This is part 2 of my post from yesterday! I don’t know why, but this list was actually more difficult to come up with. I don’t know what that says about me.
Here is a list of things I love to see in books, and some recommendations if you love these things too!
1. Healthy Friendships
2. Complex Magic Systems
I love a well fleshed out, complex magic system. I’d rather have extra world building to cover all the magical details than a surface level magic system. Brandon Sanderson does such an amazing job of this!
3. Morally Grey Characters
I love a good morally grey character! Hero’s are great and all but I feel like sometimes they are written to be a little too perfect so they come across flat. But give me someone with a twisted sense of morals and I’m all about it. If you like mysteries, The Death of Mrs. Westaway by Ruth Ware definitely fits the bill for this.
4. Well Developed Villains
There’s noting worse than having a villain who is simply evil for the sake of being evil. Tell me why and how they got here. Give them as much depth as your protagonists. A cliche (but still favorite) example of this is the Darkling from The Grishaverse by Leigh Bardugo.
This one shouldn’t even need to be stated but sadly there is an alarming lack of diversity in books. Some of my favorites from the year: The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid, Girl Girls of Paper and Fire by Natasha Ngan, and Blanca & Roja by Anne-Marie McLemore.
6. A Cost to War
Okay I might sound a little evil here but I like to see a cost to war. And don’t give me this ‘I’ll kill them but somehow they’ll be saved’ garbage. If you’re giving me an epic battle, I expect it to be costly. It’s okay to break the reader’s heart every once and a while.
7. A Really Good Plot Twist
Now I’m not talking an outrageous plot twist that you never could have seen coming because it was never even hinted at. I’m talking about the ones where hints have been sprinkled throughout but you were so busy following the story, you totally missed them. Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson is my favorite example of this.
8. Hard-hitting Topics
I love my contemporary books to cover tough topics. Give me all the hard-hitting, heart-wrenching topics. For so long, tough topics like gender roles, rape culture, race, sexuality were taboo and avoided. These topics are important and deserve to be heard. All Your Perfects by Colleen Hoover and Girl Made of Stars by Ashley Herring Blake are 2 amazing books that cover these types of topics.
9. Three Dimensional Side Characters
I hate when side characters are given a single trait. They feel pointless or like simple plot devices rather than believable people. Scream All Night by Derek Milman and Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng have some great side characters.
10. Atmospheric Setting
An amazing setting can really make a book stand out for me. My favorite setting this year was Moldavia castle from Scream All Night.
Do you disagree with any of my choices? What are some of your favorite things in books?