Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme that currently resides at The Artsy Reader Girl and features bloggers sharing lists on various book topics. This week participants of Top Ten Tuesday get a freebie to list whatever topics they want. So, I am going to take this opportunity to start my annual end-of-year lists here by looking at my favourite pre-2022 novels that I read this year.
Each December I have a lot of fun looking at some of the best and most impressive books and comics that I have read throughout the year in a series of Top Ten Lists. While these lists usually focus on 2022 releases, for the last few years, I have also taken the time to list out some of the best novels with pre-2022 release dates that I have read in the last 12 months. There are some excellent older novels out there that I haven’t had the chance to read before this year, and it is always fun to go back and explore them. I ended up reading a bunch of awesome older books throughout 2022, including some pretty incredible novels that got easy five-star ratings from me and are really worth checking out.
To come up with this list I had a look at all the novels I read this year that had their initial release before 2022. This list includes a range of pre-2022 releases, including quite a few that I had been meaning to read for a while. I was eventually able to cull this down to a workable Top Ten list, with a descent honourable mentions section. This new list ended up containing an interesting combination of novels, although there was a bit of an overload of entries from the Dresden Files’ series by Jim Butcher, as well as some Warhammer 40,000 novels, both of which I really got into throughout this year. Still this honestly reflects the best pre-2022 novels I read throughout the year, so let us see what made the cut.
I was lucky enough to find a copy of this book in a second-hand shop and started reading it as soon as I could. A brilliant start to a great Warhammer 40,000 series about a group of Viking inspired, werewolf Space Marines, Space Wolf was an awesome, classic Warhammer read that I am really glad I got a chance to read.
After having an epic time with Jeremy Robinson’s epic 2021 novels, The Dark and Mind Bullet, I went back to check out the preceding novel, Tribe. Following a mismatched pair of newly discovered Greek demi-gods as they are chased by a deranged cult, Tribe was a fun and fast-paced read, loaded with so much action and excitement. I can’t wait to continue this series in the future, as everything Robinson writes is pure fun.
A compelling and impressive Warhammer 40,000 audiobook presentation, Dredge Runners was a clever listen that followed two dangerous abhuman criminals as they navigate the deadly underbelly of an industrial planet. Thanks to a clever story and some amazing narrators, this was an outstanding presentation, although I left it as an honourable mention due to it being a short story. However, it did inspire me to check out Worley’s follow-up release, the 2022 book The Wraithbone Phoenix, which was particularly epic.
A dark and captivating Australian crime thriller from last year, Unforgiven was an excellent book I checked out towards the start of 2022, which proved to be a gritty and memorable read.
Top Ten List (by original publication year):
This year I made an effort to continue the excellent Gotrek and Felix series that was part of the awesome Warhammer Fantasy franchise. Following on from such fantastic reads as Trollslayer, Skavenslayer, Daemonslayer, Dragonslayer and Beastslayer, Vampireslayer was a particularly epic entry in this series, that saw the protagonists chase a powerful vampire across the continent to most dangerous place imaginable. A quick paced and exciting novel that explored vampires in the Warhammer Fantasy setting, Vampireslayer was an excellent read and one I powered through very quickly.
I was in the mood for some cool siege warfare this year, so I turned to the outstanding sounding Warhammer 40,000 book, Storm of Iron by one of the franchises best authors, Graham McNeill. Storm of Iron sees a vast futuristic citadel besieged by the Iron Warriors, legendary siege experts, resulting in a massive and bloody battle to the very end. I had an outstanding time with this elaborate and wildly entertaining read, especially as McNeill did a wonderful job setting the focus on the villains and showcasing their twisted tales. A highly recommended read, this is easily one of the best siege novels I have ever had the pleasure of reading.
After all the amazing fun I’ve been having with Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files (see my reviews for Storm Front, Fool Moon, Grave Peril, Summer Knight, Battle Ground and The Law), I had to continue this series in 2022 and I am exceedingly happy that I did. I started by going back to the fifth book in the outstanding urban fantasy series, Death Mask, which placed the protagonist in the middle of a bloody battle to recover a sacred artifact from criminals and fallen angels. Tense, powerful and so much fun, this was a particularly epic entry in the series, and I had an exceptional time reading it.
I had so much fun with Death Masks that I immediately listened to the next book in the Dresden Files series, Blood Rites, which saw the protagonist once again tangling with vampires. While this was one of the more controversial entries in the series, I deeply enjoyed it, especially as Butcher featured several great enemies, a compelling murder mystery, and some major revelations that will haunt the protagonist for books to come. A very fun and highly addictive read, I can’t wait to get through more of these books in the new year.
I finally got the chance to listen to the iconic zombie novel, World War Z, by Max Brooks, who previously impressed me with Devolution. World War Z lived up to all the hype surrounding it as it explored a world-ending zombie apocalypse through a series of testimonials from survivors on the ground. Extremely clever and highly inventive, this was an exceptional book, and it is made even better by its epic audiobook format which contains a ton of brilliant actors doing the narration. Easily one of the best books I have read in a long time, World War Z comes highly recommended and I am exceedingly glad I managed to listen to it this year.
I was in a Star Wars mood earlier this year, so I went back and listened to the deeply intriguing Star Wars Legends novel, Darth Plagueis. Telling the story of the Emperor’s hidden master, Darth Plagueis, this is a very compelling read that explores a never before seen figure in Star Wars lore, while also giving some insight into his apprentice, Darth Sidious. Despite no longer being canon, this is a very compelling read for Star Wars fans, and I loved how it filled in several gaps in the Legends lore. Highly recommended, this is one of the best Star Wars books I have ever read.
Warhammer Fantasy fiction really does not get much better than the clever standalone read, Van Horstmann by Ben Counter. A twisted tale of ambition, revenge and change, Van Horstmann gives history to an old-school character from the Warhammer game and showed the reader his complex youth as a student wizard in the enlightened and pure Light Order. However, Van Horstmann has his own plans, which see him burn the order down from the inside to get what he wants most in the world. This was a brilliant and very intense read, and I loved all the awesome twists and turns that Counter featured throughout it.
Another excellent Star Wars Legends book I checked out this year was the intriguing Kenobi by John Jackson Miller. An outstanding, currently non-canon, book that explored the early years of Kenobi’s exile, this great read sees the titular character caught up in all manner of trouble as he tries to settle down on Tatooine. I mainly read it in preparation for the Obi-Wan Kenobi series this year, but this book really stands on its own and is very much worth a read.
The most recent pre-2022 book I read was Dragon Mage by M. L. Spencer, a massive fantasy epic that has been on my radar for a while. Following a gifted protagonist and his friend as they discover their inner magic and learn to ride dragons, Dragon Mage is a highly compelling read with a great, classic fantasy vibe to it. While it took me a while to get through this book, it was extremely worth it, and I am very happy I managed to cross this off my to-read list this year.
The final entry on this list is the audiobook adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s epic comic series, The Sandman. Read by an all-star cast, this audiobook production perfectly brought to life the first several The Sandman comics and told the elaborate story of Dream, who is captured and imprisoned by a magician, who must escape and reclaim his kingdom. I loved the complex and multifaceted narrative contained within this comic, and I cannot emphasise how impressive the audiobook version was, especially as you have some major talented really diving into these insane characters. Easily one of the best audio productions released in recent years, this is a highly recommended listen that I could not get enough of.
And that is the end of this list. As you can see I have managed to check out a bunch of epic pre-2022 novels this year. Each of the above were exceptional and fun reads and I would strongly recommend them, especially if you are in the mood for some fun fantasy or science fiction adventures. I look forward to reading some other older books in 2023, and it will be interesting to see what makes my next version of this list then. I imagine it will end up looking a little similar, especially as I have plans to continue several of these series, especially the Dresden Files, as well as examining some other outstanding Star Wars and Warhammer novels. Make sure to check back in next week for some other end-of-year lists as I continue to highlight some of my favourite reads from 2022.