Today is the last day of the Bout of Books readathon and I have decided to take part in the What to Read Next challenge since it is the last mini challenge of Bout of Books 14. (To learn about Bout of Books check out my original post here) This challenge was created by the lovely Sarah at sarahreadstoomuch and basically she is having a little problem trying to decide what book she wants to read next so I have to suggest three of the best books that I have read this year. I think only one of these books I have written a review for because the other two I only read in the last week or so, so I haven’t got around to writing up reviews for them just yet. They are coming soon. I promise.
So here we go:
Recommendation 1 : The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley
“1883. Thaniel Steepleton returns home to his tiny London apartment to find a gold pocket watch on his pillow. Six months later, the mysterious timepiece saves his life, drawing him away from a blast that destroys Scotland Yard. At last, he goes in search of its maker, Keita Mori, a kind, lonely immigrant from Japan. Although Mori seems harmless, a chain of unexplainable events soon suggests he must be hiding something. When Grace Carrow, an Oxford physicist, unwittingly interferes, Thaniel is torn between opposing loyalties.”
I am obsessed with this book right now. I finished this novel three days ago and it has been all that I have thought about. It is funny, witty and beautifully written. The characters are all lovable in their own way, especially Mori who is like a Japanese Sherlock Holmes. The only flaw I could find with this book was that it tends to focus more in the characters so the plot sort of falls to the back burner at times, but if you like character driven novels you need to check this out. Also you never hear that much about Victorian Japan or their politics so that element to the novel was fascinating.
Also it has a clockwork octopus called Katsu who likes to steal socks. Seriously, read it. If you like historical fiction, steampunk stuff or Sherlock Holmes you will love this book. It is so much fun.
Recommendation 2: The Last Wish by Andrzej Sapkowski
“The book that heralded the arrival of a European superstar!
Geralt is a witcher, a man whose magic powers, enhanced by long training and a mysterious elixir, have made him a brilliant fighter and a merciless assassin. Yet he is no ordinary murderer: his targets are the multifarious monsters and vile fiends that ravage the land and attack the innocent. He roams the country seeking assignments, but gradually comes to realise that while some of his quarry are unremittingly vile, vicious grotesques, others are the victims of sin, evil or simple naivety.”
I don’t like video games or high fantasy novels that much but somehow this book has made it into my list of favourites for this year. If you don’t know this novel is what the video game The Witcher is based on, so if you like the game you will probably like this book. I ended up reading this because I was forced to by my gaming little brother and I have to say that I am very glad he made me read it. This book is the perfect balance of regular fantasy and high fantasy. It has a very modern sense of humor that you normally don’t see in novels of this genre and it is also very easy to read. The characters are entertaining and the story is heavily action packed with very well written fight scenes. The book itself is broken up into several short stories which all seem to be flashbacks with pieces of an over arcing plot tying them all together. I do plan on reading the second book because I need to know what is going on while all of those flashback stories are taking place.
If you love fantasy novels or want to get into the high fantasy genre and don’t know where to start, I would highly recommend this book. I will warn you that it is an adult novel with sexual themes in it so if you are a bit young or just don’t like sex in books I would give this one a miss.
Recommendation 3: The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
“Sussex, England. A middle-aged man returns to his childhood home to attend a funeral. Although the house he lived in is long gone, he is drawn to the farm at the end of the road, where, when he was seven, he encountered a most remarkable girl, Lettie Hempstock, and her mother and grandmother. He hasn’t thought of Lettie in decades, and yet as he sits by the pond (a pond that she’d claimed was an ocean) behind the ramshackle old farmhouse, the unremembered past comes flooding back. And it is a past too strange, too frightening, too dangerous to have happened to anyone, let alone a small boy.
Forty years earlier, a man committed suicide in a stolen car at this farm at the end of the road. Like a fuse on a firework, his death lit a touchpaper and resonated in unimaginable ways. The darkness was unleashed, something scary and thoroughly incomprehensible to a little boy. And Lettie—magical, comforting, wise beyond her years—promised to protect him, no matter what.”
With all the Neil Gaiman books I have read this year of course one of them was going to find its way onto my recommendation list. It was hard to pick just one but I finally settled on The Ocean at the End of the Lane. It was a toss up between this or the Graveyard book. I wrote a view of this book earlier in the year and you can check out the full thing here. This is a dark fantasy novel that can be best described as Coroline for adults. That does not mean that young adults or mature teenagers cannot read it but it is a lot more creepy and dark than Coroline was, and Coroline was pretty damn creepy.
This is a lovely easy to read book with charming characters and just the right amount of magical strangeness and darkness. I would honestly recommend this book to anyone if they can handle the creep factor.
What do you think of my top three picks of the year so far? Have you read any of these books? If so let me know what you thought of them down below, and feel free to give me any recommendations because I love receiving them.