Last year I picked 10 books. In 2019 I read over 50 books, but I’m only picking a top two. These two books were by far the best two books I read this year, and trying to come up with 8 more to live with them on a list seemed almost insulting. I even gave a few others 5 stars. But these books both entranced me and stuck with me.
Wanderers by Chuck Wendig
I picked this book up because I follow Chuck on twitter and I’d read a couple other things he wrote and enjoyed them. I thought I’d like Wanderers, too.
Like is not a strong enough word. This is the perfect book for when you want to engross yourself in something epic. It’s long and winding but entertaining every step of the way. While there are many post-apocalyptic books out there, fewer actually occur during the apocalypse. I think a rapid decay of the world is difficult to write, and Wendig does it masterfully. He manages to include a variety of protagonists all with depth and room for growth. This book covers the end of the world from the first strange occurrence to the shocking end.
I thought Wanderers was going to be my number one book in 2019. How could I read something I enjoyed better? It wasn’t possible. Learn more.
Ninth House by Leigh Bardugo
Until I read Ninth House. Leigh Bardugo wrote one of my favorite YA fantasies, Six of Crows. (It’s a fantasy heist story!) Ninth House is for adults. I’d call it urban fantasy, although it’s set on Yale’s campus and not a major city. It also forgoes a lot of things that are often found in urban fantasy that I’m not particularly interested in: vampires, demon hunters, and explicit cross-species sex scenes. (I’m fine with these things existing, and if you like them, great, but it’s not really my cup of tea.)
I do like creepy magic and secret societies. I love creepy magic and secret societies. The creepier and more secret the better, and this book delivers. Now, a book could be chock full of creepy magic and secret societies and still not be a good read (although I’d probably read it anyway). This book wraps the creepy magic and secret societies around the mysterious death of a woman, a Yale student who can see ghosts, and her mentor who disappears. It also tackles some serious issues.
Here’s the thing about me: I read every night before I go to sleep. That’s how I read over 50 books in a year without really trying. I have to read. I read until my eyelids get heavy and I start to fall asleep.
After finishing Ninth House I couldn’t read. I didn’t read another book for about a week. I couldn’t get this book out of my head and I knew nothing else would be as satisfying. I don’t think it’s a literary masterpiece that will eventually be read by disgruntled English 101 students, but it hit every note for me and I absolutely loved it. (We read it for my work book club, and everyone who came to the discussion gave it a positive review.) While it could be read as a stand-alone and it has a solid ending, I still can’t wait for the sequel. Learn more.