Every year around this point in the calendar, I like to take some time and contemplate the books I have read so far. More often than not, I am about halfway through my reading goal for the year (yeah for being ahead!) and so there are a variety of titles and stories I have been able to read through the first chunk of the year. As I look back, I normally try to consider several things like which books are ones I would recommend to others as well as are there some that I would consider to be some of my new favorite books or series. With more than half of 2022 behind us, I would have to say that these five books are my favorites so far.
The first book I gravitate to is easily The Shadow of the Gods by John Gwynne. Not only because of its size, but because of the majestic story that it tells. Set in the Norse-inspired land of Vigrið, Gwynne spins an epic tale from three different perspectives as each character struggles with past grief and guilt, all while their separate quests bring them to a world altering encounter. Filled with plenty of Viking-like battles, revenge, glory, and magic, Gwynne’s newest series is one for the ages.
The next book that made it to the top of my reading list so far this year is The City of Brass by S. A. Chakraborty. This one has been on my To Be Read list since it came out and I finally picked it up this year and was not disappointed. Again a book that is from multiple perspectives, Chakraborty’s work is inspired by Middle Eastern folklore, and begins with the reader diving into 18th century Cairo and meeting a street healer/con artist, Nahri as she tries to survive. Performing a ritual that she didn’t fully understand, she is plunged into a city that is drowning in political and religious tensions where saying or doing the wrong thing has dramatic repercussions. I really enjoyed the time that Chakraborty took to laying the groundwork in this novel and it sets up the next two books in this trilogy really well.
The third book that makes my favorites that I have read in 2022 so far is one that I am surprised took me so long to start reading. I have loved several novels by Brandon Sanderson in the past so I have no clue why I hadn’t read Mistborn until this year but I was not disappointed. With a fascinating magic system centered on the use of metals, Sanderson centers his story on a thieving crew and their goal to overturn a seemingly all powerful tyrant that has been ruling an empire for centuries through fear, greed, and confusion. Packed with political schemes, magic that you will wish you possessed, and a complicated heist, Mistborn is an excellent adventure for any reader.
I am not normally someone who really enjoys historical fiction that takes place within the last century or so. Silvia Moreno- Garcia’s book Gods of Jade and Shadow had me instantly when she added the extra element of Mayan death gods into a story set in 1920s Mexico. Centered on a young Casiopea as she works in her wealthy grandfather’s house in Southern Mexico. During one of cleaning routines, she discovers a wooden box that when she opens it is revealed to be a cage that had contained one of the death god that ruled the underworld. Having been betrayed by his brother, the death god demands the help of Casiopea to reclaim his throne or her demise is all but certain. A great mix of historical fiction and mythology woven in, Moreno-Garcia’s book is one that had me shocked at every twist and turn.
The fifth and final book I have really enjoyed recently is The Fifth Season by N. K. Jemisin. The first in a trilogy that won the Hugo Award for each book, The Fifth Season is the tale of a mother that returns home to find her young son has been murdered on the very same day that catastrophic disaster hits the land. As harsh environments quickly spread across the planet, nations break down and people begin to fight for even the basic essentials. Set it the tumultuous that may be the very end of existence, powers must be unearthed to have any chance at surviving the fifth season.
If you have already read some or all of these, here is a list of some other books that I have really like recently: