One cannot end the year without a Best Of list. It’s impossible not to love a good list, amirite?! You better fucking believe I do! Especially a book list.
I made it easy for myself because life is hard enough as it is, my dudes, without having to sweat out how I’m going to narrow this impressive list down. I ended up going with all of my 5 star reads throughout the year, then if there were multiple books by the same author, I chose my favorite of those. Keeping it simple! Now.. because I have a slight rebellious streak, I counted the glorious Seanan McGuire (also writing as Mira Grant) as two different entities. I DO WHAT I WANT!!
2018 was a mixed bag personally.. but when it came to the books I read, it was on some next level shit! I loved that I had such a great blend of older releases with the brand-new ones. Some of my favorite books of all-time were ones I had read this year. It’s just been an absolutely brilliant time for books! 2019 is looking like it will be another incredible year for new releases as well. My excitement is through the goddamn roof!
AHEM. I’ll save that for another post in the new year.
Without further ado, my top 15 books read in 2018! ::throws confetti::
The Heroes by Joe Abercrombie: I felt as though I was on the field in a battle amid the three day war. Goddamn. This is Abercrombie’s fifth novel within the First Law world & as one would expect with his work, it is INTENSE. Grueling & brutal & SO FUCKING STABBY! ::slow-mo montage of Holly freaking out:: Also, incredibly funny & quite poignant at times. Just.. brilliant. This is Abercrombie’s best yet, in my opinion. ALL THE BLOOD-SOAKED STARS!
Senlin Ascends by Josiah Bancroft: Josiah Bancroft has created something so damn special here, I would be hard-pressed to recommend this any higher. It’s a fucking masterpiece! I truly believe it’s one of those unparalleled stories that has something for everyone. I’m in love with this book. Fully & completely!
The Thief of Always by Clive Barker: Clive Barker is insane.. INSANE! In just.. the best way. The way he is able to weave horror with fantasy inside a children’s tale is magical. He’s such a genius storyteller. There is darkness deep within his soul.. but there is also magic & wonder & love. This is for the young & the young at heart.
The Armored Saint by Myke Cole: The first installment in The Sacred Throne series is just.. it’s FUCKING GLORIOUS!!! A fantasy epic told within a medieval setting, which sounds pretty standard.. yet this is anything but! This is an easily digestible epic at just over 200 pages with impressive, vivid worldbuilding. Just an absolutely stunning story with some gorgeously heartbreaking themes. It’s bloody & violent.. & so much more. This completely murdered my feels over & over again!
Bloody Rose by Nicholas Eames: Oh my gods, I fucking LOVED Bloody Rose so goddamn much!! I had waited 1.5 years for this beauty & it.. was EVERYTHING!! Eames is such a gem in the fantasy corner of the universe. Truly such a unique, refreshing voice! There’s adventure. There’s feelings. There’s feelings & adventure! I adored this wayward band of misfits! This just soars towards the top of my best of list! It also holds the honor of containing my favorite passage in a book from the last year. Oof.
Blackout by Mira Grant: The Newsflesh trilogy is.. complicated. It defies assumptions of your typical zombie story. It’s this amalgamation of horror/zombie/medical/political/thriller. There are mad scientists, clones, bloggers that are journalists, government conspiracies, MOTHERFUCKING ZOMBIE BEARS!! It’s brilliantly bonkers & truthfully, probably not that far off from actually happening. My feelings are a bit inconsistent with the series as a whole, but fucking hell.. it ends on an amazing note!
The Outsider by Stephen King: The Outsider was gut-punchy & thrilling & raw & weird & just.. GODDAMN. Truly some of King’s best writing in years! It’s really no wonder that it has already been picked up to become a limited tv series, written by the glorious Richard Price! It’s so good. SO DAMN BRILLIANT! How lucky are we, Constant Readers? To have the one & only King still writing as consistently as he does. Still producing such unsettling, compelling, addictive stories like this one.
Paradise Sky by Joe R. Lansdale: Paradise Sky is loosely based on real events surrounding Nat Love (Deadwood Dick), one of the most famous black cowboys. It was so nice to read a western that isn’t the typical whitewashed version of the Old West! We need more stories like this! It is one of the most outstanding books that I have ever read, truly. Brilliant characters & a blazing plot, paired with the always exceptional prose from Lansdale – it blends fact & fiction masterfully! There is just so much fucking heart in this!
Grey Sister by Mark Lawrence: This sequel had a lot to live up to & fucking hell.. it did & more! This book is brutal & brilliant & FACE-SMASHINGLY GOOD! It’s pretty much perfect. There is a reason Mark Lawrence is one of my absolute favorite writers! No one can blend grit & heartache in such a poetic way, quite like he does. Just such a stunning storyteller. You need this series rammed into your eye holes immediately!
The Crimson Campaign by Brian McClellan: The Crimson Campaign is the second book of an absolutely incredible trilogy (as in.. every volume received a 5 star rating from yours truly!) McClellan took these intriguing characters & fleshed them out even more in this sequel. The main issue I had with Promise of Blood was the lack of depth to the female characters. That was not the case in this installment, thankfully! It’s an action-packed story, but also beautifully character-driven. Gunpowder & magic & uniforms & mouth-watering food.. the vibrant detail within these pages is just incredible. McClellan writes like a dream! A bloody, war-riddled, intense dream!
Down Among the Sticks and Bones by Seanan McGuire: The rich tapestry of magic & worldbuilding within these portal worlds is just mind-blowing. Down Among the Sticks and Bones features mad scientists & vampires & werewolves & reanimated corpses & gargoyles & Drowned Gods. It’s a coming-of-age story about finding where you fit in the world. Learning to accept who you are as an individual. How experiences shape us. Most of all, it’s about love in various forms. McGuire has this insane talent to create massive worlds in small spaces, which is no easy feat! Poignant, captivating, atmospheric & brilliantly realized. It’s a scary & beautiful place. One that I am better off for having visited. I love this magical series so fucking much!
Rosewater by Tade Thompson: Rosewater is the first book in the Wormwood trilogy. Aliens, cyberpunk, Afropunk, future noir, marginalized representation, more aliens, aliens, ALIENSSS. Rosewater is fucking bonkers. Brilliantly bonkers! Gritty, evocative, more than a little sexy, addictive, dripping with originality. Thompson’s layered storytelling is masterfully constructed. Rosewater is beautiful & intense & damn refreshing! I LOVED THIS SO FUCKING HARD!
A Big Ship at the Edge of the Universe by Alex White: Space pirates, a treasure hunt, sorcery-powered race cars, boss ass bitches, interstellar combat, gory gore, queer characters. MAGIC IN SPACE!! I loved everything about this! The follow-up book was pretty damn radical as well. DON’T SLEEP ON THIS SERIES!
Void Black Shadow by Corey J. White: This is the second installment in the fantastic Voidwitch Saga! This series is chilling & dark & perfectly paced & sweary & full of fantastic characters! Just.. ALL THE THINGS!! It features one of the most intelligent, badass female protagonists I’ve read. I love her so fucking much! This sequel delves deeper inside the gloriously diverse characters & expands upon the world that Corey J. White has so beautifully written. Such an underrated series!
The Winter Road by Adrian Selby: The Winter Road is such a luminous tale. Vivid & powerful, gritty & emotional. It’s astounding that this is only Selby’s second novel. The world he has created within a thousand miles of claustrophobic forest is vast & immersive. This is one of those books that I held to my chest while tears poured down my face once I had finished. It was such a beautifully brutal story. I was both emotionally exhausted & physically drained when I was done, as though I were knifed & had my guts spilled all over the floor. The Winter Road was the exact-right book at the exact-right moment for me. I was left completely & utterly smitten! You guys.. truly. This book is made of magic. I honestly can’t recommend it highly enough! This is, without a doubt, my favorite book of the year!
Because who doesn’t love an encore?!
Star Wars – From a Certain Point of View: This is a FUCKING EPIC anthology of stories that intersect throughout A New Hope. The collection includes 40 short stories of side characters from the original movie, written by 43 authors. It’s a brilliant concept & it came together beautifully! IT’S EVEN IN CHRONOLOGICAL ORDER SO YOU ARE LITERALLY WATCHING A NEW HOPE FROM THE OUTSIDE.. A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE! The Force is so strong with this collection. Goddamn.
I hope you all have a safe & happy new year!