Top Ten Tuesday: 2019 favourites so far

Text only: top ten TUESDAY

Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish, and is now hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl. It’s all about books, lists and sharing the love we have of both with our bookish friends. This week’s prompt is childhood favourites, but I’m going off-piste to take a look at my reading year so far…

I’ve read over 35 books so far this year, which is more than enough to start picking favourites. As usual, my January reads are already fading in memory, which is unfortunate as I’ve done a dreadful job of writing up my thoughts in reviews this year. Of course, some reads are etched in my mind, a sure sign of a stunning read (as even the truly awful ones tend to fade out quickly if I don’t capture why I hated them so much). As ever, these are the best books I’ve read – they’re not necessarily recent releases!

Stand-out reads

Book cover: I Still Dream - James Smythe (I honestly have no idea but it's blue an orange and curvy)I Still Dream – James Smythe

A cynical yet unexpectedly compassionate look at where AI might go wrong, this may still be my favourite read of the year so far (which is saying something because if your flail alarm hasn’t gone off yet, it should)

Book cover: The Traitor Baru Cormorant - Seth Dickinson (a fractured mask of a woman's face floating on a field of black)The Traitor Baru Cormorant – Seth Dickinson

The only way to bring down the Empire of Masks is to become its most trusted servant: betraying everyone you love to betray everyone they hate. One of the best fantasies of the last decade, as ruthlessly calculating as its protagonist.

Book cover: Tiamat's Wrath - James S A CoreyTiamat’s Wrath – James S A Corey

Absurdly, this might be the best novel of The Expanse yet, so hats off to Corey for staying power and not peaking early. Batten down your heartstrings and prepare for a devastating ride as Laconia takes control.

Book cover: The Kingdom of Copper - S A ChakrabortyDaevabad – S A Chakraborty

O HAI djinni fantasy of my heart. Chakraborty serves up a gorgeously spiced dish of rich world-building and conflicted characters – I reread City of Brass and devoured Kingdom of Copper and I will never be ready for Empire of Gold.

Book cover: The Unbound Empire - Melissa Caruso (a woman in a flame-coloured ballgown seen from behind, merging into the outline of a flame-coloured crow in flight)Swords and Fire – Melissa Caruso

Melissa Caruso’s debut fantasy trilogy came to a triumphant climax. I reread the first two to set myself up for the rollercoaster I knew The Unbound Empire would deliver, and I was emotionally exercised in the best possible way. I will never stop recommending this.

Book cover: Empire of Sand - Tasha SuriEmpire of Sand – Tasha Suri

A fantasy of love, duty, heritage, and dance magic which tackles questions of consent with infinite care. Come for the world-building, stay for the dramatic tension. This is one of those books that has only got better the more I’ve thought about it.

Book cover: Artificial Condition - Martha Wells (a suited figure stood against an amber cloud)The Murderbot Diaries – Martha Wells

Everybody’s favourite socially anxious cyborg – I enjoyed All Systems Red from start to finish on my second read (forget my original quibbles; I was wrong) and devoured Artificial Condition to follow-up. Martha Wells does everything right.

Book cover: Lies Sleeping - Ben Aaronovitch (a puddle of blood overlaying a figurative map of London)Lies Sleeping – Ben Aaronovitch

Aaronovitch is another author who just keeps improving: the latest PC Grant finally ties up some loose ends, whilst setting up plenty of drama for the future. Expect the usual wild ride as Peter confronts some ghosts from his past.

Book cover: The Ninth Rain - Jen Williams (a blue-grey eagle against a silver background)The Winnowing Flame – Jen Williams

Damn right The Ninth Rain and The Bitter Twins make this list: they may be rereads, but they’re so damn good they outshine many of my other reads this year. Jen Williams delivers a horrifying fantasy apocalypse with the best band of unlikely heroes. Also giant bats. And a dragon. And aliens.

Book cover: Vicious - V E SchwabVicious – V E Schwab

It’s saying something about how much I love the rest of this list when a V E Schwab romp is the weakest entry in my top ten. Erm. It’s fun though?

What have you enjoyed most so far this year?