I read 45 books in 2019. (Well, technically I listened to most of them as audio-books. Dyslexia was a pain in the ass this year and I gave it a whopping middle finger.)
This is not a “Best Of” list. I didn’t read all the books published in 2019, nor will all these books be from 2019 to begin with. They’re just books I read this year and happened to enjoy. I hope some of you will enjoy them too.
Note: The little summaries in italics are written by me, not official blurbs. Click the links to see those!
In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan
This lovely slice-of-magical-life book tells the story of a sassy young man navigating a magical world and all the trials and romances it brings.
I fully recommend it to anyone who likes humorous mythology, beautiful deconstructions of social topics, snarky protagonists, and a romance with fantastic pinning and realistic relationships. This has a mlm endgame ship!
Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer
A biologist explores a dangerous piece of coastline contaminated by distinctly unnatural forces, which puts her relationship with her late husband into new light.
The slow revelation of and engulfment by the hauntingly peculiar yet breathe-taking world really hit me in the center of my soul. The Biologist felt incredibly real and personal, and by the end of the story, she seemed like a friend I knew and adored. Her relationship with her husband was one of the most stunning and accurate “romances” I’ve ever read.
Circe by Madeline Miller
A stunning showcase of the life of Circe, as seen from a new angle, highlighting both the flaws of humans and the beauty of mortality.
I’ve heard people describe this as a love letter to humanity and that’s more accurate than anything I could write. Also I cried at the end.
The City of Brass by S.A. Chakraborty
A con woman with healing powers accidentally summons a djinn warrior and ends up whisked into a mythological world of elaborate politics.
This book gave me so many feels I don’t know how to recover. Strap in for epic world building, suspenseful plot, wonderful (often morally grey) characters with complex biases.
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid
The story of how a fictional Hollywood actress ends up marrying seven different men over the course of her life. Spoilers: She’s in love with a woman.
This book portrays a stunning and realistic look at a queer woman’s journey through Hollywood, with lovely takes on romance, sex, and sexuality, as well as a couple beautiful instances of queer non-traditional/polyamorous families. Endgame wlw!
The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie
With the god of the kingdom fading and the current ruler missing, the aid to the next ruler must meddle in the affairs of gods. But someone is watching him… and she’s been around for a very, very long time.
The peculiar narrative choice of having a first person narrator speak of the main character in second person played well in the growing mystery, and the world building surrounding the gods was fantastic and unique, lending itself to the sort of story you read once in a lifetime. I would recommend this book for people who like unique and/or non-traditional story telling mechanisms, incredible world building, and thinking. The main character is a transman!
The Songbird’s Refrain by Jillian Maria
When a girl who feels perpetually unseen is captured by a witch and forced to grow feathers, she must use her dreams to uncover the witch’s motivations and escape.
This Young Adult book is a blast with a hint of creepy, a dose of suspense, and a nice dollop of fluffy romance. Overall, a wonderful fall read, with a heavy focus on healthy relationships, believing in one’s self, and choosing love. The endgame is a wlw!
This Is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohtar and Max Gladstone
An episodic novella of the two most powerful time war opponents falling in love through letters exchanged in very particular ways.
This book made my eyes well and my throat catch and my mind linger over the pages with ecstasy and melancholy. It is lyrical and beautiful, with stunning world building built of metaphors. The endgame is a wlw!
The Ten Thousand Doors of January by Alix E. Harrow
Not your typical portal fantasy.
This was lovely. Everything from the slow beginnings ties beautifully back together in a fast paced second half. I ended up with so many feels about this dumb little wandering family.
A Memory Called Empire by Arkady Martine
The new ambassador to the largest colonizing empire in the galaxy must uncover the reasons for her predecessor’s demise, which would be a bit easier of only the artificial version of him embedded in her brain would help out.
This was such a fantastic ride. Stunning world building, great characters, politics that doesn’t feel bogged down, a plot that’s constantly moving forward. I totally recommend for anyone who likes science fiction, quirky friend groups, and the analysis of colonization. Endgame wlw!
Sorcery of Thorns by Margaret Rogerson
Sometimes a family can be a nerdy dumb-ass with a sword, an arrogant snarky dumb-ass with a smirk, and their demon servant who nibbles on their live force and mothers them both to hell and back.
I had so much fun with this Young Adult book. The world building is lovely and the pacing keeps you on your toes without stressing you out and the main characters are fabulous. A good, solid read, with a beautiful ending. Also, I would die for Silas.
Some books I wanted to read in 2019 but didn’t get around to:
- The Fifth Season
- The Priory of the Orange Tree
- Jade City
- Wilder Girls
- Into the Drowning Deep
- Rules for Vanishing
Which books did you enjoy this year? Did any of these make your favorites? Let me know in the comments!