Day 01: Best book you read last year.
This is not an easy choice for me. I read some really good books last year, as well as some pretty major clunkers. Looking back over last year's challenge (which I did on Goodreads - brief moment of sadness), there are several that really stand out as having been excellent reads.
I need to give an honorable mention to two separate series that I read last year: the Hunger Games (yes, I was a little behind) and Julia Spencer-Fleming's Russ Van Alstyn/Reverend Clare Ferguson series. I'm not selecting either of those because I feel like no single book within those series was the "best book I read last year," rather I can only evaluate the series as a whole. The next book in the Spencer-Fleming series is scheduled for release in November, and is one of my most anticipated books of this year.
But, in any even, my choice comes down to Maggie Stiefvater's Scorpio Races, Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone, and Seanan Maguire's Discount Armageddon.
Of those three, I'm going with Stiefvater's The Scorpio Races.
The Scorpio Races is a stand-alone that is set on an unidentified island (which seems vaguely Irish in character) and in an unspecified time. It is a take on the Celtic waterhorse or kelpie - carnivorous horses that come from the sea and can be ridden, but not mastered. Puck, the main character, is a young woman, and women are not permitted to compete in the Scorpio Races, a race that occurs every year in November, when the horses come from the sea.
The Scorpio Race is written with Stiefvater's trademark lyricism, and is a slow-unfolding romance between girl and boy, and the story of a bond between girl and horse. It is also the story of a strong young woman attempting to build a life for herself in a hardscrabble world of poverty and oppression. As a horse lover, the relationship between Puck and her horse Dove, an Island pony, was beautifully rendered and convincing.
Ultimately, I would probably buy a cereal box if Maggie Stiefvater wrote the advertising copy for it - regardless of how I felt about the cereal inside of the box. This book is one of the reasons.