The Holidays are here, and 2019 is nearly over. You’ve got that Christmas money from grandma or that gift card from the Secret Santa exchange at work. Maybe you are returning something you truly disdained and need something to put you in a better mood. Why not buy yourself a new book? Here are the books you should pick up from 2019.
Seven Blades in Black by Sam Sykes – Sal the Cacophony is looking for revenge on the seven magic users who betrayed her. Filled with high suspense, a fantastical western-like world, witty dialog, women loving women, and a main character with a big magic gun that tragically is her own worst enemy, this book is everything I wanted and didn’t know I wanted in fantasy. My Full Review.
A Little Hatred by Joe Abercrombie – The first in his new series, set in the world of The First Law, now entering the industrial age. Familiar readers and new readers alike can enjoy this new tale of politics, violence, and war while it treads new ground for grim fantasy. Abercrombie is as witty as ever and never grim for grim’s sake. Those who enjoy won’t have to wait long for the follow-up, The Trouble with Peace, expected to release in 2020. My Full Review
Gideon the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir – It’s necromancy in space. An abrasive necromancer and a spiteful swordswoman who would rather be anywhere else have to put aside their differences if they want to escape the Emperor’s deadly test. It’s the most original book I read in 2019. Gideon and Harrowhark are up there for the best new characters of the year. Christina Ladd’s Full Review.
The Ruin of Kings / The Name of All Things by Jenn Lyons – No waiting for the second book this year. Both deliver a tale of intrigue and mystery with what I believe to be the best worldbuilding of the year with a unique framework to boot. Kihrin in the first book and Janel in the second deal with the machinations of families, gods, prophecies, and terrifying dragons. I thought the first book was terrific only to be astounded by how amazing the second was. Christina Ladd’s review for The Ruin of Kings and The Name of All Things. My Full Review for The Name of All Things. Our interview with Jenn Lyons on The Name of All Things.
Fate of the Fallen by Kel Kade – The Hero’s Journey takes an unexpected turn. Every prophecy has predicted the end of the world is coming–all but one. What happens if the chosen one fails and all would rather give up then try to find the end? Go into this book without spoiling it for yourself. This book makes a great pairing with The Ruin of Kings. My Full Review.
The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie – Gods are old hat for the fantasy genre, but few delve into the nature of how a god comes to be. This book has the best use second-person point of view since N.K. Jemisin’s Broken Earth trilogy. The Raven god has protected the kingdom of Iraden from his tower, keeping his power assured by the blood sacrifices of the Lease but now a usurper has taken over as Lease. Eolo, our warrior protagonist, must discover the secrets of the Raven’s Tower and help his master Mawat reclaims what is rightfully his. My Full Review.
Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey – Ivy Gamble is a struggling private investigator who gets the break she needed when she’s hired to investigate a murder. The problem is it’s at a prestigious high school for magic users. The same school where her estranged twin sister teaches. Ivy cannot help but wonder what her life would’ve been like if she too was able to use magic as she delves into high school and family drama as she solves her investigation. My Full Review.
The Monster of Elendhaven by Jennifer Giesbrecht – A delightful tale with a Gothic Victorian aesthetic and a monster for a main character. If you pick this one up, pull it out a dark winter’s night or save it for the Halloween season. This is a tale of two monsters. One who delights in violence for the sake of violence and the other his frail companion who delights in cruel revenge. Together, they concoct a plan that may bring Elendhaven to the very brink of ruin. Christina Ladd’s Full Review.
Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh – An enchanting fairy tale, in the classical sense of fairy when fae were ominous and frightening, of a forest haunted by a green man and the new owner of the Greenhollow Hall that moves in. One part romance, one part old fashion scary story. It’s a quick read yet satisfying one.
The Wolf’s Call by Anthony Ryan – Anthony Ryan completes his redemption arc by delivering an outstanding return of Vaelin Al Sorna. If like me, you loved Blood Song but did not enjoy the follow-ups, this is a perfect time to return. If you never read any other Vaelin Al Sorna books, this is a wonderful jumping-on point as Vaelin travels to a new land neither he nor we know anything about. My Full Review.
The Grand Dark by Richard Kadrey – My first foray into dieselpunk, but as a longtime reader of Kadrey’s Sandman Slim novels, this book starts off a little slow but then ramps up intensity in the latter half. Full of mystery, conspiracy, reveals I never saw coming, and an intense character arc for the cowardly Largo as a promotion at his jobs put him front and center for revelations about his world. My Full Review.
The Library of the Unwritten by A. J. Hackwith – What happens to the stories we never tell? To the novels authors never finish? They go to hell. In the unwritten wing of Hell’s Library, Claire takes care of all the works of authors who never got the chance to bring their story to life. When one character escapes his book, as some are want to do, and tries to reunite with his author this leads Claire and her assistants on a journey to prevent a war between heaven and hell with only the power of stories to aid them. My Full Review.
Honorable mention for the best rerelease of 2019
Assassin’s Apprentice by Robin Hobb – This 25th-anniversary edition is illustrated with gorgeous art by Magali Villeneuve, who does a phenomenal job. The entire design of the book feels magical as if you pulled off the shelves of a library in the Six Duchies itself. If you’ve never read, Assassin’s Apprentice tells the tale of FitzChivarly Farseer, a bastard son of a prince, as he trains to find his place in the world between being a bastard and being of royal blood. Throughout he discovers more about himself as he trains to become a royal assassin.
You can follow Joshua MacDougall at @FourofFiveWits on Twitter.