, we get to travel, and I was so impressed to see that Marie Lu came up with not one, but two distinct and fascinating future worlds. Whenever a series ends, I don't necessarily want a happy ending, but I want a conclusion that's worthy of the previous books as well as the characters. Champion achieved just that.

Cress

By Marissa Meyer

Cress is the third volume in The Lunar Chronicles series. I would rank it above Scarlet but a little beneath Cinder, which had such a unique premise that I still remember fondly being captivated by this futuristic world where cyborg rights are a contentious issue and there's a trigger-happy psychopath for a queen living on the moon. Cinder and Scarlet were both pretty concentrated stories that focused on their two MCs, but Cress takes all of the earlier characters, adds two more, and starts building an ensemble cast that's so much fun. I am already DYING to get the last book in the series.