2016 Book Awards | Part I: Bookish Qualities

Every year as I read I like “nominate” the books I read for my own imaginary book awards, then at the end of the year I finally pick a winner for each category. I have quite a few categories,  so I split them into three parts; this first one covers things like Best Book Cover and Most Emotional Book. Mild spoilers could be ahead! 



BIGGEST SURPRISE

NOMINATED
The Infernal Devices (trilogy)- Cassandra Clare
Shadow and Bone - Leigh Bardugo

WINNER
The Lady Julia Grey series - Deanna Raybourn



I read the first three books of this five book series early on this year - when I should have been working on an essay, and they were surprisingly good! These are historical murder mysteries following Lady Julia Grey and detective Nicholas Brisbane as they try to find the killers, with a nice romance wrapped up in the middle. They're by no means "great literature", but then again who's really in the position to decide that "great literature" even is? They were a bit of fun, I highly enjoyed reading them, and I'll be getting to the last two books later in 2017. (You can find some of my thoughts on the books in this wrap up.)



BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT 

NOMINATED
Agatha H and the Airship - Phil and Kaja Foglio
A Natural History of Dragons - Marie Brennan 
Rose Daughter - Robin McKinley
These Vicious Masks - Tarun Shanker and Kelly Zekas

WINNER
A Study in Charlotte - Brittany Cavallaro


You can read my full thoughts on this book in my mini review, but safe to say that I had high hopes for this book which ended up being severely disappointed. It's a YA Sherlock and Holmes retelling-type story, and when I heard of its existence I was really excited to give it a go! Unfortunately I ended up hating the characters, the writing, and the plot itself. So: a bit of a waste of time. 












MOST EMOTIONAL BOOK

NOMINATED
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Jack Thorne
The One Hundred Nights of Hero - Isabel Greenberg
The Lake House - Kate Morton
Sofia Khan is Not Obliged - Ayisha Malik 
This Savage Song - VE Schwab
Touch - Claire North 

WINNER
All the Light We Cannot See - Anthony Doerr


This book made me cry in public, and then sniffle and awkwardly avoid eye contact with the people sitting opposite me on the train, and then continue crying on the inside for a lot longer. You can find my mini review of it here, but basically you should know that this book is an absolute gem of a historical fiction novel. 













BEST BOOK COVER

NOMINATED
All the Light We Cannot See - Anthony Doerr
Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - Jack Thorne 
The One Hundred Nights of Hero - Isabel Greenberg 
The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet - Becky Chambers














WINNER
An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth - Chris Hadfield




THIS COVER IS GORGEOUS. I love everything about it, but the astronaut riding the skateboard has to be my favourite. It's just so cool! I'm realising now that 4/5 of the books I nominated for this category have a beautiful picture of the sky / space / stars and I'm beginning to realise I have a type when it comes to book covers ...











BEST TWIST / REVEAL 

NOMINATED
A Gathering of Shadows - VE Schwab 
The Lake House - Kate Morton 
Sofia Khan is Not Obliged - Ayisha Malek
Shadow and Bone - Leigh Bardugo 
Silent in the Grave - Deanna Raybourn 
Warbreaker - Brandon Sanderson 

WINNER
Queen of Shadows - Sarah J Maas



This is the first book from the Throne of Glass series that I've given five stars, and it was just generally amazing. It was a huge improvement on the third book, and I loved it so much I wrote a really long gushy review about it, which you can find here. And the twist. OH THE TWIST. The twist was a thing of BEAUTY, which I did NOT see coming, and which blew me away, and which I had to spend a few minutes actively getting my brain around before I could continue reading the book.










BEST WORLD BUILDING

NOMINATED
A Gathering of Shadows - VE Schwab
The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet - Becky Chambers 
Queen of Shadows - Sarah J Maas
Scrivener’s Moon - Philip Reeve 
This Savage Song - VE Schwab 

WINNER
The One Hundred Nights of Hero - Isabel Greenberg



This graphic novel is just wonderful (my mini-review for it is here). It's beautiful and charming and emotional, and is centred around the story-within-a-story structure Greenberg also used in her first book, The Encyclopedia of Early Earth. She builds the world so magically, with touches of real history mixed with other mythologies and folktales, and (although I haven't read many graphic novels) it's safe to say that this is among my favourites.










BEST WRITING 

NOMINATED
Elizabeth is Missing - Emma Healey
A Gathering of Shadows - VE Schwab 
The Lake House - Kate Morton 
Scrivener’s Moon - Philip Reeve 
This Savage Song - VE Schwab 
Touch - Claire North 

WINNER
All the Light We Cannot See - Anthony Doerr 




Ooh boy was this a hard winner to pick. I've literally spent hours turning over these nominees in my mind and agonising over whether it was the story or the actual writing that made me love these books. But I think in the end it would have to be All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, because it's the only one of these books that I really remember thinking "Wow, THAT WRITING THOUGH" when I finished it. 











What did you think of my awards? Do you dis/agree? Which books that you read in 2016 would you award in each category? Let me know in the comments! And don't forget to check out the rest of my awards here: Part II: Characters and Part III: Best Books.


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