Top Backlist Titles:
(in no particular order)
1. The Terror by Dan Simmons: This book had everything I love in it: exploration, disaster and survival, sinister undertones, a historical setting, and a compelling, dark plot that kept me hooked. Dan Simmons did a truly exceptional job of bringing the Franklin Expedition to life with a bit of a supernatural twist in this one (although I would've loved it even without the supernatural element, probably!). Review
2. Red Seas Under Red Skies by Scott Lynch: When I finished Red Seas Under Red Skies, I went onto Goodreads and was surprised by how many people felt that this was weaker than The Lies of Locke Lamora because I absolutely loved this one! It took some some classic elements from the first book and expanded them, and I loved the new heists we undertook. Not to mention how much I love pirates and ships and that ended up being such a large portion of this book.
3. A Little Life by Hana Yanagihara: Wow, where do I start with A Little Life? This book completely ripped out my heart and made me feel so utterly hopeless at times, but in such a heartbreakingly beautiful and tragic way. There's some some really special about this book, something so indescribably real and raw that made me unable to get enough of it. This book will sit with me for a long time, and as much I sometimes think I'd like to re-read it, I'm really not sure I'd be able to.
4. Red Queen by Christina Henry: Henry is truly a master at developing strong atmospheres that are filled with intrigue, mystery, horror, and characters that I want to hold close to me and never let go of. Review
5. In the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick: I love my disaster stories, and this is another fantastic example of one. This book is surprisingly short for how much it packs into it and it tells the remarkable tale of the tragedy of the Whaleship Esssex. Philbrick deftly recreated the entire tragedy from start to finish while smoothly interweaving historical context and background for the different people involved. This was riveting! Review
6. The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton: What a truly epic mystery! This is what I would call an incredibly slow burn epic historical murder mystery, and I am still floored by the sheer detail and planning that must have gone into this story! Review
Top Debut Titles:
(in no particular order)
1. Mask & Mirrors by M.A. Carrick: Okay, so technically since both authors behind this penname (Marie Brennan and ALyc Hems) aren't debut authors I'm not sure if this counts as fully debut, and it's also not out until 2021 so I could also include it in new releases, but since is the first book out from this specific author, I'm counting it as a debut! I fell in love so quickly with the setting and world-building for this new series and it took next to no time for me to feel utterly captivated by the characters and all of their individual issues and motivations. I cannot wait for the next installment! (A review will be coming very soon!)
2. My Dark Vanessa by Kate Elizabeth Russell: This was such an impressive yet difficult book. I very much admire how Russell handled this topic and told such a hard story in a way that so accurately captures all of the struggles that come with the situation. Definitely an important story, but not one for everyone.
3. The Unsuitable by Molly Pohlig: Now this was an unexpected read! Pohlig draws the reader in so well to the inner workings of the protagonist's mind to the extent that I really couldn't stop reading to find out what would happen next. Her exploration of mental health and difficult relationships was so incredible well done. Review
Have you read any of these books? What were some of your favorite backlist titles/debuts from 2020!?