Best Books I Read in 2019

As of this writing I’ve read some forty-odd books (all the while trying to stay afloat in medical school and also write! As you can tell I don’t have a life). Of these titles some were good, some were okay, and some absolutely blew my mind.

These are just the books I read, not all of them were published in 2019 (just 2 of them actually)

In no particular order, here they are:

The Winter of the Witch by Katherine Arden

This is the third installment in the Winternight Trilogy and by far the best book of the three. I find myself at once trying to savour each page and also read as quickly as I can to find out what happens next. A very satisfying ending to Vasya’s story, one which I will be reading again.

Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor

This book, my goodness! Where to start? The world Laini Taylor creates here is fantastical, mythical and so deeply realized that I lost myself completely while reading this, and it has been a long time since I had that happen to me with a book. Lazlo is such an endearing character. It’s got books, a magical city, blue-skinned gods! And the prose is simply bewitching.

Also, whoever said third person omniscient (headhopping) is outdated clearly has not read this book. Seriously it’s a masterclass in this POV.

Muse of Nightmares by Laini Taylor

The sequel to Strange the Dreamer is even better! I ate this book up in a day, flying through the pages, waiting to find to what comes next. Laini Taylor made me so invested in the characters that I empathized with every one of them (even a certain little tyrant!) You come to understand that there is no pure good or evil and everyone is a product of their circumstances. I mean, just like in real life. A brilliant conclusion to this fantastic duology.

The Icarus Girl by Helen Oyeyemi

This book, which was Miss Oyeyemi’s debut, remains one of my favourite works of hers. It’s the one book I read every year and find something new with each reread. It tells the tale of a biracial child and the disturbing friend she makes on a trip to her hometown in Nigeria. Two of my stories (coming in 2020) were directly inspired by this book and I have no doubt it will continue to inspire me for the foreseeable future.

The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman

Mr. Gaiman, in my eyes, can do no wrong. This dark fantasy story is a very refreshing read. Here a middle-aged man returns to his childhood home and recalls interesting (forgotten) events from his childhood. This book spoke to me on many levels, and I personally saw it as a commentary on that oh-so-magical period of our lives called childhood, and how, as we grow into cynical, rational adults, we forget. I read this book twice; the first time as a reader, and the second time as a writer, pen and paper scribbling away. On the second reread, I noticed Neil Gaiman never mentioned the name of the narrator. He wrote 50,000 words without telling us the name of the main character. It was cleverly done. Very good, Mr. Gaiman, very good.

Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter

A boy seeking revenge against a class of pompous noblemen. Oh, and there’s dragons. And it’s Africa-based. Need I say more? Evan Winter’s debut is electric. His writing is that of a seasoned master. Trust me, you’ll be doing yourself a favour if you read this book.

Last Argument of Kings by Joe Abercrombie

This is an explosive conclusion to this series (First Law). Joe Abercrombie lives up to his title of Lord Grimdark. Everyone is a bastard in this book, and I love them all for it. I actually listened to the audiobook for the entire trilogy, and Steven Pacey did such an awesome job of narrating. He really brought the characters to life – especially Inquisitor Glokta. That lisp!