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Jia’s Best of 2011 List

In alphabetical order, by author’s last name:

Red Glove by Holly Black (my review)
Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
India Black by Carol K. Carr (Jennie’s and my review)
Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter
The Shattering by Karen Healey (my review)
Huntress by Malinda Lo (my review)
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor (my review)

Jia is an avid reader who loves fantasy and young adult novels. She's also currently dipping her toes in the new adult genre but remains unconvinced by the prevalent need for traumatic pasts. Her favorite authors are Michelle West and Jacqueline Carey. YA authors whose works she's enjoyed include Holly Black, Laini Taylor, Ally Carter, and Megan Miranda. Jia's on a neverending quest for novels with diverse casts and multicultural settings. Feel free to email her with recommendations at [email protected]!


  1. BlueRose
    Dec 15, 2011 @ 12:48:45

    I agree, both Whte Cat and Red Glove *were* excellent unusual original YA fantasy.

    And on your recommendation I tracked down The Shattering, seeing it was written by a Kiwi author, and based here in NZ and it was also excellent.

    Have heard nothing but good about Daughter of Smoke and Bone, have it on reserve at the library :)

  2. Tracy
    Dec 15, 2011 @ 13:54:54

    I thought Anna Dressed in Blood was excellent as well! The writing really drew me in, and I loved Cas’s wry humor. I just posted my review today, so I loved seeing it show up on your Best of 2011 list. (I’m still working on mine!)

  3. Jia
    Dec 15, 2011 @ 17:52:59

    Belatedly commenting on my own list — I’m bummed that I didn’t have more (any?) adult fantasy on there. But nothing really stood out for me in 2011. I read some good fantasies, some well-written ones and some that were both, but I didn’t read any that struck me as great and made me want to rush out and get more people to read. Maybe it’s because there were a lot of continuing series this year and not many new series or debut series. Hopefully, there’ll be some standouts in 2012.

  4. Jia
    Dec 15, 2011 @ 17:55:10

    @BlueRose: I’m glad those recs worked for you!

    @Tracy: I think it’s a shame there wasn’t more pre-pub buzz for Anna Dressed in Blood because I do think it was a great book! I know YA UF is glutted and it’s hard to stand out, but it was good. Hopefully the interest generated in the months after it was published will carry over to the sequel.

  5. Josephine
    Dec 15, 2011 @ 19:00:04

    I enjoyed Red Glove. I like the way both Red Glove and White Cat were structured like detective novels. Detective elements were originally a big part of the UF genre, but lately they seem to be getting short shrift in favor of action and ass-kicking. Red Glove reminded me of what first appealed to me about UF.

  6. shel
    Dec 15, 2011 @ 19:54:14

    I heart Uncommon Criminals, too. And thanks for the reminder that I should check out Holly Black sometime.

  7. Jia
    Dec 15, 2011 @ 20:10:01

    @Josephine: You’re right. The early years of UF did have more detective and investigative-type plots. I don’t know if that fell out of favor because in all honesty, I think doing detective elements well is hard, particularly in an umbrella genre that doesn’t normally use mystery or crime structured plots.

    Obviously, though, given the presence of Holly Black and Ally Carter on the list, I could stand to read more of that!

    @shel: I definitely think White Cat and Red Glove are good books to read for anyone who likes Ally Carter’s Heist Society novels.

  8. Janine
    Dec 15, 2011 @ 20:27:08

    I haven’t read any of these yet (though I didn’t finish White Cat), but I really want to read Daughter of Smoke and Bone.

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