Aaaand it’s that time of the year again! This is the point in the year where I look at the fiction I’ve read the previous year and give out some fake awards (according to my humble opinion of course). I’ve been doing this for several years in a row now. If you want to see previous years’ awards, I have a link here in my post last year.
This year’s candidates are shown in the neat little image above I captured from Goodreads. I faded out the nonfiction books I read, because these awards are geared towards fiction only. So without further ado, let’s get to it!
Warning: Spoilers abound!!
Best Male Protagonist
- Eugenides (Queen’s Thief) — it’s almost not fair when I do my QT rereads, because every character there is just so badass.
- Kaz Brekker (Six of Crows, Crooked Kingdom) — okay, I gotta admit that Kaz is a very, very close second to Eugenides in most aspects. But it’s Eugenides’s capacity to be merciful despite tragedy that makes him a more compelling character than Kaz IMO.
- Lazlo Strange (Strange the Dreamer) — ugghhhh, I want to lift my 3-spot restriction, because I had to choose between Lazlo and Locke Lamora and Kell Maresh and Sophos! Why do I hate myself? Why did I read so many good books? Why is Harry Potter not on this list? I feel bad that Harry Potter did not make it in this list!
Best Female Protagonist
- Inej (Six of Crows, Crooked Kingdom) — oh man, I love Inej, but TBH the only reason Attolia is not a top contender for this section is because she’s an antagonist in QoA and a secondary character in KoA and a minor character in both CoK and TaT. So Inej takes top spot for breaking my heart, and putting it back together.
- Isaveth (A Little Taste of Poison) — A lot of the female protagonists in the list are compelling characters but I would actually consider Isaveth to be the smartest out of all of them. At thirteen years old, no less.
- Balsa (Guardian of the Darkness) — again, the final spot is a toss between so many characters: we have crafty Shai, freaking chess genius Minerva Lane, pirate-wannabe Delilah Bard… so many great female characters. But among them, I think Balsa really captured my heart in this instalment of Moribito.
Best Male Secondary Character
- Wylan Van Eck (Six of Crows, Crooked Kingdom) — I never said there would be no favouritism in this award show =P
- Quiz (A Little Taste of Poison) — ohh man, the Chat Noir vibes are real and dangerous
- Jean (Lies of Locke Lamora) — Ron Weasly, Erstwhile from A Face Like Glass and Archer from The Reader are close ties with Jean, but I had to choose.
Best Female Secondary Character
- Eddis (Queen of Attolia) — do I even need to explain this? It’s Eddis!
- Sophie (Castle in the Air) — I loved seeing Sophie in action again! Even as a secondary character, her personality still shines
- Hermione (Harry Potter) — I really liked how Hermione’s “nerdy” archetype is portrayed in the books. It’s both comedic but endearing, and while the others might be annoyed with her, I never was.
(I think I made this category back when I wasn’t reading such tragic books)
- Inej (Six of Crows, Crooked Kingdom) — all crow members have a tragic backstory but I think Inej was the one who really pulled the heartstrings
- The god killer (Strange the Dreamer) — I forgot his name and I’ve returned the book to the library! Forgive me! He and his wife need a nice, long vacation
- Balsa (Guardian of the Darkness) — her fellow competitor for the last spot are Kamet and Attolia (QT), Archer (The Reader), and Minerva Lane (Duchess War). I chose Balsa because I think she had a worse past than either Kamet or Attolia or Minnie; and the narrative surrounding it feels more raw than Archer’s.
- Minerva Lane (Duchess War) — seriously, she had one of the most creative premises I’ve ever read about.
- Holland (Darker Shade of Magic) — this is a little bit of shade, but I think either Kell Maresh or Lila Bard would have been in Holland’s place if their backstories were actually present in the trilogy. There was enough enigma surrounding both of them for their backstories to be nothing less than cool
- Locke Lamora (Lies of Locke Lamora) — his thieving schemes when he was younger were amusing to read about
No Super Power But Still Kicked Butt
- Kaz Brekker (Six of Crows, Crooked Kingdom) — I think everyone in their group except for Nina qualifies for this award
- Sohpos (A Conspiracy of Kings) — Again, I would consider many QT characters to qualify for this award, excepting perhaps Eugenides, who’s a bit god-touched
- The Kleptomancer (A Face Like Glass) — Oh my, the strategy gymnastics he performed for decades is honestly impressive
Best Villain You Love To Hate
- Van Eck (Six of Crows, Crooked Kingdom) — you can tell a book is good when both its good and bad characters keep getting the top awards
- The Grey King (Lies of Locke Lamora) — I would consider him to be of the same vein as Minya from Strange the Dreamer, in that their tragic backstories explain their cruelty, and yet I still hate them both
- Miss Appeline (A Face Like Glass) — I think once a character loses their ability to empathize, they cross over from villain to psychopath
Best Not-So-Evil Villain
- Attolia (The Queen of Attolia) — not sure if she’s a “villain,” but I think she fulfils the role of antagonist quite well in this book
- Holland (Shades of Magic) — in the end, I think he became a much more interesting Antari than either Kell or Lila
- The Golden Prince (Strange the Dreamer) — gah, I forgot his name too!! I read SD really fast because it was just so good, but I ended up forgetting a lot of the names
Most Romantic Couple
- Eugenides and Attolia (Queen’s Thief) — After rereading QoA, their status as my ultimate OTP has been reinforced like ten fold. And then… then there was that tragedy in TaT
- Kaz and Inej (Six of Crows, Crooked Kingdom) — Despite showing little physical affection, their love story is still one of the most genuine romance I’ve read in YA
- Robert and Minnie (Duchess War) — it’ll be a little weird to not give this award to the only couple that actually belongs in the romance genre
Best Dynamic Duo
- Quiz and Isaveth (A Little Taste of Poison) — I feel like they’re the only fitting pair for this award since they’re the only ones that really worked as a pair, unlike many of the characters in the other books
- Sefia and Archer (The Reader) — not sure if I’d label them as “dynamic,” but the duo part is definitely there, and I think they work well enough together
- Kamet and Costis (Thick as Thieves) — same as above
Best Superhero Team
- The Crows (Six of Crows, Crooked Kingdom) — honestly I feel this category was meant for them
- Neverfell, Kleptomancer and co. (A Face Like Glass) — I really loved the ending and how everyone managed to escape Caverna
- Harry, Ron, Hermione, Neville (HP & Philosopher’s Stone) — I was going to grant this last spot to the Antari of Shades of Magic, but I think these four had better teamwork at the end of the first book
Most Imaginative Fictional Place
- Weep (Strange the Dreamer) — I really loved the worldbuilding of this book. From ghosts to deities to lost cities… nothing short of impressive
- Kelanna (The Reader) — the world in this book is massive. I keep getting confused over the names of the countries and kingdoms (but I take full responsibility for not studying the map), but needless to say there was a lot of worldbuilding that went into this story
- Caverna (A Face Like Glass) — both the magic and the people are unusual and the setting is itself a character
Best Magic System
- Soul Stamps (The Emperor’s Soul) — I don’t think I could have a Sanderson book not win this award, tbh
- Elemental magic (Troubled Waters) — elemental magic is one of the most common magic systems in fantasy, but I think TW put such a fresh spin into it. It’s like elemental magic horoscope and it’s quite cool
- Baked magic (A Little Taste of Poison) — another cool twist on magic… one that you bake!
- A Face Like Glass — Caverna is a place populated by people who don’t have natural facial expressions… except for 12-year-old Neverfell
- The Emperor’s Soul — A woman must carve soul stamps for an injured king, potentially pulling off the biggest deception in her land
- Shades of Magic — there are four alternate Londons, and Kell Maresh is one of the few people who can travel to the alternate worlds
- Queen of Attolia — when Attolia turned out to have allied with Eddis to defeat the Mede army
- Six of Crows — when Kuwei turned out to be Wylan Van Eck (still screaming about this)
- Lies of Locke Lamora — when the Grey King used and abandoned Locke against the Capa to fake his own death
- Crooked Kingdom — Kaz’s plan to take back the Dregs and fight against Van Eck and everyone else out for their hides
- A Conspiracy of Kings — Sophos’s deception of that baron (forgot his name, sorry!) in the end so that the Attolian army can get into position against the Mede army. And then his shooting of the ambassador.
- A Little Taste of Poison — Isaveth and Quiz’s plan to reveal his brother’s involvement in Orien’s murder
Worst Plans that Still Worked
- Lies of Locke Lamora — that hilarious bit in the end when Locke was trying to get some money but all these bankers didn’t believe his ruse, but then he used their own suspicions against them
- A Gathering of Shadows — Lila stealing another contestant’s identity so she can play in the games; as far as plans go, this is one of the worst I’ve come across, but I think it was intentional so we can get a clearer picture of Lila’s character
- The Reader — Archer fighting all the other boys in the end, even though it ruined him, just so he and Sefia can meet with the Arbiter; this was actually quite sad
Most Climatic Resolution
- Crooked Kingdom — Kaz’s convoluted plan, from the spread of the plague to the fake tide mages, was so on point. Except for the part where Matthias died.
- A Face Like Glass — Neverfell and her friends’ escape from Caverna
- The King of Attolia — Costis setting Eugenides up to fight the Guard so he could save his honor
Mos Anti-Climatic Resolution
- Troubled Waters — I found the lack of character arc to be the most anti-climatic, and I think this was clearly demonstrated by Zoe’s flooding of the river regardless of the risks
- A Gathering of Shadows — it was a clear setup for the next book and nothing was really resolved
- Strange the Dreamer — Sarai’s death and the revelation of Lazlo’s origins created more questions than answers for an ending
Best Comic Relief Scenes
- A Conjuring of Light — Kell and Lila almost tipping the ship and Alucard falling into the sea
- Crooked Kingdom — Kuwei pretending to be Wylan and kissing Jesper… this is one of those moments that you’re so embarrassed on someone else’es behalf (forgot the word for it)
- Thick As Thieves — when Kamet finally meets the Thief of Eddis and he has to go up so close because he’s got blurry eyes, only to find Attolia’s boot boy
Most Emotional Scene
- Thick As Thieves — the river knows its time… y’all know what I’m talking about
- Crooked Kingdom — Kaz changing Inej’s bandages and they’re both thinking about their past traumas and trying to get past them
- A Face Like Glass — Neverfell discovering the truth about Madame Appeline and how she tortured her mother for her facial expressions
Best Action Scene
- Crooked Kingdom — Kaz fighting the entire Dregs alone as he goes down three flights of stairs
- The King of Attolia — Eugenides fighting the entire Guard to show that he’s not a weakling that can be killed by a toddler with a fork
- The Guardian of the Darkness — Balsa fighting Jiguro’s ghost
And that’s all folks! I decided not to include some of the previous awards because boy, this is getting long. But I’m interested in knowing what you guys think if you’ve read some of these books.
What are your favourite books from 2017? Which ones would you award in each category? Any books you’re looking forward to this year?