Thursday, January 3, 2019

Best Books of 2018 Pt.II: Fantasy!


Pt. I can be found here.

Now it's time to talk about some of my favorite fantasy books I read in 2018 that were also published in 2018! It was another incredibly fantastic year for fantasy and it's getting harder and harder to pick favorites. In fact, don't always like making favorites list because it's hard to leave out books that I still genuinely enjoyed and want to share, but I also like to showcase the ones that have really stuck with me and I find myself thinking about throughout the year.
The quality and inventiveness of fantasy being published only seems to be growing in quality lately, which only makes me more excited to see what the future has in store. Without further ado, let's jump into some of the best fantasy I read in 2018!


We Ride the Storm (The Reborn Empire Book 1) by [Madson, Devin]Master AssassinsThe Tower of Living and Dying (Empires of Dust Book 2) by [Smith Spark, Anna]

We Ride the Storm by Devin Madson: I know I've talked about this book a lot, but that's because it's incredible. It's dark, violent, and definitely not for everyone, but if you don't mind darker fantasy then please pick this one up. The world and characters in this book are so well drawn and have left me unbelievable interested to see what Madson will do in the next book. If you also want to find more genuinely badass women in fantasy, then you'll love these characters. REVIEW
Amazon | Book Depository

Master Assassins by Robert V.S. Redick: This was one of my first favorites of the year and it still remains prominent in my mind. I loved this book so much that my review for this book is 1300+ words. That's basically a short essay, guys (sorry about that). But in all seriousness, Master Assassins has an awesome desert setting, traveling (I love traveling), a really awesome brother relationship with weird and unexpected dynamics, and some pretty great female characters to boot. There are also so many unpredictable plot twists, from the major to the minor, and it's easily one of the best books I read in 2018. I truly cannot wait for the sequel. I'm not sure when it's coming out, but I am so in love with this book that I'm content to wait as long as Redick needs to make it exactly what he wants (as long as I don't, you know, die or something first). REVIEW
Amazon | Book Depository

Senlin Ascends by Josiah Bancroft: This was ridiculously inventive and exciting and I've never read anything quite like it. In this delightful book, Senlin and his wife decide to journey to the great Tower of Babel, which has layers upon layers of different 'ringdoms,' which are essentially separate kingdoms with different themes. Senlin's wife disappears and thus he must journey up the tower to find her. Bancroft is a genius and full of wit and fantastic ideas. This is an underrated gem that I highly recommend it if you're looking for something fresh. The third book comes out this month! REVIEW
Amazon | Book Depository

The Tower of Living and Dying by Anna Smith Spark: I loved the first book in this series, The Court of Broken Knives, and this sequel was no disappointment. The thing that stands out to me with Spark's books is easily her incredibly poetic and dark prose style. It is the most beautiful, fluid style that conveys so much so effortlessly. She can write a devastating or violent scene in a stunning way and I just loved this book as much as the first one, if not more. REVIEW
Amazon | Book Depository


Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield: This book warmed my cold heart in all the right places. It's a beautifully magical tale that is full of delightful characters, an intriguing mystery, and an incredible town setting. If you're not ready for the cozy winter holidays to be over, then grab this book, curl up, and enjoy. I could not put this down and loved learning about all the different characters and their backstories. REVIEW
Amazon | Book Depository

Shadowsong by S. Jae-Jones: I feel as though I don't see people talking much about the Wintersong duology, but they really should! Wintersong was a beautiful and dark goblin market-inspired story, and somehow Shadowsong is even darker and more mentally exhausting (in a good way)--it's an incredible journey. The author has talkee about how much of a struggle mentally this book was for her to write and that really makes me appreciate it all the more. It truly is a labor of love and grief and it shows so much. I loved this book. REVIEW
Amazon | Book Depository

Circe by Madeline Miller: The Classics are my love. I am always excited when I hear a new book set in the Ancient Greek/Roman world or centered on that mythology is coming out, and more often than not I am disappointed. Still, I never fail to be lured to any Classics-related book, and this time Circe far exceeded my expectations. This book was breathtaking and I think told a new (and old) story of Circe in the best way it could have ever been told. I am so impressed by Miller's work and so thankful for how much respect she has for the Classics. Obviously she takes artistic liberties in this book since there's no real 'fact', but she also keeps so much of the history and background 'true' (as true as you can be) to the more original myths and culture. This book has gotten a lot of praise (and I think the rights for film were optioned?) and it truly does deserve it in this case. REVIEW
Amazon | Book Depository

The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang: This was one of those books that came out of nowhere and truly blew up. I am very picky about which new adult hardcover books I buy because they're so expensive, but I splurged and bought myself a copy knowing hardly anything about it other than the Chinese-influenced plot/setting and hearing all the raves. It was a risk for me, but it paid off because it was insane. Kuang is also an awesome person and I'm so impressed that this was her debut novel. This book starts off with a welcome boarding school-type setting that we all love, but the second half of the book takes a huge turn and things get really, really dark. It's well worth a read!  REVIEW
Amazon | Book Depository


The Grey Bastards by Jonathan French: I'm not sure I can even place exactly what made me enjoy this book quite so much, but it just makes me smile when I think about it. The characters are fantastic and horrible at the same time (horrible in a good way, you know what I mean? like they're kinda dicks sometimes, but you still love them?) and I had such an enjoyable time reading this book. I think The Grey Bastards so fondly and can't wait to continue in this world and with these characters! REVIEW
Amazon | Book Depository

Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor: Muse of Nightmares made me tear up more times than I'd like to admit--and I'm not someone who usually cries when reading! Maybe a handful of times a year, if that much. But there were moment both sad and beautiful that made me tear up, both because of what was happening int he book but also because a certain phrase or passage would resonate with me in my life so much that I had to stop reading for a minute. Taylor never fails to have beautiful prose, and the best part is that she has equally compelling characters and plot lines to follow. The direction she ended up taking Muse of Nightmares was so unexpected and I was blown away. It's incredible. I can't recommend the Strange the Dreamer series more. REVIEW
Amazon | Book Depository

Empire of Sand by Tasha Suri: This was a damn beautiful story. I could not get myself to stop reading it, yet I also found myself subconsciously reading slowly so that it would last longer. Mehr, the protagonist, is one of my new favorite characters in fantasy because of her intelligence, common sense, and the sheer amount of respect that I grew to have for her. The plot is fascinating and I loved finding out about this world, and I hope the sequel explores it even more. REVIEW
Amazon | Book Depository



A few 4-star favorites!

Every year I have a few books that I only think of in fondness even though I gave them four stars instead of five, so I thought I'd include them this year! These are the type of the books that I imagine when I go back and read them I'll probably up my rating to five stars. It's just a matter of time.

Into the Drowning Deep (Rolling in the Deep, #1)

Rosewater by Tade Thompson: This is a favorite that wasn't abundantly clear to me it was a favorite, and I know how confusing that sounds. When I think about this book, I don't immediately think, 'oh I just love that book,' but once I start thinking about it and how genius and compelling it was, I can't help but realize how much I genuinely loved it and am so excited for the sequel. REVIEW
Amazon Book Depository

Balam, Spring by Travis M. Riddle
I feel like this is another book I've talked about a lot, but that's because I can't help it! It's somehow a wonderfully cozy slice-of-life, but there's also this really crazy mystery going on to keep things spicy. There were a lot of things that caught me off guard in the best way possible throughout the story and I keep recommending this to everyone I know. It's a ton of fun with great characters and a perfect small town. REVIEW
Amazon | Book Depository

Kingshold by D.P. Woolliscroft
This is another one that I had such a fantastic time reading. It's a politically focused fantasy about a monarchical rules as it turns to a more democratic rule and it's done in a really fascinating and entertaining way. There's also some really neat magic systems and other plot points to follow along with that make this even better. REVIEW
Amazon | Book Depository

Into the Drowning Deep by Mira Grant
As I'm typing this, I'm trying to remember why I only gave this four stars and not five, but as I mentioned before--these will all probably be bumped up one day. Into the Drowning Deep is haunting, creepy, and ridiculously compelling. I don't know if I've ever wanted a sequel to a book as much as I want one for this book. Killer mermaids, secrets of the Mariana Trench, and the constant air of unease and mystery in this book were everything I wanted. REVIEW
Amazon | Book Depository


That's all for my favorite books of 2018! I still have some 'end of year' wrap-up type posts in the works, however, so stay tuned for that. :) What were some of your favorite books of 2018?

9 comments:

  1. I haven't been reading as much fantasy lately, but I've been seeing Once Upon a River everywhere and it looks so good!

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  2. I loved Once Upon a River, too. 💜✨

    I bought the ebook of The Poppy War when it was on sale, and I'm excited to get to it. 👍✨

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    1. I'm glad to hear that! And I really hope you love it, it's definitely an exciting story.

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  3. Ah! Fantasy! We Ride the Storm was fantastic. I really need to try Anna Smith Spark, I feel like she needs a lot of attention can't just be read on a rainy afternoon! I loved Rosewater and Kingshold. Circe, Master Assassins, Grey Bastard, Empire are on my list! Not enough time, too many books!

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    1. I would agree that Anna Smith Spark needs more attention, it's not something that's immediately easy to digest, haha, I take my time with those. So glad you loved all the ones you did, and I couldn't agree more. I need some extra days (or weeks)!

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  4. Fantastic list, there are several that I didn't get to, for whatever reason, but I hope to read soon. Like Empire of Sand and Muse of Nightmares. I think it was such a strong year for speculative fiction in general:-)

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    1. I couldn't agree more, there were so many truly fantastic releases this year. I hope you get to the ones you've been meaning to soon. :)

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  5. Great list. I really loved Muse of Nightmares and Once Upon a River too.

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