Woohoo my top ten is here! Nothing makes me feel more warm and fuzzy inside than looking back on the year’s greatest hits. It’s like I get to curl up with my faves and get all cosy with my positive thoughts for them 😀 What could be better? *Cue the satisfied monkey*!
As always, not all of these were published in 2018, I’m not including rereads and all book covers link to reviews! Alrighty then, enough of the preamble, let’s get to my semi-incoherent-adoration-addled-reasons as to why these books are *awesome sauce with a side of bananas*:
Ravencry– as many of you know, last year I was blown away by Blackwing, so when the second instalment in the Raven’s Mark series stormed onto the scene, I had to pick it up. What’s so cool about this is the immense depth behind the hysterics. Though there can be no doubt that the world was well drawn, the plot was compelling and the characters were to die for, what I liked the most about this was there’s more to this book than meets the eye. Already in the first book psychological complexity was established- but this delves deeper into the psyche with one of my favourite folklore motifs of venturing into the wilderness and returning changed (you may notice a trend in some of the books on this list 😉 ). Incorporating this idea is just one of the ways there’s more to this story than meets the eye- and that’s what keeps drawing me back and back and back to the Misery. I can’t quite get this haunting story out of my mind.
Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society– when I read this I just *had to* share this with my sister- contrary to my review, I didn’t actually write her a letter- instead I immediately put it in her hands and said READ IT. Because that’s what everyone should do. It’s one of the best historical fiction books I’ve ever read and one of the finest in the oft-oversaturated market for WWII. I’m not usually a fan of epistolary novels and only recently discovering how well collaborative books can work- and this one really does work. Guernsey will take you on quite the journey- I can’t recommend this enough.
Titus Andronicus– it’s absolutely staggering how shocking this is hundreds of years after publication. Even though I knew what was coming, I still ended up scarred by this story- and that’s quite the feat! Now it’s obviously redundant to describe the finesse of Shakespeare’s language or the substance of his place- but I can say that this is now a firm favourite. I also recommend the 1999 film version- it’s a truly sensational adaptation (and this is coming from someone super fussy about takes on Shakespeare)
Grey Sister– what is most incredible about this book was its ability to drag me out of a slump. I was super busy in June and yet I still managed to read the entirety of this book in one sitting- I just couldn’t help myself! For pure entertainment value alone, I’d have loved this book. However- as I often say on these posts- IT WAS SO MUCH MORE THAN THAT! All the intricate details from Red Sister were taken to another level. Most importantly, this book *excited me* and whenever I think about this book I want to jump right back in- and for a bookworm it doesn’t get much better than that!
Words in Deep Blue– I need a little courage to talk about this one, because *this book broke me*. I cried from beginning to end. I’m not joking (kinda wish I wasn’t that much of a sap, but there you go). It’s think of book that holds you under its spell- I felt breathless and emotional by the end. The characters, the romance and the story were all *swoonworthy*. I’m also *a complete sucker* for book love in books and this did explored that topic so well. With some genius strokes to the narrative structure, this plunged into much deeper waters than I expected.
Circe– even though I read this right at the end of the year, I knew while I was reading that I *had to* find a place for it on my top ten. In fact, it rose in my esteem as I got further and further into the book. I often find myself at odds with Goodreads choice awards, but I can safely say this deserved its win. Forged from myth, its epic proportions are well balanced and creatively engineered. It’s more than simply well researched- the stories woven into the narrative feel lived-in. I’d say this is Miller’s aristeia, only I predict she’s going to keep being victorious with every book she releases. Dorky classics allusions aside, it’s such a wondrous retelling that I know I’m going to love this more and more with time. Needless to say, Circe has me under her spell and I can’t wait to see what this author pulls out of her repertoire in the future.
Hazel Wood– this book combined two of my favourite things: fairy tales and stories within stories. What a match made in heaven! Yes, this goes at a steady pace, yet this still managed to be twisty and unexpected. Perfectly drawing up the veil between a dreamscape and the real world, I was enchanted by how I couldn’t quite pin it down. Somehow it manages to be a retelling of folklore with a Gothic flavour- whilst also having a life of its own. That indefinable quality made feel like it has its feet in multiple worlds- and that’s why I love it!
Girl in the Tower– I loved stepping back into Arden’s reimagining of Russia’s mythic past. For me, this exploration seems so enticing and different and lovingly evoked. One thing I adore about the Winternight Trilogy is how each book seems to stand so well on its own. Like the first book, this presented a world that most people cannot see. However, what made it stand apart was that the uncanny elements were ratcheted up and it was darker than its predecessor. That haunting note clung to every facet of this beautiful venture. The writing was just as lyrical, immersive and gorgeous as Bear and the Nightingale; the characters made me fall in love all over again. I’m so freaking wowed by this series- I can’t wait for the last book! Bring on January 9th!
Strange the Dreamer/Muse of Nightmares– yes I am putting them both on the list and counting them as one- but you guys should know cos I do it every year… so really this is your fault for letting me get away with it 😉 Anyway, shh, these books are both brilliant, deserve to be here and I couldn’t pick between them! I adore Taylor’s writing and am always spirited away by her world building. I can’t help but feel like her series embody escapism and brilliant stories. They leave nothing behind in terms of what I look for in a book: the characters, romance and intrigue are top notch. Laced with a dreamy quality, this duology lived up to every hope I had for it.
The Master and Margarita– simply speaking, I haven’t read a better book in a really long time. Where some of these I had to squeeze into position, I didn’t have to think when it came to placing this book. Describing what I feel about it though? Now that’s nigh on impossible! Perhaps it makes sense, since this is a book of where the impossible meets reality. Surreal and hard to pin down- and yet not totally otherworldly- Master and Margarita deserves more than the accolades and bananas I can give it. It’s strange on the surface- however lurking at its core are more truths than I can possibly articulate. A true artistic endeavour and literary masterpiece, it feels more real than reality. If you’re searching for a classic that’s more than a little magic, look no further.
So have you read any of these books? What did you think of them? And what was your favourite book(s) of 2018? Let me know in the comments!