Tricky, tricky, tricky. As this is my first year on MFB and blogging I've never done one of these before. After much deliberation I've managed to narrow it down to a select few. As you've probably realised by now I'm passionate about paranormal young adult fiction so it'll be no surprise that it dominates my list. So, with no further ado let's crack on.
By Midnight, Mia James
I love Highgate Cemetery. It's one of the most atmospheric, gothic places I've ever visited so I was excited to read about it. The book caught the feeling of Highgate for me but more than that, it captured London too. I've lost count of the amount of American paranormal fiction I've read and By Midnight's very Britishness was refreshing. I also appreciated the, "real," way that teenages were depicted. They drink! They smoke! They generally carry on like reckless young 'uns. There was also a delicious mix of great dresses, snarky kids at school, geeky best friends and the whole thing was a glorious read.
Clockwork Angel, Cassandra Clare
Clare is one of my favourite authors but I couldn't imagine the world of Shadowhunters in the Victorian era. I needn't have worried as the murky atmosphere of gas-lit Victorian london is perfectly suited to to the world of Mortal Instruments. Heroine Tessa arrives in London and is immediately swept into the disgusting world of the Dark Sisters. It becomes apparent that Tessa isn't just a sweet, innocent girl over from America but has a secret that even she didn't know about. A great collection of characters plus a chance to get to know the fabulous Magnus a bit better made this instantly addictive.
Nevermore, Kelly Creagh
Dark, moody, addictive - I loved, loved, loved this book. The stereotypes are there; the goth and the cheerleader forced together for a class project. However, everything else about Nevermore is incredibly unique. Varen, outsider at school, is obsessed with the works of Poe - perhaps too much? Outwardly, Isobel has it all; popular, jock boyfriend, top flyer in the cheerleading squad. However, she's started to feel that there's more to life than putting up with her bullish boyfriend. Varen intrigues her and she finds herself questioning the way her life is going. Varen is a tortured soul and I was willing them to get together. Aside from the goings on in the physical world there's also the world of Poe which adds a wonderful air of mystery to the whole novel. As the real and imaginary worlds begin to bleed into one another the story reaches its climx. I can't say enough good things about Nevermore, it goes beyond most Young Adult novels I've read and got me reading Poe. Enough said.
Nightshade, Andrea Cremer
Nightshade has just snuck in at the end of the year enabling me to include this in my list. I was a little worried when I read the synopsis that this would be somewhat reminiscent of Bitten. I needn't have worried as Nightshade is a completely different animal (sorry). Calla is an alpha Guardian (she can switch between human and wolf forms at will) who's purpose in life is to protect the ancient Keepers. Calla is also promised to a fellow alpha, Ren so they can form a new pack under their control. However, the appearance of a new boy at school throws Calla's life plans into disarray. The massive strength of Nightshade for me was the carefully planned mythology that Cremer had used as the base for her story. However, none of it seems forced and you discover bits here and there until the whole becomes clear. Like By Midnight, I liked that the teenage desire seemed authentic and the book fairly sizzled from start to finish. The world of Nightshade felt fresh and was deliciously creepy at times too.
Angels: The Weetzie Bat Books, Francesca Lia Block.
I started this book on a long car journey and after a few pages stopped. I really wasn't sure about the language but I dove back in determined to give it a proper chance. The world of Weetzie is, I found, very hypnotic and addictive. Soon I was finding the language beautiful and descriptive rather than alien. The edition that I read was a bind-up of the whole series and they cover all the members of Weetzie's family in each separate book. What I also loved was the subject matter that the books covered. It was a little tricky to put an era on the books but they seemed to cover anything from the 1960's to early 1990's and focus on the serious side of life. I actually made a note of some of my favourite lines and that's not something that I often do. Dangerous Angels is a lyrical gem.
2010 was an important year for me and this piece wouldn't be complete without thanking Liz and Mark for inviting me to join MFB and let me post rambling, gleeful reviews of amazing books. Guys, I've loved it and am looking forward to getting stuck in to some great releases for 2011. Thank you for everything, you've made my life richer - honestly.
Okay, bring on the new books - grrrr!