I read a total of 30 books this year, which for some is a lot, and for others is hardly worth mentioning. For me, with a dayjob, a toddler, edits, copy edits, and a whole book to write, it was kind of astounding. I don’t have a lot of time to just sit and read – so I don’t. I listen to a lot of audiobooks and – when the weather’s nice – I go for ambling walks with my eReader in one hand or a physical book in two.
I read a mixture of books this year, a significant portion of which don’t come out until next year. I’ve already written up a blogpost over at my personal blog with a little review for each of the books I’d read that came out in 2018, but I’ll pull a few to highlight here. To be clear, they were all good and amazing and if you’re looking for recommendations I highly advise looking at the full list. But I’m going to limit myself this time to 5 books I know I’ll still be thinking about in the years to come:
| The City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty
This is an adventure and a half, complete with djinn and ifrit and ghouls and cursed artifacts and even more cursed lakes and a city and culture thousands of years old which actually has the weight of all that history. Nahri is the best, a thief turned possible royalty who doesn’t magically lose the thief side of her when she discovers her roots. And that ending – that ending. There are still two books to come and I have no idea how Chakraborty will top that ending but I have every confidence that she will.Read if you like: epic second world fantasy that subverts YA romance tropes, actively interrogates morally gray questions, and is clearly written by someone well-versed in history.
| Are You Sleeping by Kathleen Barber:
True crime podcasts are all the rage lately, but what about the real-life families of the victims? This story explores the implications of sudden fame (or infamy) on a family that had already found their peace. A quick read (or listen, because really you should probably listen to a book about a podcast) and unsurprisingly there’s already a live-action series in production by Apple.Read if you like: family dramas, murder mysteries, thoughtful explorations of the far-reaching effects of our increasingly small world.
| From Unseen Fire by Cass Morris:
Magic in an alternate ancient Rome? Yes please! From Unseen Fire includes all the fun politics of I, Claudius plus the elemental magic of Avatar: the Last Airbender. Add in a full cast of awesome ladies and an exceptionally original take of elemental-based magic and, well, I am hooked forever. It’s clear Morris did her research on this one because reading it feels like a walk through the streets of ancient Rome.Read if you like: kickass magic systems; sprawling epic fantasy; feeling as if you’re walking through ancient Rome
TW: off-screen sexual assault
| City of Lies by Sam Hawke:
It’s a murder mystery set during a siege, what’s not to love? City of Lies is a fresh take on the epic genre, where the relationship between siblings being highlighted more than any of the romantic ones, where you’re never quite sure if the magic is real or not, and where the plot ratchets up and up and UP until you think it can’t possibly go any further, AND THEN IT DOES.Read if you like: epic battles; awesome endings; stories about cities; contemplative narratives about the duty of a country to its people; quiet scenes juxtaposed with swordfights; MURDER MURDER
| Vengeful by V.E. Schwab:
Another direct sequel, this time to Vicious, which asked the question: if given super powers, what would real people actually do? They wouldn’t save the world, that’s true. But some might still try, in all the wrong ways. Schwab has been improving by leaps and bounds with each book of hers and this one is no different.Read if you like: morally gray characters doing murder; rooting for all the wrong (or right??) people; angry women getting vengeance; MURDER MURDER