I’m not quiiiite done with my 2019 reading (as there are clearly still several days left in the year) but at this point, I’m fairly confident that nothing is going to shake any of the following books out of my favorites list for the year. These are my top reads of books that released in 2019 – if you want to see my favorite backlist reads, you can find that list here!
Covers link to Goodreads!
A MEMORY CALLED EMPIRE by Arkady Martine
It took me a few months to get to this one, but BOY was it worth the wait! A fantastic space opera, with plenty of intergalactic politics and a murder mystery to keep me on my toes! Martine did a fantastic job of not just creating cultures, but of portraying the fraught feeling of wanting to emulate the culture of your conquerers. Mahit is torn as she wants to fit in at court, wants to be acknowledged that she has mastered their ways enough to be one of them, while also knowing in her heart they will always look down on her, and maybe she shouldn’t admire an empire that is determined to absorb every other free nation into it. It’s a fascinating and exciting read, and I can’t wait for the sequel in late 2020.
SEVEN BLADES IN BLACK by Sam Sykes
Here we have a book that clocked in at over 700 pages, but didn’t feel like it AT ALL. This was a fun read, full of costly magic systems, talking weapons, and
chocobos giant murder birds. Plus, it hits you right in the feels when you aren’t looking. Sykes has made no secret of the fact that this is his loveletter to JRPG video games, and you can definitely see the influences.
SORCERY OF THORNS by Margert Rogerson
Oh my god, this book! *swoons* It checks off everything I could possibly want. Magic, romance, adventure, libraries, sentient books! I had incredibly high hopes for the premise and it delivered on every level. When an apprentice librarian is framed for a disaster at one of the Great Libraries built to contain dangerous magical books, she turns to the only person who believes her: a sorcerer. Except she’s been raised to believe that all sorcerers are evil, so can she really trust him? There’s a very light Beauty and the Beast motif running through this tale, but stands on its on. Elisabeth and Nathaniel are potentially my favorite new couple, and I will throw this book at everyone I meet.
VELOCITY WEAPON by Megan E. O’Keefe
#Page250Club. If you know, you know. VELOCITY WEAPON is a fun space opera, complete with AI and intergalactic war, and plot threads on the other side of the galaxy that don’t quite seem to fit into anything until they do. Sanda Greeve is a fantastic heroine. She wakes up alone on an enemy ship, missing one leg from a space battle, and discovers she’s been in stasis for over 200 years. Time to science the shit out of this. (Wrong book, right tone). Meanwhile, 200 years in Sanda’s past, her brother Biran is trying to find his sister’s wrecked ship, and also avert a war that is brewing. And across the galaxy, a thief named Jules stumbles onto a cache that puts her whole crew in dangers. Watching these threads come together is a delight, and I gasped more than once at certain reveals.
SERPENT & DOVE by Shelby Mahurin
This book starts with an utterly ridiculous premise and somehow makes it work. A thief (and secret witch) is forced into a marriage with a witch-hunter because she implicated the hunter in a scandal and they can’t have that but if she’s married to the hunter they can sweep it all under the rug. Once you accept that this premise has occurred, you have a fantastic enemies-to-lovers romance with a magical conspiracy. Honestly my only complaint is that I almost wish this had been a standalone novel. On the other hand, we get to return to these fantastic characters, so can I really complain too much?
THE NAME OF ALL THINGS by Jenn Lyons
What’s this, a sixth book in a Top Five List? That’s right, I’m breaking the rules and you can’t stop me. I couldn’t wrap up this list without including THE NAME OF ALL THINGS. While the first book, THE RUIN OF KINGS, also came out in 2019, it had some problems that stopped me from making it a favorite (though I did enjoy it!). THE NAME OF ALL THINGS, however, has a fantastic female hero, a fascinating new culture to explore, and plenty of action, and I found myself devouring this book at breakneck speed.
Honorable Mentions: JADE WAR by Fonda Lee, STARSIGHT by Brandon Sanderson, DESCENDANT OF THE CRANE by Joan He
And those are my favorite 2019 releases! Which were your favorites this year?