My Top 10 Reads of 2022!

MY TOP 10 READS OF 2022!
It's that time again when I get to compile my list of ten books that stood out among all those that I've read this year. It was a difficult process for me this time around because I had the pleasure of reading SO MANY excellent fantasy and scifi books in 2022 and it was a bit of a challenge deciding which ones were close but just missed the cut. But ultimately I feel as if I've come up with an accurate representation of my ten favorites. So without further delay here are the ten sff books that absolutely rocked my world this year!!!

10. BLACKTHORNE by Clayton W. Snyder 
I always eagerly anticipate Clayton Snyder's books because I know I'm going to be entertained and the story is going to be filled with carnage and dark as f-ck. And yet this book is somewhat different in that the trademark violence that Clayton usually infuses into his books is toned down and the action, inventive sf tech, magic, and characterization is turned up to 11. All of that and more made this one a winner for me and a book that was really hard to put down. If you love cyberpunk and military sf with a splash of the supernatural, then BLACKTHORNE will be right up your alley. I certainly enjoyed it and thought that this was one of Snyder's most creative and genre stretching stories to date. And the main villain was just absolutely detestable, which is always a plus. (Read My Full Review)

9. AN END TO SORROW by Michael R. Fletcher
One of my very favorite authors, so it's not surprising really that Michael R. Fletcher made this list. To me the guy can do no wrong, I've loved every single book that I've read by him. This one is the thrilling and insanely brilliant conclusion to Fletcher's Obsidian Path trilogy. This series has some of the craziest beings and monsters I've come across since Lovecraft. A morose blend of weird fiction, dark fantasy, horror, and grimdark, AN END TO SORROW is the phenomenal capper to a series that defies all conventional boundaries of the genre. I very visceral read that solidifies Michael R. Fletcher as one of the most talented writers in the game. I'll continue to look forward to his upcoming releases with great enthusiasm as he remains for me a must read everything he puts out author. (Read My Full Review)

8. ELEVENTH CYCLE by Kian N. Ardalan
This was my very last read before putting together the list and I'm glad that I waited because I would have hated to leave it off. I kept seeing this book being talked about on Twitter and so I eventually reached out to the author Kian Ardalan and he was gracious enough to provide me with an advance copy. All I can say is wow, this book is intensely emotional, puts forth a powerful social message, and is just a flat out stupendous dark fantasy (some would also say grimdark) book. So many times I found myself being moved to anger, sadness, hopefulness, I mean this book puts you through the paces when it comes to feeling attached to the story and characters. So much so that it becomes a very rare personal experience that leaves you spent and stays with you even when you aren't reading it. Can't say enough about how much I dug ELEVENTH CYCLE and it has me wanting book two pretty much immediately! (Read My Full Review)

7. EMPIRE OF EXILES by Erin M. Evans
This is a book that I also read toward the end of the year and it simply knocked my socks off with it's incredible worldbuilding that was complimented wonderfully by a deep and mysterious history. I'm a huge worldbuilding guy and EMPIE OF EXILES was such a delightful read in that regard. That's not to say that the book suffered in the characterization aspect, on the contrary, these are some of the most fully realized characters in any fantasy novel. Another element that had me turning the pages of this one feverishly was the magic system and the idea of the "salt wall" that keeps the main characters' enemies at bay. Or does it? I guess you'll just have to read this mesmerizing book to find out. I guarantee you won't be disappointed as this story satisfies on so many levels that it should appeal to the vast majority of readers. (Read My Full Review)

6. THE BLADED FAITH by David Dalglish
This amazing book about a conquered kingdom and the resilience and tenacity of its people in the face of a tyrannical occupying force is right up there among my very favorites. The next book The Sapphire Altar is just as great and I actually also read that one this year, but in the end I decided to go with with THE BLADED FAITH. I've become a huge fan of David Dalglish recently and this series made me an even bigger one if that's possible. I just love the revenge theme in these books and this one in particular really starts the series off with a resounding bang. There's no let up, the action is hot and heavy, and the dark magic is of the jaw dropping variety. So many cool concepts and characters who you root for against some of the vilest bad guys imaginable. If you haven't started this series yet, you are truly depriving yourself of something very special. I simply adored this book and that's why it is on this list. (Read My Full Review)

5. THE HUNGER OF THE GODS by John Gwynne
John Gwynne has the unique distinction of being the only author who I haven't given anything less than a 5-star rating to. I've now read nine of his books and every one has been perfect in my opinion. What's even more miraculous is that this book and series are very different from his previous two and yet he still maintains the highest level of quality in his dialogue, intrigue, worldbuilding, and overall story. He also isn't afraid to kill off a character or two just as you start falling in love with them, which I think creates such an investment with the reader. THE HUNGER OF THE GODS continues the epic Bloodsworn Saga in whirlwind fashion. And Orka may well be my current favorite fantasy character splitting skulls as easily as you split your heads of lettuce at home. If you enjoy Viking lore and battles aplenty, grab this series and sit back for a wild ride. Just another brilliant fantasy book that proves Gwynne is a master of his craft and among the very best writers period. (Read My Full Review)

4. UNTIL THE LAST by Mike Shackle
Mike Shackle's The Last War is required reading for any true fantasy fan as far as I'm concerned. The entire trilogy just kicks so much ass and is teeming with dark magic, brutal battles scenes, and characters that you can really connect with. UNTIL THE LAST is the culmination of all of the greatness that came before in the first two books and to say that it is a slam bang finish would be an understatement. A remarkable and fitting end that wraps up every thread and left me feeling like I had just read one of the more important works of fantasy in recent memory. Just as with the other entries in the series, this concluding volume had its share of inspirational moments as the Jians have organized in a last ditch attempt to overthrow the oppressive and tyrannical Egril. Shackle handles the strategy and maneuvering of armies like a pro and really makes you feel as if you are on the front lines of this war to end all wars. Just brilliant but I've come to expect it from Mike Shackle and can't wait to see what he comes up with next. (Read My Full Review)

3. RUINATION by Anthony Reynolds
Based on the popular League of Legends video game by Riot Games, this novel was one of my surprise hit reads of 2022. I didn't really know what to expect since I wasn't familiar with the game before reading this, and so I wondered whether or not that would affect my appreciation and enjoyment of it. Well, turns out I had nothing to be worried about because this book had such a wonderful self-contained story that it didn't matter that I had no knowledge of this world going in. The thing that I loved most about this book was that it was such a thrilling fantasy adventure ride that never took its foot off the gas. Conflict after conflict arose around every corner and it was such a treat to be able to experience this amazing rollercoaster of a read. If you enjoy ancient mysteries, fantastical lands that hold tons of secrets, and magic that it second to none, you should check out RUINATION. It came out of nowhere to absolutely floor me and that's why I put it so high on my list. Just a fun and entertaining fantasy read that I think will appeal to the majority of fantasy lovers. (Read My Full Review)

Viking lore, Irish Mythology, warring tribes/factions, treachery, political intrigue...THE CHILDREN OF GODS AND FIGHTING MEN has it all and with top-notch writing to boot. Shauna Lawless has delivered a fantasy book that also has a ton of crossover appeal with those who enjoy historical fiction. This book felt like settling down with an old friend every time I picked it up and I was astonished at just how much this story sucked me in and stuck with me even after I finished it. If you enjoy John Gwynne, Bernard Cornwell, and Mary Stewart, then you will absolutely love this tremendous epic by Shauna Lawless. It's a wonderful blend of mythology, history, and magic that will keep you turning the pages and have you wondering where the time went. It's also very much a book to get lost in and I was definitely captured under its spell, which is why I made it my second favorite read of the year. I can't say enough about the unmeasurable quality of this story and writing. (Read My Full Review)

1. THE JUSTICE OF KINGS by Richard Swan
In a year where I read so many unbelievably outstanding fantasy and scifi books, THE JUSTICE OF KINGS was still a pretty easy choice for me to make my number one read of 2022. There are special books that just grab you and captivate you from the opening pages, and this is one of those books. From the very first chapter I was completely hooked by the story of the Emperor's Justice Konrad Vonvalt and the intriguing mystery that unfolds as he investigates a plot to potentially bring down the empire. I adored everything about this book from the fact that the narration is done by someone who is observing the actions of the main character firsthand, to the next level worldbuilding, to the crazy twist and turn mystery that kept me off balance and guessing the entire time. There's so much darkness, grit, conspiracy, action, drama, you name it in this book. I really think that everyone should read it, even those who may not necessarily be fans of fantasy books. I honestly don't know how Richard Swan is going to top this but I'm excited to find out and hope to have a copy of the follow up The Tyranny of Faith very soon. Who knows, it could end up being my favorite read of next year too! Just read THE JUSTICE OF KINGS, you won't regret it. An absolutely out of body experience of a brilliant book and MY FAVORITE OF 2022!!!!!! (Read My Full Review)

Thanks as always for visiting and supporting the blog. Hope you enjoyed the list.
Happy Holidays and Happy Reading!



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