I’ve always felt like a person’s favourite books and series can tell you a lot about that person, and, as I’m just starting out with this blog, I figured what better way to introduce myself than through the stories behind my all time favourite books? I’m very particular about what books and series I consider my favourites; I could have absolutely loved a book, but it still may not be considered a favourite because of one character that annoyed me, or a plot point I felt was convenient, or some minor flaw in the writing. Hell, a book I loved may miss my favourites list simply because I don’t feel it stuck with me the way my favourites have, or I didn’t feel that spark of complete obsession. So you can imagine just how much I love the books I do consider favourites. And it’s those books I’m going to talk about in this post.
The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare
So this one is kind of obvious. I’ve pretty much been screaming about my love for this series since I read it back in 2015. But it’s the book series that probably means the most to me out of every one on this list. I was gonna save this for last, but I figured I may as well get the incoherent raving out of the way first.
So, as I said before, I read this series towards the end of 2015 (though my goodreads says I read it in 2016 because I 100% cheated in my reading challenge that year). 2015 wasn’t the greatest year for me. It was the year before I was diagnosed with my mental illnesses and I was kind of losing myself. At this point in my life, I’d stopped reading, despite the fact that it was one of my favourite things to do as a child. So when a friend of mine recommended that I pick these books up, I was hesitant. But I decided to go ahead and read them anyway, and they pretty much changed my life.
Now, I wish I could say that this series cured my depression, but, unfortunately, that’s not how it works. But it did reintroduce me to a hobby that I massively enjoyed during a time when I had pretty much lost interest in living. I completely fell in love with this series: the story was addicting, the world was immersive, and the characters stole my heart. Tessa, Will, and Jem became my entire life for two weeks, and afterwards, all I wanted to do was find that feeling of complete and total obsession again. This series reignited my love of reading, and I couldn’t be more thankful for that, because it’s lead me to finding this community, meeting new and amazing people, and finding more books that I absolutely love. So really, it’s only fitting that I began with TID, because it was the beginning of everything (including my marriage to my wonderful husband Will (he’s mine, fight me)).
Not only did this trilogy remind me why I loved reading and brought me immense amounts of joy during a time when I felt I could no longer feel that way, it’s also just really good. It’s filled to the fucking brim with angst, so of course I was obsessed, and it pretty much ripped out my heart, stomped it into the ground, and then set fire to the ground it was buried in for good measure. Which sounds a bit strange coming right after me talking about how happy this series made me but you know what? I’m an emotional wreck. And this series is a good half of the reason why because holy shit that epilogue haunts me.
The Dark Artifices by Cassandra Clare
If you learn anything from this post, it’s that I’m complete trash for Cassandra Clare. I’d like to think of myself as a fairly critical and thoughtful reader, but when it comes to Clare’s works, I’m just another Herondale-obsessed fangirl who gives zero shits about the quality of the book as long as all my favourites end up happy and with the characters I ship them with. And I’m not ashamed to say that this series is no different for me.
But, whilst I could just use this space to rave about my love for Julian, my obsession with Kit and Ty, and my adoration of Mark and all his preciousness, I’d rather discuss another reason why this series is so special to me: the autism representation. For those of you who don’t know, I have a little brother called Matthew who is 7 years old, and autistic and non-verbal. I love him to bits, but sometimes it’s hard to know how he feels or what he’s thinking, especially because he can’t really tell me. Up until I read Lady Midnight, I’d never seen autism represented in media, and most of what I’d known about it before my brother was diagnosed came from the negative stigma surrounding it. So to read about a character like Ty Blackthorn meant everything to me.
Ty allowed me a glimpse into what my brother’s head might be like, and, whilst I probably won’t ever completely understand my little brother or the way he thinks, Ty’s character made me feel closer to him. A lot of the little things Ty did or some of the ways he acted in certain situations were just so similar to how my brother reacts, and seeing that in someone else kind of got me really emotional. Not to mention, it was the first time I’d ever encountered autism being spoken about outright and positively, and, whilst I never thought of autism in a negative way, it was nice to have the idea of it not being a bad thing reinforced, because the stigma surrounding it can be disheartening.
I also just felt like this series stepped up from TID in terms of Clare’s writing, and that was really nice to see. My reading life has been so thoroughly shaped by her works, and so to be able to witness her growth in this series just gave me all the feels. Not to mention that I would give my left kidney to protect my precious Blackthorns (and Kit and Emma and Kieran (probably not Christina though, she’s boring af, sorry not sorry)).
The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater
Ronan Niall Lynch. Need I say more?
But seriously, this series is so dear to me, but it wasn’t until recently that I realised just how much I love these books. I first read them in 2016, and absolutely fell in love with Ronan and the rest of the Gangsey. Their friendship was so precious and heartwarming and realistic, and reading about their adventures had me wishing I was there with them all. Not to mention just how intrigued I was by the story; The Raven Cycle was like nothing I’d ever read, and I found the Welsh kings and psychics and dream forests so interesting to read about.
However, this was never a series that immediately came to mind when I thought of my favourite books. It wasn’t until I reread it last year that I remembered just how much I adored this series the first time I read it, and I’m now somehow even more obsessed with it than I already was. This time around I just related to all of the characters so much more, and, because of that, I felt even more connected with them and their stories. I could honestly write an entire novel on how I related to each character, but we’d be here all day. But I felt a particular connection to Adam, and explaining that might help you all get to know me a little, so I’ll do that (briefly).
So, funny thing is, I actually didn’t like Adam as much as the other characters in this series when I first read it. It wasn’t until I reread the books that I realised why, though: Adam shared so many of my own habits and qualities and ways of thinking, and seeing that reflected in someone else, especially the more negative traits, made me so uncomfortable that I just ended up not liking him as much. But realising just how much I relate to Adam upon rereading this series, I pretty much fell in love with him. He pretty much spent his entire life up in his head, constantly thinking thinking thinking. Approaching every situation he came across so logically, always withdrawing to observe before offering a solution. He was so hard on himself, never feeling like he was good enough or prepared enough to function in the world, and he would end up isolating himself from others when he felt a particular need for self preservation. And I’m exactly the same way. I’ve never really met anyone like that before, and whilst, at first, reading about him felt like a personal call-out, I grew to love him when I realised just how much I related to him, and because of that, he’s one of my all-time favourite characters. It just made me really emotional to read about him. (Yes, this is my definition of “briefly” lmao)
In saying that, however, Ronan will always be my favourite character in this series, so I’m sure it’s no surprise to any of you that I’m a total slut for Pynch. They are my all-time OTP, and my obsession with their relationship is beyond unhealthy. But talking about my love for their relationship will lead me right into sounding like a crazy person, and I’m kind of trying to avoid that (not that it seems to be working so far, but still), so just know that I love them, and we can move on.
Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
I don’t know how many of you will have heard of this series, it’s kind of under the radar… Ok, but actually, there’s a reason this duology is so popular: IT’S FUCKING GOOD. And I say that as someone who wasn’t that into the Shadow and Bone trilogy. Seriously, the worldbuilding, the plot, the characters, the writing, the relationships, EVERYTHING! It was all exactly what I’d always wanted from a book, and I was absolutely living for it.
Now, from the books on this list so far, it’s pretty safe to assume that I’m basic af. But unlike most people that I know, my favourite character in this series isn’t Kaz or Inej or even Nina. My favourite is Jesper. Maybe it’s just that I don’t know anyone who’s as obsessed with Jesper Fahey as much as I am, or maybe it’s just that everyone who is as obsessed with him is overshadowed by the massive hordes of Kaz fangirls, but I really feel that Jesper is a hugely underrated character in this series and I really needed express just how much of an injustice I think that is, because he deserves so much more.
The thing is, though, Six of Crows is full of so many complex and fleshed-out characters that it doesn’t surprise me that everyone has a different favourite. That’s really the main reason I love this series so much: the characters are all so complicated and intriguing that I wanted to sit and read about them for hours just so I could psychoanalyse them (you’ll all find out soon enough that the majority of my reading time is spent psychoanalysing fictional characters because I’m way too into psychology and how people think). And because I’m such a character-driven reader, I was pretty much hooked.
But even if I was more of a plot person, this series would still probably end up on this list because DAMN the plot of this was intense. Like, I kind of wanted to become a badarse criminal after reading this?? And that’s saying a lot, because I’m riddled with anxiety, and a life of crime doesn’t exactly seem suited to that lol. But I just found myself so excited and hyped up the whole time I was reading this, and I was so invested in the characters and the world and the magic and the plot, and wow, this duology is just so great.
Nevernight by Jay Kristoff
Unlike the other series on this list, I’ve only read the first book in this series. But holy fuck did I love it. It. Was. Absolutely. Brutal. This is one of those books that can be incredibly polarising: you’ll probably either love it or hate it. But fortunately for me, I ended up falling head over heels for Mia Corvere and her story. Seriously, Will Herondale may be my husband, but Mia is my wife (my very, very deadly wife). I just absolutely loved reading about her as a character, and found myself actually agreeing with a lot of her decisions or thinking that a lot of her actions were pretty smart, and that’s so fucking rare for me, especially with female protagonists. But Mia was just everything I’ve ever wanted from a character, and that’s just one of the reasons that this book is on this list.
I really enjoyed the way that this story was written. The writing of this book is probably the most polarising aspect, because Kristoff’s writing style is incredibly flowery, and some people just aren’t into that. But I’m fucking trash for gorgeous descriptions and deep-arse metaphors and this book DELIVERED. I especially loved the way that the flashbacks were incorporated into the story. The same metaphor set up would be used in both the past and present section, but the story would be about something entirely different. The opening chapter was a particularly brilliant example of this: Kristoff uses the same metaphors and similes to tell us about Mia having sex and Mia murdering someone, and the comparison of these two acts through the way they were written was absolutely genius. And speaking of genius, the footnotes were brilliant. They’re another element of this book that can be quite polarising, because I know a lot of people might find them to be kind of info-dumpy with the worldbuilding, but the guy in the book who was writing the footnotes was so funny that I did not care at all. And the worldbuilding was still spread out throughout the book anyway, it’s just that you had it all condensed into one hilarious paragraph at the bottom of every four or five pages, which, if anything, made it easier for me to understand this incredibly complicated world.
Ok, so I kind of started basically reviewing this book in that last paragraph, but I never actually reviewed this book because I was so fucking shook for months after reading this, so I guess my brain is trying to get it out of it’s system. But yeah, my point really is that I love the characters in this book and I love the writing of this book and I love the plot of this book and I love the worldbuilding in this book. Seriously, the world is so immersive and creative. I’m so intrigued by literally everything: the suns and the magic systems and the weird-arse blood pools and the different places and their unique cultures and the religious aspects and just everything. This book is so so so so so good guys. It’s so good. Go read it.
Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman
What? A standalone? Do those even exist? Reading this list would make you doubt it. But yes, despite the fact that I’m a hoe for fantasy series, this book still managed to make it onto this list, and deservedly so. It’s such a raw and heart wrenching portrayal of schizophrenia, based on Shusterman’s son’s experiences with the mental illness.
The story is told through two separate plot lines, one following a boy in high school struggling with his mental health, and the other following a boy on a pirate ship. And then, by the end of the book, these two separate stories converge into one, the pieces all click into place, and you’re left an emotional mess. Or at least that was the case for me. The way this book is written in itself just gives you such a greater understanding of what it’s like to live with schizophrenia, and then the story goes even deeper into the struggles faced by someone who’s schizophrenic. It’s just such a realistic and emotional book, and I was pretty much in tears throughout the entire thing.
Also, as you’ll soon learn, I’m complete trash for mental health books, so of course there was going to be at least one on this list. But of all the books about mental illness that I’ve read, this one was just heart-achingly beautiful, and it really is one of my all-time favourite reads.
I’m obsessed with books and reading (as you can probably tell from the fact that I literally have a blog dedicated to the books I read), and because of that, there’s a lot of books that I love. And so, whilst these aren’t quite favourites of mine, they’re all books and series that I gave more than 4 stars to, and that I massively enjoyed and wanted to recommend on top of the books I already listed above. So:
The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
This would literally be on my favourites list if it weren’t for the fact that it’s been so long since I’ve read this series, and have therefore lost some of that excitement I used to have for it and don’t know if I’d still love it if I reread it today. But I absolutely love this series: the characters are a joy to read about and the plot is action-packed and fun.
Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake
I enjoyed the first book of this series, but it wasn’t until I read the second that I fell in love with it. I’m desperate to read the third one now, and who knows? Maybe after reading the third, this series will become an all-time favourite for me. For now though, I just don’t feel the passion towards this series that I do for the other books on this list
Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
I read this entire 500+ page book in one day. I’m obsessed with Simon and Baz. I just had issues with the technical side of this book, and so can’t consider it a favourite. However, I definitely love it as much as I do my favourites.
Eliza and Her Monsters
Loved this story, also read the entire thing in one day, balled my eyes out all night, but don’t find myself thinking about this story all that much since reading it. I don’t know, as I said, I’m very particular about what I consider a favourite, but this was definitely a 5-star read.
Really, there’s three things that I hope you take away from this post. First, I hope you all learned a little more about my reading taste and therefore know whether or not I’m someone worth following for you and your particular taste. Secondly, I hope you learned a little more about me through the stories behind my favourite books and the reasons why I love them. And finally, I hope you all see why I will never become a bookstagrammer because holy shit it took me 2 hours to take and edit that photo of TID and it still turned out shit lmao.
Still don’t know how I’m ending these, so bye I guess 🙂