Top 10 Books of 2018

 

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10. Rosewater

Author: Tade Thompson

Really inventive…I enjoyed this novel on a conceptual level, but didn’t find the story to be compelling until it all comes together at the end. I’m interested to see where author Tade Thompson takes future installments in this trilogy because he’s set up a good foundation with this excellent first book. See full review here.


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9. A Conspiracy of Truths

Author: Alexandra Rowland

An unexpectedly delightful story featuring a wonderfully eccentric narrator…When writing a book about a gifted storyteller, it helps to be a gifted storyteller. Luckily, author Alexandra Rowland shows a knack for spinning a charming and heartwarming yarn.  A Conspiracy of Truths is an impressive and enchanting novel that was a joy to read. See full review here.


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8. Foundryside

Author: Robert Jackson Bennett

This book has pieces of everything I want in a fantasy novel — an intriguing magic system, rich worldbuilding, interesting characters, humor, and heart. Those pieces coalesce into something really interesting and make for an enjoyable reading experience. Foundryside is swiftly paced, has great action, and features loads of sharp, snappy dialogue.  See full review here.


BeforeMars

7. Before Mars

Author: Emma Newman

A wonderfully captivating read that I really enjoyed…Before Mars is a compelling mystery box novel and a worthy addition to the Planetfall universe. With three books released and another on the way, Newman is crafting a superb series of interconnected works. See full review here.


Iron Gold

6. Iron Gold

Author: Pierce Brown

A wholly worthwhile addition to Darrow’s story that breathes fresh life into the overall saga. Iron Gold is sprawling, electrifying, bloody, and represents a welcome return to form for the series. See full review here.


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5. Aching God

Author: Mike Shel

A thoroughly engrossing debut novel that I enjoyed immensely. It’s certainly one of my favorite books of 2018 and I will be eagerly awaiting the next installment in the series, as Aching God builds a very solid foundation from which to jump off from. It feels like sword and sorcery Indiana Jones — and I’m very here for that.  See full review here.


Unholy Land // Lavie Tidhar

4. Unholy Land

Author: Lavie Tidhar

Unholy Land is a stunning achievement. It is packed to the brim with engaging ideas and features a captivating story that I could not stop puzzling over. There is such an ethereal and intoxicating quality to the story and Tidhar’s writing that I found myself floating through the chapters, not always sure what was happening, or whose perspective we were seeing, but knowing that I wanted to keep reading. The intersecting story threads twisted my brain into a pretzel and I loved it. See full review here.


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3. The Poppy War

Author: R.F. Kuang

Wow, this was a gem of a debut novel. I have never read a book that evolves so thoroughly from beginning to end. This is bloody, brutal, and unrelentingly dark fantasy. Overall, Kuang has crafted a complex and absorbing debut novel that is unsettling and enthralling in equal measure.  See full review here.


Philosopher's Flight

2. The Philosopher’s Flight

Author: Tom Miller

Author Tom Miller displays an impressive aptitude for storytelling as he deftly spins this wholly engrossing yarn. The Philosopher’s Flight is a wonderfully inventive historical fantasy that sinks its hooks into you and doesn’t let go. I truly enjoyed Tom Miller’s debut and hope a sequel is on the horizon. (The cover is great, too!) See full review here.


 

1. Senlin Ascends & Arm of the Sphinx*

Author: Josiah Bancroft

I was completely taken with Senlin Ascends right from the outset. Author Josiah Bancroft’s words paint a vivid picture of a peculiar world where nothing is as it seems. Bancroft’s prose is lyrical and conveys a sense of grand adventure that I rarely find in my reading life. See full review here.

Every page of Arm of the Sphinx is a delectable treat, with countless delightful passages, characters, and a story that gets more intriguing as mysteries build and questions are answeredIt’s inventive, clever, and imbued with a sense of virtuousness and humanity. Bancroft is weaving together a wonderful series that has all the makings of a modern fantasy classic. See full review here.

*Okay, #1 is a bit a cop-out since Senlin Ascends was originally published in 2013 and Arm of the Sphinx in 2014…HOWEVER, Orbit made the smart decision to snatch up the rights to Bancroft’s series and re-released these first two books in 2018…so, they qualify for this list on a technicality! They’re wonderful books, so I’m happy to bring attention to them in any way I can.

 

 

 

 

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2017 Reading Stats

I always enjoy looking back and quantifying my reading from the previous year. Comparing year to year trends allows me to track progress, make future changes, or just give myself an excuse to make a spreadsheet. As such, I’ve compiled a few charts to breakdown my reading experience in 2017:

Books read in 2017

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A new personal best!

Average Page Count

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Male vs. Female authorship

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I made an effort this year to read more books by female authors and I’m happy to see that for the first time ever I read more books written by women than by men. It’s a small step, but I’d like to see these numbers be more even going forward than they have been in the past.

Genre Breakdown

Speculative fiction covers a wide range of genres, so here is a breakdown of how many of the books I read this year fell into each of these genres:

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Until next year!

 

A Year in Review: 2016

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I committed to reading more this year and was very happy with the results. I read some great standalones, series starters, and series finales in 2016. Here are six of my favorites:

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“Buoyed by a strong third act filled with twists and monumental confrontations, the Age of Myth tells a satisfying tale that I would be interested in revisiting in the future…” see full review here.

 

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“…City of Blades is an excellent sequel. It’s not just a retread of the first book. It builds and expands on themes we saw before, changes the setting, spotlights different characters, dials down the melodrama, and turns up the mystery.” see full review here.

 

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Sleeping Giants presents a compelling mystery that is unspooled through interview transcripts and other unconventional narrative means. Intrigue abounds and the ending has me looking forward to the upcoming sequel.

 

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“…author Ian Tregillis continues his brilliant alternate history tale with a tense build-up and an explosive payoff…this is a deeply satisfying conclusion to one of my favorite series of all time.” see full review here.

 

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“Frederic S. Durbin creates a setting filled with such beautiful imagery that opening the book felt like being transported to the nameless countryside each and every time. He writes a simple, yet profound story that I enjoyed immensely.” see full review here.

 

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“…this was a gripping, edge-of-your-seat, popcorn movie thriller that easily positions itself as one of my favorite books of 2016.” see full review here.

One regret I have from 2016 was not reading enough books authored by women (as evidenced by a lack of representation in my top 6 list). My total 2016 reading split was 77% male-authored vs. 23% female-authored. I would like to close the gap in those percentages in 2017.

canopy-fullSpeaking of 2017, here is a list of works I’m looking forward to in the new year:

Crossroads of Canopy by Thoraiya Dyer, Titan’s Forest #1 (January 31)*

27405006All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai (February 7)**

Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel, Themis Files #2 (April 4)

City of Miracles by Robert Jackson Bennett, The Divine Cities #3 (Aprilcity-of-miracles_final 20)

Borne by Jeff Vandermeer (May 2)

18052164Age of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan, The Legends of the First Empire #2 (June 28)

The Stone Sky by N.K. Jemisin, The Broken Earth #3 (August 15)

Oathbringer by Brandon Sanderson, The Stormlight Archive #3 (November)

Barbary Station by R.E. Stearns, Barbary Station #1 (December 5) 31932810

The Thorn of Emberlain by Scott Lynch, Gentleman Bastard #4 (TBD)

*Currently reading an advanced copy
**Read an advanced copy, look for it on the 2017: A Year in Review list!

 

See you next year!