Friday, December 31, 2010

Literary Friday: Best Books of 2010

What do a Victorian/Steampunk young adult book; a futuristic science fiction/suspense thriller; and a literary selection rich in art and mental illness have in common?  All three made my Best Books of 2010 List!

My three favorite books of 2010 are:

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare;

Photobucket

The Dervish House by Ian MacDonald;

Photobucket

and The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova.

Photobucket


Clockwork Angel is the first installment in Cassandra Clare's Infernal Devices series, which is the prequel to her highly successful and very well-written Mortal Instruments series. Cassandra Clare is the best young adult writer today, and I am so pleased she has set a very high standard for the genre.  If you have young adults in your life, you must introduce them to her series. This is definitely not your typical young adult vampire series.  As a matter of fact, although it has a little bit of a gothic vibe, it has a strong Steampunk influence, and I like it!

In Clockwork Angel, New Yorker Tessa Gray must travel to Queen Victoria's London to find her missing brother.  When she arrives, she is kidnapped by the creepy Dark Sisters who are members of a notorious secret society called the Pandemonium Club.  Tessa soon learns that there is a parallel reality comprised of Downworlders, or supernatural beings with special abilities, gifts, and curses. The only people who protect normal humans (mundanes) from this world are the Shadowhunters: descendants of the Nephilim.  Tessa quickly learns that she belongs to this otherworld, a legacy that has been hidden from her since birth.  As Tessa allies with the London Institute of Shadowhunters, she meets two best friends, Will and Jem, who intrigue and frighten Tessa in different ways and for different reasons.  With tutelage from the Institute, will Tessa utilize her gifts and find her brother? Perhaps one of the biggest surprises for me in this book is Magnus Bane.  No spoilers here other than to say his storyline is fun.

I have already posted about The Dervish House.  You can read my post about it here.

I have heard many mixed reviews about The Swan Thieves from my friends. It seems that my artist friends tend to like it better than my non-artist friends, which I imagine is due to the subject matter. The book is about a nationally-recognized artist named Robert Oliver who goes nuts in the National Gallery of Art and tries to attack a priceless painting with a knife. He is hospitalized for mental illness, and psychiatrist Andrew Marlow, an exceptional artist himself, takes on Robert's compelling case.  Marlow almost becomes obsessed with his new patient, and he crosses many professional lines in attempting to understand the "why" behind Robert's illness.   In order for the reader to better understand Robert, Kostova's highly researched depiction of Impressionism in 1880's France is the highlight of the book for me. She spoils her readers with research (for those of you who have read The Historian, you will recall how well-researched her writing is).  The betrayal of a talented female impressionist is key in understanding Robert's descent into madness. Marlow reads a series of letters written between French Impressionist artists and even travels to France to unlock the story's mystery.

Please comment about your favorite books of 2010.  There are so many wonderful books coming out in 2011.  What will you be reading next year?

Until next time...

Happy reading!
Ricki Jill

3 comments:

  1. THANK YOU FOR YOUR VISIT DEAR THANK YOU FOR SHARING YOUR GOOD BOOKS...HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU...BLESSINGS

    ReplyDelete
  2. Happy New Year to you too Dear!! xo

    Have I ever told you that I read books like you wouldn't believe?? I'm always up for book recommendations!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Ricki Jill, thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment and NO a comment can NEVER be too long.
    I love to read and hoard those Book Page things the libraries give out.
    One book I read that stands out is "The Story of Edgar Sawtelle". I was just mesmerized by the story.
    You've got me thinking now.
    Happy New Year creating and reading!

    ReplyDelete

I read and appreciate all of your comments :D