I have read a staggering amount of books this year. The year is not finished yet, but I think I will have finished 78 by the end of it. I have opted for a mega wrap up. Three posts will be dedicated to all the books I’ve read. Next year I will tackle my reading posts differently, more of that in my post about 2019.
I don’t want to flood you with information about the books, so I have highlighed my favourite books of the year with extensive reviews. The other reviews are just one-liners. If you’d like more information about the books and my opinion about them, you can check out my Goodreads page.
This first post will be about the Fantasy & Sci-Fi books I’ve read in 2018. I never really read many books in this genre, but I’m really starting to get into it. Especially the books I’ve read by Brandon Sanderson this year blew me away.
Fantasy: 11 books in 2018
Favourite: Brandon Sanderson – The Final Empire (Mistborn #1) (2006)
This book had me absolutely spell-bound.
I don’t read much fantasy, and most of the reviews I read are from people who have an expectation when reading fantasy. A lot of romance, lack of worldbuilding, etc.. I can tell you now, if you (like me) don’t read a lot of fantasy, this book is great for you!
The world has been set up perfectly and coherently. There are Allomancers who can burn metals in order to perform certain tasks. Skaa are people that are enslaved by the Lord Ruler. He reigns the country with absolute power and terror.
A little group of dissidents gathers together to try and overthrow his Final Empire. The main characters are fun, and all very different. Kelsier has been through a lot, but he bears everything with a smile & Vin is a very likely street urchin. She is a powerful character with a will of her own. Sanderson is great with both character building and world building.
I’m curious to see what happens in the second book of this trilogy!
Stars: 5 out of 5
Favourite: Brandon Sanderson – The Well of Ascension (Mistborn #2) (2007)
As expected, I adored everything about this novel.
The story is fast-paced, there are interesting characters (both new and old) with complicated but well-explained motives and reasonings, the scenes with Allomancy are insane! The way Sanderson writes is like you’re watching a movie. There’s so much action but it all makes sense.
This book continues right where the Final Empire left off, and like I was shook when I finished the first one; I’m yet again at the edge of my seat.
I can’t wait to find out how this trilogy will conclude. I have all of Brandon Sanderson’s books in my Amazon cart ready to be shipped. Would it be too presumptuous to just order them all, or should I read a few more first?
Stars: 5 out of 5
Favourite: Madeline Miller – Circe (2018)
I’m so happy Madeline Miller finally finished her second novel! I loved loved loved The Song of Achilles and I couldn’t wait to find out which other mythologies she would bring us.
This time she focuses her attention on the mythology surrounding Circe. This is incredibly clever, because it’s an unknown character who only gets a tiny bit of attention in the Odyssee. Apparently, she has a big backstory.
I almost felt like putting the book away because of the backstory because I thought Madeline Miller made up all the family connections herself. Let me tell you now that everything that’s in this book is based on the actual mythology.
The story surrounding Circe is actually as grand as it is described here.
For those of you who don’t know her. She’s a witch. Oddyseus met her on her island where she turned men into swines. There’s much more to her though. A story of deceit, of not being loved, and of not being accepted.
The reason I’m not giving this book 5 stars is because I loved the perspective & love story of Patroclus more than the Circe’s story (-this is personal of course), and I thought it contains too many characters.
I hope I don’t have to wait 5 to 6 years for her next book….
Stars: 4.5 out of 5
- V.E. Schwab – A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic, #2) (2016)
- 5 out of 5 stars because the whole book is filled with enough action to keep me turning the pages, but it’s the ending that really has a bite.
- V.E. Schwab – A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic #3) (2017)
- 4 out of 5 stars because the novel moves from action scene to tear-jerking scene to action scene in a matter of pages. The emotions are constant, which makes me take a step back from my feelings towards the characters. It’s still great but it feels a bit too overdone.
- Seanan McGuire – Every Heart a Doorway (Wayward Children, #1) (2016)
- 4.5 out of 5 stars because even though it’s a rather short book it sets the scene perfectly and it even includes a little mystery. The scope of the book could have been huge, but the author does well to only highlight a few stories to keep the reader enough details to get an understanding of the world.
- Seanan McGuire – Down Among the Sticks and Bones (Wayward Children, #2) (2017)
- 3 out of 5 stars because the publisher should have thought about ordering the books differently. The previous novel already made the back story clear enough for me and considering that this book is really short as well, we don’t learn much that’s new. Also, these events take place in the past when we already know their futures from the previous novel.
- Sarah J. Maas – Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass, #3) (2014)
- 3 out of 5 stars because not only is the book longer than its predecessors, it contains multiple storylines which don’t come together at the end.
- Sarah J. Maas – Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass, #4) (2015)
- 3 out of 5 stars because the fourth book gets a bit better since we already know most of the characters. However, after I finished the book I read the plot summary online. So much happened to so many characters that I sometimes “dozed” off while listening to it.
- Sarah J. Maas – Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass, #5) (2016)
- 3 out of 5 stars because what annoyed me are the romances in this book. Everyone suddenly pairs up. Also, the ending is shocking. Shocking. But Maas has managed to make it so that I don’t care. She added storylines & dialogues which took away from the shock and impending doom.
- Ray Bradbury – The Halloween Tree (1972)
- 2 out of 5 stars because I read this book in my thirties instead of in primary/high school.
Magical Realism: 2 books in 2018
- Robin Sloan – Sourdough (2017)
- 3 out of 5 stars because it’s an incredibly strange book. It started out really good with a dry sense of wit. However, by the time Lois starts working in a experimental food market, I kind of lost the plot. There seemed to be no sense to the story anymore, which is a pity because I think that it could’ve been a great book with this synopsis.
- Rene Denfeld – The Enchanted (2014)
- 2 out of 5 stars because Denfeld’s writing is lyrical & poetic, but it lacked meaning for me. To me the words just fill the pages, and nothing more.
Science Fiction: 9 books in 2018
Favourite: Michael Rutger – The Anomaly(2018)
This book has received a lot of praise from authors like Scott Smith who wrote on of my favourite horror novels The Ruins, but people have also compared it to Michael Crighton’s work & Stephen King’s. Lastly it’s compared to The Descent, one of the creepiest horror movies I have ever seen.
Right, this is the reason why I picked it. I almost left it when I found out this is not a debut novel at all. This is a book written by a guy who has written books with four pseudonyms: Michael Marshall Smith (real name), Michael Marshall, M.M. Smith & now Michael Rutger. Sounds to me like someone has an identity crisis. I then read a joke online how he wanted to publish books as all the Michaels in the world. That’s actually the kind of humour you can expect from this book.
Because yes, I decided to pick it up. And I loved it! The writing is clever & witty. The characters are likeable. The plot is shocking even though you think you know where it’s going – it goes somewhere else. Needless to say I finished this book within a few days. Try to put it down with cliffhangers after every chapter.
The setting is small – literally. It’s about Nolan Moore, a YouTube star of the show the Anomaly Files. He famously never finds the sights or important artefacts he seeks, until he finds the cave mentioned by scientist Kincaid a hundred years ago. He and his team (including one journalist & sponsor) are shocked by the discovery. They decide to enter the cave to see what they can find.
Let me tell you, it’s not good!
I will now pick up books by Michael Marshall as well – The Straw Men sound pretty good. When Michael Rutger writes another book I’ll be on top of it.
Stars: 5 out of 5
- Sylvain Neuvel – Waking Gods (Themis Files, #2) (2017)
- 4 out of 5 stars because I really like the premise of the story, I also quite like the fast pace. However, I still can’t get into the interview style of writing. I like pages with descriptions so that I can wrap my head around what I see and what I experience. With both Sleeping Giants & Waking Gods I’m thrown from conversation to conversation & from event to event.
- Sylvain Neuvel – Only Human (Themis Files #3) (2018)
- 4 out of 5 stars because this time around there are some written or recorded passages rather than interviews and I actually felt for the characters. There’s not as much action in this book as in the others, but there is a description of another planet which is good enough for me.
- John Scalzi – Lock In (Lock In, #1) (2014)
- 3 out of 5 stars because the potential of this book was immense! The premise sounded exciting, and the storytelling was very compelling. Unfortunately, I didn’t care for any of the potential villains. A lot of the story revolves around the upper-classes of society. Owners of big firms & robotics scientists. I found it hard to keep track of the story for that reason.
- John Scalzi – Unlocked: An Oral History of Haden’s Syndrome (Lock In, #0.5) (2014)
- 2 out of 5 stars because I thought this additional little book was wholly unnecessary. Even though Lock In skims over most of the pre-story of the setting. You can get the picture.
- Matt Haig – How to Stop Time (2017)
- 3 out of 5 stars because I am not going to fall for it. I’m going to be stronger than the beautiful ending with its beautiful quotes that I will probably cherish forever. It’s what a powerful novel should be about. Unfortunately, How to Stop Time is not exactly that powerful book.
- Robert Harris – Fatherland (1992)
- 3 out of 5 stars because around 60% into the novel you get a bit of “world building”, where life in Nazi Europe is described. That’s the fun part, the investigation are a bit meh. Most of this book reminded me of Lock In. The fact that we are in another world is merely a side plot to the detective story.
- Andy Weir – Artemis (2017)
- 2 out of 5 stars because little tidbits about gravity on the moon & the spacesuits & other gadgets are fun to start out with, but after a while it does get boring. It feels like Jazz is constantly trying to teach the audience everything, which takes away from the action of the actual heist.
- Dennis E. Taylor – We Are Legion (We Are Bob) (Bobiverse, #1) (2016)
- 2 out of 5 stars because I kind of get the overall story of discovering the different planets in the galaxy & discussing next steps with a threatened earth. I also like the narration & the humour. However, I restrained myself from giving it a higher rating because I also honestly did not fully enjoy it, a lot of the details were lost on me.
Dystopia/Utopia: 2 books in 2018
- Patrick Ness – The New World (Chaos Walking #0.5) (2010)
- 4 out of 5 stars because this little prequel to The Knife of Never Letting Go is really good. It’s short, to the point, and it’s told through the eyes of Viola. A character I find much more likeable than Todd.
- Patrick Ness – The Knife of Never Letting Go (Chaos Walking #1) (2008)
- 3 out of 5 stars because all throughout the novel, I didn’t like the writing style. It’s as if the main character is writing it, and he sometimes doesn’t know how to spell. It’s clearly written for young adults as well, so sentences can be short and staccato.
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Next up: the Classic, Contemporary, Historical Fiction & Non-Fiction books I read in 2018!