Here are my favourite books of the second half of the year. I fell into a reading slump the end of the year which was frustrating but life was very busy so it cant be helped. That probably explains why this list is shorter than the first!
Record of a Spaceborn Few by Becky Chambers
Chambers’ is the only sci-fi author that makes me want to live in space and this book is no exception. Not because her galaxy is a utopia but because it’s realistic, as if it could really be a possible future. Like the two previous books in this series, the plot moves at a slow pace, taking time to show the intricacies of the fleet, introducing a cast of characters that aren’t tied together until the very end. I adored the glimpse into their lives, especially Tessa’s as her interactions with her children were so amusing and sweet! Chambers’ books are always so thoughtful and at times bittersweet and this one was no different, each character struggling with questions that are so common, the location of space making no difference. It’s a comforting thought to know that even people in space struggle with the same day to day problems.
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
I’ve heard a lot of praise for Shirley Jackson’s work but it was this year that I finally read three of her books, including this one and I adored it so much that I read it twice! She’s quickly becoming a favourite author of mine. Haunting of Hill House is often toted as one of the defining haunted house stories of its genre but it is so much more than just a ghost story. It’s a glimpse into a spiralling mind due to a repressed life and wasted years. Eleanor’s daydreams of escaping and her slow loss of her grip of reality was heartbreaking, Jackson perfectly capturing what it feels like to long for something more. Despite being a short book, the tension builds wonderfully as the plot twists the paranormal and reality until its hard to untangle what is a true haunting and a fabrication. Much like My Cousin Rachel which I read earlier in the year, the ending was amazing, completely shifting my perception of the whole story.
Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor
This was such a wonderful finish to the duology, full of twists and revelations not only for Lazlo’s journey but also for her other series Daughter of Smoke and Bone. The theme of trauma follows on from Strange The Dreamer, becoming even darker then its predecessor before rising into hope. The line between good and bad is blurred ever further also and Taylor brilliantly shows how there are often no sides, just broken people. I imagine that some people might dislike the happy ending of this book but I found for a series founded in so much pain, the message of healing and moving froward was needed and uplifting. I’m really excited to see what she writes next as I have no doubt it will be wonderful.