Monday, December 30, 2019

Best Reads of 2019

What a year it's been! For a moment there I didn't think we'll ever make it to the end. Yet, here we are in the last days of 2019. Finally...

As the year draws to a close it's time to look back and share some of my best reads of the year.  Despite all the challenges the year brought, it was an exceptionally good reading year for me. In total I read 81 books (52 novels, 23 graphic novels, 4 novellas and 2 anthologies).

In no particular order these are the best books I read in 2019...

The Shadows of the Apt Series by Adrian Tchaikovsky

2019 has pretty much been the year of Tchaikovsky. My entire list could very easily be filled by the entirety of the books in the The Shadows of the Apt series. Tchaikovsky manages to add a unique spin to familiar fantasy tropes with a world that blurs the lines of what we've come to expect from fantasy. It has a little bit of everything, the sheer scope of the world and all it has in play is just mind-blowing. A worthy addition to the ranks of the great fantasy series of our time. Up there with The Wheel of Time and A Song of Ice and Fire.

Children of Ruin by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Another Tchaikovsky novel. I simply adored Children of Time (who wouldn't love intelligent space spiders?)  Children of Ruin is a worthy sequel to the groundbreaking Children of Time. Tchaikovsky once again excels at portraying and exploring inhuman intelligence in its varied forms. This is one adventure you definitely don’t want to miss out on!

Walking to Aldebaran by Adrian Tchaikovsky

What do we have here? Yes, it's yet another Tchaikovsky. This time round in novella format. Walking to Aldebaran is a science fiction novella which takes some very unexpected twists and turns and brings new meaning to the the term unreliable narrator. You never quite know what to expect and it’s only in later contemplation that you manage to glimpse everything that’s really in play - a decline into madness, something truly alien, a deftly executed literary allusion or all of the above? Wonderfully weird, this story will have you puzzling over it long after the last page has been turned.

The Institute by Stephen King

Stephen King has yet another winner on his hands. The Institute is a fast-paced read which takes real-world events, gives it that unique Stephen King spin and converts it into a captivating and heartbreaking story of stolen childhood. While it might not offer any surprises it's still a great read exploring the cost of what is done in the name of the greater good. If you are new to Stephen King and a fan of Stranger Things this would be a great starting point.

Ravencry by Ed McDonald

It's hard to do Ravencry justice in a review. It's both a touching emotional journey and a bloody, unstoppable delight. The ending will destroy you and leave you wanting more. McDonald has exceeded all my expectations and I can't wait to discover the wonders the third book brings. Highly recommended!

Irredeemable by Mark Waid

The Irredeemable comic series explores the cataclysmic effect of a superhero going bad. Can someone be so evil that they become irredeemable? This is a superb comic series and the very last panel simply raises this to an entirely different level. Physical copies are nearly impossible to find, but even if you have to resort to getting it in digital format it is WELL worth it! (Seems there is an omnibus edition of Irredeemable scheduled to come out in June 2020 which will be an absolute must have!)

There were so many (SO MANY) books I really wanted to read, but didn't manage to get to. My TBR pile of 2019 releases have developed into a mini-mount of staggering proportions all on its own. I can neither confirm nor deny that the stack is taller than I am!

I'm sure I'll be distracted by all the new shinies that 2020 will bring, but I'll get to them eventually. Thankfully there's no expiration dates on good books!

I wish you all an amazing 2020. May your year be filled with fantastical worlds to escape to when the pressures of reality gets too much!

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