Today’s the day to talk about my favorite books of the year! All of these books, with the exception of the first honorable mention, were five star reads for me, new all-time favorites.
The Fate of the Tearling by Erika Johansen – This book got a 4.75 stars from me, the only book that did this year. This is the finale to Johansen’s Queen of the Tearling series and honestly, I still don’t know how I feel about the ending. It was perfect but also terrible, and I think that’s why it got rated so high. If you haven’t picked up this series yet, I really recommend doing so.
Blood of Tyrants by Naomi Novik – This is the eighth book in the Temeraire series, and I feel one of the strongest (though… none of them got below a four, don’t think I didn’t love them all). I think what I appreciate about this book the most was that it took a trope I hated and did something different with it. I actually made a post about it: The Amnesia trope, and I made it because I was hesitating about reading this book. But man, this book proved to me that the amnesia trope can actually be handled well. This was an awesome book.
Fullmetal Alchemist: The Complete Four-Panel Comics by Hiromu Arakawa – I don’t know what I was expecting with this little comic collection, but it definitely wasn’t ‘this’ll be a favorite book of the year’. This book collects all the little side comics at the end of the manga, in the dvd releases and in the blu-ray releases of both animes. It puts them all in a fashion roughly linear to the main plot of Fullmetal Alchemist (which, if you haven’t read, is fantastic). Maybe I was just feeling nostalgic for this series, who knows, but I really, really enjoyed this. It was funny and endearing and just such a joy to read.
The Monster Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson – Second book syndrome, what’s second book syndrome? This book’s never heard of it. Monster Baru is the second installment to Dickinson’s Masquerade series, and the first book, The Traitor Baru Cormorant made my favorites list back in 2017. And this, this was no different. It took the story so much farther, opened the world so much, and made our main character Baru so much more complicated. I loved every single second.
O Maidens in Your Savage Season vol 1 by Mari Okada – It’s kind of hard for a single volume of manga to get a five stars from me, let alone the first volume of a series, when all the characters are still being introduced and the plot is still being laid out… usually it’s like, set-up, right? This one though, plops you right in, and man, does it make you feel like a fifteen year old right away. This book was so refreshing. It was funny, it was endearing, and it was just so pleasant. I’ve been collecting the series since and while none of the other volumes have matched the five stars of this one, the series is still going strong and I’m hoping volume 5 that just came out upholds its predecessors.
Assassin’s Fate by Robin Hobb – Let’s be real here, I knew way back at the first book of this trilogy that if Hobb ended the series in a good, strong way, the last book would be definitely getting five stars. And guess what, she pulled it off. I really, really loved the ending of this. I’d heard iffy things going in so I was a bit nervous, but once I finished it, there was no doubt in my mind: This is a favorite book. I loved this book. I read this – along with basically all the other Robin Hobb Realm of the Elderlings books with Zezee @ZezeeWithBooks and I’m pretty sure we both adored it. It’s the end of an era and I don’t know what to do with myself now.
Deathless by Catherynne M. Valente – This book was on my first and only 5 star predictions post…. and so far, it’s the only one to hit the mark. I have a couple left to go and I’ll get to those. But this. This book was fantastic. It’s disjointed and lilting and dark and gritty and whimsical… everything I wanted. It’s a story about Koschei the Deathless, a figure in Russian mythology, and I found the way Valente wrote about him and the story around him to be really fantastical. It really felt like a fairy tale, and I loved it. I loved it.
And those are all my five star books of the year! I read 118 things this year, and only these six made the five star list. I’m hoping I read just as many books next year, with even more five stars mixed in.
I hope you’ve had a wonderful reading year. Happy reading!