Nils’ Top Books of 2022
It’s almost the end of 2022 so it’s once again time for me to look back on all my favourite reads.
It’s been a bit of a rough year and I’ve noticed that it has reflected on the kinds of books I’ve most enjoyed, whilst I still love and read plenty of dark fantasy, gothic fairy-tale retellings and high fantasy, I’ve found myself also drawn to cosy/heart-warming fantasy—even with a dash of romance! I know, who even am I?! I guess I’ve just needed comfort reads that feel like a warm hug.
To all the authors I read this year once again thank you for your stories and the hours of entertainment and escape you gave me. Thank you also to all the publicists and publishers who sent me ARCs this year, I truly appreciate them all.
Without further ado, here’s my Top 20, starting with my five outstanding (yes that’s right this year I have five!) books of the year. The rest follow in no particular order but I loved them all.
The Lost Metal by Brandon Sanderson (book four in the Mistborn era two series)
Mind-blowing discoveries, thrilling action scenes, humour and heartbreaking heartache, this is an epic conclusion to the Mistborn series.
Recommended for people who like: the Cosmere and Mistborn! This book is super Cosmere aware and therefore it’s for the hardcore Sanderson fans who have read the previous books and also others set within the Cosmere.
The Last Tale of the Flower Bride by Roshani Chokshi (adult fantasy standalone. Out Feb 16th 2023)
A tale of horror and beauty, of broken promises and cracked dreams, of loss and loneliness, it is an addictive tale which vividly captures the dangers of fantasy and reality.
Recommended for people who like: fairytale retellings, gothic settings, twisted characters and poetic prose.
The Book Eaters by Sunyi Dean (adult fantasy standalone)
A darkly gothic nuanced story of motherhood, survival and the dangers of a patriarchal society. Dean’s debut is raw, gritty, emotive and bursts with bitter-sweet flavours.
Recommended for people who like: dark fantasy bordering on horror, gothic atmosphere and poignant prose.
The Stardust Thief by Chelsea Abdullah (first book in The Sandsea trilogy)
A magical tale of unlikely heroes and thrilling quests, of chaos and bloodshed, of love and loss, all told through dreamy prose.
Recommended for people who like: Arabic/Middle Eastern mythology, stories within stories akin to those in One Thousand and One Nights (Arabian Nights), and enchanting reads.
The Hunger of the Gods by John Gwynne (book two in the Bloodsworn saga)
A modern classic, with plenty of dark, violent, heartbreaking and pulse-racing scenes, but also nostalgic, a sense of “old school fantasy”.
Recommended for people who like: the first book, The Shadow of the Gods, Norse mythology, thrilling battle scenes and high fantasy.
The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy by Megan Bannen (adult fantasy standalone)
A charming story of two lonely people, who by fate, find each other through the magic of words.
Recommended for people who like: fantasy romance, cosy reads, humour, family drama, talking animals and fantastical worlds.
The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi (sci-fi standalone)
A tale where the humans don’t need saving from gigantic creatures, this is where the gigantic creatures need saving from humans.
Recommended for people who like: films such as Jurassic Park and Godzilla, monsters, environmental issues, humour, sci-fi and escapism.
Jade Legacy by Fonda Lee (book three in the Green Bone saga)
A devastating, brutal yet a truly worthy ending to the Kaul family’s story.
Recommended for people who like: the previous books in the trilogy, Asian inspired worlds, gangsters, warfare/clan rivalry, unique magic systems.
Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries by Heather Fawcett (book one in the Emily Wilde series. Out Jan 19th 2023)
A superb historical fantasy dashed with charm, whimsy, magic and lightly sprinkled with comedy.
Recommended for people who like: faeries and fae, scholarly characters, introverted main character, spells, curses and enchantments, twisted fairytale tropes, cosy atmosphere with Studio Ghibli vibes.
The Shadow Glass by Josh Winning (fantasy standalone)
Speaks to a generation who hold a deep fondness for their childhood, who still long to believe in magic and adventure, but also to those who are proud to be different.
Recommended for people who like: 80’s nostalgia, puppets on high-stake quests, films such as Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal, and celebrations of fandoms.
The Collarbound by Rebecca Zahabi (first book in the planned trilogy)
Revels in mystery, intrigue and dazzling magic, set against the backdrop of a world torn by rebellion. This is a story of closely guarded secrets and of characters who are caught between two warring sides.
Recommended for people who like: mind magic, non human characters/races, mystery, political intrigue, invasion and rebellion.
The Far Wild by Alex Knight (book one)
Set in a world full of mystery, wonder and the most deadliest creatures one can hope to never encounter. High stakes adventure, unlikely heroes and animals which are equal parts terrifying and majestic.
Recommended for people who like: monstrous Komodo’s, humorous egotistical but loveable characters, fun escapist reads.
A Mirror Mended by Alix E Harrow (sequel novella in the Fractured Fables duology.)
You can’t always escape your story, sometimes you need to face it. This is a story that once again twists a classic fairytale and packs one mighty punch.
Recommended for people who like: Snow White, feminist retellings, short reads, twisted fairytale tropes and strong female characters.
Ordinary Monsters by J.M. Miro (book one in The Talents trilogy)
Sweeps readers through gaslit streets, remote estates, through depravity and peril, and leaves you aching for every character. Miro weaves an exquisite historical fiction, captivating and bursting with heart.
Recommended for people who like: gothic reads, characters with various magical abilities (much like the X-Men), magic school, academia and dark fantasy.
The Very Secret Society of Irregular Witches by Sangu Mandanna (adult fantasy standalone)
A magical story of finding a place to belong, the warmest of hugs through a book and leaves readers with a lingering smile.
Recommended for people who like: witches, chaotic eccentric characters, spells gone wrong, romance, cosy vibes and plenty of humour.
As Long as the Lemon Trees Grow by Zulfa Katouh (YA magical realism, historical standalone)
A story of the sheer beauty and strength of Syria, its people, and the brutalities of war. It’s a story wrapped in sorrow and grief but also injects hope.
Recommended for people who like: heartbreaking, powerful reads, with resilient characters, mental health issues and reflection upon the realities of warfare/rebellion.
Legends and Lattes by Travis Baldree (adult fantasy standalone)
A slice of life tale to soothe the soul, one of the most heartfelt, adorable books with an array of charming characters.
Recommended for people who like: non-human characters, cosy reads, coffee and sweet treats, themes of reinventing yourself, books which make you smile.
The River of Silver by Shannon Chakraborty (Daevabad short story collection)
A must-have for any fan who wants to experience sweet and tender stories from all the charmingly crafted characters whom we already adore.
Recommended for people who like: the Daevabad trilogy!
The Martian by Andy Weir (sci-fi standalone)
Entertaining, fun, and filled with disaster and humour.
Recommended for people who like: escapist sci-fi, the planet Mars, sarcasm, stories of survival against all odds.
The Garden of Empire by J.T. Greathouse (book two in the Pact and Pattern trilogy)
Sweeps readers back into an intricate tale of Gods and Witches, of rebellion and liberation, of wild magic and morally grey characters.
Recommended for people who like: the first book, The Hand of the Sun King, unique magic systems, an Asian inspired world, philosophy, political intrigue and scholarly characters.
Well that’s it! If any of these were your favourites too or are on your TBR, let me know in the comments.
(Note: two of the books included in my list will not be released until 2023 but I’ve included them because I read them this year.)