First of all, Happy New Year everyone! I hope 2016 brings you joy, happiness and many good books to read.
I was thinking earlier today about what the best book I had read this year had been. Two immediately sprung to mind. One, perhaps unsurprisingly if you know me well, was a Star Wars book.
An absolutely incredible Star Wars book. Lost Stars by Claudia Gray. I haven’t read a book set in the galaxy far, far away that gripped me as much as this one did, the two main characters were brilliant and I really felt that it added something to the existing richness of the Star Wars galaxy. Often, I find Star Wars books a little tedious to read. With Lost Stars, I couldn’t stop reading. This isn’t a book about one of the main characters of the movies, painfully adapted to the written word. It focuses on two ‘normal’ people, citizens of the galaxy that is ripped apart by the Empire’s war with the Rebellion. And it makes you care about them. It makes you think about the good people in the Empire. They’re not all bad. Some are just doing their job. They care. They feel. They’re people. I think Finn’s story in The Force Awakens relates to this, and is something that makes his character so compelling to me.
The other was a book I only really happened to come across by chance one morning. The Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet by Becky Chambers. The environment that Chambers creates within the ship, the friendly crew and the snippets of insight into the larger universe really left me wanting to be flying around space with them. This is science fiction, but not with the big bangs and grand battles of other galaxies; instead the wonderful interactions between the crew and each of their own conflicts serve to produce a thrilling tale as they work towards their ultimate goal. I am really glad that while half-asleep one morning before going to work I decided to browse for new sci-fi books to read. I stumbled across it, read the blurb, and was immediately on-board.
Now, could I choose between these and say that either was my absolute favourite of the year? Well, to be honest, no. I enjoyed them both so much. I could perhaps elevate Lost Stars to first place, just simply because of how much I love Star Wars and it really did feel like it added something. But then, mirroring this, I could easily promote Angry Planet for being such a brilliant find, a new gem that I’m excited to read more about. So, to sit well and truly on the fence, I’m not going to pick between them. They were both wonderful.