When I look back at the books that I read this year, there were quite a few sequels and series enders that I picked up. For some reason, I was disappointed by many of the debuts or first time authors. Therefore, most of the books on this list are from series that I already knew I loved. As always, most of them are fantasy or sci-fi reads with a surprising romance read that made it on the list!
10. Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff – Review
As the Illuminae Files is my all time favourite series, my expectations for this space book with an unlikely crew were at an all time high. I loved reading about #Squad312 and how they found a likeness in each other, despite being from all walks of life – not to mention from different species. This book just contained lots of snarky banter and a quest set across the galaxy which was lots of fun. I’m looking forward to Aurora Burning next year!
9. Wicked King by Holly Black (The Folk of the Air #2) – Review
This fae series has now concluded, but now that I look back at it, Wicked King was probably my 2nd favourite behind the first book, The Cruel Prince. I loved how this one explored the Undersea and a new dynamic with Jude pulling all the strings for once and there was just so much angst and banter between her and Cardan. If you still haven’t picked up this much raved about series yet, you’d best pick it up if you love hate to love romances!
8. The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon – Review
This one was of my most highly anticipated reads of the year and I’m so glad that it was also one of my favourites! This dragon fantasy definitely impressed with its rich world comprising of four nations. In this book, you’ll meet a dragon rider, a handmaiden to a monarch, a bitter exiled alchemist, and a best friend who explores a draconic realm from afar. This is the feminist fantasy that you’ve been waiting for, and it’s a tome to sink into.
7. Vardaesia by Lynette Noni (The Medoran Chronicles #5)- Review
This must be one of the longest series I’ve read over the past few years, but it’s also one of the most satisfying ones. Each book in the Medoran Chronicles just gets better and better, with the world of Medora really expanding throughout each book. Alex’s character growth in this series is amazing, as she transitions from an awkward outsider to someone who the fate of the world rests upon. I adored the last book in the series and saying goodbye to our beloved crew was definitely tough!
6. A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer – Review
Every bookworm and their dog loves Beauty and the Beast, so of course we also love A Curse So Dark and Lonely – a modern beauty and the beast retelling featuring a main character with cerebral palsy. I loved the hate to love romance in this one, as Harper gets to know Prince Rhen over the course of the book. Then there’s also the chemistry between Harper and the Prince’s guard, which sets up an interesting dynamic between the trio.
5. Dragon Republic by R.F. Kuang (The Poppy War #2) – Review
Although Dragon Republic didn’t awe me as much as the Poppy War, I still really enjoyed the Chinese military tactics and following Rin after a battle has been won. It features lots of angst and PTSD from Rin’s perspective, but seeing her plan her revenge and ally herself with powerful warlords was thrilling. It also features a huge betrayal which I’m still not ready to face and so many warm and fuzzy best friend feels.
4. Red, White and Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
If you’re as surprised as me to find an adult romance on this list, then you know this must be a good one. I can’t say no to a romance between an uptight British prince and the charismatic son of the American President courting each other, and this one is filled with flirtation, scandal and a good time for all. I listened to this one on audiobook and absolutely loved it, and was surprised to find out that it’s a debut as well!
3. The Toll by Neal Shusterman (Arc of a Scythe #3)- Review
I absolutely adore the Arc of a Scythe series! It’s such an intelligent setting of the end of the world and features lots of introspection about A.I., the abuse of power and the human race. Each book adds more complexity to the world filled with scythes and the ending was really unexpected, although fitting.
2. Darkdawn by Jay Kristoff – Review
Was this going to be a surprise? Darkdawn completely surpassed my expectations when it came to ending the much raved about Nevernight trilogy and I loved this final installment with Mia, Ashlinn and the rest of her crew. This one is brutal, bloody and stabby and it takes Mia’s planned vengeance to its very bitter conclusion. This one made me scream, cry, throw the book on the ground but also devour it as quickly as I could turn the pages. I would’ve expected no less.
1. Jade City by Fonda Lee – Review
I knew this was going to be my favourite ever since I read it, because it’s not often that a book like this one comes along and causes such an impact. I immediately connected to the Asian characters set in the metropolitan world of Kekon, where jade grants the wearer with special abilities. It’s heavily based on kung fu, martial arts and clan wars and I loved the world-building and all of the characters. I still have to read Jade War, which was released this year.
Have you read any of these books? Were any of your favourites on this list?
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