It’s time for my most anticipated blog post of the year. Even though it’s already 2019 and I’m really the only one anticipating its release. Anyway! Today, I’m talking about my favorite books of the past year. I didn’t create this list with a specific number in mind. I simply went through the books I read in 2018 and picked out the ones I truly loved, and I still think about today. Not every book I gave 5 stars will be on this list. I can’t really explain why that is, but I hope you’ll understand. These are the BEST books I read in 2018 – not necessarily released in the past year.
Titles of the books/series will take you to the Goodreads page.
This year I fell in love with Mark Lawrence’s writing. Specifically, his Book of the Ancestor series. Red Sister was one of the first books I read in 2018 and it completely blew my mind. It’s a series about assassin nuns, spy nuns, and magic-wielding nuns that focuses on Nona. When the books start Nona is very young (around 8 I think) and you watch her grow up and train at the Convent of Sweet Mercy. It’s SO GOOD. After loving the first book, I was afraid Grey Sister wouldn’t live up to my expectation. Color me surprised when I ended up loving it just as much/even more than I did the first book. I can’t wait for the release of the last book, Holy Sister.
This book caught me by surprise. I picked it up on a whim at the library because it was described as ideal for fans of Donna Tartt’s The Secret History. You may know that said book is one of my all-time favorites, so reading that made me take it with me. It blew my mind! It was so good. I had never heard anyone talk about If We Were Villains before, although I’ve seen some more reviews pop up in the past 6 months. If you don’t know what this is about, it follows a guy called Oliver who just served 10 years for a murder he may or may not have committed. The victim? One of his conservatory friends. They all attended the same elite conservatory where they studied Shakespeare. Seriously, read this.
Read my review of If We Were Villains here.
I can’t count the amount of times this book was recommended to me before I bought myself a copy. It was on every science fiction recommendation list. It was on every LGBT+ SFF recommendation list. After reading it, I can see why. This is a very slow-paced science fiction novel, focused more on character development than action. You follow the crew of the Wayfarer as they take on a big job – they tunnel wormholes through space. If somehow you haven’t read this, please give it a try. Even if you don’t like science fiction!
I was going to link my review here, but then realized I never actually wrote one. Oops.
Prepare to feel your heart break in a million little pieces while reading this novel. If you don’t know, this is an adult fiction book set in Korea and Japan spanning 8 decades. It follows multiple generations of a Korean family as they try to survive in trying times. I’ll just say it now: not many good things happen in their lives. This is a SAD book. But it’s absolutely brilliant at the same time. Plus, it’ll teach you some of Korea’s history as well as their relationship with Japan – during and after its annexation of Korea.
Read my review of Pachinko here.
I think this book left such an impact on me because it’s the first romance book I’ve truly loved in a while. It’s centered around Stella and Michael. It has an #ownvoices autistic storyline as Stella has Asperger’s and the love interest, Michael, is Vietnamese-Swedish. It’s sweet, sexy and absolutely wonderful. I read it in the span of a few hours on the train because I just couldn’t put it down.
Also didn’t write a review of this one apparently. Get yourself together, Jolien.
This is an autobiography I picked up at YALC during the summer, and I knew I wanted to read it as soon as possible. In Every Falling Star, Sungju Lee describes his life growing up in North Korea and his eventual escape from the country. It pretty much reads like a YA fiction book, and I had to keep reminding myself that his actually happened to him. As a child, he lived in Pyongyang and had a pretty pampered (and indoctrinated) life. Until his family was forced to move to the countryside and exiled into poverty. Sungju Lee ended up alone on the streets at age 12, stealing and begging to survive. It is a book everyone should read. I especially enjoyed hearing his thoughts on what the West (and South Korea, China, etc.) should do to prepare for an eventual reunification of Korea.
Read my review of Every Falling Star here.
I know everyone already read this book in 2017 but I didn’t, okay? I’m apparently a procrastinator like that. Which is odd because I don’t tend to procrastinate much in other aspects of my life? I listened to the audiobook of The Hate U Give which I would highly recommend. I don’t think I need to say too much about this, as I’m certain most of you have already read it.
I didn’t think I would ever read this book. I know everyone and their mother raved about this YA science fiction novel, but it just didn’t seem like a book I’d enjoy. I randomly decided to read it on a day I had to spent about 7 hours on public transport because the audiobook was available on Scribd. I’m so glad I gave it a chance! It was absolutely epic, and the audiobook is one of the best I’ve ever listened to.
Last year, I read two books from her Inheritance series and absolutely loved them. When I realized that everyone raves about this series, Broken Earth, in particular I knew I had to read it too. This book was phenomenal. I don’t quite know how to talk about it without spoiling anything, so I’ll just say this has become one of my favorite SFF books and I need you all to read it too. It’s probably best to go into it knowing as little as possible so you can discover everything by yourself.
I finally conquered this giant book! It was worth every second. Once again, I don’t know how to explain this story to you all… It’s a high fantasy novel told through multiple POVs. It’s got magic, battle, royalty, schemes, assassins, long lost legendary Knights, and epic swords. Honestly, it’s everything I’ve ever wanted.
NIGHT BY ELIE WIESEL
I’m ending my list with my most recent read on here, and the one I’ll be thinking about for months/years to come. This is a short autobiography in which Elie Wiesel talks about his deportation to and life in Auschwitz-Birkenau. It made me feel like vomiting at times, because I find it so hard to read what humans put other humans through. But it’s important to read books like these, and talk about them, especially in these times. Not only is fascism and hate on the rise again, the number of concentration camp survivors is dwindling. We can’t forget their stories, and need to remember it happened only a few generations ago.
My favorite books of 2018. It feels weird to say that, and truly end this (reading) year! Have you read any of these? What were your favorite novels of 2018?