The magical 2014 round-up – or my top 14 books of 2014

This is my list of the top 14 books I read in 2014, they weren’t necessarily released in 2014, but I read them in 2014. I don’t think there’s a particular order to these, they’re just the top 14-ish. I’m going to be kind to myself and say that if I finished a trilogy/series in a year, or read all that was published in a series/trilogy in a year I count those as one.

Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay
I read this quite far out in the year, but it made it high up. I feel like when I read How to be a woman by Caitlin Moran I became very aware of feminism and womanhood and my own feminism, and all that jazz, which is good. Reading Bad Feminist I became more aware of the issues of race within feminism and the fact that no one is a perfect feminist because you’d explode if you weren’t allowed to do whatever you want sometimes. Gay has a huge knowledge of popular culture and just culture in itself. She writes amazing essays and she has a great tone and I feel sort of humbled, because I am obviously a woman of some privilege being middle-class and white and there are some issues I just don’t understand. So I feel like she opened my eyes quite a lot, and although I don’t know where to go now, or how to do anything, I am still happy that my eyes are more open because of Roxane Gay.

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black
This is my YA vampire-awesome book of the year. I thought the vampires/zombies were really amazing, the mythology was fascinating and the way the world was set up was amazing and cool. I loved Tana, she was very consistent, there was some insta-love and while I don’t like that I didn’t care. Tana is strong and weird and cool and she has flaws and it’s lovely. I loved it.

Electrified Sheep by Alex Boese
This was a non-fiction book I read this year. I loved it. It’s about weird experiments and odd science. And I love it when there are mavericks in the world of science. I feel like when other scientists think no, it wouldn’t be ethical these geniuses thought fuck that I want to find out this and I’ll do it to myself if I have to. So I loved that. I think I’ve read two of his books, he has one more, I’ll have to find that and read it. It’s lovely. It’s so much fun.

Cress by Marissa Meyer
This is the third book in the Lunar Chronicles, and it focuses on the Rapunzel story. It was great. I think it’s my favorite in the Lunar Chronicles. I thought the Rapunzel fairy tale was handled beautifully and magically. I love Carswell Thorne, I love him, he’s like a space version of Captain Jack Sparrow, less drunk, and more cocky. I love him. I really liked Cress (Rapunzel), I think she was done really well, because she’s gone sort of insane being on her own, watching the earth and Cinder and Scarlet and their adventures.

The Gentleman Bastards series by Scott Lynch
I’d had the first of these books on my shelves for like… ever, and when I read the Lies of Locke Lamora it sort of took over my brain and needed to read the next ones so I read Red Seas Under Red Skies and The Republic of Thieves sort of instantly. The writing is beautiful and wonderful. The stories are outstanding, and the characters oh my God. Locke is unlikeable and wonderful all at once. He is amazing. Jean is my boo. I love a good con story, and the stories are so weird and complicated and they’re intensely well planned out. I love it.

More than This by Patrick Ness
Patrick Ness is evil, I’m pretty sure. An evil genius. I finished the Chaos Walking trilogy this year, and then promptly bought More Than This, because everyone was just raving about it. And I loved the Chaos Walking trilogy. This was amazing and wonderful. The way it was put together, and the way it was built and the way it was told, oh my God. It’s about a boy named Seth who is drowning, who dies, and then wakes up, naked and alone. And he has to figure out where he is, what happened, and what to do now. And it’s so beautiful, and it sort of feels hopeless all the time, and the “dreams” or flashbacks are just heartbreaking. I loved it.

Necromancing the Stone by Lish McBride
YA choice number three. This is just so much fun. It’s legit hilarious. The writing is absolutely amazing. It’s not like literary or anything like that, it’s just solid and hilarious and it’s funny and clever. I love Lish McBride, and why I haven’t read Firebug is beyond me. It’s about a kid named Samhain, Sam, who is a necromancer and who is trying to figure out his place in the world after the first book, and how to sort of cope with his new position in the supernatural creatures world. It’s fun. Sam is a cool character, he’s kind and very just, and he keeps trying no matter how often he is struck down.

Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
Lolita. Oh my God. It was incredible. I uh. I don’t know. Okay, focus. It’s the story of Dolores Haze who is the newest obsession of Humbert Humbert. Dolores, or Lolita, is 12, and Humbert Humbert is 37 and her step-father. He is obsessed with her and when her mother dies he takes her away and travels across the country with her. He is in love with her, although obviously he’s a pedophile. He keeps rationalizing his love for her and he feels like she loves him too and she actually seduced him. And it’s so creepy to see the world from his perspective. And to see him explaining and rationalizing and defending what he’s doing was just horrible. I loved it for how beautifully it was written, and for how much it revolted me. I never felt like he managed to trick me into sympathizing with him, I found him revolting, and horrible. He is very aware of what he is doing and that he is doing something wrong, but he does it anyway.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
I read a lot of Rainbow Rowell this year, well, three. I loved Fangirl, not for any high flying reason, not because it’s great literature, not because it’s necessarily well written, but because they’re about something that really resonated with me. It’s about a young lady named Cath who is going to college and for the first time in her life she’s not sharing a room with her twin sister Wren. Cath is taking a creative writing class at school. She has been writing Simon Snow (a slightly campier Harry Potter) fanfiction since she was a little kid and she doesn’t know if she can write actual creative writing that she thinks of herself. I really recognized myself in Cath, she’s sort of angsty (she doesn’t dare ask anyone for help when she can’t find the cafeteria, she’d rather starve) and shy and she’s introverted, and I always loved Harry Potter and I loved writing fanfiction, so I recognized myself in her a lot. I loved it. It made me cry (easy to do), and it made me laugh (which is harder to do). And I loved it.

The Name of the Wind and The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
I read both of these this year. It’s just an amazing fantasy series. The third book has no release date yet, because Patrick Rothfuss is evil. It’s about a guy named Kvothe who was part of a band of travelling performers. He learns some magic from a traveller who joins them for a while. His family is then murdered and Kvothe goes to the University to learn magics and to learn about the people who killed his family. The books are incredibly written and they’re amazing. There are things that bug me, Kvothe is a horrible know-it-all, and best at everything, and the love interest has no redeeming qualities and I hate her. I don’t know why entirely.

Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor
This is the third, final, book in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy. It was a lovely conclusion. The writing was beautiful and wonderful as expected. The writing in these books is just so gorgeous. The story is fascinating, I love Karou, I love Akiva, I love how far down Laini Taylor pushes them, how hard she makes it for them before they are allowed to feel any relief. Yeah, I’m a horrible person. It was just a great conclusion to the story.

The (first) Mistborn trilogy by Brandon Sanderson
This took over my brain and I read all three books in 2014. The magic system is incredibly interesting and complex. The world building is excellent, the characters are great, Vin and Elend and the crew, they’re all so great. They made me want to keep reading fantasy forever and never read anything else. So that’s fun. I also want to read the second Misborn trilogy which is set in the future in the same universe. So that’s exciting. I also want to read his other series, the Stormlight Archive, but it’s a long ass series and I don’t know if I want to wait a little. He has a huge bibliography so I have a lot of ground to cover anyway. I’m excited about more Brandon Sanderson.

Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
I feel like I should have read this before. I don’t know what happened, but I was slow, so there it is. It’s so beautiful and it’s so heartbreaking. It’s also odd to see how the creature is portrayed in the book compared to the movies. He’s smart, he’s self-taught, he only wants love and it’s so sad. And I want to read it again like right now. It was just gorgeous

Rat Queens: Sass and Sorcery by Kurtis J. Wiebe
This was the year I really got into graphic novels and comics and I started a lot of series. And this wrap-up would not be complete without some graphic novel in the mix. Rat Queens is about a band of battle maidens for hire. There’s monster killing and drinking and arguing and fighting and it’s so good. I need volume 2 as soon as possible please. It’s so good. The art is amazing and I love the characters and the story.

So these are my favorites of 2014. Let me know your favorites, what did you read, did you read any of these, what you think? And there will be more posts soon, I’ve been slacking. I take Christmas off of everything. Yeah, I’m a lazy butt. Whoo.