Top Ten Tuesday – My Favourite Books of 2022

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme that currently resides at The Artsy Reader Girl and features bloggers sharing lists on various book topics.  In this final Top Ten Tuesday for the year, I am going to list my absolute favourite books of 2022, which is something I look forward to every year.  This is a bit of a continuation of a series of lists I have been doing over the last month which have highlighted some of the authors and books I have been most impressed with this year, including my favourite audiobooksfavourite debuts and my top pre-2022 books I read this year.  However, this list here is the big one as it covers my absolute favourite releases of the year, of which there are quite a few.

I think we can all agree that 2022 has been another roller-coaster year for the world, but thankfully readers got a bit of solace from the fact that this was an amazing year for books, with a huge range of incredible releases coming out across the genres.  Not only did several outstanding new series start but we had some exceptional debuts and several incredible trilogies conclude in a big way.  I have had an amazing time reading or listening to so many outstanding books this year and quite a few releases have become instant favourites.  I must admit that I somewhat struggled to pull this list together, as there were so many books that deserved to be mentioned.  Therefore, because I am a very soft touch, and because the quality of the books I read this year was so impressive, I have decided to expand this list out to 20 entries (just like I have the last three years).  These 20 books are my absolute favourites from 2022, and I would strongly recommend every one of them to anyone interested in a great read.

To make it onto this list a book needed to be released here in Australia during 2022 and I had to have read it.  I have naturally excluded anything I haven’t read yet, even if there were quite a few awesome-sounding books I sadly didn’t squeeze into my reading schedule for this year, although I am sure that several of those would have made the cut.  I decided to leave off my usual Honourable Mentions section as the extra 10 entries kind of make it unnecessary.  There will be a bit of crossover between the below entries and some of my previous lists.  Several novels also appeared on my Top Ten Favourite Audiobooks of 2022 list and my Top Ten Favourite Books from the First Half of 2022 list which I ran back into July.  Overall, I am fairly happy with how this Top 20 list turned out and I think it contains a pretty good range of novels that really showcases the different types of books that I chose to read this year.  So without further ado, here is the list.

Top Ten List (no particular order):

The Bullet That Missed by Richard Osman

The Bullet That Missed Cover

The first entry on this list was a real no-brainer with the new Thursday Murder Club novel, The Bullet That Missed by British comedian Richard Osman.  The Bullet That Missed follows on from The Thursday Murder Club (one of my favourite books, audiobooks, and debuts of 2020) and The Man Who Died Twice (one of my favourite books and audiobooks of 2021) and might be one of Osman’s best novels yet.  Featuring his deeply likeable cast of pensioner crime solvers, The Bullet That Missed introduced another compelling murder investigation, loaded with intrigue, comedy and some deeply human moments.  Impossible to put down once you start, The Bullet That Missed was a very easy entry for this list and comes extremely highly recommended.

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A Practical Guide to Conquering the World by K. J. Parker

A Practical Guide to Conquering the World Cover

One of the very first books I read in 2022 was another easy pick for this list with the awesome fantasy comedy novel, A Practical Guide to Conquering the World.  The third and final book in K. J. Parker’s loosely connected Siege series, A Practical Guide to Conquering the World is an addictive and wildly funny read that sees a scholar become ruler of a fantasy world through a series of schemes and strange coincidences.  Featuring another wildly unreliable narrator, A Practical Guide to Conquering the World is a brilliant continuation of the outrageous tales told in Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City (one of my favourite books of 2019) and How to Rule an Empire and Get Away With It and it is easily one of the most hilarious and cleverest books of the year.

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Usagi Yojimbo: Tengu War! and Usagi Yojimbo: Crossroads by Stan Sakai

Usagi Joint Cover

Ok, so I am slightly cheating by combining two books into one entry, but when it comes to one of my favourite comic book series, the excellent Usagi Yojimbo comics by Stan Sakai, I have a hard time picking favourites.  Usually this isn’t an issue as Sakai generally only releases one volume of his comic a year.  However, in 2022, there were two Usagi Yojimbo volumes, the intense and compelling 36th volume, Tengu War! and the fast-paced 37th volume Crossroads.  Loaded with clever stories, complex characters, and some absolutely gorgeous artwork, both of volumes were extremely good and there was no way I could exclude either from this list.

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Ghazghkull Thraka: Prophet of the Waaagh! by Nate Crowley

Ghazghkull Thraka - Prophet of the Waaagh! Cover

2022 was a very, very good year for Warhammer 40,000 fiction and I have had an outstanding time getting through some of the best additions to this delightful extended universe.  Out of all this year’s releases, one of the best was Ghazghkull Thraka: Prophet of the Waaagh! by Nate Crowley, which features a unique and hilarious take on an iconic and ultra-destructive ork character.  A brilliant story told across multiple narrators (something that really pops in the audiobook format), Crowley featured all the right notes of action, comedy, dark treachery, and a clever examination of one of the game’s most iconic alien factions.  I had such an amazing time reading Ghazghkull Thraka: Prophet of the Waaagh!, and this is an absolute must-read for all fans of Warhammer fiction.

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Kagen the Damned by Jonathan Maberry

Kagen the Damned Cover

I doubt anyone is too surprised that the new Jonathan Maberry novel has shown up here.  I have featured several of Maberry’s recent releases on previous iterations of this list, although usually they are either horror or science fiction thriller releases, such as Ink, Rage and Relentless, however, in 2022 Maberry made the jump to epic fantasy fiction in a big way with the dark and despair-laden novel, Kagen the Damned.  The first book in an epic new series, Kagen the Damned follows a broken and devastated former hero who, after his royal charges are brutally murdered, finds himself damned by the gods.  But even hunted and damaged beyond all believe, he is still the deadliest man in the kingdom, and he sets off on a bloody mission of revenge.  Intense from the very first scene, Kagen the Damned was an exceptional read that gives you Maberry’s usual serving of blood, traumatised characters and dark deeds, this time in a great new fantasy setting.  I deeply enjoyed this exceptional read and I look forward to the next book which is being released very, very soon.

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Desperate Undertaking by Lindsey Davis

Desperate Undertaking Cover 2

The master of the historical mystery, Lindsey Davis, came up with another wonderful entry in her long-running Flavia Albia series this year with Desperate Undertaking.  A compelling murder mystery set in ancient Rome, Desperate Undertaking follows intrepid and clever investigator Flavia Albia as she tries to catch a deadly serial killer who stages their kills to mimic iconic scenes from ancient plays.  A very entertaining, compelling and dark tale, Desperate Undertaking is one of Davis’s best books yet and I was hooked almost instantly with it.

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The Hunger of the Gods by John Gwynne

The Hunger of the Gods Cover

I was very excited to read the new fantasy epic from John Gwynne, The Hunger of the Gods, this year, and it was a very worthy addition to this best-of-2022 list.  The sequel to last year’s exceptional novel, The Shadow of the Gods, The Hunger of the Gods continues Gwynne’s Norse-inspired fantasy tale, which follows several distinctive protagonists as they embark on multiple epic quests across a war-torn world whose destructive gods are re-awakening.  The Hunger of the Gods perfectly continued the amazing story started in the first book, and I once again fell in love with the detailed battles, intriguing dark fantasy world and the brilliant characters.  I had such an incredible time with this book and I cannot wait to see how Gwynne continues this awesome story in the future.

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Desert Star by Michael Connelly

Desert Star Cover

I have a very hard time excluding Michael Connelly from this list ever year and 2022 is no exception as I had a fantastic time with his latest book, Desert Star.  Once again teaming up two of his best characters, Desert Star was a complex and captivating crime fiction read that featured two great and emotionally charged cases.  I loved how this amazing book came together and I was especially impressed with the deeply personal tale Connelly told of his long-running protagonist, Harry Bosch, as he becomes obsessed with solving a murder that has long haunted him.  An excellent crime fiction book with a rich, character-driven narrative, Desert Star was an easy choice for this list and I am really intrigued to see what happens with this book’s main characters next.

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Sierra Six by Mark Greaney

Sierra Six Cover

Mark Greaney continues to shine with another great entry in his ambitious Gray Man series this year.  Following on from impressive reads like The Gray Man, Mission Critical, One Minute Out and Relentless, Sierra Six was another outstanding read that I really got drawn into.  Telling a multi-layered story set in both the past and the present, Sierra Six followed protagonist Court Gentry as he attempts to get revenge for one of his first missions with an enemy, he long thought was dead.  A tight, captivating read that makes excellent use of multiple timelines, Sierra Six was an amazing read that is highly recommended for all fans of the spy thriller.

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Against All Gods by Miles Cameron

Against all Gods Cover

Miles Cameron continues to showcase his writing range in 2022 with another five-star read in Against All Gods.  Set in a unique, bronze-age inspired fantasy world were angry gods rule humanity with an iron fist, Against All Gods follows a group of rebel humans who are dragged into a deadly, divine conspiracy by a crazed god of chaos who seeks the end of all her fellow deities.  A powerful and captivating read, Against All Gods was so much fun and I look forward to the upcoming sequel.

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Assassinorum: Kingmaker by Robert Rath

Assassinorum Kingmaker Cover

The other outstanding Warhammer 40,000 entry I had to include on this list was the incredibly epic Assassinorum: Kingmaker by Robert Rath.  This non-stop book follows three elite assassins as they must plot to assassinate a king, bonded to a massive mecha suit, while also ending an insidious conspiracy.  Extremely over-the-top, but with a compelling and well thought out narrative, Assassinorum: Kingmaker was a very addictive read that had so many great elements to it, from intense mecha warfare, to some complex and enjoyable characters.  An easy five-star read; this was one of the best Warhammer books I have ever read.

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The German Wife by Kelly Rimmer

The German Wife Cover

Last year I was extremely wowed by the deep and captivating historical drama, The Warsaw Orphan by Australian author Kelly Rimmer, which was such an exceptional read.  As such, I was very happy to receive a copy of Rimmer’s new book this year, The German Wife, which also blew me away.  Another complex historical drama, The German Wife examined the compelling story of the family of a former Nazi rocket scientist who are relocated to America as part of Operation Paperclip.  Facing prejudice from their new neighbours who only see them as the enemy, Rimmer reveals the true story behind this troubled family and the various evils they faced during the Nazi reign.  Heartbreaking, incredibly touching and a timely examination of the insidiousness of evil, The German Wife was a powerful and poignant book that I had to include on this list.

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In the Shadow of Lightning by Brian McClellan

In the Shadow of Lightning Cover

Another amazing and highly addictive fantasy read was In the Shadow of Lightning by Brian McClellan.  The first book in an intriguing new series centred around glass-based magic, In the Shadow of Lightning was a very compelling read that followed four great characters as they get involved with elaborate conspiracies, deadly politics and a massive war.  Near impossible to put down, In the Shadow of Lightning was such an incredible read and I cannot rave about this new series enough.

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The Lawless Land by Boyd and Beth Morrison

The Lawless Land Cover

One of most entertaining reads of 2022 had to be the very fun historical adventure novel, The Lawless Land, by new-to-me writing duo, Boyd and Beth Morrison.  Set in the 14th century amongst war and plague, The Lawless Land follows a disgraced knight and a runaway bride as they attempt to keep a precious holy relic out of the hands of a corrupt cardinal and a deranged English noble.  A continuously exciting and historically detailed book, The Lawless Land really grabbed my attention and I had such an amazing time reading this awesome historical novel.  I hope this great writing team present more fantastic books in the future and I look forward to reading them.

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The Martyr by Anthony Ryan

The Martyr Cover

Few books impressed me as much this year as The Martyr, the gripping and action-packed sequel to Anthony Ryan’s 2021 book, The Pariah.  Continuing the tale of Alwyn Scribe, a former outlaw who now works for a religious zealot, The Martyr is an elaborate tale of war, politics and fate as Alwyn finds himself amid a deadly war for the future.  Filled with some amazing action, including two exceptional sieges, The Martyr was a blast the entire way through, and I had such an incredible time reading it.

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Death of the Black Widow by James Patterson and J. D. Barker

Death of the Black Widow Cover

I had so much damn fun this year reading the cool thriller, Death of the Black Widow, written by the superb writing team of James Patterson and J. D. Barker.  Following a cop who becomes obsessed with a mysterious woman he meets his first night on the job, Death of the Black Widow sees the protagonist get caught in a decades long investigation to find her and stop the strange deaths that follow her appearance.  An excellent and highly exciting thriller that features some clever horror elements, I had a fantastic time reading this amazing read and I just had to include it on this list.

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The Golden Enclaves by Naomi Novik

The Golden Enclaves Cover Better

After really showcasing her skills in the last two years with her excellent, dark homages to the magical school genre with A Deadly Education and The Last Graduate, Naomi Novik brings her Scholomance trilogy to an incredible end with The Golden Enclaves.  Now set outside of the magic school, The Golden Enclaves sees main protagonist, Galadriel “El” Higgins, attempt to save the magic world while also getting over the traumatic cliff-hanger Novik left us on at the end of The Last Graduate.  Living up to all its potential, The Golden Enclaves had a fantastic story that perfectly wrapped up the series while hitting the reader with some well-foreshadowed twists and revelations.  I cannot wait to see what Novik will write next, but I know I am going to love it.

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Amongst Our Weapons by Ben Aaronovitch

Amongst our Weapons Cover

I was very lucky to receive a copy of the latest Rivers of London book by Ben Aaronovitch this year, Amongst Our Weapons, and it quickly became a favourite 2022 read of mine.  Seamlessly blending a classic police procedural story with a unique fantasy setting, Amongst Our Weapons sees main character Peter Grant investigate a series of magical murders across London that were apparently committed by an angel.  The book’s tight mystery and well-thought-out fantasy elements are expertly combined to produce an exceptional narrative that I had a blast with.  An outstanding read that once again shows why Aaronovitch is one of the best urban fantasy writers now.

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The Unbelieved by Vikki Petraitis

The Unbelieved Cover

There were many amazing debuts in 2022 but one that I found particularly impressive was the gritty Australian crime fiction read, The Unbelieved by Vikki Petraitis.  Set in rural Australia, The Unbelieved follows a damaged cop as she attempts to investigate a series of sexual assaults in her seemingly quiet small town, only to run into a wall of silence from the locals.  A slick and powerful read that contains a great story, The Unbelieved also served as a commentary on the perception of sexual violence in modern society which really hits you hard.  Petraitis really showed herself to be an outstanding new writing talent this year and I am very glad I was able to include The Unbelieved on this list.

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The Voyage of the Forgotten by Nick Martell

The Voyage of the Forgotten Cover

The final entry on my list is another slightly cheeky entry, mainly because I haven’t finished it yet.  This book is The Voyage of the Forgotten by Nick Martell, one of my most anticipated fantasy reads of 2022 which I only just started listening to last week.  The third and final book in Martell’s Legacy of the Mercenary King trilogy, The Voyage of the Forgotten follows on from the exceptional novels, The Kingdom of Liars and The Two-Faced Queen, which introduced and expanded a massively complex and elaborate fantasy tale of betrayal, world-ending plots, magic, and battles between hidden immortals.  I had such a great time with the previous two books in the series and I am deeply intrigued to see how Martell wraps everything up in the final book.  I am about halfway through The Voyage of the Forgotten and it is proving to be a particularly epic and captivating read that I am having a very hard time putting down, especially as every scene seems to reveal a new secret or answer a question from the previous books.  I cannot wait to find out how Martell ends this incredible trilogy and based on how good the first half of this book has been, there was no way I could exclude The Voyage of the Forgotten from this best of 2022 list.

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Well, those are my 20 favourite books of 2022. It turned out to be quite a good list in the end, and I am very glad that I was able to highlight so many fantastic books.  2023 is set to be another excellent year for amazing reads, and I will be examining some of my most anticipated books for the first half of the year next week.  In the meantime, let me know what your favourite books of 2022 were in the comments below, and make sure you all have a happy and safe New Years.

Top Ten Tuesday – My Favourite Books from the First Half of 2022

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme that currently resides at The Artsy Reader Girl and features bloggers sharing lists on various book topics.  The official topic for this week’s Top Ten Tuesday involved listing your favourite upcoming books for Winter 2022.  However, as I had already done this list a few weeks ago, I thought I would instead take this opportunity to celebrate the fact that we are already nearly into the second half of 2022.

2022 has already proven to be a pretty fantastic year for books, and I have already read some incredible 2022 releases, including impressive standalone books, amazing new entries in established series and fantastic debuts.  Because of this, I thought that I would take the time to work out what my top ten favourite books from the first half of 2022 were.  To be eligible, a book had to be released in the first half of this year in some form.  I have also excluded any books released during this period that I have not so far read, although a couple of releases I have my eye on might have appeared on this list if I had read them in time.

Coming up with this list proved to be a rather bigger task than I originally intended, as I ended up amassing nearly 20 different releases, all of which I consider to be some pretty outstanding reads.  I ended up being able to eventually whittle this down to an acceptable Top Ten list, although I did include my typical generous honourable mentions section.  I am rather happy with how this list turned out, although I am surprised at some of the great recent books that ended up being excluded.  Still, the entries below represent what I considered to be some of the best books from the first half of 2022, and I would strongly recommend each and every one of them. 

Honourable Mentions:

Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone by Benjamin Stevenson

Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone Cover

A clever and hilarious take on the classic murder mystery story from a talented Australian crime fiction author.

 

Her Perfect Twin by Sarah Bonner

Her Perfect Twin Cover

An impressive debut by Sarah Bonner that imagines a woman murdering her twin and impersonating her.  Featuring a very twisty story that goes in some surprising, but fantastic directions, this was a very awesome read that sets Bonner up as an amazing new talent.

 

Warhammer 40,000: Steel Tread by Andy Clarke

Steel Tread Cover

A captivating and powerful Warhammer 40,000 tie-in novel from the start of the year that was an excellent piece of sci-fi military fiction.  Following the crew of the tank, Steel Tread, on a hellscape of a battlefield, this was an intense and action-packed story that I quickly flew through.

 

Master of Furies by Raymond E. Feist

Master of Furies Cover

Raymond E. Feist finalised The Firemane Saga (previously featuring King of Ashes and Queen of Storms) in a big way this year.  This was a great read that featured an addictive classic fantasy adventure with some very interesting surprise elements.

List (no particular order):

The Hunger of the Gods by John Gwynne

The Hunger of the Gods Cover

Let us start this list off with the book that has the best cover, The Hunger of the Gods by John Gwynne.  Following on from Gwynne’s epic 2021 novel, The Shadow of the Gods (one of my favourite books and audiobooks of 2021), The Hunger of the Gods perfectly continues the dark fantasy masterpiece, pitting men, gods and monsters against each other in a brutal, Norse-inspired fantasy world.  Featuring some outstanding new character perspectives, a bunch of great twists, and a ton of action, this sequel was a worthy addition to this fantastic series, and I had such an incredible time reading it.

 

Desperate Undertaking by Lindsey Davis

Desperate Undertaking Cover 2

One of my favourite historical fiction authors, Lindsey Davis, continues to shine with her long-running Flavia Albia historical murder mystery series.  This latest entry, Desperate Undertaking, features a complex and entertaining new mystery in ancient Rome when a troupe of actors start getting murdered in brutal, theatrical ways.  Easily one of Davis’ best stories, Desperate Undertaking grabs your attention right off the bat and refuses to let go.

 

A Practical Guide to Conquering the World by K. J. Parker

A Practical Guide to Conquering the World Cover

One of the very first novels that I read in 2022 ended up being one of the very best: the hilarious fantasy novel, A Practical Guide to Conquering the World by K. J. Parker.  Set in the same universe as his previous connected releases, Sixteen Ways to Defend a Walled City and How to Rule an Empire and Get Away with It, A Practical Guide to Conquering the World follows a scribe and translator who uses his scholarly knowledge and skills at manipulation to conquer the entire world.  Containing whip-sharp satire and a brilliant story, this was such an addictive and fun read I honestly could not put down.

 

Usagi Yojimbo: Tengu War! by Stan Sakai

Usagi Yojimbo - Tengu War!

My love affair with one of my favourite comics, Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo series, continued this year with the latest volume, Tengu War!  Containing several epic new stories, loaded with cool art and impressive world building, Tengu War! was another amazing volume that got a full five-star rating from me.  I loved this new volume so much and I can’t wait to get my hands on Sakai’s next release, Crossroads, later this year.

 

Sierra Six by Mark Greaney

Sierra Six Cover

Bestselling thriller author, Mark Greaney, is having a great year in 2022, with both the upcoming film adaptation of his debut novel, The Gray Man, and two awesome books coming out.  The first of these, Sierra Six, is one of his best, following iconic protagonist, Court Gentry, the infamous Gray Man, on another intense mission connected to one of his earliest assignments for the CIA.  I had a brilliant time with this new Gray Man novel (the 11th in the series), as it featured an impressive, split-time narrative with some great characters.  Another impressive book from Greaney that is really worth reading. 

 

Against All Gods by Miles Cameron

Against all Gods Cover

The always inventive Miles Cameron continues to shine brightly with a bold and compelling start to a new fantasy series with Against All Gods.  Set in a bronze-age inspired setting, Against All Gods follows a group of mortals who attempt the impossible and declare war on their violent and selfish gods.  With an addictive, over-the-top story, Against All Gods was a ton of fun, and it ended up being a truly amazing novel.

 

The German Wife by Kelly Rimmer

The German Wife Cover

Last year Australian author, Kelly Rimmer, produced a very impressive and extremely moving historical drama, The Warsaw Orphan, which really stuck with me.  As such, I was very excited to receive her new book, The German Wife, which ended up being a truly incredible read.  This fantastic novel follows two intriguing protagonists up to the 1950s as they traverse some of the worst parts of world history.  With a particularly intense focus on the rise of Nazism in Germany and the subsequent recruitment of German rocket scientists by the Americans, The German Wife is a captivating read that contains powerful emotional hit after powerful emotional hit.

 

Amongst Our Weapons by Ben Aaronovitch

Amongst our Weapons Cover

One of the leading authors of urban fantasy fiction, Ben Aaronovitch, returned with another superb entry in his Rivers of London series.  Featuring another exceptional fusion of a police procedural story with unique fantasy elements, Amongst our Weapons was a fantastic addition to the series.  Slick, clever and constantly entertaining, Amongst our Weapons once again showed off Aaronovitch’s talent and is an outstanding book to check out.

 

Ghazghkull Thraka: Prophet of the Waaagh! By Nate Crowley

Ghazghkull Thraka - Prophet of the Waaagh! Cover

I have been having so much fun reading Warhammer fiction over the last few years, and 2022 has already produced some amazing reads.  My favourite of this year so far had to be Nate Crowley’s outrageous and amusing Ghazghkull Thraka: Prophet of the Waaagh!  Following the most iconic ork in the Warhammer canon, this was an excellent retelling of Ghazghkull Thraka’s life from a unique source.  Filled with non-stop laughs, explosive action, and a real appreciation for the ork faction, this was a wildly appealing book that I had to feature here.

 

Death of the Black Widow by James Patterson and J. D. Barker

Death of the Black Widow Cover

The final novel I want to highlight is Death of the Black Widow, written by the superstar team of James Patterson and J. D. Barker.  A crime thriller with an intriguing horror twist, Death of the Black Widow was a surprising hit for me, and I really was drawn into its terrific story.  One of the more memorable and enjoyable books I have so far read this year, I had a lot of fun with Death of the Black Widow, and I deeply enjoyed its compelling tale of obsession, mystery and death.

 

 

I have already read some amazing and epic books so far in 2022 and we are only halfway through the year.  I am pretty happy with how this list turned out, and it features some extraordinary reads that all come highly recommended.  It will be interesting to see which of these books ends up being amongst my top reads of 2022, as there is some impressive competition coming out in the second half of the year, not to mention some outstanding current releases I need to check out.  Still, all the novels above come very highly recommended, and you are guaranteed to have a wonderful time reading them.  Let me know what your favourite releases for the first half of the year are in the comments below, as well as which of the above books you liked the most.

Amongst Our Weapons by Ben Aaronovitch

Amongst our Weapons Cover

Publisher: Orion (Trade Paperback – 12 April 2022)

Series: Rivers of London – Book Nine

Length: 406 pages

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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One of the leading lights in the urban fantasy genre, the exceedingly talented Ben Aaronovitch, returns with the latest epic book in his brilliant Rivers of London series, Amongst our Weapons.

For the last 10 years, the fantasy world has been exceedingly impressed by the fantastic writings of Ben Aaronovitch, who came up with a real winner with his Rivers of London series (also known as the Peter Grant series).  Aaronovitch, who already had some major nerd cred as a writer of two Doctor Who serials, debuted the first book in this series, Rivers of London, back in 2011.  This book told the story of Peter Grant, a young Metropolitan Police officer who is assigned to a specialised branch of the Met that deals with magic and supernatural incidents.  This intriguing debut combined magical elements with a classic police procedural format to create an epic and captivating read.  The author has since expanded this series out to several novels, as well as a range of novellas, short stories, and even a graphic novel series, all of which continue the story of Peter Grant and Aaronovitch’s unique magical world.  I have had a lot of fun over the last few years with this series, and I have greatly enjoyed Aaronovitch’s last two entries, Lies Sleeping and False Value.  Aaronovitch is back with another exceptional read in his ninth Rivers of London novel, Amongst our Weapons, which continues the excellent format and presents the reader with an awesome new mystery.

The London Silver Vaults are a renowned underground market for silverware in the heart of London.  They are highly secured and constantly monitored, so getting away with any sort of crime in the vaults is impossible.  So when a crazed would-be robber is brutally killed in the middle of the vaults with no witnesses or cameras catching the act, the Met are forced to call in their secret weapon, Peter Grant and his fellow detectives from the Special Assessment Unit, better known as the Folly.

Specialising in investigating magical incidents, Peter and his team are quickly able to determine that the death and the murder’s subsequent escape were a result of powerful magic.  Taking the lead on the case, Peter hopes to catch the killer quickly, but are quick to discover that their investigation is about to get far too complicated.  Ancient magics and unknown powers are loose around London, and after discovering a second body, the Folly team begin to investigate the members of a mysterious college cult from Manchester that has been inactive for years.  As more attacks occur, it becomes apparent that members of the cult are being hunted down and that their killer appears to be a vengeful, spear-wielding angel.

Determined to get to the bottom of the killings, Peter dives into the history of the cult and the mysterious artefacts they uncovered.  His investigation will lead him all over England, from the colleges of Manchester all the way to the dismal North.  But even as he begins to uncover the truth behind the killings and the being responsible, does even the full might of the Folly have the power to stop an angel and the deadly magic gifted to her?  Worse, another party has involved themselves in the case, someone that Peter knows far too well.  Can Peter solve this case before it is too late, and how will he deal with the greatest challenge of his life, becoming a father to his two magical twins?

Wow, Aaronovitch continues to massively impress me, bringing together another brilliant and unique urban fantasy read.  Once again bringing together an outstanding story that features distinctive fantasy elements with a clever mystery, Amongst our Weapons was a fantastic read that I had an incredible time reading.  This book was pretty damn awesome and gets a full five-star rating from me.

I had an absolute blast with the story contained within Amongst our Weapons as Aaronovitch has once again cleverly combined complex fantasy elements with a compelling murder mystery investigation, resulting in a deeply entertaining and addictive story.  Aaronovitch starts this latest novel off strong, with the protagonist and his team immediately thrust into an investigation of a man with a mysterious magical hole blown into his chest and no witnesses who saw what happened.  This intriguing start quickly becomes even more enticing, as a second murder is soon discovered, as well as other unusual signs and discoveries at the various crime scenes.  However, the excitement does not end there, as Aaronovitch also fits in an early encounter with the powerful murder, who appears to be an exceedingly deadly angel of vengeance, as well as the sudden reappearance of recurring antagonist Lesley May, Peter’s former partner who now acts as a magical mercenary.  Throw in some great character driven storylines about the protagonist’s family, as his river goddess wife is about to give birth, and you have quite an exceptional start to the novel.  Indeed, once all these elements were set up, I was hopelessly hooked on the story, and it proved extremely hard to put this book down at all.

The rest of the narrative flows on from here extremely strongly, as the characters launch an exhaustive and intense investigation not only into the murders but into the origins of certain magical items and the history of the college cult who appear to be targeted.  This takes the protagonist on a bit of a fieldtrip outside London, exploring Manchester and the North, and introducing the characters to some intriguing new magical elements.  While parts of the story here did get a bit bogged down when it came to exploring some of the more complex new fantasy inclusions, I flew through the second part of the book, especially as it is laced with several brilliant and imaginative confrontations between the protagonist and the book’s various antagonists.  Everything comes together extremely well in the lead-up to the conclusion, which results in a fantastic battle that helps resolve everything perfectly.  I did think that it got a little too metaphysical in places, but I still deeply enjoyed this great conclusion, which should really satisfy every reader, while also setting up some interesting storylines for the future.

Aaronovitch has such a distinctive writing style for the Rivers of London series, which is put to great use throughout Amongst our Weapons.  Like most of the Rivers of London novels, Amongst our Weapons can be read as a standalone read, with Aaronovitch doing a great job of rehashing some of the relevant continued storylines when they become relevant to the ongoing story.  This book features the usual awesome blend of magic, crime fiction and character-led storylines, wrapped up with a great sense of fun and humour, which helps to produce quite an entertaining and captivating read.  I particularly loved how the author makes his novels feel like a police procedural with magic, and this is perfectly on display in Amongst our Weapons, as the protagonists engage in elaborate investigation into several unique deaths.  It is so much fun to watch these magic-wielding protagonists do research, official police investigations, paperwork, evidence collecting and various theorising as they examine both the magical and human sides of the case, and I always love how well these elements can be fit into a seemingly typical murder mystery storyline.  Everything flows extremely well through this novel, and while I think there are some minor pacing issues towards the middle, readers will power through this entire book once they get caught up in the mystery and the magic.

I have always been really impressed with the distinctive and captivating fantasy elements contained within the Rivers of London novels, which prove to be intrinsic and outstanding parts of the book.  Rather than use classic fantasy elements, the magic and unique creatures featured within this series are a lot more abstract with a focus on energy manipulation, creatures from alternate universes and godlike beings who get their powers by being embodiments of important locations.  This really gives the novels a great, unique feel that is brilliantly enhanced by the way that the various characters treat magic in an almost scientific way, especially from a policing perspective, as the protagonists are effectively investigating and monitoring it in London.  This fantastic way of examining magic proves to be quite effective in Amongst our Weapons, as you get to see all manner of theorising, analyses and scientific conclusions drawn up as the protagonists attempt to identify and quantify the new forms of magic they are dealing with, especially when they come face to face with an unknown being of immense power.  This cool magic is also quite stunningly described throughout the novel, and I loved seeing its unique and clever use throughout the various magical confrontation sequences, and there is nothing more awesome than reading about a couple of wizards face off against an apparent angel.  I find all the cool magical elements quite fascinating to explore, and I loved seeing some of the world building that occurred throughout Amongst our Weapons, with some new groups of magical users introduced or referenced throughout.  Aaronovitch actually sets up some intriguing new world-building elements throughout Amongst our Weapons, and I look forward to seeing how this expands in some of the future novels.

Finally, I really must highlight the outstanding characters featured within Amongst our Weapons, who really help to turn this awesome story into something truly special.  This cast is headlined by the book’s main protagonist and point-of-view character, Peter Grant, who I really have a lot of fun with.  Grant is a funny and bold protagonist, who has been really growing since the first novel, not only in personality and responsibility but also in magical talent.  He serves as a brilliant protagonist for Amongst our Weapons, and his dogged and clever investigation of the unusual events moved the story along at a swift and enjoyable pace.  While his police work is a major part of the character, this latest novel also focuses again on his personal life, showing his unique marriage to a river (well, the living embodiment of a river), and the upcoming birth of his likely magical children.  This puts some major responsibility on Peter’s head, which he struggles to deal with, still taking risks with his work.  Watching him obsessively chase after the culprit while also trying to balance the upcoming birth of his children was a great part of the novel, and it really helped to make the reader feel attached to him.  However, I personally loved his outstanding sense of humour throughout this novel, as much of the book’s comedic elements are thanks to this protagonist’s funny statements and clever observations about the outrageous events he is witnessing.

Aside from this excellent and relatable protagonist, Amongst our Weapons features a large and diverse cast of figures, including a combination of new people associated with the case and a huge batch of recurring characters who have been perfectly set up before.  Most of the recurring characters are re-introduced extremely well, and even new readers should be able to follow who is who amongst this unique cast of magic users and professional police officers who work together to solve crimes.  My favourite supporting character is Detective Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale, head of the Folly and the last official wizard.  A gentlemanly figure who fought in World War II, Nightingale serves as a great mentor as well as a badass magician able to throw down with the worst creatures or dark magic users.  While not featured as heavily here as in previous novels, Nightingale has some great moments throughout Amongst our Weapons, and it was awesome to see him squaring off against the winged antagonist.  Aaronovitch also sets up some interesting storylines for him in this book, and it sounds like he will have a much more altered role in the future.  The other major character I should highlight is Lesley May, who serves as a secondary antagonist throughout this book.  Lesley, who spends most of the book as a mercenary character attempting to undermine the police’s investigation, is a great addition to the plot and I am extremely glad that Aaronovitch brought her back for this novel.  Not only do you get more of the regret-filled interactions with Peter but she serves as a great foil for the protagonists, and it was really fun to see her get involved and attempt to manipulate the situation to her advantage.  All these characters, and many more, are great additions to the fantastic and complex plot of the book, and I deeply enjoyed seeing the fantastic and powerful interactions between them.

The Rivers of London series continues to shine as one of the best and impressive urban fantasy series with Amongst our Weapons.  Ben Aaronovitch is such a talented author, and I deeply enjoyed distinctive and captivating stories he crafts, especially with its outstanding blend of unique fantasy and memorable murder mystery elements.  Amongst our Weapons is one of my favourite books from Aaronovitch I have read so far and it is a highly recommended for all fantasy fans.  If you aren’t exploring the Rivers of London, then you are really missing out!

Amazon     Book Depository

WWW Wednesday – 20 April 2022

WWW Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Taking on a World of Words, where bloggers share the books that they’ve recently finished, what they are currently reading and what books they are planning to read next. Essentially you have to answer three questions (the Three Ws):

What are you currently reading?
What did you recently finish reading?
What do you think you’ll read next?

So, let’s get to it.

What are you currently reading?

The German Wife by Kelly Rimmer (Trade Paperback)

The German Wife Cover

I have been really getting into this excellent historical drama from Australian author Kelly Rimmer, who really impressed me last year with her previous book, The Warsaw Orphan.  Her latest novel, The German Wife, tells a complex and multi-layered story about the family of a former Nazi scientist who was recruited by the Americans to work on the US rocket program, and who face many issues from their new American neighbors.  Containing an exceedingly intense narrative set around some powerful depictions of both Nazi German and 1950s America, The German Wife is a brilliant read and I will hopefully finish it off in the next day or so.

 

The Hunger of the Gods by John Gwynne (Audiobook)

The Hunger of the Gods Cover

I only just started the epic new novel from bestselling fantasy author John Gwynne, The Hunger of the Gods.  The sequel to last year’s incredible The Shadow of the Gods (one of my favourite books and audiobooks of 2021), The Hunger of the Gods looks set to be another outstanding novel and I cannot wait to see what exceptional, dark fantasy craziness occurs here.  This is a pretty massive audiobook so it might take me a little while to get through it, but hopefully I will have made some major progress by this time next week.

What did you recently finish reading?

Amongst our Weapons by Ben Aaronovitch

Amongst our Weapons Cover

 

Star Wars: Kenobi by John Jackson Miller

Star Wars - Kenobi Cover

What do you think you’ll read next?

Desperate Undertaking by Lindsey Davis

Desperate Undertaking Cover 2

 

That’s it for this week, check back in next Wednesday to see what progress I’ve made on my reading and what books I’ll be looking at next.

Book Haul – 3 April 2022

I have been having an absolutely fantastic couple of week for books, as I have been lucky enough to receive several incredible and amazing new novels from some of my local publishers.  These novels include some truly awesome new releases, several of which I have been eagerly awaiting for some time.  I am extremely keen to check out all of the books below (indeed, I have already gotten through a couple), and they should make for some amazing reads.

Usagi Yojimbo: Tengu War by Stan Sakai

Usagi Yojimbo - Tengu War!

I was extremely happy to get my copy of the latest Usagi Yojimbo volume, Tengu War!.  The Usagi Yojimbo series by Stan Sakai is one of my favourite comic series and I have been eagerly waiting for this comic for some time (it was one of my most anticipated reads of 2022).  I actually read Tengu War! the day I received it and it was pretty damn amazing.  I am hoping to get the review for it up soon and needless to say it will get a five-star rating from me.

 

An Empty Throne by Robert Fabbri 

An Empty Throne Cover

Another recent acquisition that I have been looking forward to for a while was the third book in Robert Fabbri’s Alexander’s Legacy series, An Empty Throne.  Following on from the previous books in the series, To the Strongest and The Three Paradises, An Empty Throne will continue to follow the chaos that emerged in the aftermath of Alexander the Great’s death as his former advisors, relatives and friends, fought for his empire.  I have been really enjoying this series over the last few years and I cannot wait to see what wacky events from history are contained in this next book.

 

Everyone in my Family has Killed Someone by Benjamin Stevenson

Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone Cover

I was very happy to receive this very fun book from Australian author Benjamin Stevenson, Everyone in my Family has Killed Someone.  Stevenson, who previously wrote the murder mystery novels Greenlight and Either Side of Midnight, has come up with something pretty spectacular here with Everyone in my Family has Killed Someone, which I have already finished.  This awesome novel, which brilliantly mixes comedy, mystery and multiple homages to classic whodunits, places a troubled Australian family in the midst of several suspicious deaths at a remote location, and forces them to solve it.  Utterly hilarious and extremely clever, I had an absolute blast from this book and I will be putting up an extremely positive review for it soon.

 

Three Assassins by Kotaro Isaka

Three Assassins Cover

I was also extremely fortunate to receive a copy of the English translation of Three Assassins by Japanese author Kotaro Isaka, which I am extremely excited to read.  I had an amazing time reading Isaka’s previous novel, Bullet Train, last year and Three Assassins sounds like it is in a similar vein to it, setting someone against three outrageous assassins.  Sure to be filled with laughs, odd characters and brutal action, I cannot wait to check this book out and will probably dive into next.

 

Esther’s Children by Caroline Beecham

Esther's Children Cover

I just received an electronic advanced proof of the intriguing upcoming historical drama, Esther’s Children by Caroline Beecham.  Set around World War II, this novel follows a young woman who works at an organisation that tried to rescue Jewish academics and scholars from Europe.  Sure to be powerful, romantic and moving, I am curious to check this book out, especially after enjoyed Beecham’s last novel, Finding Eadie.  I was very happy to see that they have used my Canberra Weekly review for Finding Eadie inside this new book, and I hope to read this latest novel soon.

Esther's Children Front Page

 

Amongst Our Weapons by Ben Aaronovitch

Amongst our Weapons Cover

I was naturally extremely happy to receive the latest Rivers of London novel by Ben Aaronovitch, Amongst our Weapons.  The latest book in one of the best urban fantasy series out there, Amongst our Weapons is one of the most anticipated fantasy novels of 2022 and I am extremely keen to read it.  I had a great time with Aaronovitch’s previous two novels, Lies Sleeping and False Value, and Amongst our Weapons has a great plot to it involving someone using magic to rob the London Silver Vaults.  I already know this is going to be a top read and I look forward to seeing how it all comes together.

 

Death of the Black Widow by James Patterson and J. D. Barker

Death of the Black Widow Cover

Superstar crime fiction author, James Patterson, returns with another collaboration, this time with acclaimed writer J. D. Barker, for their new book Death of the Black Widow.  This cool new is a gripping and intriguing crime fiction read that sets a rookie police officer chasing after a mysterious, alluring and very dangerous woman.  I really like the sound of this awesome book and I am hoping to read it in the next few weeks.

 

Nobody But Us by Laure Van Rensburg

Nobody But Us Cover

One of the more intriguing novels I  recently received was Nobody But Us by new author Laure Van Rensburg.  This dark and compelling thriller sees a mismatched couple take an unusual trip to the remote countryside, with both lying about their intentions for being there.  I am very taken by this mysterious and awesome novel, and I look forward to seeing what sort of devious tale Van Rensburg has come up with.

 

The Diamond Eye by Kate Quinn

The Diamond Eye Cover

Another fantastic historical drama I was lucky enough to receive is The Diamond Eye by the extremely talented Kate Quinn.  The Diamond Eye follows a young woman from Kiev who becomes a notorious and deadly sniper during the Nazi invasion in World War II.  I love the sound of this awesome book, especially as it is particularly topical at the moment, and I am extremely confident that Quinn has come up with a compelling and powerful tale here.

 

Ordinary Monsters by J. M. Miro

Ordinary Monsters Cover

I was also extremely fortunate to receive a copy of Ordinary Monsters by J. M. Miro, an intriguing and comprehensive young adult fantasy novel set in 19th century London and Edinburgh.  This fascinating novel will follow individuals with unique abilities who have been gathered together in a mysterious institute.  I have been hearing some good things about this book and it sounds like this could be the start of the next big young adult series.  As such, I should probably clear some room in my reading schedule soon in order to get through this fantastic novel.

 

Mr Mercedes by Stephen King

Mr Mercedes Cover 1

I also recently had a successful visit to a second-hand book shop and picked up a couple of older books from author’s I have been enjoying recently.  The first of these is the classic Mr Mercedes by legendary author Stephen King.  I had an amazing time reading King’s 2021 novels, Later and Billy Summers, and I thought it was time I expand my King knowledge.  Mr Mercedes seemed liked a great place to start, especially as one of the protagonists from it is apparently set to appear in some of King’s upcoming books, and I cannot wait to see how this gritty thriller comes together.

 

The Late Show by Michael Connelly

The Late Show Cover

The other second-hand book I got was The Late Show by Michael Connelly, which serves as the very first Renee Ballard book.  I have had a great time reading all of Connelly’s other books featuring Ballard, including Dark Sacred Night, The Night Fire, and The Dark Hours, so I thought it would be worth my time going back and seeing the first book she appeared in.  The Late Show has a really intriguing sounding mystery to it and I can’t wait to see the earlier adventure of this tenacious protagonist.  I will hopefully feature The Late Show in a Throwback Thursday article soon, I just need to find sometime to read this book in between all the fun new releases.

 

 

Well that’s the end of this latest Book Haul post.  As you can see I have quite a bit of reading to do at the moment thanks to all these awesome books that have come in.  Let me know which of the above you are most interested in and make sure to check back in a few weeks to see my reviews of them.

Top Ten Tuesday – Books on my Autumn 2022 TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme that currently resides at The Artsy Reader Girl and features bloggers sharing lists on various book topics.  The official Top Ten Tuesday topic for this week was around Dynamic Duos, however, I decided to instead move up my quarterly post about the best upcoming books to read (TBR) for the following three months.  This is a regular post I do at the start of each season, and as this Tuesday is just before Autumn (Spring for you folks in the Northern Hemisphere), this is the ideal time to put this up.

For this list, I have come up with 10 of the most anticipated novels that are coming out between 1 March 2022 and 31 May 2022.  There are quite a few very cool novels set for release in the next few months that I am extremely excited for, including some of my most anticipated books and fantasy novels of the year.  Due to how impressive some of these upcoming books are, it took me a little while to finalise my list but I was eventually able to whittle it down into a Top Ten list (with a few honourable mentions).  I have primarily used the Australian publication dates to reflect when I will be able to get these awesome novels, and these might be somewhat different to the rest of the world.  I have previously discussed a number of these books before in prior Top Ten Tuesdays and Waiting on Wednesday articles and I think all of them will turn out to be pretty incredible reads.  I have extremely excited for the next three months as quite a few up these upcoming reads are easily going to be amongst the best books of 2022.

Honourable Mentions:

The Kaiju Preservation Society by John Scalzi – 15 March 2022

The Kaiju Preservation Society Cover

A fun romp with giant monsters that is going to be so very entertaining.

 

Everyone in my Family has Killed Someone by Benjamin Stevenson – 29 March 2022

Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone Cover

A great upcoming book with a fantastic concept, Everyone in my Family has Killed Someone is the latest thriller from Australian author Benjamin Stevenson (Greenlight and Either Side of Midnight).  This cool novel will see an entire family with murderous secrets start killing each other during a deadly family reunion, and I know I am going to love it. 

 

Amongst our Weapons by Ben Aaronovitch – 12 April 2022

Amongst our Weapons Cover

Impressive fantasy author Ben Aaronovitch returns with the latest book in his Rivers of London series that follows a special police unit that investigates magical crimes in London.  This series perfectly blends urban fantasy with police procedural elements (check out my reviews for Lies Sleeping and False Value), and I look forward to seeing what happens next.

 

One Foot in the Fade by Luke Arnold – 26 April 2022

One Foot in the Fade Cover

After having a brilliant 2020 with his first two novels, The Last Smile in Sunder City (one of the best debuts of 2020) and Dead Man in a Ditch, Luke Arnold returns to the deadly Sunder City, a former stronghold of magic that has fallen into devastating ruin following the destruction all magic in the world.  One Foot in the Fade will continue to follow Arnold’s detective character as he attempts to bring back magic and save the former magical creatures he doomed to an early grave.

Top Ten List:

Usagi Yojimbo: Tengu War! by Stan Sakai – 22 March 2022

Usagi Yojimbo - Tengu War!

The first entry on this list is the next upcoming Usagi Yojimbo comic, Tengu War!.  I had this book on my last TBR list, but the release date got knocked back to March, so I am featuring it again here.  I am extremely keen for this comic and I cannot wait to see what epic adventure Usagi gets into next.

 

Kingdoms of Death by Christopher Ruocchio – 22 March 2022

Kingdom of Death Cover 2

An incredible sounding entry in one of the best current science fiction series.

 

An Empty Throne by Robert Fabbri – 1 April 2022

An Empty Throne Cover

More chaos in the aftermath of Alexander the Great’s death.

 

The Bladed Faith by David Dalglish – 5 April 2022

The Bladed Faith Cover

Assassins, deposed kings, and dead gods should lead to an epic read.

 

Desperate Undertakings by Lindsey Davis – 7 April 2022

Desperate Undertaking Cover 1

The next Flavia Albia novel from legendary historical fiction author Lindsey Davis, who has produced some outstanding books in recent years (check out my reviews for Pandora’s Boy, A Capitol Death and The Grove of the Caesars).  This next entertaining sounding novel will follow its protagonist as she investigates several despicable deaths around ancient Rome.  Sure to be a ball of fun, I am extremely keen to check it out.

 

The Hunger of the Gods by John Gwynne – 12 April 2022

The Hunger of the Gods Cover

Still my favourite cover of 2022.

 

Three Assassins by Kotaro Isaka – 12 April 2022

Three Assassins Cover

Last year I was lucky enough to receive a copy of Kotaro Isaka’s Bullet Train, the English translations of one of his impressive Japanese books.  I had a ton of fun with this clever thriller and I was extremely excited to find out that Isaka had a new book coming out this year with Three Assassins.  His new book will pit another unique group of assassins against each other and should make for an extremely captivating read.

 

The Girl and the Moon by Mark Lawrence – 4 May 2022

The Girl and the Moon Cover

One of the most intriguing current masters of fantasy fiction, the impressive Mark Lawrence brings his clever Book of the Ice trilogy to and end this year with The Girl and the Moon.  I have deeply enjoyed this cool series over the last two years, with the first two entries, The Girl and the Stars and The Girl and the Mountain, being extremely impressive reads.  I cannot wait to see how this series ends I am expecting heartbreak, destruction and some powerful moments.

 

Star Wars: Brotherhood by Mike Chen – 10 May 2022

Star Wars - Brotherhood Cover

Return to the Clone Wars with this awesome upcoming Star Wars novel.

 

Kagen the Damned by Jonathan Maberry – 10 May 2022

Kagen the Damned Cover

My favourite thriller author dives into fantasy fiction this year with an intense revenge story I am already predicting will be a five-star read.

 

 

Well, that is the end of my Top Ten list.  I think it turned out pretty well and it does a good job of capturing all my most anticipated books for the next three months.  Each of the above should be extremely epic, and I cannot wait to read each of them soon.  Let me know which of the above you are most excited for and stay tuned for reviews of them in the next few months.  In the meantime, it looks like I have quite a few books to get through soon and they should all be pretty awesome.