I struggled with this prompt for a little while since while I love stories about BFFs, I sadly didn’t have many to recommend. So behold, instead, a post about duologies:
The Greenhollow duology by Emily Tesh Two delightfully lush, woodsy and queer stories about the Green Man, Tobias and his lover Henry. As well as the romance, this duology is well worth reading for Henry’s mother, the indomitable Mrs Silver
The Philosophers series by Tom Miller This series is one of my all time favourites. I love the alt!history premise and the characters all leap off the page, while the author’s expertise in emergency medicine also shines through.
The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley Natasha Pulley has gotten better with time, and while these aren’t my favourite of her books, many of her trademarks are already there: the quiet, contemplative atmosphere, the musings about language and communication, and the slow-burn romance in particular.
A Conspiracy of Truths by Alexandra Rowland I love the enormity of the world-building in this series, and there’s also some fantastic humour underneath. The first book was good, but the second book stole the show for me, thanks to Ylfing, whose continued desire to right wrongs (regardless of who made them) is incredibly uplifting.
The Shadow Histories by H.G. Parry Firstly, I’m still mad that Parry made me have a bunch of feelings about William Pitt, of all people. Secondly, this series is a great example of how a duology can be used to play with reader expectations. I enjoyed the first book, but thought it was far too white male centric; so of course the second book flipped that narrative and focused on why ignoring other voices is a complete folly.
Sorcerer Royal by Zen Cho A fantasy of manners duology that focuses on people of colour and queer people in Britain. I didn’t like the second book as much as the first – because no one can beat the delightful pairing of Zacharias and Prunella, who I wish had been the stars of both books – but I’m still recommending it for a series that does something different with the genre.
Teixcalaan by Arkady Martine It’s hard to put into words why these books are so good – though to start with Martine uses words to much better effect than I do. I really enjoyed the political intrigue element of the story, the focus on world-building through cultural institutions, and of course the burgeoning relationship between Mahit and Three Seagrass.
Poison Wars by Sam Hawke I really loved seeing the evolution of Hawke throughout this series from good debut author to talent to watch. This series is full of unique world-building, excellent disability representation, and engrossing political intrigue.
These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong This is excellent retelling that makes the Romeo & Juliet story its own without losing the original themes. I particularly enjoyed the detailed Shanghai setting, and the story itself is fast-paced with plenty of twists and turns.
Clocktaur War by T. Kingfisher This duology is more like one story split into two books, so I recommend reading them closely together. It’s not the most unique story on this list, but it’s so much fun – there is plenty of action, witty banter and romance.
I thought this was going to be difficult to come up with ten choices, but it turns out I’ve actually read a lot of books with names in the title… and have a lot more on my TBR.
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller I limited myself to one per author, and it was a hard choice between The Song of Achilles and Circe, but Achilles made me cry, which meant it perversely won out.
Sabriel by Garth Nix A classic that I came to as an adult, and I didn’t love it any less for that. Though I do wish I’d had Sabriel as an example of fantasy featuring strong women when I was younger. I’m not sure how I missed this series.
Pet by Akwaeke Emezi This middle grade novel packs a punch, and has a lot to say to both kids and adults alike. A great example of diversity in fiction for younger readers.
Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke Again, it was a tough choice between this and Piranesi, but I have to admire Clarke for putting out a book so dense and ambitious for her debut. It’s not for everyone, but this book really rewards close reading and is one of my favourites.
Cinder by Marissa Meyer From chonky adult fantasy to chonky YA, the Lunar Chronicles series is one of my favourites. I love the way that Meyer keeps elements of each fairytale but also makes them completely her own.
Senlin Ascends by Josiah Bancroft This book has a bit of a cult following over at r/fantasy and I can see why. It’s wildly imaginative, and the prose is excellent. I really need to get around to reading the sequels.
Lore by Alexandra Bracken It doesn’t matter how many times I recommend this book, I still find the cover very unsettling. But the book itself is a fun blend of urban fantasy and Greek myths, and very easy to get hooked by.
Fable by Adrienne Young I love seafaring/pirate stuff so it shouldn’t be a surprise that I enjoyed this, but I didn’t expect it to be one of my favourite YA books in recent years. The atmosphere is incredible.
Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater The Raven Cycle was one of my favourite series last year, and I was just blown away by both the depth of character relationships and the prose, as well as the way it turns a lot of the typical YA tropes on their head. (This is actually my least favourite of the quartet, but it was the only one with a character name in the title).
This week’s theme is 2021 releases you didn’t get to. There are a lot; one of the perils of loving books is simply coming to terms with the fact that you will never get to read all the good books out there. But here are ten I am pretty determined to read.
Under the Whispering Door by T.J. Klune The House in the Cerulean Sea was maybe my favourite book of 2020, but unfortunately Klune’s new book was a victim of 2021’s supply chain delays. Thankfully it’s made it here now, so hopefully I should get to it early in 2022.
The Unbroken by C.L. Clark This was a victim of the fact that there’s so many books, so little time… but I’ve heard so much about Touraine’s arms that I almost feel like I’ve read it, already.
The Wolf and the Woodsmanby Ava Reid The premise of this book is right up my alley, and Ava Reid seems like a genuinely lovely author, so I’m very excited to get to it.
Elder Race by Adrian Tchaikovsky This one dropped at the end of the year, but I’ve heard nothing but good things from everyone who’s read it so far.
A Spindle Splintered by Alix E. Harrow I love Harrow’s prose so I know I’ll love this one; unfortunately, the wait list at my library is ginormous and novella prices are insane. Hopefully 2022 comes through for me.
The Hand of the Sun King by J.T. Greathouse This wasn’t originally on my radar so I didn’t prioritise it; but everything I’ve heard since then makes me think I really should.
The Jasmine Throne by Tasha Suri I really don’t have any excuses to get to this one – but I’m determined to get it before the sequel. Everything about it sounds right up my alley.
This Poison Heart by Kalynn Bayron I don’t read as much YA now, but this sounds incredible. And how gorgeous is that cover?
Malice by Heather Walter This one is a deliberate inclusion – someone told me it ends on a cliffhanger, so I’m going to binge the entire duology at once. Also, yes, there are two queer Sleeping Beauty retellings I missed out on in 2021.
The Velocity of Revolution by Ryan Marshall Maresca This is another one where I ran into access issues – seriously, how hard is to buy a reasonably priced paperback – but I will continue to cross my fingers for 2022. I love steampunk, I love (fictional) revolutions.
Let’s see how many of these I get to this time around. And as a result, how many of my 2022 most anticipated end up in a similar post in January 2023…
This week’s theme is (some of) the most recent additions to my book collection. Thankfully, I made it to my city’s major secondhand book charity sale just before Christmas, so there is no shortage of books for me to share for this post. That’s in addition to my regular Amazon-one-click and ARC collecting habits, of course…
The Maleficent Seven by Cameron Johnston This was randomly cheap in the Kindle story, and it looks like a great choice for when I’m in the mood for something just plain fun.
The Ex-Hex by Erin Sterling Another sale that looks perfect for when I just want some fun, lighthearted romance.
The Nature of Witches by Rachel Griffin This one has had some rave reviews from friends, so I couldn’t resist – I’m very excited to see what all the hype is about.
Embassytown by China Melville The first of my book fair hauls (I won’t get to all of them in this post). I’ve been curious about this book for a while, so I had to pick it up.
The Hallowed Huntby Lois McMaster Bujold Paladin of Souls was one of my favourites of 2021, and now I have no excuse not to prioritise the next in the series… and then move on to the Penric novels my friends keep encouraging me to read.
Vigil by Angela Slatter I’ve enjoyed everything I’ve read from Slatter, and I used to live in Brisbane – where this book is set – so I’m excited to see what she does with the setting.
Sing the Four Quarters by Tanya Huff Huff is one of those authors I’ve wanted to pick up forever, so I couldn’t resist getting this cheap at the book fair. Though I’m not sold on the very 90s cover…
Gilded by Marissa Meyer I loved The Lunar Chronicles series, so I am very excited to see what Meyer does with Rumplestiltskin.
Strange Practice by Vivian Shaw A cheap bookstore pick up. I’ve been curious about this one for a long time – and I love the macabre cover.
Flint and Mirror by John Crowley I nabbed this one as an ARC recently. I love historical fantasy and this seems like a great opportunity to branch out… even if it is only from the UK to Ireland.
This week’s theme is most anticipated releases for the first half of 2022. A tough choice – there are so many amazing sounding books coming out this year! I’ve gone for a mix of sequels, authors I’ve loved and can’t wait to read again, and authors that are new to me.
The Thousand Eyes by A.K. Larkwood – 15 February Larkwood’s debut, The Unspoken Name, showed a lot of promise and I’m excited to see what she does next, as well as spend more time with the snarky Csorwe and Tal.
Age of Ash by Daniel Abraham – 15 February I’ve been hearing good things about Abraham’s epic fantasy series for years, and this seems like the perfect opportunity to jump in. I also love stories set in a single city/location.
The Cartographers by Peng Shephard – 15 March Another one that sounds right up my alley based on the key words, since I’m a sucker for anything involving libraries or maps.
Wild and Wicked Things by Francesca May – 29 March Two 1920s-themed books in a row says a lot about me. Post WWI is a very underused setting in fantasy and I’m very excited to see what May does with the era. Plus, it’s sapphic.
Spear by Nicola Griffith – 19 April Griffith is another author I have been meaning to read forever, and I love Arthurian myths, so there are no more excuses.
Fevered Star by Rebecca Roanhorse– 19 April After the end of Black Sun, I’ve been hotly anticipating seeing what will happen next in this series – I’m curious about where Roanhorse will take us next.
The Spear Cuts Through Water – Simon Jiminez – 3 May Another author whose debut, The Vanished Birds, showed a lot of promise and potential to grow, so I am very interested to see what he does here.
A Taste of Gold and Iron by Alexandra Rowland – 21 June I really enjoyed Rowland’s A Choir of Lies and have been waiting for news of their next book for a while. It also sounds like we might be getting a fantasy of manners vibe in a setting that isn’t regency England esque, which I have been wanting for a long time.
Fingers crossed I can get to all of these books in 2022!