I was planning on posting these genre-specific “best of 2018” lists WEEKS ago, but… alas, time has slipped away from me. Better late than never?
Today, let’s talk about my favorite FANTASY reads of 2018!
Note: These are not only 2018 releases, just books I READ in 2018!
All of these are books I gave 4.5+ stars in 2018. These are in no particular order!
1. In an Absent Dream — Seanan McGuire (review)
I read books #2-4 of this series in 2018, so it made it tough to narrow down, but I had to go with the newest installment.
I couldn’t put this novella down, and was instantly so sad when it ended because I wanted more. I think this spin on the Goblin Market was probably my favorite Wayward Children setting so far, and I loved Seanan’s unusual but flawless sense of storytelling throughout it.
2. The Language of Thorns — Leigh Bardugo
I don’t know what it is about Leigh’s writing that just makes me so EMOTIONAL, but y’all, I was seriously fighting tears through most of this collection—even when it wasn’t necessarily sad!
I haven’t reviewed the collection yet because my heart is still tender when I think about it, but if any of you are curious, my favorite story from the collection was ‘Ayama and the Thorn Wood’, with ‘The Witch of Duva’ following as a close second.
3. The Wicked King — Holly Black (review)
Have you all read this yet?! UGH.
Seriously, Holly’s writing and characters and settings always slay me, but I wasn’t sold on the romance in this series in book 1. While I still haven’t forgiven something that happened in the first book, I won’t lie; this book had me rooting for these two so hard. And that ENDING. WHO GAVE HOLLY BLACK THE RIGHT?! The audacity. ?
4. Queen of Shadows — Sarah J. Maas (review)
Like I said in my overall ‘best of 2018’ list, I truly wanted to put basically the ENTIRE DAMN SERIES in this list (minus KoA, which I am somehow STILL putting off finishing?!), but I couldn’t do that, so… this is the one I narrowed it down to.
Because that damn alley reunion scene puts a lump in my throat every freaking time I think about it. ??
5. Toil & Trouble — Tess Sharpe & Jessica Spotswood (review)
Queer witches, witches of color, fat witches, silly witches, angsty witches, dreadful witches, righteously angry witches… WITCHES.
AN ANTHOLOGY OF WITCHES.
I’m never gonna stop screaming about this and not even one little bitty bit of me is sorry.
6. A Conjuring of Light — V. E. Schwab (review)
My babies. ?
I have an issue with being terrified of series finales, right? Because they’re usually a letdown. USUALLY. This is not the case at all with ACOL because, honestly, ACOL is probably the best series finale I’ve ever read. It tied everything up so beautifully and gave me equal helpings of devastation and warm fuzzies, and makes me so emotional all the time.
7. Six of Crows — Leigh Bardugo (review)
I know a whole LOT of y’all felt like CK was better than SOC, and you know what? I love you, I respect your opinions… but you’re just wrong, plain and simple.
Okay, maybe not WRONG, but still. While I loved them both, I felt like SOC had one of the most chaotic, wild, FUN heist plots I’ve ever read and I just loved it so damn much.
(Then again, maybe I’m just still salty about that death in CK.)
8. Nevernight — Jay Kristoff (review)
I loved this book so much that, in a recent music tag, I made a parallel between Mia Corvere and the lyrics to ‘The Sin and the Sentence’ by Trivium, and now I literally cannot listen to Trivium without daydreaming about Mia in all of her gruesome bloody wonder.
I’m actually about to start a reread of this one in the next few days, just to give myself an excuse to keep putting off Godsgrave (and its cliffhanger!) until closer to the Darkdawn release.
9. The Raven King — Maggie Stiefvater (review)
This was my least favorite book in The Raven Cycle, yet it still made this list. What does that tell you?
(That tells you that I’m TRC trash and also that I read the first 3 books in 2017 so this was my only ‘best of 2018’ option from the series.)
(It’s still a damn good book.)
10. Reign of the Fallen — Sarah Glenn Marsh (review)
Reign was another book where it was so freaking DIFFICULT to pick just one from the series for this list, but I had to make myself. I read both books in the duology during 2018, and while I loved them both, the addiction representation storyline in the first book just meant so much to me on a personal level. On top of that, we got to see a bit more of the Dead Lands in this one, which gave Song a run for its money… (buuuut Song does have Nipper the dragon, so it’s tough.)
11. Circe — Madeline Miller (review)
There’s just no way I could finish this list without including this beautiful myth retelling which has cemented its place as one of my favorite books of all time. It’s so gorgeously crafted and intricate, and the motherhood portrayal of Circe and her son? It practically killed me with Feels the first time I read it, and now that my son is a year older and his little toddler personality has shone through more, I feel like I’d be even MORE emotional if I reread it right now. Which I might do soon, because I’m a glutton for pain.
12. Kings Rising — C. S. Pacat (review)
My sweet, sweet kings. ♥
I read the first 2 books in December of 2017, this one in January of 2018, and then reread the whole trilogy in summer of 2018. If that doesn’t tell you how much I adored this series, I don’t know what will, besides maybe the fact that crying over these characters and how much I love them is practically built into my normal weekly routine at this point.
That’s it! Those were my 12 favorite fantasy reads of 2018 (because I couldn’t bring myself to pick only 10!).
What were yours?
So many amazing books here! Nevernight has ruined me forever. Now I have to go listen to Trivium.
Thank you! Omg, SERIOUSLY, their songs are just so fitting for NN it’s ridiculous. ‘The Sin and the Sentence’ is literally my theme song for Mia now.
Honestly, I think I only liked CK more than SoC because of a certain OTP of mine getting fluffier by the second haaaa. But if I reread SoC there’s a chance I might like it more because now I already KNOW all the characters whereas in my first readthrough I was still sorting them all out in my mind.
Bahaha which OTP is your fave?! I honestly loved all the couples in CK SO DAMN MUCH but I’m just not over the one big death. ? My heart hurts and while I’m so excited for KOS this week, I’m also kind of not ready to revisit those feels? Sigh.
Jesper and Wylan! They’re my bbs. I honestly had to look up the big death because I couldn’t remember but uhhh that’s par for the course for me and my poor memory. And I want to read KOS but I feel like I need to read the other Grishaverse books first??? I’ve only read SoC and CK!
Ahhh they’re precious little beans. ♥ Oooh… man. I wish I could say you don’t need to, but you kind of DO, because 98% of Nikolai’s back story is in the trilogy and isn’t touched on in the duology!
That’s what I thought! I guess I’ll have to prioritize those then hmmm.
Oh, I just loved Six of Crows–such a wonderful and exciting reading experience. It took me a while to get into The Raven Cycle books, but overall, they are fascinating. Hoping to get to books 3 & 4 sometime this year!
I hope you love the rest of TRC! Book 3 is my fave, I think, if I had to pick one. 😀
Circe was so good. It was definitely one of my favourite books from 2018 too. 🙂
Yaaaay! It’s so gorgeously written and just, wow, what an awesome story of empowerment and finding your own way in life. ♥
I literally just finished The Cruel Prince minutes ago, the second part of the book is so action packed my heart rate is still high xD I can’t wait to read the second one!
That’s awesome haha! 😀 I hope you love the second one, too! It was even more action packed to me!
This list is perfect. Holly Black ruined me with The Wicked King’s ending. HOW are we supposed to wait a year for the next one??! I’m so happy to see Six of Crows made your list, too! And you’ve got me super excited to finish the Shades of Magic trilogy.
Oh gods, right?!?! That ending slayed me ? And I hope you like the rest of Shades of Magic!
I honestly love how so many books on this list are on my TBR because that simply means I’ll have an AWESOME reading year if I succeed at picking them all up, haha. Hoping to read The Language of Thorns during Fantastic February and.. it’s a given for me to read The Wicked King as well. Whiiiiii~
Hahaha, yessss! Ahhh, The Language of Thorns… it broke my heart but in the best way. ♥
Andd.. it doesn’t matter to read it before having read the trilogy, right? [I keep double-checking that little fact before I ruin things for myself :’) ]
You don’t have to read the trilogy first, but I will say that you’ll miss all the easter eggs without reading the trilogy first—so it just depends on how important those little bits are to you!
Eh. I can reread it for the easter eggs afterwards? 😀
I really liked The Raven Kings too! I was nervous going into it because I’d seen that so many people hated it, but it was amazing.
I know, I’m still not sure why so many people disliked it so much!
Circe and The Wicked King definitely deserved the mentions! And speaking of Holly Black, her endings…ugh yes they slay me, but in the best possible way! 😀
YES, haha! Her endings are so wild and I never feel like I can predict what she’s going to do in them!
Great list! I loved six of crows and circe 🙂
Thank you! They were so good 🙂
*cries* I’ve only read 2 of these! I really need to get my act together and read some of these!
Awww I hope you get to soon! There are just so many good books and so little time ?
Too many great books on this list! MY HEART IS HAPPY TO SEE MY FAVES HERE ASVDHDJK
ACOL is just perfection and The Language of Thorns is one great masterpiece. The Witch of Duva is my most favorite short story of all time which is a testament of queen LB’s greatness. Love this post so much! It rekindled my love for some of the books on this list ?
Oh man, Leigh really is such a queen and The Witch of Duva… I get emotional just thinking about it. ♥ Thank you love!! I’m glad we had so many similar faves! 😀
[…] Destiny @howlinglibraries posted her best 2018 picks for the fantasy genre and I loved every word of it. The list contains […]
Yes to the Conjuring of Light. <3
It’s so, so, so excellent and it still hurts my heart every time I think about it!