My Top 3 Books of 2018
Since 2018 has finally come to a close, I’ve decided that it’d be fitting to make my first post about some of my favorite books from this past year. To keep it short, I’ve narrowed it down to 3, but there’s a plethora of books that were incredible.
*All three of the following are fantasy novels, because that’s my favorite genre 🙂
Here they are! (in no specific order) :
•Bright We Burn (The Conquerer’s Saga #3) by Kiersten White
my rating: ✰✰✰✰✰ (5/5 stars)
goodreads rating: ✰✰✰✰ (4.4/5 stars)
quotes: “Disrupt stability. Petition for gold. Provoke the greatest empire on the face of the earth.” He paused. “This is going to be fun.”
“A heart did not have to be stone to be strong.”
“War made monsters of them all.”
Beautiful… it’s honestly a privilege to be able to read something so astounding. This trilogy is the best completed series I’ve ever encountered. I’ll try my best to give a tiny summary about the series as a whole, but I highly recommend looking at the Goodreads synopsis as well (link is on the title of book). Here we encounter two siblings, a sister and a brother, who are children of the Prince of Walachia. Eventually, they befriend the heir to the Ottoman Empire and the three grow through their childhood together. But as they get older, Lada, the oldest child of the Wallachian siblings, becomes focused on reclaiming the Wallachian throne. Because of this, along with Mehmed(the heir to the Ottoman throne)’s growing duty to rule the Ottoman Empire, the three grow apart and tensions run high.
So as to avoid spoiling anything, I’ll stop the summary there, but let me gush about the two main characters for a second. First, we have Lada Dracul: born of Wallachian royalty and older sister to Radu Dracul. She’ll do anything to save her country, and I mean anything. Almost every choice she makes tempts you to hate her, but her stubbornly fierce devotion to her people and few but powerful moments of utter humanity force you to keep loving her. Then we have her brother, Radu Dracul. Always caught between supporting Lada or Mehmed, Radu tries to figure out where his loyalties lie, and how to navigate through a war and come out more human than monster – sometimes, you can’t. I promise, if you’re a lover of historical fantasy, or just fantasy in general, you’ll adore this novel.
•The Poppy War (The Poppy War #1) by R.F. Kuang
my rating: ✰✰✰✰✰ (5/5 stars)
goodreads rating: ✰✰✰✰ (4/5 stars)
quotes: “Children ceased to be children when you put a sword in their hands. When you taught them to fight a war, then you armed them and put them on the front lines, they were not children anymore. They were soldiers.”
“War doesn’t determine who’s right. War determines who remains.”
“But I warn you, little warrior. The price of power is pain.”
Fight me all you want, but this has to be the BEST fantasy book of 2018. Hands. Down. I also firmly believe that this has to be the most phenomenal debut novel any author has ever published. It begins with a young girl named Runin, or Rin for short, whose only way to a better life is through scoring exceptionally high on a country-wide test called the Keju. Because of her ambition and hard work, Rin scores high enough to place herself in the most prestigious academy in the Empire: Sinegard.
The first third of the book follows this determined girl during her years of training at Sinegard. Rin fights through racism and sexism, and flourishes, once again, because of her exceptional ambition. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention, she also learns how to communicate with gods and use their powers by using drugs. In the second part of the novel, we watch Rin put her training to use. The war begins, and Rin begins to understand the severity of it; war is nothing like the game they had all imagined. Finally, in the third and most violent section of the story, we begin to wonder if Rin is truly a ‘hero’ as she sacrifices everything for her country. It’s worth noting that this book has some extremely gruesome scenes, but if you can stomach that, definitely go read it! I’m genuinely surprised that The Poppy War doesn’t have a bigger fan-base. It deserves one.
•Grey Sister (Book of the Ancestor #2) by Mark Lawrence
my rating: ✰✰✰✰✰ (5/5 stars)
goodreads rating: ✰✰✰✰ (4.5/5 stars)
quotes: “But I must warn you, sister, that a sickness runs in me, and if you fashion yourself my enemy I will make a ruin of your life, for I am born of war.”
“Nothing is as cruel as a righteous man.”
“Trust is the most insidious of poisons.”
This series has definitely made it among my absolute favorites of all time! I won’t even attempt at making a synopsis of the story, mostly because I read this so early on in the year and have forgotten many key details, but the link above will take you to the Goodreads synopsis. What I do remember from this wonderful story, though, is a marvelously written female protagonist with equally as amazing supporting characters. There’s not a single character who I’d call one-dimensional, which is a real gem in this genre. I think it’s also important to note the deep value of friendship and loyalty showcased in this book, and how your friends are like the family you get to choose. Lawrence did a fantastic job incorporating coming-of-age lessons into a story filled with action without watering the book down. I’ll admit that the first book, Red Sister, has a fairly slow start, but this one is just stunning! With the world building and most character introductions already complete, we get to delve into the world of Nona Grey much quicker. (psssst… go read it! I’ve done a horrible job describing the book, but I promise that it’s a lot better than the poor paragraph I wrote!)
That’s all three! Like I said in the beginning, I have a long list of books that I thoroughly enjoyed this year, but these are just the few that came out on top for me. If you haven’t heard enough of me saying it already, GO READ THEM! You won’t regret it. Happy New Year, and may 2019 bring plenty of astounding stories.
Warning: All three of the novels above have been considered to be adult fantasy due to the violence. I’d personally consider them Y.A., but they definitely flirt with the line between the two.
– sophia ✰