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.
Everyone in My Family Has Killed Someone by Benjamin Stevenson
A clever and hilarious take on the classic murder mystery story from a talented Australian crime fiction author.
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.
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.
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):
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.