I debated with myself about whether I should post this as I haven’t actually had that many ‘wow, this book is AMAZING‘ books. Shocking, right?! Or maybe not. Maybe some years are just stronger than others, I remember struggling to narrow down my top ten reads of 2017 as I had read so many great books but so far, 2018 has been a very average reading year for me. But enough of that, onto some stories I really love.
The Song of the Shattered Sandsseries by Bradley P Beaulieu
Okay, so I am cheating slightly with this one. Yes, it’s a series, but I picked up the first book, Twelve Kings, earlier this year and fell in love. It was such a breath of fresh air, set in a desert world with magic, intrigue and wonderful characters. Check out my full review if you’d like to know more, but it’s safe to assume that I sung its praises. I quickly devoured the next couple of books in the series and not-so-patiently waited for this years release. Now we come to why I have to include the whole series. Put simply, A Veil of Spears was fantastic. All the characters developed believably in amazing ways that I couldn’t predict and the plot kicked up another notch. It was my first 5 star read of the year but I can’t bring myself to remove Twelve Kings from my favourites. It was the one that got me into the series and is a book I will read again and again. So yes, this entire series is wonderful, I love it and you all need to read it.
Guns of the Dawn by Adrian Tchaikovsky
I haven’t been able to stop thinking about this one. I didn’t expect to enjoy this novel as much as I did, but woah. I love it. It may even be one of my all time favourites. Now don’t get me wrong, it has a few flaws, nobody is perfect after all, but it is a wonderful mix of all my favourite things. A strong female protagonist, subtle but heart-wrenching romance, camaraderie, a good old fight, magic and a twist. I could go on to be honest. Don’t be fooled by the title and the front cover, apart from the whole war sections (granted, that’s probably a large portion of the book), it is not dominated by guns or other flintlock-esque attributes. I remember someone describing it as a fantastical Pride and Prejudice – I’m afraid I can’t remember where, sadly. As with all comparisons with famous classics you can take that with a pinch of salt, but the blend between subtle romance, family shenanigans, royalty and war really hooked me. We’re plunged into a conflict between two nations that has dragged on for so long, women are being drafted to serve on the front lines. Enter Emily. She’s intelligent, brave, commanding and witty. Her character growth is incredible, from an Austen-esque heroine trying to keep her family and house together to a kickass, but humanly flawed, soldier. The war changes her, changes her world views and changes the way her loved ones regard her in turn and it’s how they all interact that fascinated me. Tchaikovsky explores big themes such as betrayal, loyalty, dedication and desperation. It twists and turns and encourages you to consider all sides. I did a full review here that you can read for more in depth thoughts but I am still thinking about it and I read it in January. That’s a sure sign of a favourite.
Children of Earth and Sky by Guy Gavriel Kay
Despite being only the second Guy Gavriel Kay novel I have read, I have a strong feeling that he will always be one of my favourite authors. Tigana was one of my favourites last year (check out my review here) and I am confident no other book will knock this from my final round up at the end of 2018. Kay’s prose is phenomenal. It is so emotive and engrossing that it captures you on page one and doesn’t let you go until the very end. If you’re a fan of character based novels like Robin Hobb’s Realm of the Elderlings (another long standing favourite of mine) you’ll love Guy Gavriel Kay. He creates incredible characters that almost jump from the page and intertwines them with epic storylines that could easily dominate, yet it’s the characters who really take centre stage and endure. In both books I have read by Kay it is clear that he likes to explore how even the smallest of choices made by a few individuals (non royalty, naturally) can change the course of history. His work is often described as historical fiction with a quarter turn to the fantastic which I think is why I enjoy it so – the world feels so realistic that it’s easy to get lost in the pages. Again, I have a full review if you’d like to know more about this one, but I definitely recommend Guy Gavriel Kay.
Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey
Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse
The Parentations by Kate Mayfield
Wicked and the Wallflower by Sarah MacLean