Some books/series I LOVED this year (not ranked, because I can’t and there’s no point):
- Tigana and The Lions of Al-Rassan, Guy Gavriel Kay: I’m SO glad I found this author this year! Both are heart-achingly beautiful and made me weep for countries and civilizations as much as the characters.
- The City of Brass & The Kingdom of Copper, S. A. Chakraborty: A vivid world that is so wonderfully different than much of the fantasy I read, but with all the political intrigue and fully-realized characters I seek out. Also: KoC’s 5-year jump was brave and so well done.
- The Goblin Emperor, Katherine Addison: A book where the stakes are so heart-breakingly personal, not world-shattering. This sort of book defined what I looked for this year and often what I fell in love with.
- The Light Between Worlds, Laura E. Weymouth: Another quietly beautiful book that I shed many tears over. This is why I read: to feel and to care, deep in my bones, for things that aren’t even real. (Again, this can describe a lot of the books I loved this year).
- The Winternight Trilogy, Katherine Arden: I loved the mix of history and fantasy, I loved Vasya and her family (especially Sasha the warrior monk!), and I loved the trappings of religion and belief woven throughout. Also features a wonderfully complex villain with the wonderful name of Konstantin.
- The Tethered Mage, Melissa Caruso. Political intrigue, complicated families, suspense and intrigue, slow-burn romance… I can get bored with audiobooks, but I listened breathlessly to this throughout! This is also the sort of book I aspire to write myself.
- A Gentleman in Moscow, Amos Towles: I read this for a book club. I never would have chosen for myself, and yet I loved it. Not for the plot, not even for the characters, but there is a magic about the vignettes, and the whole feel of the narrative, that I reveled in.
I read a lot more this year (though I’ve not done such a good job keeping up on my reviews on Cannonball Read, oops) but these were my favourites. I can see the themes: lots of female writers, a gravitation towards quiet books, no world-ending stakes/villains who want to destroy everything for no good reason. I really pulled away from “grimdark” this year, and there’s no sign of that going away. I just don’t enjoy it as much anymore. Maybe I’ll find some titles this year that lure me back in, though! (And if big titles I’ve been waiting for come out, I certainly won’t turn up my nose at them.) I also read a lot of Terry Pratchett, often as a palate cleanser between bigger books, but none of the titles were as wonderful as the first three Watch books, which I read last year.
Next year, I’m looking especially forward to reading some sequels and more from some of the authors I found this year:
- The Defiant Heir, Melissa Caruso.
- The Empire of Gold, S. A. Chakraborty
- A Treason of Thorns, Laura E. Weymouth
- A Song for Arbonne, Guy Gavriel Kay
Also can’t wait to finish Circe by Madeline Miller (I especially love it as a classicist!). I have a robust TBR list, including lots that aren’t new releases, but I’m always looking for new recommendations!
One last thing to say/admit: I mostly read on library apps now, because I am poor. (I ask for gifts of hard copy when I really want to support an author I love.) But reading via libraries has forced me to branch out and find new things, and I am SO grateful for that!
This blog reposted from Twitter, and slightly edited to remove stupid errors like misspelling the title of one of the books!