2012 Wrap-Up: Best Books I've Read


2012 was the year of the dystopian and post-apocalyptic genre(s). Two years before I didn't even know that there was such a word as dystopian since I associate anything to do with that genre as apocalyptic and/or post-apocalyptic. But I have read this little article written by Julie Kagawa, author of the Iron Fey series, about the difference between those two:
...a dystopian novel is about a SOCIETY where something has gone terribly wrong.

A post-apocalyptic novel, on the other hand, is about a world-changing, cataclysmic event: floods, zombies, the super flu, earthquakes, solar flares, the moon falling out of alignment, etc.

Dystopian and post-apocalyptic can be easily confused, because a dystopian society usually rises from the ashes of a post-apocalyptic event. However, a dystopian novel's focus is on the society, and everything wrong with it, rather then the event itself.
Well, it is still a little bit confusing and sometimes I don't really distinguish between the two of them. I just lump those books together in one pile and label it "dystopian/post-apocalyptic". Easier that way.

But I am not here to talk about the merits of debating whether or not a book is dystopian or post-apocalyptic. No, I am not. I am going to list down the 12 best books/series I've read in 2012. Mind you, it was hard choosing them and sometimes I wondered whether I read the book in 2011 or 2012 since I love to reread stuff. Thank goodness there's Goodreads where I kinda recorded the books I've read via the site's Reading Challenge. Very handy that.

Anyway, I've bored with all my rambling that sometimes doesn't make sense even to me. So, without further ado...

Best Books I've Read in 2012
(in no particular order)

Half-Blood
Jennifer L. Armentrout
5/5 apples.
I was originally going to put the Covenant Series above but I guess reading Daimon and Half-Blood doesn't account much to a series especially when Pure and Deity were also released that year. But when I read Half-Blood, Pure wasn't out yet and during the interim period when I had to wait for it to come out and there were other books that demanded my attention, then perhaps, the series kind of when to the back of queue.

The story concepts that were introduced here were not as new as I thought they were since they were touched before in other books. It also reminded me of the Vampire Academy. Alex and Aiden reminded me of Rose and Dimitri. That is not to say that I did not enjoy this book because I did. A lot. This year, I am going to catch up with this series and read Pure and Deity before Apollyon comes out.
Spirit's Princess
Esther M. Friesner
5/5 apples | Review
Despite the historical inaccuracies, inauthentic names for that time, and all that shoot-in-the-dark-is-that-what-really-happened, I loved Spirit's Princess. The academic lurking somewhere within me, the one who's studying Asian Studies and specializing in Japan, would be horrified at the liberties taken with the material since no one really knows for certain what happened in Himiko's time and what her story really was. All we have going on is a few sentences or paragraphs telling about this powerful priestess-queen who ruled ancient Japan... granted there was already a united Japan then when all were just spots of villages and such in the southern part of the country. Also, I haven't read any of Friesner's books in the Princess of Myth collection before so I don't have anything to compare it to.

Still, I fell in love with this story. I don't know why but it has a charm to it. It doesn't hurt that it's one of the few books that are inspired by Asia. 
Taste
Kate Evangelista
4/5 apples | Review
Yay! A book by a Filipina author. I think I've told the story of how I got wind up with Taste numerous times before. Why wouldn't I when it was probably the first time an author reached out to me and asked me to read some chapters of her story. At that time, I thought Taste was a vampire story and kind of reminded me of the manga, Vampire Knight by Matsuri Hino. It turned out that it was about zombies. Zombies. The ones your plants kill when they're trying to cross your lawn to get to your house so they could eat your brains. Well, that was what I was thinking when I found out that yummy Demitri and Luca were going for Phoenix. But then, these aren't your typical Hollywood zombies and don't even think about Warm Bodies. Ew, why did I even mention that?

This zombie story will challenge what you initially thought a zombie was... although I still enjoy those Dawn of the Dead type of movies. And by the way, I'm leaning towards Team Luca now.
The Immortal Rules
Julie Kagawa
5/5 apples | Review
This is totally different from the Iron Fey series. The Immortal Rules just take us back to the original concept of vampires - immortal and oh so very dangerous.

It was like watching a movie when I was reading this book. Non-stop action in a world that was completely and utterly built that you could imagine yourself being there. Romance was a bit meh and I don't think it would have detracted from the story if it wasn't there... I'm Team Kanin though even he was not really paired with Allison.
Divergent Series
Veronica Roth
5/5 apples
I've read The Hunger Games, sure, which is another dystopian novel and it did introduce me to the wondeful world of YA dystopian. But the Hunger Games high ended that year in 2010 and it wasn't when I was browsing through the blogs that I heard about Divergent.

There was big hype with Divergent. There were talks about factions, initiations, Dauntless, divergents and Four. Whoever Four was. I thought Is that a name? A number of some secret society? It turned out Four was a person, a character, which I found out through my Tumblr dashboard (the things you learn in Tumblr about a book, movie or TV series without actually watching them are mind boggling). Curiosity, then, drove me to read Divergent and I never regretted it. When will "Detergent" come out?
Gypsy Knights
Two Brothers Metz
4/5 apples | Review

Now, here's a story of adventure!

I never thought I could learn so much about trains, runs and routes. Nor would I know that there are specific strategies in chess, with their own names, if I hadn't read this book. I thought it was just make-it-up-you-go. Maybe that is why I don't win that much.
Mythos Academy Series
Jennifer Estep
4/5 apples
Mythos Academy series, how do I love thee? Well, not that much but I did give it five out of five apples for the enjoyment that I experienced when I was reading through this series... and if I remember correctly, I read  for three days straight. That's telling you something, ain't it?

Legend of Witchtrot Road
E.J. Stevens
4/5 apples | Review
This is the third book in the Spirit Guide series. I chose to just feature the third book, even though I enjoyed the series so far, since this is the first book in the series that garnered a four out of five apples. I liked the series' fast pace and straight-to-the-point storytelling. No dragging drama whatsoever. It grows on you, this series. It creeps on you and you won't realize that you're already reading the third book. It happened to me. Plus, they're all under a hundred pages and didn't sacrifice the story which scored major points from me.
Anna and the French Kiss
Stephanie Perkins
5/5 apples | Review
I didn't think I would love this book before I read it. I've heard a lot of good things about this book and a certain boy named Étienne St. Clair. I just thought one day to read this and find out what the hullabaloo was all about. With encouragement from fellow bloggers, I went to Paris.

Anna and the French Kiss is a book that falls in the Why haven't I read this as soon as I got it category. It was a really, really good day when I read this book I couldn't help smiling all day. Three words. Étienne St. Clair.
The Pledge
Kimberly Derting
5/5 apples | Review
I fully embraced reading this book as I whiled away a Sunday afternoon. No breaks. No pauses. I even brought my read to the bathroom... Yeah, I think you didn't have to know that. But it was that addicting - I never put it down. It certainly deserves to be inducted into the high echelons of all things dystopian. It was quite different since I imagined everything dystopian to be futuristic and science-y (including the creation of something mythical as a vampire is attributed to a virus) but The Pledge, however, delved into magic and extraordinary abilities and I wondered how it could be? Was The Pledge still dealing within our world, only the future of our world or is it set in an alternative world altogether?
Ashes
Ilsa J. Bick
4/5 apples
Ashes reminded me a bit of Soulless by Christopher Golden. This was also one of the books that I thought I would not like. And look! Four out of five stars. This is the last dystopian book in this list (though I did read more dystopian/post-apocalyptic books last year).

It was strange that a single, electromagnetic pulse could suddenly screw with the minds of certain people and make them zombies. I wonder what really was the science behind this but Ashes did not quite elaborate on that fact. We learn things just as Alex did as she journey through this new world. Shadows is already out and I haven't read it yet. One of the books to read this 2013.

River of Time Series
Lisa T. Bergren
4/5 apples | Review of Torrent
I liked this type of books - time travel, fish-out-of-water books. And the River of Time series gave me that. I really felt that I was in medieval Italy complete with the supposed smell of horses and unwashed, sweaty bodies of men albeit hot men. 

That's about it, I guess. 12 best books/series for the year 2012. 
What about you? What are the best books you've read in 2012?

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