Monday, January 02, 2023

My 2022 in books

I had an uneven reading year in 2022. I read a fair number of books, eighty-two in total, sixty-two of which I reviewed on this blog. But there were a couple of long stretches where I didn’t read at all or couldn’t finish what I’d started.

Both times, I crawled out of the reading slump by resorting to fan favourites. First time round, I reread Anne Bishop’s The Others series, eight books with the spin-off series. Second time, I read Shelley Laurenston’s utterly bonkers (like all her books are) Call of Crows trilogy.

But my year held some truly brilliant books too. There was The Unspoken Name by A. K. Larkwood, a secondary world fantasy about an orc girl who is a sacrifice to her god, and its follow-up The Thousand Eyes (though it wasn’t quite as brilliant).

There was Legends & Lattes by Travis Baldree, a cosy fantasy about a former orc warrior setting up a coffee shop, and nothing else. It’s a wonderfully comforting fantasy that I’ve been recommending to everyone. In contrast, Saint Death’s Daughter is about a necromancer who is trying to save her found family that pretty much hates her. It’s dark and violent at times, and wonderfully refreshing.

The Bone Orchard by Sara A. Mueller is a haunting story of trauma. Charm grows bones to create copies of herself, each of which has one aspect of her personality so that only one person won’t have to endure all her trauma. It’s also a murder mystery about who killed the emperor holding her prisoner that she has to solve.

I read two books in Naomi Novik’s Scholomancer trilogy of a deadly school for mages. First was The Last Graduate, and the trilogy ended with The Golden Enclaves. It’s not easy to end a brilliant trilogy, but Novik managed it perfectly.

Rachel Hartman’s Tess of the Road duology began with Tess of the Road and concluded with In the Serpent’s Wake. Again, the first book was much better than the latter, but it was a satisfying whole about personal trauma and healing.

I ended the year with four volumes of Grandmaster of Demonic Cultivation by Mò Xiāng Tóng Xiùwell, I finished the fourth this year. It’s the series that The Untamed TV series is based on, written originally in Chinese. It’s not terribly good literatureand what I hear, even worse English translationbut the emotional attachment I have for the TV series carried to the books. Now I have to wait until May for the last volume to be translated.

On top of these there were several stables I read every year, like Nalini Singh, JR Ward, Lindsay Buroker, Janet Evanovich, and Daryda Jones, in addition to the two I mentioned earlier. Of the eighty-two books I read, thirty-five were from NetGalley, six were from my old TBR pile and forty-one were new books. Most were fantasy in one form or another (urban, epic, romantic), with only six sci-fi books, and thirteen contemporary romances and crime novels. All in all, I’d say a very good reading year.

For this year, I’ve pledged to read ninety books in Goodreads reading challenge. I have several books lined up already, so I might even reach the goal. My reading year will start with Barrow of Winter by H. M. Long, a third book in her Hall of Smoke series. Looking forward to another great reading year.


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