It is December, and I haven’t done a single “what I read in this month” post since February. You may think I haven’t been reading… but no. According to Goodreads, I’ve read almost 100 books this year. I even took some of the pictures! Sometimes! But ultimately, I just haven’t been writing. I fell behind and then there was just no catching up so I made a decision. I am going to do one post, talking about the best books I read in 2022 and then I will start fresh in 2023. (Will I for real? Who’s to say!?)
So, without further ado – let’s get into the best books I read in 2022!
Sabaa Tahir’s An Ember in The Ashes series
Y’all. I was obsessed with this series. Like, I bought A Sky Beyond the Storm (the final book) because I could not wait for it to come in from the library to read it. It was just so good.
This is a fantasy series in a world that is evocative of Ancient Rome, but entirely different. The first book introduces us to Laia, who wants to save her imprisoned brother, and Elias, who wants to escape the Empire rather than rule it. The series does the classic fantasy thing where more viewpoints and complexity is added on throughout the books, but it never becomes unmanageable or followable. (Unlike the Demon Cycle series by Peter V Brett, sorry not sorry.)
I read this series early in 2022 and it still pops into my brain sometimes. I might have to pick it up again in the summer…
V.E. Schwab’s Shades of Magic series
I love books where magic touches the real world and Shades of Magic does that (though it largely takes place in a fantasy realm). This series explores four Londons – Grey London (our London), Red London (full of magic), White London (limited magic, good place for dictators to thrive), and Black London (lost and broken world).
There is realm jumping, redheads, pirates, soul brothers, sorcerer competitions, LGBTQA+ representation… it is truly just a robust, thought provoking fantasy read.
Julie Berry’s Lovely War
Oh, this book is interesting! The framing device is that during WWII Hephaestus captures Ares and Aphrodite while they are busy in some extracurricular coitus and Aphrodite tries to talk her way out of it by telling a compelling story of love.
And what follows is truly a compelling story of love, between four wildly different young people, set in WWI and woven with a backdrop of music. The very real issues of race, women’s roles, PTSD, and the long-reaching impacts of the Great War are intertwined with the commentary of the gods. If you’re someone who isn’t sure if you like magic in your books, this is absolutely the book for you.
Casey McQuiston’s Red, White & Royal Blue
Mid-year, I took an abrupt turn from my normal “all fantasy, all the time” reading habits into the world of ROMANCE. (I know? What? I mean, lots of fantasy has romance, but who even am I?)
I read everything by Casey McQuiston and Red, White & Royal Blue is far and beyond my favourite. Essentially, the son of the American president hates the Prince of England and in true enemies-to-lovers fashion, eventually comes around on him. But the stakes! The stakes are there! And the sneaky commentary on the archaic nature of the monarchy, the dangers of living in the public eye, and, quite honestly, how powerful people don’t always get to live for themselves?
Ugh, I kind of want to read it again… Especially before the movie comes out.
Alison Cochrun’s The Charm Offensive
This is another really fun queer romance novel which also tackles bigger themes, in this case mental health. I literally read the entire book in about 24 hours because the build of the relationship between Charlie and Dev is such a good slow burn.
Dev is a producer on a Bachelor-esque show and a true believer in romance. Charlie is said “Bachelor”(esque), who struggles with connecting with other people and only signed on for the show to try to repair his shattered reputation. The secondary characters are interesting and actually add to the story.
Go read. Now.
Final Thoughts on the Best Books I Read in 2022
Of course, I read literally tons of other books this year, including lots of fun middle-grade fantasy, and there is still a month to go. I’m sure I’ll read more and may have to do a standalone post about something I love. I also may have forgotten to include books because I didn’t bother to look at my own goodreads, haha. But for now? This is a totally haphazard and incomplete list of the best books I read in 2022.
What about you? What is your favourite thing you read this year? I need to get out of the Wild West of Kindle Unlimited, so give me your recommendations!