Top 10 Books of 2022

10. Empire of Exiles

Books of the Usurper #1
by Erin M. Evans

You can tell that Evans poured all of her nerdery into this book and it’s impressive to behold...The world feels ripe for exploration and it’s setting up for a great trilogy.


9. The Bone Orchard

by Sara Mueller

The Bone Orchard is an ambitious and inventive novel about the lengths someone will go for self-preservation amidst extreme trauma. 


8. How High We Go in the Dark

by Sequoia Nagamatsu

There is no shortage of dark humor to be found among the increasingly macabre story beats of How High We Go in the Dark. Even so, some sections are just incredibly devastating to read and that’s a credit to Nagamatsu’s excellent writing.


7. Lark Ascending

by Silas House

House’s no-frills, plainly-told story is a refreshing change of pace from similar novels that might get bogged down with worldbuilding about the fall of our civilization. It’s visceral, heart-rending, but filled with hope and promise about the resiliency of a boy growing up under unspeakable conditions. 


6. Fevered Star

Between Earthy & Sky #2
by Rebecca Roanhorse

Fevered Star is a worthy follow-up to Black Sun, one of my favorite books of the last few years. This is epic fantasy of the highest order and Roanhorse’s writing is a joy to read. 


5. A Prayer for the Crown-Shy

Monk & Robot #2
by Becky Chambers

A heartwarming continuation of the adventures of our beloved robot and human companions, Mosscap and Dex. Much like the first novella, I so enjoyed the time spent in this world and with its inhabitants. 


4. The Jade Setter of Janloon

The Green Bone Saga #0.5
by Fonda Lee

Fonda Lee was still able to craft an exciting, tightly-plotted, and complete story featuring many of the hallmarks that made the Green Bone Saga so compelling…if you loved the Green Bone Saga and aren’t ready to leave Janloon behind just yet, this is a supremely satisfying read.


3. Neom

A Central Station Novel
by Lavie Tidhar

This was superb and I’m in awe of Tidhar’s vision. He’s conjured up a futuristic city that feels simultaneously ultramodern and also run down. The rich histories of the region and its cultures are seamlessly interwoven into the fabric of this fully-realized world.


2. Venemous Lumpsucker

by Ned Beauman

This is the most delightful book about mass species extinction that you’ll ever read. Ned Beauman employs pitch-perfect gallows humor to engage with human-caused environmental destruction in a fresh and exciting way…very, very funny…fast paced, an engaging story, smart humor, and interesting characters. This book is a winner.


1. The Spear Cuts Through Water

by Simon Jimenez

What. A. Novel. Simon Jimenez is operating on another level with The Spear Cuts Through Water. This is an evocative tale that beautifully blends fantasy, reality, and fable into a perfect package. To summarize the plot here would deprive you of the wonderful journey that awaits you once you crack open the first page. 

Jimenez simultaneously (and effectively) tells multiple nested stories, while exploring the nature of identity, love, and intergenerational trauma. The book is unwavering in its commitment to its characters, its story, and its structure. And it’s told with such fierce confidence and love that I was totally mesmerized from start to finish.

If The Vanished Birds (also excellent) didn’t put Jimenez on the map, The Spear Cuts Through Water definitely will. This is a special book.


Top Television of 2022

Aside from reading, I spent the remainder of my media consumption time on television. Although a departure for this blog, I wanted to put this list together to shout out my favorite TV from 2022, most of which has a speculative bent.

  1. Station Eleven (Limited Series – HBOMAX) – premiering in 2021, but finishing in 2022, this was the first AND single best thing I watched all year (Primacy bias be damned). I wish it had received a more rapturous reception. This adaptation improves on the source material in a way I did not think possible.
  2. Severance (Season 1 – Apple TV+) – odd, melancholic, and totally engrossing. A gem of a show. I’m not sure it needs to continue beyond Season 1, but I’ll be watching.
  3. The Bear (Season 1 – Hulu) – As good as everyone says it is. Fully immersive (and stressful) viewing.
  4. Little Women 🇰🇷 (Season 1 – Netflix) – absolutely insane on a week to week basis. Twist after twist. Totally bonkers, but so enjoyable. I’ve jumped headfirst into the K-Drama waters this year, and this was the best of the bunch I watched. More entries to come in 2023, I’m sure.
  5. What We Do in the Shadows (Season 4 – FX) – my favorite comedy of the last several years. Not as consistently funny as previous seasons (Baby Colin storyline was not for me), but the highs were very high. I rewatched Episode 5, “Night School” more times than I can count.
  6. Andor (Season 1 – Disney+) – The most interesting Star Wars show in ages. The production design, the art direction, the acting, the writing, the mini story-arcs. Everything is top-notch.
  7. Stranger Things (Season 4 – Netflix) – The first season to come close to recapturing the magic of Season 1. Everything here is so polished and makes for a wondrous experience.
  8. Young Royals 🇸🇪 (Season 2 – Netflix) – The music is outstanding. The leads are believable and have great chemistry. The whole ensemble is strong. I’m glad we’re getting a third and final season to wrap it all up.
  9. The White Lotus (Season 2 – HBO) – I’ve watched more of Mike White on-screen (Survivor, The Amazing Race, School of Rock) than I have of him behind the camera, but it’s all gold. Opening title sequence is a bop.
  10. For All Mankind (Season 3 – Apple TV+) – A series not afraid to make bold, head-scratching choices. But also one that you can’t wait to see what they think of next. It’s a bit of a come down from the heights of Season 2, but it’s still an incredibly compelling alternate history saga.
  11. Yellowjackets (Season 1 – Showtime)
  12. House of the Dragon (Season 1 – HBO)
  13. Players (Season 1 – Paramount+)
  14. Under the Queen’s Umbrella 🇰🇷 (Season 1 – Netflix)
  15. Reborn Rich 🇰🇷 (Season 1 – Viki)
  16. Hacks (Season 2 – HBO)
  17. The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power (Season 1 – Prime Video)
  18. Big Mouth (Season 6 – Netflix)
  19. Bridgerton (Season 2 – Netflix)
  20. Better Call Saul (Season 6 – AMC)
  21. Derry Girls (Season 3 – Netflix)
  22. Barry (Season 3 – HBO)
  23. Ozark (Season 4 – Netflix)
  24. Light & Magic (Docuseries – Disney+)
  25. The Boys (Season 3 – Prime Video)
  26. Raised By Wolves (Season 2 – HBOMAX)
  27. Better Things (Season 5 – FX)
  28. Obi-Wan Kenobi (Season 1 – Disney+)
  29. Welcome to Wrexham (Docuseries – Season 1 – FX)
  30. Documentary Now! (Season 4 – IFC)
  31. Once Upon a Small Town 🇰🇷 (Season 1 – Netflix)
  32. Heartstopper (Season 1 – Netflix)
  33. The Book of Boba Fett (Season 1 – Disney+)
  34. The Afterparty (Season 1 – Apple TV+)
  35. Narco-Saints 🇰🇷 (Limited Series – Netflix)
  36. Ms. Marvel (Season 1 – Disney+)
  37. Behind Every Star 🇰🇷 (Season 1 – Netflix)
  38. Westworld (Season 4 – HBO)
  39. The Umbrella Academy (Season 3 – Netflix)

Top 10 Books of 2021

10. Elder Race

by Adrian Tchaikovsky

The concept alone (and the gorgeous cover) drew me to this novella, but the plot gets turned on its head almost immediately with a delicious bait and switch…a good reminder of what an interesting writer Tchaikovsky has become.


9. The Fall of Babel

The Books of Babel #4
by Josiah Bancroft

Bancroft’s prose continues to possess a unique flavor with dashes of charm, wit, biting humor, and heart that are unmatched by others in the genre…all of the elements coalesced into something wondrous and satisfying in the end…The Books of Babel is one of the greatest fantasy series I’ve ever read.


8. The Bone Ship’s Wake

The Tide Child #3
by R.J. Barker

This final book is just the cherry on top of a thrilling and bloody pirate sundae. It’s a satisfying conclusion to a magnificent seafaring adventure trilogy.


7. Notes from the Burning Age

by Claire North

This is a book of loss and devastation, what remains, and what grows from the ashes of a broken world. North brings this plausible dystopian world to life with stark imagery and elegant prose…I had not read any of North’s work prior to this novel, but I’ve come away impressed and excited to see what she writes next.


6. A Psalm for the Wild-Built

Monk & Robot #1
by Becky Chambers

Chambers storytelling style is straightforward and without frills, but the overall result is quite affecting. I’m eager for future adventures with Dex and Mosscap and learning more about the world of Panga.


5. The Councillor

by E. J. Beaton

What an outstanding debut novel. Lysande is a gem of a main character in a high fantasy world that feels familiar yet fresh. Beaton weaves an intricate plot packed to the brim with tantalizing ingredients – underground secret societies, complex political maneuvering, passionate romance, dastardly treachery, and forbidden magic.


Our interview with E.J. Beaton

4. Brothers of the Wind

The Osten Ard Saga
by Tad Williams

This was a wonderful novella that I struggled to put down…This will be more rewarding for those with preexisting knowledge of Osten Ard, but I think this works really well as a standalone story, too. For me, this is one of my favorite books of the year.


3. We Have Always Been Here

by Lena Nguyen

A gripping sci-fi thriller that twisted in unexpected directions and kept me hooked all the way to the end. There’s a real palpable tension and delirium infused into Nguyen’s writing that enhances what could have been a straightforward thriller into something much deeper, sharper, and stranger. I’m excited to see what Nguyen writes next, as this was an excellent debut.


Our interview with Lena Nguyen

2. Idols Fall

Iconoclasts #3
by Mike Shel

This is a masterful conclusion to an outstanding series. Shel is a truly gifted storyteller and he’s woven a trilogy-capping book that is dark, twisty, funny, wholly satisfying, and bloody brilliant…major emphasis on the “bloody.” There’s so much fantasy goodness packed into the pages here: demonic possession, talking swords, beasts from hell, false gods, geopolitical conflict, cults, and of course, a dangerous expedition into an ancient cursed ruin. 


1. Jade Legacy

The Green Bone Saga #3
by Fonda Lee

Engrossing, unpredictable, and heart-wrenching through to the final page – Jade Legacy is a worthy capstone to an incredible trilogy. I can confidently say that Fonda Lee’s Green Bone Saga is a modern fantasy classic and I feel lucky to have come across such a special series.


Top 10 Books of 2020

10. The Empire of Gold

by S.A. Chakraborty

…brings this expansive trilogy to a rousing conclusion…Chakraborty’s writing continues to impress and it flows beautifully once again in this book. …this trilogy is such an impressive achievement. FULL REVIEW

9. Riot Baby

by Tochi Onyebuchi

…visceral, staggering, and powerful…a satisfying read that packs quite a bit of fire into its limited page count. FULL REVIEW

8. Nophek Gloss

by Essa Hansen

Exciting, Inventive, and packed with imaginative ideas – Hansen’s debut space opera is the coolest novel I’ve read in some time. It’s hard science fiction at its finest. FULL REVIEW

7. The Obsidian Tower

by Melissa Caruso

…I had a really fun time with this book. Each page crackles with magic. Caruso’s writing flows well and moves the narrative forward at a swift pace with a steady stream of action and court intrigue throughout.  FULL REVIEW

6. Call of the Bone Ships

by RJ Barker

Barker absolutely stuck the landing with this second book of the Tide Child trilogy...Every moment spent voyaging through Barker’s Scattered Archipelago is incredibly satisfying. I highly recommend this series. FULL REVIEW

5. Piranesi

by Susanna Clarke

It was a real delight to be lost in the labyrinthian walls of Susanna Clarke’s Piranesi…this is a cracking good read that I’d recommend to anyone looking for a brief escape to a more hopeful world. FULL REVIEW

4. Greenwood

by Michael Christie

Add this title to the growing trend of excellent books about trees that have sprouted up in recent years….Christie’s prose is beautifully composed and his descriptions of nature are stunning. I’d recommend this to any lover of nature or fan of epic family sagas.  FULL REVIEW

3. The House in the Cerulean Sea

by TJ Klune

TJ Klune has written something truly wonderful here – a positively delightful book that warms the heart and soul. Each page brims with life and joy and it gives me hope for a better world. I’m not sure what else you can ask for from a book. FULL REVIEW

2. The Vanished Birds

by Simon Jimenez

This is an exceptional debut novel. Simon Jimenez is clearly a skilled storyteller and is an exciting new voice in science fiction. His prose is beautiful and in The Vanished Birds he seamlessly weaves multiple threads into a tightly-plotted tour de force…[It’s] a profound and deeply human story told on an epic scale across millennia. I loved it. FULL REVIEW

1. Black Sun

by Rebecca Roanhorse

This is pitch perfect epic fantasy. Everything works so well together — propulsive pacing, exceptional characters, excellent world-building, and a fascinating mix of cultures, politics, religion, and lore…one of the best books of 2020. FULL REVIEW

Top 10 Books of 2019

Honorable Mentions


Atlas Alone

Planetfall #4
Author: Emma Newman

Newman writes killer endings and this book was no exception to that trend. I wasn’t as intrigued by the buildup to the finale, but Newman certainly left me wanting more by the ending. I really hope there will be more Planetfall novels in the future as this continues to be a wonderful series with countless story threads left to explore. See full review here.

Sin Eater

Sin Eater

Iconoclasts #2
Author: Mike Shel

…the worldbuilding remains strong, the writing flows nicely, and the ending is satisfying enough to leave me excited for what’s to come in the third and final book in the trilogy. See full review here.


Dead Astronauts

Borne #2
Author: Jeff VanderMeer

This book is trippy, oftentimes incoherent, but all sorts of enthralling. The writing itself is quite mesmerizing with VanderMeer spinning some real poetry on each page. Dead Astronauts is certainly not for everyone, and I don’t even think it’s for me, but I did like it? Maybe? Perhaps it’s just fun to see what oddities VanderMeer can think up and bring to life.  See full review here.


Top 10 of 2019


10. The Ten Thousand Doors of January

Author: Alix E. Harrow

The writing is beautiful and lush. The story is sad and sweet in equal measure. The world is captivating and I truly felt transported back in time. January is a well-drawn character, full of life and verve and nuance. She was a wonderful window into this fantastical world. See full review here.


9. The Outlaw and the Upstart King

The Map of Unknown Things #2
Author: Rod Duncan

Author Rod Duncan continues to convey atmosphere in an engaging way. You can smell the brine, feel the mud, and hear the gulls in the sky, which is a testament to Duncan’s skills as a storyteller. Even if I wasn’t always enraptured by the story, I could enjoy the vivid imagery and worldbuilding that Duncan employs. See full review here.


8. Master and Apprentice

Star Wars Canon
Author: Claudia Gray

Author Claudia Gray does some excellent character work in this novel – she adds depth to existing characters while introducing several new characters to the story. Each individual is given agency, clear motivations, and satisfying arcs across the board…an engaging and enjoyable interplanetary adventure story. See full review here.


7. A Brightness Long Ago

Author: Guy Gavriel Kay

This book explores the ripples of time, how small actions have an impact on the world at large and how our memory of the past shapes our understanding of our future…Much like Kay’s previous work, A Brightness Long Ago is beautifully composed, emotionally engaging, and features compelling characters with depth. See full review here.


6. The Test

Author: Sylvain Neuvel

Sylvain Neuvel follows up his excellent Themis Files series with this twisted, fast-paced, and thought-provoking dystopian novella. Much like Themis Files, Neuvel employs an unconventional storytelling structure to engage the reader and make the best use of his sharp, sense-of-urgency writing style…It’s a tight page-turner that really works. See full review here.


5. A Choir of Lies

A Conspiracy of Truths #2
Author: Alexandra Rowland

It’s a bold choice to change gears so drastically from one book to the next, but it pays off well…this book is charming, heartening, and well worth your time. It feels like Rowland is just getting started here. See full review here.


4. Recursion

Author: Blake Crouch

A dynamic “what if” novel that builds and builds as the unintended consequences of messing with memories threaten to unmake the world. I read this in one sitting and really enjoyed my time with it. It’s quickly paced and features well-drawn, sympathetic characters. See full review here.


3. The Kingdom of Copper

The Daevabad Trilogy #2
Author: S.A. Chakraborty

Even as each page crackles with magic, at its core, this is a captivating family drama that continues to ratchet up the tension as the book progresses…Overall, I thought this was a really solid middle book. It charted new territory and told a contained story that was engaging, satisfying, and left me looking forward to what comes next. See full review here.


2. The Hod King

The Books of Babel #3
Author: Josiah Bancroft

Bancroft could write a kitchen appliance manual and I’d happily read it. The fact that he’s built such a wondrous world and a story that makes such perfect use of his unique voice and style makes it all the better. The witticisms, turns of phrase, vivid images, fully drawn characters, and the magnificent setting all coalesce into something truly remarkable…This series is a modern fantasy classic. See full review here.


1. The Bone Ships

The Tide Child #1
Author: RJ Barker

Barker’s prose is rich but rough and perfectly suited for a seafaring tale. You can taste the ocean spray and feel the sway of the ships as they traverse the angry seas. The world is filled with unique flora and fauna, but the setting still feels familiar and accessible…this is a superb start to an exciting new series. The worldbuilding, the prose, the character development, and the story beats are all top-notch.  See full review here.


The Non- List of 2018

This blog is devoted to reviewing current works of speculative fiction…however…I branch out in my normal life to consume other types of books/media. Below is a snapshot of my favorites from a smattering of miscellaneous “Non” categories.

Non-2018 Speculative Fiction Favorites

Non-Fiction Favorites

Non-Book Speculative Favorites (Film)

Non-Book Speculative Favorites (TV)

Non-Book Non-Speculative Favorites (Film)

Non-Book Non-Speculative Favorites (TV)



Top 10 Books of 2018



10. Rosewater

Author: Tade Thompson

Really inventive…I enjoyed this novel on a conceptual level, but didn’t find the story to be compelling until it all comes together at the end. I’m interested to see where author Tade Thompson takes future installments in this trilogy because he’s set up a good foundation with this excellent first book. See full review here.


9. A Conspiracy of Truths

Author: Alexandra Rowland

An unexpectedly delightful story featuring a wonderfully eccentric narrator…When writing a book about a gifted storyteller, it helps to be a gifted storyteller. Luckily, author Alexandra Rowland shows a knack for spinning a charming and heartwarming yarn.  A Conspiracy of Truths is an impressive and enchanting novel that was a joy to read. See full review here.

Foundryside RD4 clean flat

8. Foundryside

Author: Robert Jackson Bennett

This book has pieces of everything I want in a fantasy novel — an intriguing magic system, rich worldbuilding, interesting characters, humor, and heart. Those pieces coalesce into something really interesting and make for an enjoyable reading experience. Foundryside is swiftly paced, has great action, and features loads of sharp, snappy dialogue.  See full review here.


7. Before Mars

Author: Emma Newman

A wonderfully captivating read that I really enjoyed…Before Mars is a compelling mystery box novel and a worthy addition to the Planetfall universe. With three books released and another on the way, Newman is crafting a superb series of interconnected works. See full review here.

Iron Gold

6. Iron Gold

Author: Pierce Brown

A wholly worthwhile addition to Darrow’s story that breathes fresh life into the overall saga. Iron Gold is sprawling, electrifying, bloody, and represents a welcome return to form for the series. See full review here.


5. Aching God

Author: Mike Shel

A thoroughly engrossing debut novel that I enjoyed immensely. It’s certainly one of my favorite books of 2018 and I will be eagerly awaiting the next installment in the series, as Aching God builds a very solid foundation from which to jump off from. It feels like sword and sorcery Indiana Jones — and I’m very here for that.  See full review here.

Unholy Land // Lavie Tidhar

4. Unholy Land

Author: Lavie Tidhar

Unholy Land is a stunning achievement. It is packed to the brim with engaging ideas and features a captivating story that I could not stop puzzling over. There is such an ethereal and intoxicating quality to the story and Tidhar’s writing that I found myself floating through the chapters, not always sure what was happening, or whose perspective we were seeing, but knowing that I wanted to keep reading. The intersecting story threads twisted my brain into a pretzel and I loved it. See full review here.


3. The Poppy War

Author: R.F. Kuang

Wow, this was a gem of a debut novel. I have never read a book that evolves so thoroughly from beginning to end. This is bloody, brutal, and unrelentingly dark fantasy. Overall, Kuang has crafted a complex and absorbing debut novel that is unsettling and enthralling in equal measure.  See full review here.

Philosopher's Flight

2. The Philosopher’s Flight

Author: Tom Miller

Author Tom Miller displays an impressive aptitude for storytelling as he deftly spins this wholly engrossing yarn. The Philosopher’s Flight is a wonderfully inventive historical fantasy that sinks its hooks into you and doesn’t let go. I truly enjoyed Tom Miller’s debut and hope a sequel is on the horizon. (The cover is great, too!) See full review here.



1. Senlin Ascends & Arm of the Sphinx*

Author: Josiah Bancroft

I was completely taken with Senlin Ascends right from the outset. Author Josiah Bancroft’s words paint a vivid picture of a peculiar world where nothing is as it seems. Bancroft’s prose is lyrical and conveys a sense of grand adventure that I rarely find in my reading life. See full review here.

Every page of Arm of the Sphinx is a delectable treat, with countless delightful passages, characters, and a story that gets more intriguing as mysteries build and questions are answeredIt’s inventive, clever, and imbued with a sense of virtuousness and humanity. Bancroft is weaving together a wonderful series that has all the makings of a modern fantasy classic. See full review here.

*Okay, #1 is a bit a cop-out since Senlin Ascends was originally published in 2013 and Arm of the Sphinx in 2014…HOWEVER, Orbit made the smart decision to snatch up the rights to Bancroft’s series and re-released these first two books in 2018…so, they qualify for this list on a technicality! They’re wonderful books, so I’m happy to bring attention to them in any way I can.

2017 Reading Stats

I always enjoy looking back and quantifying my reading from the previous year. Comparing year to year trends allows me to track progress, make future changes, or just give myself an excuse to make a spreadsheet. As such, I’ve compiled a few charts to breakdown my reading experience in 2017:

Books read in 2017


A new personal best!

Average Page Count

chart (5)

Male vs. Female authorship

chart (6)chart (7)

I made an effort this year to read more books by female authors and I’m happy to see that for the first time ever I read more books written by women than by men. It’s a small step, but I’d like to see these numbers be more even going forward than they have been in the past.

Genre Breakdown

Speculative fiction covers a wide range of genres, so here is a breakdown of how many of the books I read this year fell into each of these genres:

Screen Shot 2017-12-22 at 11.05.28 PM.jpg


Until next year!