The first day’s challenge for the 30 Day Book Challenge is to decide out of all the books I read last year which one is the best. Overall, when I look back over the books I read in 2011, I read a lot of good books, and a lot of average books, and even a couple of pretty bad books, but there weren’t many that I read that were truly fantastic. Out of all the books I read, only two jump out at me as being amazing – The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss, and The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafón, two books belonging to two different genres and from two quite distinctly different, though very talented, authors. And to decide between them is really quite difficult.
The Wise Man’s Fear is the second book in a fantasy trilogy called The Kingkiller Chronicle by Rothfuss, and both this and the first book have quickly established Rothfuss as one of the most exciting and innovative new writers in the fantasy genre, and, frankly, in any genre. He has a unique style of storytelling which draws you in from the very outset, and his characters are stunningly convincing, particularly the main character, Kvothe. It is really no wonder that this book debuted at the top of the New York Times Bestseller list, as it goes from strength to strength around the world. Anybody who is a fan of fantasy books, and even those who aren’t, must give this author a look.
The Angel’s Game is one of the latest books by Zafón, and upon its release became the fastest selling book in Spain by a Spanish author – one look through this book and you’ll quickly see why. Set in 1920s Barcelona, this gothic tale tells the story of a young man writing sensationalist books under a pseudonym, living in a gothic mansion with secrets of its own, which he soon finds he cannot escape. It also sees the return of places included in Zafón’s previous books, most notably The Cemetery of Forgotten Books. This book is one of those stories where once you pick up it is almost impossible to put back down again, and it is definitely a book you won’t forget for a long time after reading it.
So, which of these two would I say was the best book I read in 2011? It’s a really tough decision, but I’m going to have to say The Wise Man’s Fear takes it out for me. It is simply superb, the sort of book I as an aspiring author could only dream of writing, and as a result I am anticipating the third and final part of this series by Rothfuss more than any book I have ever waited for in my life! However, I must say both of these books for me are five stars out of five, without a doubt.