Well, here we are again! I’m equal parts happy and sad to see the end of 2022 and I can still hardly believe that in a few hours it’ll be another new year. It feels like only yesterday I was trying to narrow down my favourite reads of last year, and it definitely hasn’t gotten any easier to do so.
2022 has been a year of change, of reflecting and re-evaluating and of starting over from scratch but I’ve been blessed with some wonderful people beside me who made it all a whole lot easier to go through. I haven’t been the best at keeping on top of reviewing and posting because of… well, life. But I have still loved having this space to come back to again and again, knowing this blog and the books I share on here will always be waiting for me to find my way back to them.
Reading-wise, it was a pretty decent year. I read 56 books this year, which is slightly over my usual average and 6 more than my usual yearly goal, so… success! I had only 8 5-star reads this year, which was a bit disappointing, but a whopping 34 4-star reads! So maybe it was really only a case of me being in the wrong headspace for a while… we’ll see how well those books stand the test of time (and my terrible memory)!
And so, without further ado, let’s get into the actual books to see my top reads of 2022! These include a mix of new and backlist books, but they’re all ones I discovered for the first time during this weird and wonderful year. The link in the book’s title takes you to Goodreads, while the one in the text goes to my review (if I posted one). The books are listed in no particular order, and they’re the ones that stayed with me long after reading them, not necessarily the ones I rated highest shortly after reading them.
Let me know in the comments if you read any of these or which ones (if any) are on your TBR!
The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea by Axie Oh
Aside from the absolutely stunning cover, this whimsical retelling of a Korean legend was one of the most beautiful books I read this year. Magic, action, love, grief, honour, family, gods and goddesses and even a dragon: this book has it all! My lovely family gifted me a copy of this for Christmas, so I can not only enjoy admiring this on my bookshelves but I can also look forward to diving back into this world in the new year.
What Strange Paradise by Omar El Akkad
What Strange Paradise follows Amir, a 9-year-old Syrian boy who is the sole survivor when the rickety boat he was travelling on sank just off an island’s shore, and Vänna, a teenage girl native to the island who finds him and becomes determined to save him. This is one of those books that gave me a lot to reflect on, and that I still occasionally think it about despite having read it all the way back in March. A gorgeously lyrical novel existing in the bittersweet space between fantasy and reality, it’s one I wish more people would read just so I could discuss it with them. Perfect book club material!
Lessons in Chemistry by Bonnie Garmus
This one will surprise absolutely no one given the amount of attention this book has been getting. Even though I thought about leaving it out to make space for other books, Lessons in Chemistry really couldn’t not be here given how much I’ve been pushing it on everyone. A really impressive debut, this funny yet emotionally rich story is firmly set in my mind and in my heart with its unforgettable characters and social critique.
Nettle & Bone by T. Kingfisher
This one was by far the most original book I read in quite a while. It’s certainly the only book I can think of with a chicken possessed by a demon in it! I adored every page of this weird and funny book and the great cast within it. Nettle & Bone delivers all the classic tropes of a fantastic quest in such an original way that it feels like reading something completely new and like meeting an old friend at the same time. A firm favourite!
The Embroidered Book by Kate Heartfield
This is another book that was more of a slow burn than instant love. This historical fantasy tale of two sisters in a key period of European history stayed with me far longer than I expected, and I kept thinking of it a long time after turning the final page. Definitely a must-read for historical fantasy lovers!
Half a Soul by Olivia Atwater
Immediately after finishing it, I said Half a Soul was the comfort read I didn’t know I needed and that is still super true today! This Regency fantasy romance remains one of the most delightful books I read this year, and one of my 2023 resolutions is to catch up with the rest of the series. I’m really looking forward to seeing what the next books will bring!
The Girl With the Louding Voice by Abi Daré
Adunni, a young Nigerian girl who longs to get an education so she can become a teacher and improve the lives of the people in her village, is one of those characters that is almost impossible to shake off after the book is closed. Despite all the obstacles and hardships she has to face, Adunni never loses sight of her goal and of herself. Inspiring.
The Path of Thorns by A.G. Slatter
A.G. Slatter makes it on my favourites list for the second year running with The Path of Thorns, a gorgeously dark, atmospheric, gothic tale. Witchcraft, ghosts, murder and family secrets all rolled into one and peppered with deliciously morally grey characters. Not to be missed if you love gothic fantasy vibes.
The Fairy Tellers by Nicholas Jubber
It’s not often a non-fiction book makes it in my top reads of the year, but I have to make an exception for The Fairy Tellers. This excellently researched book takes readers on a fascinating journey through time and space to meet the minds behind some of the best-known fairytales as well as some who received much less attention in the Western world. A treat for fairy-tale lovers!