Top Ten Tuesday #323

Hi everyone! I hope you’ve all had a good week since I last did one of these, I had a great time with my friends over the weekend. I’ve got quite the packed week this week, with work shifts and a lot of things booked for my days off.

Anyway, it’s Tuesday and that means another Top Ten Tuesday, courtesy of Jana at That Artsy Reader Girl. Today’s topic was supposed be Reasons Why I Love Reading, but I’ve already done a post like that a few years ago when TTT was still with The Broke and The Bookish, so I decided to change up the topic this week. I’ve picked an old one from the archived topics from TB&TB, I’ll be sharing my Top Ten Most Unique Books I’ve Ever Read. I don’t feel like it’s possible for any book to ever be completely unique, I feel like you’d be able to find underlying similarities to other stories in all books, but I do think you can take something that’s been done before and give it an original twist, or twist old tropes into a new story etc. So these books will be more of that ilk, not necessarily ones that I think “there’s absolutely nothing out there like this”, more “This author came up with a really interesting concept” or “This author twisted something familiar into something new”. Here we go:

  1. Unwind-Neal Shusterman

I genuinely don’t think I’ve ever read anything like Unwind. I mean it’s a truly horrifying and disturbing concept, the idea of this is that after a war fought over reproductive rights, the solution that the US comes to is that abortion is outlawed, but parents/guardians have the choice to have their children “unwound” from the age of 13 to 18, where they are literally taken apart piece by piece and their organs are donated, so their life doesn’t technically end.

I know, I know, it sounds super dark and weird, but it’s a really great book. It explores a lot of interesting issues, like what it means to be alive, issues around organ donation, who has the right to decide whether a person lives or dies, what consciousness is etc. It’s probably one of the most thoughtful dystopian books I’ve read, as well as being a really action packed, fun read with great characters. Not for the faint of heart, but if you like darker books, definitely recommend!

2. Girl, Serpent, Thorn-Melissa Bashardoust

Mythology, fairytale based stories certainly aren’t anything new, but I thought Melissa Bashardoust did something really cool and creative in her second book. I’ve not seen many books with Persian mythology influences before, so that immediately made the book feel quite fresh to me and she drew a lot from other fairytales (for instance Sleeping Beauty) but the way she mixed them together was very creative.

3. Pure-Julianna Baggott

Pure was one of those books that came out after the big dystopian buzz so it doesn’t seem to be one that gets talked about much (or else I read it after all the buzz died down!). This is a shame, because I think it’s a really creative post-apocalyptic book. It’s set after a nuclear apocalypse where survivors are left fused to objects that they were holding at the time of the Detonations. However there are some survivors who escaped the apocalypse unscathed, and live in a secure bubble called the Dome. It’s a very interesting concept and world, and though it was a little confusing at first, I ended up thoroughly enjoying it.

4. Not Even Bones-Rebecca Schaeffer

This is a super dark book, but it’s incredibly enjoyable. It’s about a girl who dissects the bodies of supernatural creatures so her mother can sell their parts on the black market, but when she tries to save one of her mother’s victims, she ends up being sold in his place-because she is also supernatural. It definitely felt like a quite original idea, I can’t think of many other books I’ve read like it and I loved how DARK it was. A lot of books claim to be dark and then feel kind of tame, this really leaned into the darkness. I liked the mix of the modern world with the supernatural too.

5. The Diviners-Libba Bray

The separate parts of the Diviners on their own, could be any number of books. Historical setting, teens with supernatural powers related to a science experiment, ghosts, murder mystery etc, all quite common to find in YA books. However, I don’t think any book I’ve read mixes them all together in the way The Diviners does. Is it confusing at first? Yes. There are a lot of characters and plot threads to keep track of. However, the further through the series you get, the more brilliant Bray’s hodge-podge of genres and ideas becomes and by the end I truly felt like it was one of the most creative fantasies I’ve ever read. Plus, the sprawling group cast became one of my favourites!

6. The Bone Season-Samantha Shannon

I will admit that the first book in Samantha Shannon’s series is not my favourite, I like other books in the series better, but I’ve never read anything like the world Samantha Shannon has created in this series. She describes it as a kind of epic dystopia and it’s true, it blends a lot of fantastical elements into a dystopian world. Honestly it’s kind of difficult to explain because there are a lot of different parts to the story, but basically the UK is run by this authoritarian regime called Scion (who also control other countries across Europe) and they monitor the population for people with extraordinary powers, called clairvoyants. Paige, a rare clairvoyant called a Dreamwalker, gets captured and sent to a penal colony run by otherworldly creatures called Rephaim and the plot unravels from there. It was really confusing to start with, I’m not going to lie and there are a lot of moving elements, but I definitely fell in love with the series the more I read of it and it really isn’t like anything else I’ve ever read.

7. The Shadow Game Trilogy-Amanda Foody

Whilst there are a lot of familiar tropes in Foody’s series, her world definitely set this book apart from others for me. It’s like a 1900s Atlantic City inspired world (I said Vegas in my initial review, I’ve since learned that this was wrong!), there are casinos and gangs and old motorcars and the setting is very much another character in the book. The magic system is also really cool, each character has two abilities, a blood talent which is the stronger, main ability and a split talent which is a slightly weaker ability and it allowed for such a brilliantly wide range of magic which I loved because so many fantasy worlds stick to maybe one or two kinds of magic and there’s no such restriction in Foody’s world. I also really love how Foody treats her female characters, she shows off a lot of different kinds of women in her books, including praising and highlighting extremely feminine women which I love and make her books feel very fresh to me.

8. The Accident Season-Moira Fowley-Doyle

I’ll admit upfront that I didn’t really like this one. However the premise is definitely unique, it follows a family that becomes suddenly extremely accident prone every October, often resulting in deaths. So that was cool, and I enjoyed the main mystery plot but there was a lot that confused me about this book and it never really fulfilled the promise of the concept.

9. The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue-VE Schwab

I could have used any number of VE Schwab’s books on here because I always feel like she’s so creative and inventive with her ideas, but I thought The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue was probably the one that fit best. Addie is kind of a difficult book to place, it’s fantastical, historical, contemporary, kind of a bit of everything all mixed up into one so that alone makes it a fairly unique book. Then you have the twist in Addie’s bargain whereby she’s able to live forever (fairly typical) but ends up forgotten by everyone she meets (less so) and the sheer scope of this book covering around 300 years of history. I’ve read other books that cross genres before, but never something quite as defiantly undefinable as Addie LaRue.

10. By A Charm And A Curse-Jaime Questell

On the surface this book has a lot of familiar tropes: circus setting, kisses and curses being connected etc. But the way the author used those familiar tropes felt very unique: the kiss in this case is actually the cause of the curse not the solution and this curse ensures that the members of the circus stay young and never get hurt (so is actually a good thing for them), and so that’s where the conflict comes in as main character Emma wants to break the curse which is inflicted on her but in doing so dooms everyone in the circus. It’s a really cool little story, kind of like Pinocchio (the curse basically turns you into a puppet in human form) mixed with Snow White. It’s a real shame that Jaime Questell hasn’t published any books since this one because I really loved it, I hope she does at some point because I’d love to see what she does next.

So there we go, those are some of the most unique books I’ve ever read. How about you, what are the most unique books you have ever read (or rather, books that you think have a unique take on familiar tropes)? Have you read any of the books on my list? Let me know in the comments!

I’ll be back next week with another Top Ten Tuesday, next week’s topic is meant to be Book Titles That Are Questions but honestly I don’t think I’ve read any? So I’m going to change twist the topic and do a different title related topic: Unnecessary Book Title Abbreviations Used On Book Twitter ie all the short titles that get abbreviated that really don’t need to be!


43 thoughts on “Top Ten Tuesday #323

  1. Jess @ Jessticulates 06/07/2021 / 9:02 pm

    Great list! I love The Diviners so much and I’m hoping to read Girl, Serpent, Thorn this summer. One of these days I need to cross Unwind off my TBR!

    • iloveheartlandx 13/07/2021 / 6:26 pm

      Thank you! Yes The Diviners is awesome. I hope you enjoy Girl, Serpent, Thorn & Unwind whenever you read it.

  2. FangirlFlax 06/07/2021 / 9:24 pm

    I keep meaning to read The Diviners, because I’ve really enjoyed a lot of her other work–thanks for the reminder! Great list πŸ™‚

    • iloveheartlandx 13/07/2021 / 6:25 pm

      Thank you! I hope you enjoy The Diviners-definitely recommend the audiobook if you like those, the narrator is amazing!

      • FangirlFlax 13/07/2021 / 9:11 pm

        I typically struggle with audiobooks, but I can certainly give a sample a go! πŸ™‚

    • iloveheartlandx 13/07/2021 / 6:24 pm

      Thanks! Ah, I’m so glad to hear that, I love when my lists help people find new books πŸ™‚

  3. Greg 07/07/2021 / 12:22 am

    I clearly need to read the shusterman book since I love stories that explore themes around consciousness and all that. The Accident season sounds interesting too. great topic this week!

    • iloveheartlandx 13/07/2021 / 6:23 pm

      Thank you! I hope you enjoy both of those if you decide to read them πŸ™‚

  4. Susan 07/07/2021 / 12:53 am

    UNWIND is the only one of these that I’ve read. I totally agree with you on it. It’s definitely got a unique premise, one that really made me think. I love that about Shusterman!

    Happy TTT!


    • iloveheartlandx 13/07/2021 / 6:22 pm

      Thank you! I hope you enjoy it when you read it πŸ™‚

  5. Hasini @ Bibliosini 07/07/2021 / 2:58 am

    This is a list of such cool and unique books! I ended up adding a majority to my TBR and I’ve got a few waiting to be read on my shelves!

    • iloveheartlandx 13/07/2021 / 6:22 pm

      Ah I’m so glad, I love helping people find new books πŸ™‚

  6. myexpandingbookshelf 07/07/2021 / 7:53 am

    Great list! Unwind has been on my TBR for the longest time. Hopefully I get round to it soon because it just sounds so fascinating (if mildly disturbing).

    • iloveheartlandx 13/07/2021 / 6:21 pm

      Thank you! Ha ha that pretty much sums up Unwind really πŸ™‚

  7. Marianne Maurer 07/07/2021 / 10:54 am

    That is such a great idea for a twist. I’ll have to remember that one day. But I will definitely check out some of the books you recommend. Thanks, Jo.

    Thanks for visiting my TTT earlier.

    • iloveheartlandx 13/07/2021 / 6:21 pm

      Thank you! Ah no problem, I’ve glad you’ve found some books you want to read from my list πŸ™‚

      • Marianne Maurer 14/07/2021 / 8:27 am

        It’s always nice to rummage through other people’s lists.

  8. Louise @ Monstrumology 07/07/2021 / 11:43 am

    Great list! I love unique books so I will definitely keep these in mind πŸ™‚ I still have The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue on my TBR, so I should probably get around to it soon πŸ™‚

    • iloveheartlandx 13/07/2021 / 6:20 pm

      Thank you! I hope you enjoy it when you read it πŸ™‚

  9. Deb Nance at Readerbuzz 07/07/2021 / 12:39 pm

    I love books that are unique. If there’s a genre of Unique Books, then that’s the kind I like best.

    I want to read The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue.

    • iloveheartlandx 13/07/2021 / 6:20 pm

      Me too, I love finding books that have a little something different about them. I hope you enjoy it πŸ™‚

  10. Tanya Atkinson 07/07/2021 / 1:17 pm

    I have several friends who consider The Diviners their favorite book. Same with Unwind. Both are still on my TBR.

  11. Lexlingua 07/07/2021 / 2:01 pm

    You’re right, Diviners was so unique. Very spooky, very well-written!

    • iloveheartlandx 13/07/2021 / 6:19 pm

      Yes so good! The audiobook really made that one for me, January LaVoy was so good at conveying the atmosphere of the book πŸ™‚

      • Lexlingua 15/07/2021 / 4:58 pm

        That’s good to know, about the audiobook and about the narrator too. Might look for more works with LaVoy

  12. Louise 07/07/2021 / 3:27 pm

    Oft! The end of Unwind, especially, was completely chilling.

  13. thebookishlibra 12/07/2021 / 1:10 am

    Addie Larue is the only one from your list that I’ve read but I agree that it’s a unique one. Schwab always has the most creative and unusual storylines.

    • iloveheartlandx 13/07/2021 / 6:18 pm

      She does, it’s one of the reasons I love her books so much!

  14. bitchbookshelf 15/07/2021 / 12:15 am

    I need to revisit The Diviners. I ended up DNFing it some years ago for some reason I can’t recall. I think I enjoyed it but my expectations were too high since I had enjoyed the author’s first series so much.

    • iloveheartlandx 19/07/2021 / 10:52 am

      Ah that’s a shame, I hope you enjoy it more if you do revisit it!

  15. Rissi 20/07/2021 / 8:55 pm

    LOTS of people either on booktube or on their websites seem to talk about The Diviners. I haven’t read it, but I know it gets lots of love. πŸ™‚ Thanks so much for visiting Finding Wonderland last week.

    • iloveheartlandx 22/07/2021 / 11:45 am

      Definitely recommend, it’s a super fun book! The audio is fantastic πŸ™‚

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