Best Books of 2018

It's that time of the year! Yup. When we look back and choose from among the pile of books that you have ploughed through to pick up the very best.

Again - this year, I think two stellar debuts feature on my list. And a debutant author from 2017, whose books I read back to back, features here with her second in the series. Some usual suspects. And hey possibly the first year when I read a Brandon Sanderson which didn't turn up on the list. [ Skyward was all sorts of fun, a definite 5-star book but there were other heavy-hitters who deserved more!]

Without much ado, then. In no particular order!

The Grey Sister by Mark Lawrence

Nona continues to enthral us in this explosive trilogy (Book of the Ancestor) - spinning the larger conspiracy wheels even faster. A masterful exploration of detailed magical systems, strained friendships and shifting loyalties, Mark Lawrence's genius is at full display in this intellectually thematic YA story - full of top notch action, breathtaking magic and innumerable threads, still unresolved. We wait to see how the story ends for Nona and her friends in Holy Sister, in 2019!

A Time of Dread by John Gwynne

John Gwynne was a new author for me, in 2018. And ATOD is a great book for new fans of John Gwynne to jump onboard (like MOI!) but remains faithful to the foundations built up over that stunning last quartet series and builds on the strengths showcased there for the older set of fans. And as the blistering action is getting hotter and the dread turning into terror in the Banished Lands, you had better hop onto this bandwagon. There is depth and grit to the characters, the narrative is frenetically paced and the explosive action hits you every ten pages or so, reminding of the peril that is growing large out there. In short, everything you could ask for, in an epic fantasy story.

Trail of Lightning by Rebecca Roanhorse

This book really had my heart - in 2018. A debut that breaks the boundaries of originality. In the spell-bindingly arresting world of Denitah - and Maggie Hoskie, a Navajo girl who is brave beyond measures to fight the monsters, both inside her and the ones outside.

If you are looking for unparalleled entertainment, headlong action and breathtaking adventure set in a wonderfully realised original world - with non-white non-male leads who can kick ass, just as much or even better, then Sixth World is a series you should be gobbling up. Trail of Lightning is a precursor to the awesomeness that awaits you. Dive right in. Swarm of Locusts comes out next year! 

DarkSoul by Anna Stephens

If you like your grim dark stories, it don't get better than this. This is sequel to Anna Stephen's debut, Godblind that came out last year. drenched in blood and gore, the second book in this series is basically one helluva long siege. Sacrifices, horrific blood soaked rituals, faith and loyalty clashing between the ones in the light and the ones given to the red path.

No mid-series slump here, elegant prose and intense balls-to-the-wall action sets up the finale for the Bloodchild pretty nicely.

Rosewater by Tade Thompson

Rosewater will make you squirm. in discomfort, and that's a good thing. Because the future is realised in a gorgeously alternative Nigeria where weird, bizarre things unfold. I am dazed and awed by the vision and the execution of such a future, that is compelling, bizarre and absolutely stunning. Rosewater is one of those precious new books that manages to throw off all the yokes of 'prescribed writing guidelines' for science fiction. Indeed, Tade Thompson is a refreshing new talent and a world-class one at that. I cannot wait to read what he writes next. 


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