Katie (ACupOfCyanide): In no particular order
1. Red Sister by Mark Lawrence
My favorite Mark Lawrence book yet, Red Sister follows a young girl named Nona as she’s inducted into a convent and trained to kill people. Filled with gory details, amazing female friendships, (and maybe a budding F/F romance???), Red Sister is an amazing and dark take on the classic coming-of-age story.
2. Ninefox Gambit by Yoon Ha Lee
My top SciFi novel of 2018! I bought this book over a year ago and I’m kicking myself for not reading it sooner. Ninefox Gambit features some of the most mindbending and creative magic/tech systems (calendars people) and the two MCs, Jedao and Cheris, have a great mentor-ly relationship. The rest of this trilogy are equally as amazing!
3. The Poppy War by RF Kuang
RF Kuang hits hard with this incredibly dark Chinese-inspired fantasy novel. This was one of my most anticipated 2018 novels and I fell in love so quickly. Rin quickly goes from shopkeep girl living in the countryside to a student in the Empire’s most prestigious military school, and has to face prejudice from her background. At the same time, a war is stirring and Rin slowly learns that certain mythical powers can be channeled, with the right drugs.
4. The Monster Baru Cormorant by Seth Dickinson
My most anticipated sequel of 2018! I was lucky enough to get an ARC of this book from BookCon this year and I still can’t believe how amazing it is! I love everything about these books, from the beautifully complicated worldbuilding to Baru’s amazingly angsty self to the immaculate prose and writing. A worthy sequel to one of my favorite books of all times.
5. Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson
Another book I should have read long ago! This is my first novel by Brandon Sanderson and it’s left me hungering for more. I prefer hard magic systems to soft, and Mistborn is a textbook example of a hard magic system! The characters in this book are very likable and I got a very Locke Lamora-vibe from several.
Katie (Lost In Page):
1. Strange The Dreamer by Laini Taylor
What can I even say about this book? I knew right after I finished it that it was going on my favorites list. It’s honestly one of the most beautifully written books I’ve ever read, and I’d die for Lazlo. The characters are great, the world and the magic is whimsical yet dark, and I cannot wait to start Muse of Nightmares.
2. The Cruel Prince and The Wicked King by Holly Black
I’m kind of cheating by adding both of these, but I did read both this year, and I can’t put one without the other. Holly Black knows how to write a damn book, that’s for sure. These are both captivating and leave you wanting so much more by the end. Cardan is a fantastic mixture of asshole and sweetheart, and Jude is so powerful and brave. I think I might pass out before I can get my hands on a copy of Queen of Nothing — why is 2020 so far away???
3. Ash Princess by Laura Sebastian
I remember seeing a few BookTubers mention this book a long time ago, and I was lucky enough to get an ARC to review. I feel like this one went under the radar, and it doesn’t get near enough praise. I really enjoyed the brutality of it, and I’m excited to see where the story goes in Lady Smoke.
4. Legendary by Stephanie Garber
This was one of my most anticipated sequels of 2018, and I’m so happy to say it did not disappoint. In fact, I enjoyed it even more than Caraval, which feels blasphemous to say. Tella was a great main character, and it was so interesting to see her side of the events from the first book. I loved the “game” and all the obstacles that came her way, and I’m even more excited to see both Tella and Scarlett narrate in Finale!
5. Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte
After the mad dash for this one at the ARC drop during BookCon, I figured it was a safe bet to assume I’d enjoy it. Everyone talked about how amazing of a debut it was, and let me tell you, it was. I really loved how the story was a mixture of murder mystery and fantasy — it was like Agatha Christie took on Ace of Shades with a bit of Divergent factions thrown in for good measure. The parts I enjoyed the most were the actual murders, and I’m not sure what that says about me as a person, but they were really intriguing to read!