It’s only the 2nd, so it’s not too late to wish everyone Happy New Year again. But it’s also the 2nd, which means it’s not too early to be getting back to work. Woo!
I can think of no better way to cling onto the belief that the holiday season is not in fact over yet than by looking back at the previous year’s top reads. Since I mostly read fiction, and am decidedly not doing a ranking of the top textbooks I slogged through in 2018, I’m going to limit my list to novels and present you, in painstakingly chosen, recency bias-ridden order, my ten most enjoyable novels read in the past year:
10. Orphan Monster Spy (Orphan Monster Spy #1) by Matt Killeen
The only MG(-ish…it’s borderline YA at least) book to have made it onto my list, and for good reason. Sarah rocks. Ever wondered if a manipulative teenager put their heartlessness to good use and used it to take down some Nazis? That’s her.
9. Wildcard (Warcross #2) by Marie Lu
I am officially done with all the hate this book gets. It’s a 300-page package of sick thrills, and I don’t want to hear another take about how Marie Lu let her readers down and completely destroyed Emika’s character, yada yada. Were we reading the same book?? All I saw was awesomeness–awesome from Emika, awesome from Hideo, awesome from Zero, awesome from everyone except Taylor, who can go suck a dick.
8. This Cruel Design (This Mortal Coil #2) by Emily Suvada
Marie Lu just called. She wants her title as the master of YA sci-fi twists back, because Emily Suvada’s run away with it. Every time you think you’ve figured it all out, This Cruel Design slams you with another 180 that somehow makes so much sense and leaves you reeling at the same time. If you thought you’d seen it all in This Mortal Coil, you’re in for a shock. Lots of them, in fact.
7. The Consuming Fire (The Interdependency #2) by John Scalzi
I’m well aware that this book won’t be making lists of great literature anytime soon. The reason I have it so high up is because it was just. So. Fun. It has everything good about the first book taken up to eleven, including but not limited to Kiva Lagos, Kiva Lagos and Kiva Lagos.
6. The Book of M by Peng Shepherd
With a nomination for the 2018 Goodreads Choice Best Fantasy Award, I’m thrilled to see The Book of M getting the recognition it deserves. I mean, it was never going to win over the divine perfection that is Circe, but it’s the thought (and exposure) that counts. Peng Shepherd’s debut is Beautiful with a capital B. The story takes a bit of patience to get into, but it’s worth every page.
5. Skyward (Skyward #1) by Brandon Sanderson
Either my recency bias is stronger than I anticipated, or Brandon Sanderson is a superb author who wrote a fantastic coming of age YA sci-fi thriller in Skyward. You decide.
4. Vicious (Villains #1) by V.E. Schwab
This book was slick af. Victor Vale and Eli Ever have to be two of the coolest anti-villains written. I’ve mentioned before how I’d love to take Victor out for a drink while crossing my fingers he doesn’t decide to dismember me, and I hold to that after Vengeful. Although the Vicious version of Victor would definitely be more fun and considerably more disposed to spare my life. So…it’s a (platonic, cause Victor’s ace) date?
3. Bright We Burn (The Conqueror’s Saga #3) by Kiersten White
Yep, I still think this is the best finale of 2018, beating out serious competition including Wildcard, Vengeful and Muse of Nightmares. (Kingdom of Ash? What’s that? I’ve never heard of Sarah J. Maas.) The fact that Kiersten White realised midway through that Lada didn’t need to be punished for her ambition, that she didn’t need karma to put her back in her place, resulted in such a great story.
2. The Poppy War (The Poppy War #1) by R.F. Kuang
I love Rin, Nezha and Altan, and want them to live happily ever after in a world free of violence and hatred…said R.F. Kuang never. If Song Dynasty China thrown up against World War II Japan doesn’t make for the shittiest place to live in all of fantasy, I don’t know what would. Forget “free of violence and hatred”, forget “happily ever after”. The moment I mentioned “love”, The Poppy War was laughing all the way to the end of a
Japanese Mugenese soldier’s bayonet.
1. Circe by Madeline Miller
I don’t believe in destiny, but there was no universe in which the top spot wasn’t falling straight to Circe. It doesn’t matter that I read this back in April and have read dozens of excellent novels since; all this time, if you asked me for my best book of 2018, my answer wouldn’t have changed. Maybe, now that it’s the new year, I’ll stop harping on Circe as much. But until Madeline Miller releases her next novel, my hype for this one isn’t going away.
What were the best novels you read in 2018? Do you agree with anything on my list, and are there titles you think I’ve criminally overlooked? I’d love to hear about the great books you read in the past year right here in the comments!
As always, I hope you enjoyed my unqualified, occasionally snarky opinion. Thanks for reading, and have a good first week of the new year!