Did you know I read a lot? I read over 130 books in 2019 alone – and that doesn’t count the number of books I read as I edited them for work.
I had a few people ask me what my favorite books I read in 2019 were and I managed to narrow it down to a top 10 list of books and/or series. In no particular order, here they are:
The Broken Earth Trilogy by N. K. Jemisin
*stares at own hands* I just. *waves hands frantically* She won the Hugo 3 years in a row for this series. The prose is masterful, the worldbuilding unparalleled, The use of second person! The narrative twists! The foreshadowing! The relationships! The themes of breaking the cycles! Incredible. Absolutely incredible. I stayed up until like 3 a.m. two nights in a row to finish these books.
The City in the Middle of the Night by Charlie Jane Anders
Charlie Jane is an absolute treasure and she’s got a fantastic knack for incorporating worldbuilding into the narrative and crafting realistic character arcs that leave you rooting for everyone, even after you know who they really are. I honestly had to walk away from reading for a minute after finishing this book because it’s so well done.
Autonomous by Annalee Newitz
Who wants a capitalist hellscape? I know you do. Annalee Newitz took a very realistic, bleak look at a potential future and makes you care, sparks a revolution. Plus they’re writing about patent pirates and the evils of capitalism and what gender really is.
Once & Future (duology) by Amy Rose Capetta and Cori McCarthy
Listen. If nothing else, it’s a book about queer folks that doesn’t require readers to re-traumatize themselves to enjoy it. Futuristic queer retelling of King Arthur that is also anti-capitalist and queer af. Also I’m so sorry Sword in the Stars doesn’t come out until April. (I recommend waiting until that one comes out to read Once and Future because the cliffhanger is brutal. Also don’t read the marketing copy for Sword in the Stars until you read Once and Future.)
The Memoirs of Lady Trent (series) by Marie Brennan
Okay this series is brilliant and you won’t understand until the last half of the last book. Written as if Lady Trent were writing her in-universe memoirs, the books follow her growth as a naturalist and how she came to be known as Lady Trent and how she changed the world with her study of dragons. I finished the last book and was immediately compelled to reread them (which I still haven’t quite yet) because you realize that the whole series is written as if you knew the ending – because it’s written as if you’re a reader in the universe it takes place in, and of course you’d know the ending. I have never seen someone pull that off so masterfully.
Three Dark Crowns (series) by Kendare Blake
This one is just fun. Rich worldbuilding, solid story telling, political intrigue. The myths and legends of the world were really well done. I definitely recommend reading the Queens of Fennbirn novellas too – they give much-wanted contexts to certain aspects (don’t read it until after book 3!) but nothing is so crucial as to be necessary for understanding.
Lumberjanes (series) by Noelle Stevenson and others
Another fun one! A good mix of summer camp and Supernatural-style monster of the week/issue type storytelling.
The Sixth World (series) by Rebecca Roanhorse
Post-apocalyptic fantasy on the Navajo reservation centered around their culture and religion? Please and thank you. Definitely hits some harder topics, but is a delightful adult fantasy. Only the first two are out so far, but it’s off to a very strong start.
I Wish You All the Best by Mason Deaver
One of the few stand-alone novels on this list (and the only contemporary!), this book made me cry, in a good way. Heart-wrenching and yet soothing, a beautiful debut. I’m looking forward to what they write next!
Legacy of Orisha (trilogy) by Tomi Adeyemi
I honestly don’t even know where to start with this one. Magic has been taken from the maji of Orisha and three kids are accidentally launched on a quest to get it back – and to reunite their country after years of war, oppression and discrimination against the maji. The second book just came out and I haven’t quite finished it yet, but it’s proving to be just as good as – if not better than – the first.
You can find my full 2019 year of books on Goodreads here.