The top ten books that I've read in 2013

Note: There are spoilers up ahead as to the reasons why I chose these books to be on my top ten of 2013. So read with caution so as to not ruin the experience for you, if you’ve been planning to read the book. And many of these books are part of a series, so you will most likely not know what’s going on.
The Girl in the Wall by  Daphne Benedis-Grab
Ariel's birthday weekend looks to be the event of the season, with a private concert by rock star Hudson Winters on the grounds of her family's east coast estate, and all of Ariel's elite prep school friends in attendance. The only person who's dreading the party is Sera, Ariel's former best friend, whose father is forcing her to go. Sera has been the school pariah since she betrayed Ariel, and she now avoids Ariel and their former friends. Thrown together, Ariel and Sera can agree on one thing: this could be one very long night.
They have no idea just how right they are.
Only moments after the concert begins and the lights go down, thugs open fire on parents and schoolmates alike, in a plot against Ariel's father that quickly spins out of control. As the entire party is taken hostage, the girls are forced apart. Ariel escapes into the hidden tunnels in the family mansion, where she and Sera played as children. Only Sera, who forges an unlikely alliance with Hudson Winters, knows where her friend could be. As the industrial terrorist plot unravels and the death toll climbs, Ariel and Sera must recall the sisterhood that once sustained them as they try to save themselves and each other on the longest night of their lives.
Why: I like the process of how the two best friends make up. Instead of putting them through some guy trouble or something trivial like that, the author puts them in a life threatening situation where the two best friends are forced to work together to save everyone, and along the way they realize why they’re best friends with each other in the first place. I love how Ariel doesn't end up with anyone at the end of the novel because he dies along the way, which sounds very harsh once I write it down. But, it’s annoying how main characters in most novels now days just have to be in some kind of a romantic relationship by the end of the book. Even though being single is a pretty cool thing to be. I also love how the celebrity, Hudson Winters, isn’t a shallow person but a complex, three-dimensional human being. Because it shows you how celebrities are normal people as well, only with some fame behind them.

Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
Four decades of peace have done little to ease the mistrust between humans and dragons in the kingdom of Goredd. Folding themselves into human shape, dragons attend court as ambassadors, and lend their rational, mathematical minds to universities as scholars and teachers. As the treaty's anniversary draws near, however, tensions are high.

Seraphina Dombegh has reason to fear both sides. An unusually gifted musician, she joins the court just as a member of the royal family is murdered—in suspiciously draconian fashion. Seraphina is drawn into the investigation, partnering with the captain of the Queen's Guard, the dangerously perceptive Prince Lucian Kiggs. While they begin to uncover hints of a sinister plot to destroy the peace, Seraphina struggles to protect her own secret, the secret behind her musical gift, one so terrible that its discovery could mean her very life.

In her exquisitely written fantasy debut, Rachel Hartman creates a rich, complex, and utterly original world. Seraphina's tortuous journey to self-acceptance is one readers will remember long after they've turned the final page.
Why: Five reasons: 1) I love reading historical fiction novels with dragons in them. 2) The main character, Seraphina, isn’t completely human. 3) Rachel Hartman carves out the world with each page, making you feel like you’re actually there. 4) The romance subplot starts out slowly. So by the time the kiss comes, you’re not feeling so overwhelmed because it came on too quickly and lustily. 5) Kajf ;adfljsalp

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Vanity, not love, has been my folly
When Elizabeth Bennet first meets eligible bachelor Fitzwilliam Darcy, she thinks him arrogant and conceited, while he struggles to remain indifferent to her good looks and lively mind. When she later discovers that Darcy has involved himself in the troubled relationship between his friend Bingley and her beloved sister Jane, she is determined to dislike him more than ever. In the sparkling comedy of manners that follows, Jane Austen shows the folly of judging by first impressions and superbly evokes the friendships, gossip and snobberies of provincial middle-class life.

Why: Jane Austen writes in such an eloquent way that you can’t help but sigh because it’s so pretty. The romance that happens between Jane and Bing is adorable. I also like how Darcy starts out as an unlikeable jerk but he learns how to overcome it and become a gentleman in the end. I also like how Elizabeth Bennet is smart, witty, caring, and prejudiced, which she slowly breaks down throughout the story. And here’s a fun fact, Jane Austen was going to title the book First Impressions, but decided against it instead.

Light by Michael Grant
It's been over a year since all the adults disappeared. Gone.

In the time since everyperson over the age of fourteen disappeared from the town of Perdido Beach, California, countless battles have been fought: battles against hunger and lies and plague, and epic battles of good against evil. And now, the gaiaphage has been reborn as Diana's malicious mutant daughter, Gaia. Gaia is endlessly hungry for destruction. She yearns to conquer her Nemesis, Little Pete, and then bend the entire world to her warped will. As long-standing enemies become allies, secrets are revealed and unexpected sacrifices are made. Will their attempts to save themselves and one another matter in the end, or will the kids of Perdido Beach perish in this final power struggle?

Why: This is an emotional book, because I kept on coming back to the fact that everyone who was in the FAYZ (Fallout Alley Youth Zone) are just kids. And they survived one of the worst things imaginable. They had to deal with wars, monsters, starvation, and many other horrors that should never exist. And it’s not something to laugh about either. So congrats to Michael Grant for accurately portraying them not as happy kids who continue living a normal life once they got out of that hell, but as kids who now has PTSD or just kids who aren’t really kids anymore because their childhood has been forcibly removed from them.
Another reason why I like this book is because Caine was able to redeem himself in the end. He was able to prove to himself and to others that he can change. Unlike some people who continued on being monsters till the very end. And I’m glad that since it was Little Pete who started it all, he was the one to end it all as well. However, it made me sad knowing that he’s not coming back because of his decision. 

Scarlet by Marissa Meyer 
The fates of Cinder and Scarlet collide as a Lunar threat spreads across the Earth...

Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She's trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she'll be the Commonwealth's most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit's grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn't know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother's whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.

Why: I love how the characters are portrayed in this book. For example, I like how Emperor Kai is doing what he thinks is right for his country even if he doesn't want to do it. I also like how he still cares about Cinder, despite the fact that she messed up along the way. I love how there’s a Little Red Riding Hood (which is my favorite fairy tale by the way), who goes by the name Scarlet and who’s pretty kickass, because she doesn’t depend on anyone. And she also loves her grandmother very much. And I love how the wolf is an antihero in this story. I also love how Carswell Thorne’s relationship with Cinder isn’t romantic, but it’s more like they’re friends. Proving that heterosexual guys and girls can indeed be friends.

Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare 
A net of shadows begins to tighten around the Shadowhunters of the London Institute. Mortmain plans to use his Infernal Devices, an army of pitiless automatons, to destroy the Shadowhunters. He needs only one last item to complete his plan: he needs Tessa Gray.

Charlotte Branwell, head of the London Institute, is desperate to find Mortmain before he strikes. But when Mortmain abducts Tessa, the boys who lay equal claim to her heart, Jem and Will, will do anything to save her. For though Tessa and Jem are now engaged, Will is as much in love with her as ever.

As those who love Tessa rally to rescue her from Mortmain’s clutches, Tessa realizes that the only person who can save her is herself. But can a single girl, even one who can command the power of angels, face down an entire army?

Danger and betrayal, secrets and enchantment, and the tangled threads of love and loss intertwine as the Shadowhunters are pushed to the very brink of destruction in the breathtaking conclusion to the Infernal Devices trilogy.
Why: I love how Gabriel Lightwood changes throughout the story, becoming a better person. I love how Will finally decides to visit his parents, after so many years. However, I hate how Cassandra Clare made us think that Jem was dead but in the end he turned into a Silent Brother and then eventually back to his healthy self. Which created a lot of worry and heartbreak for many of us. I also love Gideon's and Sophie's relationship, because it's like fuck the social norms, I'm going to marry her even though I'm higher in rank because I love her. I also like how the love triangle wasn't like the typical love triangle you would find in most stories, because they all love each other equally. Plus, Tessa does end up with both at one point or another in history, making it a pretty unique love triangle.

Days of Blood & Starlight by Laini Taylor
Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a world free of bloodshed and war.

This is not that world.

Art student and monster's apprentice Karou finally has the answers she has always sought. She knows who she is—and what she is. But with this knowledge comes another truth she would give anything to undo: She loved the enemy and he betrayed her, and a world suffered for it.
In this stunning sequel to the highly acclaimed Daughter of Smoke & Bone, Karou must decide how far she'll go to avenge her people. Filled with heartbreak and beauty, secrets and impossible choices, Days of Blood & Starlight finds Karou and Akiva on opposing sides as an age-old war stirs back to life.
While Karou and her allies build a monstrous army in a land of dust and starlight, Akiva wages a different sort of battle: a battle for redemption. For hope.
But can any hope be salvaged from the ashes of their broken dream?
Why: This is one of the few second books in a series where it doesn’t make the story slump. It, just like the first book stayed pretty well written till the very end. I love how Karou and Akiva don’t end up staying together because Akiva betrayed her. However, they still like each other despite all that. It made me sad to know that, Karou’s father figure Brimstone died. And how he isn’t there to help guide her through a new stage in her life. I like how in order to do magic you need pain to do it. I also love learning about Karou’s past life, the life when she was Madrigal. I love how smart Zuzana is, and how she’s willing to drag her boyfriend to go find her best friend through an email that was never meant to be interpreted. Because she cares, plus she’s also pretty cool with the fact that her best friend isn’t entirely human and that she doesn’t really deal with humanly stuff. I like how some plans just doesn’t quite work out in a way, like killing your father. And I love how Ziri is willing to pretend to be the giant dictator jackass, Thiago, just to make things go Karou’s way. Even though it’s going to be quite hard for Ziri to be a jerk because he’s such a nice and fun loving guy

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo 
Darkness never dies.
Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land. She finds starting new is not easy while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. She can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.
The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her--or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.

Why: The number one reason why I love the book is because of the world itself. It’s dark, creepy, and scary. It’s unlike any other fictional or un-fictional universe that I have ever been in. I also love the fact that Alina and Mal never make it far on the other side of the Fold before getting caught because of their recklessness on spending valuables that should only be used for emergencies. Which isn’t a surprise because they’re cartographers/soldiers, not people who know how to survive in a new place while trying to run away from the Darkling. Another reason why I like this book is because of Alina’s struggle with her powers and how she wants more. Which in turn affects her relationship with Mal (as well as with Sturmhond in a way). And speaking of Sturmhond, I like how he’s smart, charming, handsome, and wise enough to know when a bad decision is made (unlike his older brother). Plus, he’s willing to do more as a prince that doesn’t just include lying around all day and frivolously spending money on useless items. I also like how the Grisha are breaking down their social order, in order to work together as a whole. I love how chilling the monsters were. And how the Darkling is alive but weak because he's literally giving himself in a way to make these monsters. Also, I love the unexpected plot twist in the end.

Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer (I'm going to tweak this a little and include the other two books The Arctic Incident, and The Eternity Code
Twelve-year-old Artemis Fowl is a millionaire, a genius—and, above all, a criminal mastermind. But even Artemis doesn't know what he's taken on when he kidnaps a fairy, Captain Holly Short of the LEPrecon Unit. These aren't the fairies of bedtime stories—they're dangerous! Full of unexpected twists and turns, Artemis Fowl is a riveting, magical adventure.

Why: I love how the main character, Artemis Fowl, is a criminal mastermind. That isn’t something that you see too often in any kind of book. I also like how he’s slowly starting to care for other people that isn’t Butler. I also love how kickass Holly is and how she's the only female Captain part of the LEPrecon unit. Proving to you that girls are just as tough as guys. I love the fantasy element in the books, and how everything goes wrong or takes an unexpected turn. I also like how there isn’t a romance subplot in the books, but you can still see that Holly cares for Artemis Fowl in a way.

The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater
Now that the ley lines around Cabeswater have been woken, nothing for Ronan, Gansey, Blue, and Adam will be the same.
Ronan, for one, is falling more and more deeply into his dreams, and his dreams are intruding more and more into waking life.
Meanwhile, some very sinister people are looking for some of the same pieces of the Cabeswater puzzle that Gansey is after...

Why: This is another second book in a trilogy where it doesn’t lag. And just like the first book, the romance subplot is there but it’s not heavily acted upon. I love how Gansey’s relationship with Blue starts to evolve into something a little bit more (much to my disappointment at first). And I love seeing a whole other side of Gansey that doesn’t involve being all that overly enthusiastic about his search for Glendower. I was also a bit scared of Adam, ever since he sacrificed himself in the first book. It also didn’t help that he had sudden urges of anger that he was barely able to control. But despite the fact that he was unbalanced, he was able to correct it and reawaken the ley line again. I also like how this book focused more on Ronan turning into a three dimensional character with actual reasons for what he did, instead of assumptions made by the reader. I also like how he's gay and the book doesn't focus on it at all, because his sexuality doesn't really apply to what's happening in the plot. Like how your sexuality doesn’t apply all that much to what’s happening in your own life, because all that matters are the memories you made and the experiences you earned. I also love how dreams were involved in this story, and how everything in Ronan’s life was or is a dream product created by his dad.
Surprisingly, I like the romantic relationship that plays out between Mr. Gray and Maura. And how Mr. Gray, despite being a hit man, is human and knows what's right and what's wrong and is willing to act upon it. And I love the magic that’s in the book, only its magic that deals with ley lines and psychics, and dreams, and not the kind that you would find on a stage filled with taking bunnies out of hats and making change appear out of your ear.

~ Stacy N.
P.S. I may have been fangirling one too many times while writing this post. 


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