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 audiobooks, favourite 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Voyage of the Forgotten by Nick Martell
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.
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.