Time for a Top Five Tuesday, hosted by Bionic Book Worm! This week, we’re talking about favorite debut novels! This topic actually proved surprisingly challenging, as there were many instances where I thought a novel was a debut, only to discover it was the second or third book for the author, but their first to go big. So without further ado, here are my top five debut novels! Covers, as always, link to Goodreads.
THE RUIN OF KINGS by Jenn Lyons
This is by no means a perfect debut, but it’s certainly one that got my attention. I personally loved the chapters alternating between points of the timeline, enjoying how it teased events to come and paid them off. While I was less enamored with the overly complicated family tree, this is definitely I’m eager to return to when the sequel comes out later this year.
AN EXCESS MALE by Maggie Shen
This is an incredibly good near-future thriller that examines government and technology in a totalitarian state. AN EXCESS MALE imagines a future where birthing policies have skewed the male-to-female ratio in China so badly, the government has allowed marriages of two or even three men to one women. The tale follows one family that is considering allowing a third man to join it, causing a complication of domestic drama that spills into the government related jobs the men hold.
ERAGON by Christopher Paoloni
Yes, I know all of the discourse around this series and how much it leans heavily on archetypes that came before it. But setting all that aside, I couldn’t leave this off my favorite debuts list, given how much of an early gateway drug into fantasy it was for me. Talking dragons, warrior princesses, a farm boy with a destiny, I ate it all up. This was a book I read multiple times, particularly as I waited for the later books in the quartet. The later entries didn’t enthrall me nearly as much, but for a first book to have had that much of an impact on my reading habits merits it a spot on my list.
THE LIES OF LOCKE LAMORA by Scott Lynch
One of my favorite books of recent memory, it is the pinnacle of so many of my favorite tropes. Heists. Found family. Humor. High stakes. Best Friends. I love this series so much, especially the Venetian-style world where Locke Lamora pulls his heists. This was one of the earlier books I read when I dove head first into the adult SFF book world about five years ago, and it absolutely earns its praise.
AN ABSOLUTELY REMARKABLE THING by Hank Green
Everyone is familiar with Hank’s more famous brother, John Green, but Hank is an impressive vlogger in his own right. Last year, he published his first novel, a contemporary sci-fi adventure that, among other things, looks at some of the lengths we go to in search of clicks and likes. And I mean “we,” because I’ve discovered I can be just as guilty of some of the thought processes the main character goes through, even on a much, much smaller scale.