I was at a loss to write this post about my favorite books read (but not necessarily published) in 2015. I simply couldn’t articulate my thoughts about each of these books in a coherent and positive manner, even though I knew they were certainly my favorites read during the year. Fortunately, my good friend Stormtrooper Bob had MANY thoughts about these books, and was willing to share them with me (and you). Below are my favorite reads from 2015, in no particular order.
The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare
Stormtrooper Bob: This book was everything I wanted but didn’t get from Harry Potter, along with all of the things I loved; there’s a magic school, strong friendships, mysteries, demonic pets, and questionable father figures! It also plays around with Chosen One tropes.
Bahnree: Imperial troopers love Chosen One tropes.
SB: That we do.
Half Bad by Sally Green
Stormtrooper Bob: I suppose the style isn’t for everyone, but I always love stories that pit one guy against the world, forcing him to face impossible odds, pitting him against basic threats to his survival, like White Magic.
Bahnree: That’s basic?
SB: And discrimination!
Luke Skywalker and the Shadows of Mindor by Matthew Stover:
Stormtrooper Bob: Luke Skywalker judges his own narrative and finds it wanting, so he hires a guy to find out whether Luke is his own worst villain. Which, of course, from my point of view, he is.
Borders of Infinity by Lois McMaster Bujold
Stormtrooper Bob: This is a collection of short stories and novellas about Miles Vorkosigan. I’m not sure what you liked so much about this. There are spaceships?
Bahnree: Bujold is a mcMASTER of the science fiction genre and this series is amazing and Miles is a tiny doofus-brain who is learning how to be a compassionate yet badass mastermind!
Star Wars: Aftermath by Chuck Wendig
Stormtrooper Bob: Rebel scum! Why would you enjoy a book about the rebels creating their own government after the events of Return of the Jedi, or a story about lady pilots and cocky traitors and clever boys and homicidal droids?????
Bahnree: …….I don’t understand the question.
The Boy Who Lost Fairyland by Catherynne Valente
Stormtrooper Bob: This is in a series….what is this, the fourth book? I am so constantly assaulted by the perfection that are these books about a young girl from World War II thrown into Fairyland and has adventures and saves people and befriends wyveraries that I lose track of how many there are. I hope Ms. Valente writes these until the Empire falls. Which will be never.
For The Love by Jen Hatmaker
Stormtrooper Bob: The only nonfiction I read are operation manuals and Imperial manifestos, so I’m uncertain why you enjoyed this book so much.
Bahnree: Jen Hatmaker has a hilarious, compassionate voice and mixes anecdotes from her own life with more general experiences from the Christian life to encourage her readers to embrace their own skills and gifts and use them to love other people, rather than setting impossibly high standards for themselves and falling into a pit of self-loathing and despair.
Stormtrooper Bob: Maybe I’ll recommend it at my weekly Fascists Anonymous group meeting…..
Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods by Rick Riordan
Stormtrooper Bob: I had never heard of any of these myths! I don’t think these are even real, everyone knows the galaxy was created by my namesake, Sparklecake Bobsun.
Bahnree: The narrator is a fictional character from Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series, but the myths themselves are well-told, with lots of humor and modern perspectives.
Medea by Euripides
Stormtrooper Bob: Medea probably took it too far, but if my husband left me alone on another planet, I might get a little knife-happy, too.
Bahnree: I can’t believe this was written so long ago and we are still dealing with the same stupid problems.
Stormtrooper Bob: The Patriarchy?
Bahnree: The Patriarchy.
The Black Cauldron by Lloyd Alexander
Stormtrooper Bob: WHY DIDN’T ANYONE TELL US WHAT AN AMAZING FANTASY SERIES THIS IS?
Bahnree: They did. We didn’t listen.
Stormtrooper Bob: DON’T BE LIKE US. READ THIS BOOK AS SOON AS YOU CAN.
Wonders of the Invisible World by Christopher Bjarzak
Stormtrooper Bob: CRAZY KID OR MAGICAL REALISM? YOU DECIDE.
Bahnree: Calm down.
Stormtrooper Bob: I CAN’T, I STILL HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS AND FEELINGS.
Bahnree: Calm down.
Stormtrooper Bob: WHY IS EVERYTHING TERRIFYING?
An Inheritance of Ashes by Leah Bobet
Stormtrooper Bob: I don’t always read fantasy books that try to answer the question “What do we do after we’ve defeated The Dark Lord and gone home?” but when I do I make sure it’s chock-full of flawed but lovable characters, giant monsters, terrifying lady scientists, mysterious war veterans, and all focused around one war-torn family with a lot of healing to do.
Bahnree: Bob, that was beautiful.
SB: This book makes even Imperial Stormtroopers feel things. Also can we talk about the interdimensional portals that bleed acidic monsters?
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater
Stormtrooper Bob: This is the first book in a series about some teenagers searching for a long-ago Welsh king. How much do YOU know about Welsh kings? There’s a house-full of snarky psychics, a handful of broken boys, an eccentric girl, and trees who speak Latin. I will say, their boarding school experience is VERY different from my boarding school experience….
Bahnree: I don’t want to hear about your boarding school experience.
The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black
Stormtrooper Bob: I wish I had a sibling just so she could explore magical woods with me and defend me with her magic sword and find me a magical boyfriend. Have you noticed that a lot of books on this list have magic and/or fairies?
Bahnree: No I have absolutely not noticed that. I would like to point out that this book also has a monster made of moss and I am historically prone to adoring such creatures.
Thanks for all of your help, Stormtrooper Bob!