Rankings for the 100 Books I Read This Year

Here’s the rankings for all the books I read in 2019. Spoilers!(Obviously)

Overall thoughts: This is the third year I’ve been mass-reviewing books. While I had a good time this year, overall this was the weakest year of reading and reviewing I’ve had thus far. That said, this year also had the fewest number of flops- I liked pretty much everything I read. I just wish that I found more books which blew my socks off. Perhaps I’m just read so much that I have a harder time being impressed. Anyway, on with the show!

My Favorites of the Year

  • Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders
    • What a gloriously weird book. The author took liberties with style, telling a story American Civil-War era ghosts.
    • Reading this was a trip, both a trip back in time and a mind-bending acid trip.
  • Tigana by Guy Gavriel Kay
    • First book by Kay I’ve read and it was excellent.
  • This is How You Lose the Time War by Amal El-Mohar and Max Gladstone
    • I liked this so much I read it twice in a row. It was really good, probably the best thing I read this year.
  • The Raven Tower by Ann Leckie
    • When I first read this book I initially came away with a slightly negative impression. Upon reflection, I think that this is probably one of the best books I’ve ever read. Kudos to the author for writing such a gloriously difficult book.
    • It has several flaws, believe me, but ultimately I think the author pulls off a stellar story.
    • It contains some of the best understated worldbuilding I’ve seen in a while.
  • Minimum Wage Magic by Rachel Aaron
    • Fun! This is a well told story, with a strong plot and pacing and good (and at moments great) characters. Dragons in Detroit! This isn’t the Mona Lisa of literature, but a fun good time.
    • The perfect beach read/ airport read. This is a perfect popcorn book, something I can read a dozen times and be happy while reading.

Highly Recommended

Recommended

Recommended with Reservations

  • The Midnight Front by David Mack
    • It had the very best chapter of all the books I read this year, a chapter I’ll remember for my entire life. It was a ‘Schindler’s List’ moment of compelling storytelling.
    • It had the coolest, most grimdark magic system I’ve ever read: you summon demons from Hell and sell them your soul in exchange for magic. The more demons you summon, the more insane you go.
    • You don’t want to sell your soul, but you have to because the Nazi warlocks are taking over Western Europe and Russia.  If you don’t fight fire with fire millions of innocent Jews, LGBT, communists and Roma will die, and the Devil-empowered Nazis will attack Britain and the US next.
    • Unfortunately, the protagonist was as dull as a spoon, and the book was too long. Ultimately these two disadvantages took me out of the book.
    • I’ll give it and the sequel another go one of these days.
  • The Sword of Shannara by Terry Brooks
    • Re-read. Was fine. Not excellent, but a good tentpole for the genre. If you liked ‘Theft of Swords,’ then check this classic out.
  • Mass Effect: Foundation by Mac Walters
    • Graphic novel. Was fine.
  • Batman: Eye of the Beholder by Tony Daniel
    • Graphic novel. Was fine.
  • Christmas Eve 1914 by Charles Olivier
    • Audioplay. It was okay.
  • Overwatch: Bastet by Michael Chu
    • Was okay. A bit meh. I didn’t love or hate it.
  • Lud in the Mist by Hope Mirrlees
    • Not my jazz. I can see why this used to be so popular and influential, but it’s too old fashioned for my taste.
  • The Wicked + The Divine: Fandemonium by Kieron Gillen
    • I’m not a fan of Fandemonium. My favorite character died in book 1, and second favorite in book 2.
  • Sea Girls by Daniel Wallace
    • Okay.
  • Black Betty by Nisi Shawl
    • Also okay.
  • War of the Spark: Ravnica by Greg Weisman
    • Sarcastic comment: FANDOM CONTROVERSY 1, HERE BE (POORLY WRITTEN) DRAGONS!
    • Sober comment: MtG novel. WotS: Ravnica wasn’t as bad as it’s reputation suggests. It wasn’t good, mind you, but it wasn’t bad. Mediocre, or maybe a little worse than mediocre. But not awful.
  • War of the Spark: Forsaken by Greg Weisman
    • Sarcastic comment: FANDOM CONTROVERSY 2, THE BRAWNY (AND DECIDEDLY MALE) EDITION
    • Sober comment: I read the first fifteen or so pages, decided this book was bad, and returned it. You should read it only if you’re a fan of train wrecks. (My sympathies, Greg. Wizards did you dirty with this one.)
    • On the bright side, the r/magictcg subreddit got about a month of memes out of this, until Oko turned the subreddit into elks.
  • The Baboon War by Nnedi Okorafor
    • Interesting concept, succeeded in pulling off the concept. Still, not enough resolution and raised more questions than it answered. I was left feeling unsure.
  • Peter and Fi by Kelvyn Fernandes
    • Was fine.
  • Escaping Exodus’ by Nicky Drayden
    • This was one of my top 15 favorite books of the year. At moments it was truly excellent and innovative. However the whole ‘space tentacle body horror civilization’ thing makes this niche, so I can only recommend it only with reservations.
    • Are you in the mood to try something weird? I can recommend this wholeheartedly.
  • The Dresden Files: Dog Men” by Jim Butcher
    • Graphic novel. A bit meh. I like that we got more of Listens-To-Wind.
  • Rivers of London: Cry Fox‘ by Ben Aaronovitch
    • Graphic novel! A bit meh, to be honest. It just didn’t have thematic cohesiveness.

Nonfiction

Video Games

  • Masquerada Songs and Shadows
    • Unexpected indie gem. Really good Venice-like worldbuilding. Has great voice actors. The gameplay is fun. Shame it never took off.
  • The Talos Principle + The Road to Gehenna
    • I beat the Talos Principle + the Road to Gehenna main game. I am now in the middle of getting all the bonus stars in order to save ADMIN. Great game, love the puzzles. I’ll post a Road to Gehenna review once I beat it (if I beat it, getting the stars is hard).
  • Dishonored 2 + Dishonored: Death of the Outsider
    • Had the best level design of any game I ever played. Between ‘The Clockwork Mansion’ and ‘The Crack in the Slab,’ which comboed with the game’s teleportation and stealth based gameplay to be magnificent. Plus the art style, this game was just baller.
  • Sekiro: Shadows Die Twice
    • Just got this about a month ago and I’m only about 1/3 of the way through (I just beat Genichiro and am now working on Long-arm Centipede Giraffe). I’ve never played such a difficult game before, but I have to say that I like the gameplay loop of try-die-repeat. Self-improvement is half the fun of it. And the swordplay/assassination playstyle is crisp and satisfying even when you die. Together they make dying on the same boss over and over feel fun, because you see their health bar getting lower and lower on each try.
    • In other games you steamroll ‘easy’ bosses on your first try, and for hard bosses you have to fight them one or two more times. I like that in Sekiro ‘easy’ bosses kill you only two or three times, whereas hard bosses kill you ten or twenty times (or thirty or forty).
    • That said, screw you Lady Butterfly.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s