Book reviews / Top picks

Awesome books for people in your life

Inspired by @Tracy King’s tweet (and that I also did this last year which is still valid), here’s a list of the books that I loved this year. Some of them were published this year and some of them weren’t!

A Thousand Ships by Natalie Haynes. This was a hard (as in emotionally difficult) read. It was the tale of the Trojan War but through the eyes of all its women (and spoiler, not many of the women have a good time). It’s absolutely staggering and powerful and contender for my book of the year.

Boneless Mercies by April Genevieve Tucholke. This book was so great. It’s so hopeful and tragic and wonderful. One for an atmospheric winter’s eve, where you feel like something magical could happen.

Book of M by Peng Shepherd. One of my early contenders for favourite book of the year, and it finishes strongly. So atmospheric, weird, apocalyptic and yet hopeful. It’s a book to lose yourself in the evening while drinking something mulled.

Dreadful Company and Grave Importance by Vivian Shaw. These are the 2nd and 3rd books in the Greta Van Helsing series and I love them so much. Like SO MUCH. They are such a delight to read, just effortless and joyous at the same time.

Exhalation by Ted Chiang. The author’s previous collections is one of my all time favourite books. Chiang is just such a superb story teller, packing so much interesting, philosophical, ethical and emotional subjects into so few words.

Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir. This was one of the most talked about novels in my Book Twitter feed and it did not disappoint. It was so unlike anything I’ve ever read, like, there are space necromancers? But the characters are wonderful, especially the title character Gideon. It’s so wonderful and weird, it’s definitely one of my favourite books of the year.

Gods of Jade and Shadow by Silvia Moreno-Garcia. There were so many good books this year, but I think this is number one. I literally cried (a lot) after I finished reading. It’s so wonderful and beautiful even while it slowly breaks your heart. But in the end you’re okay with that. I am still thinking about it on a regular basis. It deserves all the praise.

Invisible Women by Caroline Criado-Perez. This data driven analysis into the gender gap when it comes to women made me SO ANGRY and yet so hopeful. It’s a wonder, detailed and compelling read for the feminist (or researcher in your life).

Other Words for Smoke by Sarah Maria Griffin. This will make you feel like magic can exist and that magic is terribly beautiful at the same time. It’s so unearthly and wonderful. Another contender for my book of the year.

Sorcerer to the Crown and The True Queen by Zen Cho. So delightful and full of fierce, wonderful characters. It also deftly weaves in the problems of race and gender alongside all the magic.

Storm of Locusts by Rebecca Roanhorse. I love when sequels are better than the original and this book definitely felt that way. I loved the characters and expansion of the world. I loved the heartbreak and redemption. It’s in a class of its own.

The Tea Master and the Detective by Aliette de Bodard. It’s more of a novella but one of the best things I read all year. I absolutely love all the related short stories. It’s a sci-fi mystery with so much world building packed into so few words. Such a treat.

To be taught, if fortunate by Becky Chambers. All this authors fill me hope for the future. All her stories are just wonderful vignettes of what we can accomplish if we get our shit together. It’s not a utopian future, but it’s one where the best characteristics of humanity shine through. This short story makes my heart ache for this imagined future.

“‘It’s a Wrap!’ Invitation” by Marta Veludo is licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0

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