Best of 2019 - II (Lists!)
I decided to go one further this time and give you the best of various lists, among my fav reads of the year. Ha :) Bring it on, 2020. We got to raise the bar!
Best of 2019 Fantasy Books:
This one's tough as many series endings happened in 2019 and also new books by favourite authors from the past have surfaced. Anyways - the long list is here ( on my previous post) but if I had to slice out my heart and lay down in front of you, the best of the best among that, it would have to be:
This book is a return to fine fettle, by one of my go-to-authors when I feel down in the dumps. There are a few authors who make me want to drop everything and read non-stop, inspire me to write and really really play with my imagination. Joe Abercrombie tops that list and his new series is an absolute blast in that manner.
Best of 2019 Science Fiction books:
Admittedly, I need to read a lot more SF books. But among the few I did snag my hands on and finish, two really stood out. A space-opera that traced the hardships faced by a young ambassador to an alien planet, who has to simultaneously solve the curious murder of her predecessor while adjusting quickly to the quirky nuances of a culture, steeped in traditions, poetry and intrigue. A slow-burn political thriller but that unspools in the best way possible. The second was one of my go-to-authors for science thrillers, Blake Crouch and his explosive new book, Recursion. An absolutely bonkers mile-a-minute ride that tinkers with your perception of mind, time-travel and memories. It's fucked up and it's a gooey mix of science-goodness, edgy and thrilling all at the same time. But if you had me pick one, then that would be:
A Memory called Empire by Arkady Martine
Best Debut, 2019:
This one's easy enough - Gareth Hanrahan's The Gutter Prayer was a darkly compelling read, drenched in his fearsome imagination giving us clever ideas, monsters and world building meshed together in a grim-dark dream debut. But I did pick up some other really good ones in 2019. Namely, The Poppy War by RF Kuang, plucky powerful, epic coming-of-age story that follows the destiny of this young girl called Rin in a kingdom ravaged by war. (This came out a year earlier though) Another great debut that I had so much fun reading is Black Hawks by David Wragg. Another buzzy debut that I also enjoyed was the Rage of Dragons by Evans Winter.
The Gutter Prayer
Best of 2019 Horror:
Another easy choice for me and this is me reminding myself that I need to start reading more in this genre! But The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell was a darkly delicious slice of gothic victorian horror that stayed with me, for a long while after I turned the last page. This year though, 2020 I will put some goals. Other notables this year : Ghoster by Jason Arnopp, Atrocities by Jeremy Shipp.
The Silent Companions by Laura Purcell
Best Novella, 2019:
Tor.com has been putting out some exceptionally good gems, novellas that pack a punch way above their weight. The Border Keeper by Kirsten Hall was a twisty mess, in a good way. Full of amazing ideas and lyrically haunting language. But The Monster of Elendhaven by Jennifer Geistbrecht takes the cake. Sinister, wicked and devilishly plotted, tracing the lives of two men who are morbidly fascinating creatures of the dark with their appetite for 'monstrosity' vast and unplumbed. An enticing tale of chilling horror, written in beautiful poetic prose that cuts and slashes deep into your psyche. Packing a powerful wallop in its slim 150-plus pages, this novella is a dark fantasy fan's dream.
The Monster of Elendhaven by Jennifer Geisbrecht
Best Graphic Novel, 2019:
Having managed to sneak in quite a few good ones this year, among the graphic novel list Saga Volume 10 stands out, towering way above the others. An emotional crushing event that I fear, will shape the future of this world just raised this series above the others I tried out. Monsters, Vol 3 and 4 are on my TBR's. Also unfinished is the unapologetic and all-guns-booming snarky riff on the superhero saga, called Boys ( I watched the series on Prime and was impressed! But the book surprised me much more!)
So that kind of rounds up the year for me! All in all, a very satisfying year in terms of reading. Looking forward to 2020 now! Happy New Year full of awesome stories to all of you.