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  • Writer's pictureThe Fiction Fox

Fireworks Booktag (original)

Updated: Oct 27, 2019

Tonight, the sky will be ablaze with fireworks as we celebrate the start of the new year. Even though I’m personally too much of a chicken to play with fireworks, I thought I’d create a tag with questions based on the subject. I won’t tag anyone in particular, as I don’t want to put pressure on other people. If you’d like to do this tag, please feel free to do so! I’d love for you to include a link to my website as the creator. Without further ado, let’s get into the questions:

1. Sparklers: the one that’s suitable for all ages. A childhood favorite that is great for adults as well. For me, this would be His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman. I’ve read this trilogy as a child multiple times and absolutely loved it (the first book in particular). Some of my most treasured childhood memories are reading this book together with my mum, and talking about it. Upon rereading the trilogy as an adult, my love for it was only strengthened, and not only for nostalgia reason. There are some themes in this book that went over my head as a child, and only sank in upon reread. It’s a book I’d recommend to any reader, age 7-8 or up.

2. Firecrackers: the one that makes a whole lot of noise, with little to show for it. An overhyped book I’ve mentioned a couple books in my most disappointing of 2018 list, so I’ll pick one that I haven’t talked about yet. Although by no means a bad book, there was a book that was so hyped this year that I feel no work could have lived up to all that noise. That book was Children of Blood and Bone. Let me get this straight: I’m all for diverse literature and I love that Tomi Adeyemi got a lot of attention for writing something that differed from the standards in YA fantasy. Unfortunately however, apart from having an all black cast, I have to say that this was one of the most “standard” YA fantasies I’ve read in recent years. Plot, characters and writing were far from bad, but pretty mediocre. I was an okay read, but compared to all the hype it got, I have to be honest and say it let me down a bit.

3. Comet: the one that shoots straight for the sky. The best debut you read this year Although I was trying not to repeat too many answers from my other posts this week, there is no way that this would be any other book than The Astonishing Color of After by Emily X.R. Pan. One of the best books I’ve read this year period, and by far the best debut. Honorable mention to Daisy Johnsons Everything Under. If you enjoy literary fiction, with beautiful, lyrical writing, you have to give that one a chance as well.

4. Smoke bomb: the one that blew smoke in your face A plot that messed with your head The Wayward Pines series by Blake Crouch. Blake Crouch is a master of misdirection and suspense. His novel Dark Matter is one of my favorite thrillers, and made me interested in picking up his previous series Wayward Pines. Although the plot sounds very generic (Cop with amnesia after a violent accident, who tries to figure out what’s actually happening in the small town he has landed in), it takes some turns that I truly didn’t see coming. This series, including its twist can be very hit-or-miss and to be honest: after reading the final book it took me a while to figure out where on the spectrum it landed for me. I’d be lying however, if I said I wasn’t surprised by it.

5. Chrysanthemum: an absolute visual spectacle. The best book to movie adaptation you’ve watched this year. I’ve seen a few strong book to movie adaptations this year, but one stood out head and shoulders above all. Annihilation, loosely based on the book by Jeff Vandermeer has to be my movie of the year. It’s a very polarizing movie, just like the book: some people will love it, others will absolutely hate it. In this case, I am 100% in the first category. The word “adaptations” should be used loosely in this regard: the Netflix original movie is more “inspired” by the book, than directly adapted from it. Even the title “Annihilation” has a completely different meaning in the book than it does in the movie. What it does manage to keep however, is the core themes and, unique “feel” and the alien almost synesthetic quality the book has. It’s bizarre and almost inexplainable, which matches the themes of the film perfectly. Annihilation is a movie that got under my skin in many ways. The core themes and present just got to me, and although it technically isn’t a horror-movie perse, it has one of the most disturbing scenes I’ve ever seen in years. Beware of this before going in: if you’re easily creeped out, this might not be the film for you. I’m aware it’s a controversial pick and not everybody will love this movie. If you want to be on the safer side; Love Simon is an excellent adaptation that came out this year, that I feel almost everybody who’s read the book will enjoy. Annihilation however has to be the movie with the most impact, that will stay with me for the longest.

6. Peony: the prettiest one to look at.

The most beautiful cover of the year. 2018 was an incredible year for bookcovers. Publishers have really been stepping up their game if you ask me, and I’d love for both them and the original cover artists to get a little more recognition for this. One of the people behind some of my favorite book covers is David Mann, Art Director of Bloomsbury UK. The coverdesign gallery of this website will be linked here. This year, Mann delivered again, creating my favorite cover of 2018: the UK Bloomsbury edition of Circe. Stunning cover, stunning map on the inside, and most importantly: stunning story on the inside. Honorable mentions go to some beautifully designed YA and middlegrade books that I unfortunately haven’t read yet: And the Ocean was Our sky by Patrick Ness, Queens of Innis Lear by Tessa Gratton (UK version) and State of Sorrow by Melinda Salisbury.

7. Dragons Egg: a fantasy read you loved this year My favorite fantasy of the year that went above and beyond all the rest goes to The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. Honorable mentions to The Nightcircus by Erin Morgenstern (which was a good upon reread as it was the first time), Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor and The Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan, which all deserved their the full 5 stars they got.

8. Weeping willow: a book that made you cry I’m not a big book-cryer, and can only name 3 books ever that have made adult me cry. This year, there were no books that had me physically shedding tears, although a few got me close. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi is a stunning cancer-memoir that had me extremely close to tears. The aforementioned The Gracekeepers and The Astonishing Color of After were really pushing their luck as well.

9. Starting the new year with a bang: the first book you plan on reading in 2019. The first book I read in 2019 will probably be the one I’m currently reading: La Belle Sauvage (The Book of Dust 1) by Philip Pullman. I mentioned in the first question of this tag how much I loved His Dark Materials; The Book of Dust is Pullmans prequel (or as he likes to call it: “equel”) to that trilogy. I’m really hoping it will be as magical as the original trilogy is to me. If it can live up to that, I truly couldn’t imagine a better start to 2019 when it comes to books.

I wish you all a very happy New Year’s Eve and a wonderful start to your 2019. Please practice firework safety (it always stresses me out a little this time of year), and I hope to see you all back in 2019!

Love Renée

Happy New Year!


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