Top 5 Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by the lovely Samantha and Lainey! You can check the group here for more discussions and topic. It’s been on hiatus for a while now and we still don’t know whether it will coming back or not, but Gabriela @ ValQueenReads took initiatives and have been generating prompts for us for a while now.
This week’s topic is “Reader’s Canon“:
We all know there seems to be a specific set of books that everyone in the community has read (with differences in the sub-communities of course). What are the ones you haven’t read, and do you want to? Or do you consider some these to be must reads for everyone interested/are they your go to for recommending?
Another interesting topic! Since my blog is mainly YA and Adult fantasy, I’m going to talk about those books here. I’ve noticed that there are so many books that seemed to be a staple in community and I’m really bad at keeping up with new releases so I haven’t read most of them. Whenever someone reviewed the books I’m really excited to read them but the excitement doesn’t really translates into the action of actually reading them 😅
For this week’s topic, I’m going to do both books I’ve read and those I want to read, so you’re getting 10 books for today’s post 😃
01. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
The Throne of Glass series seems like such a staple book in YA fantasy community, especially during the first 3 books when everyone and their friends seems to be loving this book. It tapered of a bit with the releases of the last 3 books, with the change of narrative direction which seems to elicited mixed responses from the community but nonetheless, this series still has a huge following. I only read the first book years ago and while I did enjoyed it, I wasn’t exactly blown a way and hasn’t really pick up its sequel even though I have Crown of Midnight for years too 🙃
📚 Related post: Book Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
02. The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
I’m a huge fan of fae books and the popularity of this series really made me happy! I was late to the party though, I read The Cruel Prince last year I think? I finished the series this year and I highly recommend it! It’s not a light and fluffy reads by all means, it’s full of treachery and scheming and deadly creatures but honestly, it all just sucks you in. I love series that got better with each books and this series is one of them!
📚 Related post: The Cruel Prince by Holly Black
03. The Raven Cycle by Maggie Stiefvater
Even if I’m not blogging, I’m pretty sure I’ll pick up this book eventually from the amount of gorgeous tumblr edits passing through my feed. I enjoyed the series as a whole, but my favorite is probably the first book, The Raven Boys, as it’s the only one I 100% understand what’s going on. Still, the series is filled with friendship, adventure, magic, sleepy towns, and dead king resurrection. It’s very unique and has a certain whimsical quality to it, I get why it’s so popular.
📚 Related post: Book Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
04. The Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
I think this book started the whole retelling trends? Before, I don’t remember seeing as many retellings in mainstream media as after the success of this series. I find the concept really unique- cyborg Cinderellas, Rapunzel trapped in a space station, etc- but in general I don’t enjoy space opera/futuristic setting so it never really hits the mark for me? I’ve read both Cinder and Scarlet and still haven’t continue, but I do plan to finish the series one day!
📚 Related post: Mini reviews #1: Incest, Fluff, and Futuristic retelling
05. The Mortal Instruments by Cassandra Clare
I don’t know whether it’s Twilight or TMI that put YA as a genre on the mainstream radar, but it’s certainly one of the most popular YA series ever! I enjoyed 3 out of 6 books; I feel the elongation of the series from the initial trilogy planned made the storytelling suffers in some places. Regardless, I still recommend this book for someone started out on YA because it’s certainly a great introductory series. The plot and tropes fun, the action scenes are great, the friendship is fantastic (both parabatai and Simon-Clary platonic relationships in the later part of the series), great character growth and romances*. I hate Jace and Clary in this series but I will always look back fondly.
*Except for Clary and Jace, I guess.
01. The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas
Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.
Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil’s name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.
But what Starr does—or does not—say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.
Inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, this is a powerful and gripping YA novel about one girl’s struggle for justice.
02. The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang
When Rin aced the Keju—the Empire-wide test to find the most talented youth to learn at the Academies—it was a shock to everyone: to the test officials, who couldn’t believe a war orphan from Rooster Province could pass without cheating; to Rin’s guardians, who believed they’d finally be able to marry her off and further their criminal enterprise; and to Rin herself, who realized she was finally free of the servitude and despair that had made up her daily existence. That she got into Sinegard—the most elite military school in Nikan—was even more surprising.
But surprises aren’t always good.
Because being a dark-skinned peasant girl from the south is not an easy thing at Sinegard. Targeted from the outset by rival classmates for her color, poverty, and gender, Rin discovers she possesses a lethal, unearthly power—an aptitude for the nearly-mythical art of shamanism. Exploring the depths of her gift with the help of a seemingly insane teacher and psychoactive substances, Rin learns that gods long thought dead are very much alive—and that mastering control over those powers could mean more than just surviving school.
For while the Nikara Empire is at peace, the Federation of Mugen still lurks across a narrow sea. The militarily advanced Federation occupied Nikan for decades after the First Poppy War, and only barely lost the continent in the Second. And while most of the people are complacent to go about their lives, a few are aware that a Third Poppy War is just a spark away . . .
Rin’s shamanic powers may be the only way to save her people. But as she finds out more about the god that has chosen her, the vengeful Phoenix, she fears that winning the war may cost her humanity . . . and that it may already be too late.
03. Jade City by Fonda Lee
The Kaul family is one of two crime syndicates that control the island of Kekon. It’s the only place in the world that produces rare magical jade, which grants those with the right training and heritage superhuman abilities.
The Green Bone clans of honorable jade-wearing warriors once protected the island from foreign invasion–but nowadays, in a bustling post-war metropolis full of fast cars and foreign money, Green Bone families like the Kauls are primarily involved in commerce, construction, and the everyday upkeep of the districts under their protection.
When the simmering tension between the Kauls and their greatest rivals erupts into open violence in the streets, the outcome of this clan war will determine the fate of all Green Bones and the future of Kekon itself.
04. My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows
Edward (long live the king) is the King of England. He’s also dying, which is inconvenient, as he’s only sixteen and he’d much rather be planning for his first kiss than considering who will inherit his crown…
Jane (reads too many books) is Edward’s cousin, and far more interested in books than romance. Unfortunately for Jane, Edward has arranged to marry her off to secure the line of succession. And there’s something a little odd about her intended…
Gifford (call him G) is a horse. That is, he’s an Eðian (eth-y-un, for the uninitiated). Every day at dawn he becomes a noble chestnut steed—but then he wakes at dusk with a mouthful of hay. It’s all very undignified.
The plot thickens as Edward, Jane, and G are drawn into a dangerous conspiracy. With the fate of the kingdom at stake, our heroes will have to engage in some conspiring of their own. But can they pull off their plan before it’s off with their heads?
05. Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord’s daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.
Against her stern father’s wishes and society’s expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle’s laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.
The story’s shocking twists and turns, augmented with real, sinister period photos, will make this dazzling, #1 New York Times bestselling debut from author Kerri Maniscalco impossible to forget.