Hey, hey! How are you today? I’m back with a very fun post I saw on Aurora Librialis‘ blog, originating from The Artsy Girl‘s weekly Top Ten Tuesday meme. Basically, I’m selecting my favorite books from the last ten years, not based on when I read them but on their publication year—and it was harder than I thought it would be! So many of my favorite books came out in the same year >:[. Naturally, I’m late to the party, but I couldn’t resist doing this one, and I hope to do more in the future.
And if doing this list proved anything, it’s that my tastes are still so predictable yet also consistent.
2019 – The Wicked King – Holly Black
I called back in January that The Wicked King would be my favorite book of 2019, and so far, I’m still right. The only book that has come close as far as how it has made me feel is Wicked Saints by Emily A. Duncan, but even that book doesn’t have what TWK has, which is everything: treacherous fey politics, brilliant prose and dialogue, a merciless yet flawed heroine, a deepening enemies to lovers romance, and endless betrayal. God, I love the betrayal. Also, it’s taken a great deal of willpower not to get my sweet villain, my darling god tattooed on me somewhere, it hit me that hard.
2018 – Spinning Silver – Naomi Novik
After giving it some thought, I feel that Spinning Silver does beat out The Cruel Prince for my favorite book in 2018, but just barely. Novik has a quality about her writing that stays with you. Just thinking about this book sweeps me back into the cold winter setting and the journey each of its three heroines face: one in search of love and self-worth, one in outwitting the Staryk king, and one in claiming power and surviving her husband—the tsar—and the demon that controls him. Though there are plenty of elements that ground the story in realism, it also feels like a fairytale we’ve all forgotten. I still maintain there should have been a sex scene with the Staryk king or the tsar personally, but other than that missing piece, it’s a wonderful book full of beautiful and powerful moments.
2017 – Wintersong – S. Jae-Jones
Am I ever going to stop being obsessed with Wintersong? Ahahaha, probably not! All the years I was diving for Labyrinth fanfiction still didn’t prepare me for the beauty and the glory of this book. For everyone who wanted Sarah to stay in the Underground with Jareth, Liesl and Der Erlkönig’s story is for us—only it’s more haunting and beautiful than we ever could’ve imagined. And the emphasis on music, both as metaphorical language and as a symbol for character expression, individuality, and sexual awakening, is as gorgeous to read as it is genius. This is the book that compelled me to crave New Adult as a real and rich genre (because that’s where this book belongs, not in YA), so readers can have more stories as rich and moving as this one. Plus, Jae-Jones nailed the Goblin King’s dual selves, that of yearning, desolate human and cruel, mischievous fae. [Review]
2016 – Crooked Kingdom – Leigh Bardugo
Oh, hi, it’s the book that made me cry in public! Crooked Kingdom solidified all the love I had for Kaz, Inej, Nina, Matthias, Jesper, and Waylan in Six of Crows and cranked it up to a thousand. Seeing how all these characters grew and where their journeys took them, seeing the relationships between all of them evolve and flourish—and in some cases, end—is an experience I will never forget. It’s been a long time since I’ve had characters that have stayed with me as much as these have, to the point where I imagine what their lives are like outside of the pages. They’re all incredibly dear to me. The story and the stakes just made everything that much better.
2015 – A Court of Thorns and Roses – Sarah J. Maas
This was such a hard pick because so many of my favorite books came out in 2015. In the end, I had to go with A Court of Thorns and Roses because of how much it defined 2015 as a reading year for me. I became obsessed with Feyre, Tamlin, Lucien, and Rhysand; with the bloody history between human and fae; with the promise of what the other fae courts and lands held. I remember wanting to buy this book every time I went to the bookstore despite the fact that I already owned it, so I wound up buying it for other people. Despite how much I hate all the books that follow and don’t acknowledge them as any kind of canon at all, I still love the characters and the world I met in this book. I love how utterly fae everything was. I love Lucien’s snarky wit, Tamlin’s awkward overtures, Feyre’s growth and grit, and Rhysand’s seductive darkness. I love the gray morality, the mystery behind the curse and the blight, and those last one hundred pages? Still pure poetic cinema. I wish I could go back, untainted, and do it all over again.
2014 – Endsinger – Jay Kristoff
Endsinger is a wild end to a wild trilogy, but it’s one I will never forget. The imagination behind the Lotus War trilogy puts a lot of others to shame, and that’s to say nothing of Kristoff’s handling of description and characters. (Yukiko, Buruu, Hiro, Yoshi, and Kin, here’s looking at you!) Everything comes to a head here, and how certain characters came around still surprise me to think about while bringing a smile to my face. Until I remember the ending and want to cry all over again! But it’s an immensely satisfying ending, if not a bittersweet one, and this entire experience made me an instant Jay Kristoff fan. I know this doesn’t say much, but c’mon—third book in a trilogy, I’m not going to spoil it for you.
2013 – The Ghost Bride – Yangsze Choo
The Ghost Bride narrowly beats Vicious by V.E. Schwab for my favorite book of 2013, but only because it introduced to me the perfect blend of historical fiction and magical realism that I need in my life desperately. This book was also recommended to me by a few of my friends, and I had resisted reading it for a while for unfathomable reasons—what a fool I was! Malayan culture, the Chinese afterlife, a spirit dragon, and Choo’s wonderful prose made this an instant hit and classic that will always be on my shelves. [Review]
2012 – Shadow and Bone – Leigh Bardugo
I blazed through this book for two major reasons: Bardugo’s already masterful prose and description and the Darkling, who is still one of the best characters and villains ever created. Because of how much I enjoyed these two things, no other books in 2012 could hold a candle to it. And really, the Darkling is mostly to blame, sorry not sorry.
2011 – Angelfall – Susan Ee
Ah, yes, Angelfall, the book that taught me that I could find my obsession with enemies to lovers in actual books, not just fanfiction. What an eye-opener this one was. Full of well-crafted characters and a post-apocalyptic premise that didn’t put me to sleep, Angelfall was and still is one of my favorites that few others have been able to touch. Penryn and Raffe are still one of the best OTPs, the characters all exist beyond tropes, and the horror aspect of this book is still one of the strongest, most vivid I’ve ever read.
2010 – The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms – N.K. Jemisin
I actually read The Hundred-Thousand Kingdoms last year, but it easily takes the 2010 book spot. This fantasy book is beyond ambitious, both to read and as a debut novel, but it was so rewarding. I learned a lot about how to tell stories by reading Jemisin’s work. On top of that, she gave me the whole “all-powerful primordial deity falls for human woman and he still might destroy her” trope, and who doesn’t love that? Seriously, Nahadoth and Yeine make my life better now that they’re in it, along with Sieh! I love that god. More of him, always. [Review]
That’s all from me! What have been your favorite books in the last ten years? Any on this list? What has been your favorite read of 2019 so far? Do you think that will change? Let me know!
Photo Credit: Marcela Rogante