My Favorite Books of 2016

Looking at my list of books read in 2016, I’m surprised to see that there are only 14 books on the list. I read every night, so why so few books?

I think it’s because a lot of these are long books. Books that take me 1-2 months to read at my pace of 30-45 minutes per night. In fact, Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality alone may have taken me 3 months to finish. It’s a behemoth.

Here’s my list. I only included books I rated 4.5 stars or more (out of 5).

8. City of Mirrors by Justin Cronin: This is the first of several trilogies that concluded triumphantly this year. City of Mirrors is set in a world where vampire-like creatures have destroyed civilization, but some humans have managed to survive. Each book in the series is very different–it isn’t just telling the same story three different times. This final book shows how masterful of a plan the author had to bring everything together, despite the series spanning centuries.

7. Babylon’s Ashes by James A. Corey: There hasn’t been a bad book in this ongoing series about what happens in the solar system when mankind has branched well beyond Earth. Every character is compelling and unique, and the book avoids futuristic shortcuts. If you’re curious about this series, also check out the TV series based on it that started last year.

6. Bands of Mourning by Brandon Sanderson: This is the second-to-last (but not the second…it’s weird) book in the second Mistborn trilogy. Sanderson does magic really well. If you’re new to Mistborn, definitely start with the first Mistborn book and work from there (don’t start with the second trilogy).

5. The Last Mortal Bond by Brian Staveley: This is the third book in a fantasy trilogy, and it’s very solid conclusion to the story arc. It’s dark, but the darkness fits what the characters have gone through. Sometimes I’ve been let down by book 3s, but not this year.

4. Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality by Eliezer Yudkowsky (review): I love Harry Potter, and JK Rowling has done amazing things with the character, but this is my favorite Harry Potter book. I never thought a work of fan fiction would end up on this list, but here it is!

3. Seveneves by Neal Stephenson (review): This is quite possibly the book that I’ve thought about the most since finishing it. There are so many interesting concepts and epic moments in this book, and it all feels so real. The basic concept (minor spoilers from the first 20 pages of the book) is that in the near future, Earth’s surface is going to be completely destroyed due to a natural event that will last 5000 years, and humanity takes to the heavens to survive.

2. The Girl with All the Gifts by M. R. Carey (review): This was the biggest surprise of the year for me. Unlike many of the others on this list, it’s not a long book, but it’s a really entertaining read with excellent character development. I’d recommend it without you knowing anything about it, but if you want a taste, check out the review.

1. Morning Star by Pierce Brown: This is the third book of the Red Rising trilogy, and it stands as one of the best sci-fi trilogies in any medium. It’s a stunning conclusion, really–it answers every question in a satisfying way, it offers plenty of twists and epic moments, and the story moves forward by the strength of the characters. There is a moment in this book where something happens that actually made me gasp and put the book down. I simply do not have reactions like that, yet this book had that impact on me. Start with Red Rising and work up from there. You will not regret it.

The book I’m most looking to in 2017 is the next book in Brandon Sanderson’s Stormlight Archives series.

What were your favorite books in 2016?

Here is last year’s list.