As much as I’d like to deny it, 2012 is right around the corner, which means it’s time to reflect back on another year of reading. This is not an easy task, but a fun one because for once, we Snoops don’t have to be even the least bit objective. After narrowing down my favorite books of 2012, I noticed an overriding theme–four out of five are Dystopian Fiction. And the fifth is Fantasy. Pretty odd for a sworn realistic fiction freak, huh? Drum roll please…
I was hooked by Divergent‘s perfect balance of compelling plot, action, and (yes, I’ll admit it) romance. It is the story of Tris, who lives in a future Chicago where society has been divided into factions in order to extinguish undesirable human traits that lead to a world at war. Tris has just selected the faction she will align herself with for the rest for her life–and it’s not the one the rest of her family belongs to. Despite the dystopian setting, her struggle is one that teen readers will relate to, as she is torn between being true to herself and what she thinks her family wants her to be. The story also raises interesting questions about the inherent danger of valuing just one virtue over all others when there is merit in each of the virtues represented by the factions.
If you’re a fan of The Hunger Games like me (and who isn’t?), look no further. Enclave is the first installment in a new dystopian series that is sure to please. This engrossing and quick read features a highly likable and strong female character named Deuce, lots of action, and even some romance (Hmmm… perhaps another theme is emerging from my book selections). Deuce–who lives in one of the underground enclaves established after New York City was destroyed by war and plague–is compelled to become the best huntress that she can be to make her trainer and the members of her enclave proud. But as the story progresses, she slowly begins to question the authority and intentions of the enclave’s leaders. When she is exiled Topside with her partner Fade, the two face obstacles that even their hunter training could not prepare them for.
It’s pretty obvious that I’m a sucker for a strong female character in a dystopian setting and Saba, in Blood Red Road, is just that. She and her twin brother Lugh have lived all of their lives in Silverlake with their parents and their little sister Emmi–their closest neighbor twelve miles away. Lugh thinks it’s time to leave this wasteland but Saba is conflicted. Then one day, the choice is made for them when four horsemen in long black robes appear on the tail end of a dust storm. This is one of those books where it takes a bit of time to adjust to the rhythm of the story, but it’s worth putting the time in. With each passing chapter, the book becomes increasingly difficult to put down. Packed with action and danger, the story is also about friendship and love. The sequel, Dust Lands, is first on my list for 2012.
I loved every book in The Maze Runner dystopian trilogy and the final installment, The Death Cure, is no exception. Its fast-paced writing style propelled me from one chapter to the next and I couldn’t wait to see what would happen to the cast of characters I have grown so fond of because of their gritty determination to survive and fierce loyalty to one another. And just when I thought I would have to suffer through Maze Runner withdrawal, it was announced that a series prequel, The Kill Order, will be released in August 2012. Yipee!!!
The plot of Red Glove is as spirited and intelligent as is its protagonist, Cassel Sharpe, who offers just the right mix of irreverence, street smarts, and sarcasm. I first met Cassel in White Cat and was hooked by his character and the trilogy’s imaginative premise–a family of con artists with abilities to work magical curses butts heads with a crime boss. Cassel used to think he was one of the best con artists around but everything changed when his own brothers made him the mark in a con of their own. To make matter worse, his brother’s old boss–the head of a crime family–wants Cassel to work for him. With each side staking their claim, you can’t help but root for Cassel to pull off the ultimate con and outsmart them all.
For me, 2011 was a great year for interesting characters placed in unique and challenging situations that kept the pages turning. I can’t wait to see what 2012 has in store.