Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish.
This Week’s Theme:
Underrated Books That
Deserve More Hype
It would have been nice to handpick these books from just 2016 alone but terrible reading year would not have produced too many results. So I’m stretching as far back as 2015 in this post…for the most part at least.
Blackthorn Key (Kevin Sands)
Nuanced MG that reads like YA. Fave of 2015.
Until he got that cryptic warning, Christopher Rowe was happy, learning how to solve complex codes and puzzles and creating powerful medicines, potions, and weapons as an apprentice to Master Benedict Blackthorn—with maybe an explosion or two along the way.
But when a mysterious cult begins to prey on London’s apothecaries, the trail of murders grows closer and closer to Blackthorn’s shop. With time running out, Christopher must use every skill he’s learned to discover the key to a terrible secret with the power to tear the world apart.
The False Prince (Jennifer Nielsen)
This is a well read series…but at the same time I seldom see anyone talk about it. So, here you go. The protagonist in this story is miles better (in grayness of morality) than so many YA heroes.
In a discontent kingdom, civil war is brewing. To unify the divided people, Conner, a nobleman of the court, devises a cunning plan to find an impersonator of the king’s long-lost son and install him as a puppet prince. Four orphans are recruited to compete for the role, including a defiant boy named Sage. Sage knows that Conner’s motives are more than questionable, yet his life balances on a sword’s point—he must be chosen to play the prince or he will certainly be killed. But Sage’s rivals have their own agendas as well.
As Sage moves from a rundown orphanage to Conner’s sumptuous palace, layer upon layer of treachery and deceit unfold, until finally, a truth is revealed that, in the end, may very well prove more dangerous than all of the lies taken together.
Boy Robot (Simon Curtis)
This book isn’t perfect but it was a quickly paced SF-F action thriller than I really couldn’t put down. Plus, each of the main narrative is separated by vignettes — kind of like short stories — and they’re arguably the best part of this first installment.
In a single night, Isaak’s life changed forever.
His adoptive parents were killed, a mysterious girl saved him from a team of soldiers, and he learned of his own dark and destructive origin.
An origin he doesn’t want to believe, but one he cannot deny.
Isaak is a Robot: a government-made synthetic human, produced as a weapon and now hunted, marked for termination.
Half a King (Joe Abercrombie)
This is another one of those “I know it’s popular but I haven’t seen it enough from those around me” picks. I have recommended this to readers and this rec has not failed me. Plus, it’s fucking low fantasy. Like swashbuckling fun?!
But first he must survive cruelty, chains and the bitter waters of the Shattered Sea itself – all with only one good hand. Born a weakling in the eyes of a hard, cold world, he cannot grip a shield or swing an axe, so he has sharpened his mind to a deadly edge.
Gathering a strange fellowship of the outcast, he finds they can help him more than any noble could. Even so, Yarvi’s path may end as it began – in twists, traps and tragedy…
The Dead House (Dawn Kurtagich)
If you like how Iluminae was written, you’ll enjoy this. If you can do horror-lite. It’s by no means the spookiest book, nor is it the best fleshed out world, but there are parts that will give you the stink eye.
Twenty-five years ago, Elmbridge High burned down. Three people were killed and one pupil, Carly Johnson, disappeared. Now a diary has been found in the ruins of the school. The diary belongs to Kaitlyn Johnson, Carly’s identical twin sister. But Carly didn’t have a twin . . .
Re-opened police records, psychiatric reports, transcripts of video footage and fragments of diary reveal a web of deceit and intrigue, violence and murder, raising a whole lot more questions than it answers.
Life in a Fishbowl (Len Vlahos)
I’m just going to say this now: 90% of those who read this will probably not enjoy it. It’s in a nutshell, a satire on reality television re: Big Brother, with the oddest of voices (i.e. cancer is a narrator). I’ve yet to review this since it just came out but if that’s the kind of story you like, then maybe (?)
Fifteen-year-old Jackie Stone is a prisoner in her own house. Everything she says and does 24/7 is being taped and broadcast to every television in America. Why? Because her dad is dying of a brain tumor and he has auctioned his life on eBay to the highest bidder: a ruthless TV reality show executive at ATN.
Gone is her mom’s attention and cooking and parent-teacher conferences. Gone is her sister’s trust ever since she’s been dazzled by the cameras and new-found infamy. Gone is her privacy. Gone is the whole family’s dignity as ATN twists their words and makes a public mockery of their lives on Life and Death. But most of all, Jackie fears that one day very soon her father will just be . . . gone. Armed only with her ingenuity and the power of the internet, Jackie is determined to end the show and reclaim all of their lives, even in death.
Backward Glass (David Lomax)
This was just great. The actual time travel does take a bit to get used to re: walking through mirrors but as a standalone, it was enthralling.
It’s 1977, and Kenny Maxwell is dreading the move away from his friends. But then, behind the walls of his family’s new falling-apart Victorian home, he finds something incredible–a mummified baby and a note: “Help me make it not happen, Kenny. Help me stop him.”
Shortly afterwards, a beautiful girl named Luka shows up. She introduces Kenny to the backward glass, a mirror that allows them to travel through time. Meeting other “mirror kids” in the past and future is exciting, but there’s also danger. The urban legend of Prince Harming, who kidnaps and kills children, is true–and he’s hunting them. When Kenny gets stranded in the past, he must find the courage to answer a call for help, change the fate of a baby–and confront his own destiny.
Legion (Brandon Sanderson)
Although everything of his is generally popular, this short story pales in comparison. Just an all-round quick read with an intriguing protagonist; each hallucination having it’s own quirks and skills.
“Stephen Leeds, AKA ‘Legion,’ is a man whose unique mental condition allows him to generate a multitude of personae: hallucinatory entities with a wide variety of personal characteristics and a vast array of highly specialized skills. As the story begins, Leeds and his ‘aspects’ are drawn into the search for the missing Balubal Razon, inventor of a camera whose astonishing properties could alter our understanding of human history and change the very structure of society”–From publisher’s description