I’ve only been doing this blog for just over a year, so I haven’t had chance to review all my favourite books just yet, as I’ve been focusing more on course books and new reads over the last twelve months. Some of these books are long-time favourites, some of these are newish discoveries that I just haven’t talked about enough yet.
1. Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
2. Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susannah Clarke
This is one of those rare occasions where I watched the adaptation before I read the book. The BBC series of this was unexpectedly brilliant, fantasy novel adaptations are not generally within BBC One’s remit but there is also an upcoming BBC adaptation of Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials Trilogy in the pipeline – I am unreasonably excited about this. After the adaptation finished I immediately got my hands on a copy of the novel and Clarke’s work is on a whole other level. The amount of detail that has gone into her world-building is completely staggering. I haven’t read the last 50 pages or so yet for various reasons, but you can expect a review enthusing over the book’s magnificence at some point in the future.
3. The Midnight Mayor by Kate Griffin
Another of my all time favourites – seeing as it’s described as Neverwhere for the digital age this is perhaps not so surprising, but I’ve been a fan of Griffin’s work for years including in her previous incarnation as Catherine Webb (although I have yet to read anything from her as Claire North). Her writing style is incredibly compelling, her world-building vividly textured and her humour shrewd and observational. Matthew Swift/the electric blue angels are a fascinating character and their POV is something purely unique. The Midnight Mayor is actually the second book in the series following Matthew, but it’s by far the best in my opinion – a must read.
4. Shadowfall by James Clemens
The first book in the sadly incomplete Godslayer chronicles. Another book that is steeped in fantastic world-building. Shadowfall and Hinterland (book one and book two) are by far Clemens/Rollins best work and it’s a crying shame that the series was never continued. I read it in one sitting many years ago whilst on holiday with Scotland, it’s still one of the books I’ve reread the most and I just haven’t told you all how much I love it enough. I’m probably due a reread again soon, so I’ll be explaining why it’s so wonderful to you all soon.
5. Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett
There has to be some Terry Pratchett on this list, even if I’ve waxed lyrical about Discworld already. Good Omens is another frequent reread that makes me laugh every time I read it. Aziphrale and Crowley This easily one of the best literary collaborations in history and I can’t tell you how much I love it.
6. The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison
I’ve just re-read this enthralling debut from Katherine Addison and it really brought home what a find it was. Thank goodness Jess kept bugging me to read it because, as ever, her Jess-commendations proved right. Maia is a darling of a character and the surrounded cast are equally compelling. There’s hopefully a companion novel being released at some point in the future and I truly cannot wait to get my hands on it.
7. City of Stairs by Robert Jackson Bennett
I’ve put this on my lists a lot and I wrote a review enthusing about how astounding this book is when I first read it. But I still don’t think I’ve been able to convey to you all just how staggeringly good this book is. I read it for the first time from the library, then bought a copy the next day and immediately reread it. I’ve never done that before. I’ve been on tenterhooks waiting for the sequel to come out and from the reviews of City of Blades it’s going to be just as good. I’m also about to dive into his back catalogue, as I’ve just got The Troupe from the library. Please, please let the rest of his work be as good as City of Stairs one of the most near-perfect books I’ve read.
8. Spindle’s End by Robin McKinley
And now for something completely different. I’ve tried to include this one on a few lists before, it’s a book that stuck in my mind for years after I read it and it’s currently looping round my head as I’ve recently nabbed a 20p copy of Robin McKinley’s Sunshine. It was probably the first fairy tale retelling that I read and it left a mark on me, it’s a genre that I’ve enjoyed ever since, but it was this book that first started me reading these.
9. The Satanic Verses by Salman Rushdie
I’m about to review my first Rushdie on this blog as I read his latest release – Two years, Eight Months and Twenty Eight Nights – but I’ve not had a chance to review my favourite of his works that I have read so far. I read this book for my Contemporary Literature module whilst I was doing my BA at Lancaster. I’d previously encountered his work earlier in my degree but this was the real stand out novel for me. It’s unusual form, the choral nature of it’s voices and his ever evolving delight in the unit of language we call ‘words’ are a joy to read. It may have caused a great deal of controversy in the wider world, but it’s a literary masterpiece.
10. The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers
Finally, another of my 5* discoveries from last year. I first received an eARC copy of this book from NetGalley but it was so staggeringly good that I had to go and buy my own. This book would make a fantastic TV series, it’s already virtually split up into episodes for goodness sake. This book made me laugh, it intrigued me and right at the end it honestly made me cry. The sequel is hopefully coming out soon and I am determined to get my mitts on it!