Petriks’ Top 10 Books of the Year So Far (January 1st, 2019-June 30th, 2019)

Petriks’ Top 10 Books of the Year So Far (January 1st, 2019-June 30th, 2019)

The featured image above was specifically designed by Felix Ortiz for Novel Notions’ Top 10 List. (More info on this at the end of the post.)


Between January 1st, 2019 and June 30th, 2019, I’ve read and reviewed 61 books (33.6k pages). So far, it’s been an incredible reading year. There will be three rules I set in this list in order for me to give appreciation to more authors rather than having only a few authors hoarding this list. The rules are:

  • Rereads don’t count.
  • One book per author.
  • The book listed here are not exclusively published this year.

Do note that although this time there’s a rank to this list, I highly recommend every book listed below because I loved all of them immensely and they received a rating of 4.5 (rounded up on Goodreads) or 5 out of 5 stars from me. Without further ado, here we go! (All full reviews of the books listed can be found on Novel Notions and my Goodreads page.)


10. Holy Sister (Book of the Ancestor, #3) by Mark Lawrence

Publisher: Ace (US) & Harper Voyager (UK)

Holy Sister is an incredibly powerful and satisfying conclusion to one of the best trilogy I’ve ever read.”

9. The Dragon Republic (The Poppy War Trilogy, #2) by Rebecca Kuang

Publisher: Harper Voyager

“With The Dragon Republic, Kuang has proven that her debut wasn’t a one-hit wonder, further establishing herself as the new rising queen of fantasy.”

8. Kings of Ash (Ash and Sand, #2) by Richard Nell

Publisher: Self-published

“Kings of Ash is an utterly magnificent sequel that made the already great Kings of Paradise pale in comparison.”

7. The Hod King (The Books of Babel, #3) by Josiah Bancroft

Publisher: Orbit

The Hod King is a marvel that stitches immersive fantasy escapism, pulse-pounding steampunk adventure, and accessible literary prose into one tremendously impactful penultimate volume.”

6. Priest of Lies (War for the Rose Throne, #2) by Peter McLean

Publisher: Ace (US) & Jo Fletcher Books (UK)

Exhilarating, continuously riveting, and magnificent . . . one of the most engrossing grimdark books I’ve read up to date”

5. Recursion by Blake Crouch

Publisher: Crown (US) & Pan Macmillan (UK)

Crouch’s narrative was utterly unputdownable, the harrowing events displayed were enormously impactful, and I absolutely loved every moment of reading this vivid magnificence. I can vouch with certainty that Recursion broke a new milestone for me by becoming the first sci-fi standalone to be included in my ‘favorites’ shelves with a full 5/5 stars rating.”

4. The Poison Song (The Winnowing Flame Trilogy, #3) by Jen Williams

Publisher: Headline

The Poison Song is relentlessly intoxicating and stupendous; Williams has landed an utterly satisfying and bittersweet ending to The Winnowing Flame Trilogy.”

3. The Blackest Heart (The Five Warrior Angels, #2) by Brian Lee Durfee

Publisher: Saga Press

Durfee has created a majestic sequel that exhibited his gleaming crystallization of pure storytelling skill. The Blackest Heart will definitely be included in my annual Best Books of the Year list; it deserves a crowning achievement for character-driven epic fantasy.”

2. A Storm of Swords (A Song of Ice and Fire, #3) by George R. R. Martin

Publisher: Bantam (US) & Harper Voyager (UK)

“Excluding the fame he gets from the TV series adaptation, if you’re ever in need of an evident proof on why George R. R. Martin has become one of the legendary fantasy authors of our time, A Storm of Swords is the answer.”

1. The Sword of Kaigen: A Theonite War Story by M. L. Wang

Publisher: Self-published

“To say that this book was thrilling is an understatement. I’m not joking. The Sword of Kaigen is one of the most intense books I’ve ever read. I gritted my teeth, I clenched my fist, and I was constantly breathless. Wang knows how to write catastrophic elemental magic and implement extraordinary heart-hammering scenes very effectively… If you’re a fan of The Poppy War, read it. If you’re a fan of military fantasy, read it. If you’re a fan of high fantasy, read it!”


Honorary mention to three amazing books I finished last year but published this year that definitely would’ve made this list longer and harder to rank:

  • Never Die by Rob Hayes

Publisher: Self-published

“Glorious, heroic, inspiring, brutal, at times hilarious, but most of all incredibly unforgettable.”

  • The Gutter Prayer (The Black Iron Legacy) by Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan

Publisher: Orbit

Mind-blowingly stellar in every respect. . . Fantasy readers, be wise and buy this book, because there’s simply nothing like it.”

  • A Time of Blood (Of Blood and Bone, #2) by John Gwynne

Publisher: Orbit (US) & Pan Macmillan (UK)

A Time of Blood is an irresistible jaw-dropping sequel that shows the importance of Gwynne’s role as an ever-burning bright star in modern fantasy.”


So there you have it. It’s quite crazy that my best book of the year so far was actually the third book that I finished this year. Honestly speaking though, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that The Sword of Kaigen is my book of the year so far, I don’t even know if I’ll find a book better than it for the remaining of this year. I’ve been praising and shouting about this book non-stop across all my social media platform for the past six months and I will continue to do so. For literary agents and traditional publishers, if you’re reading this post, read the book and, assuming the author wants to, sign her up; trust me that a standalone high-fantasy book as masterful as this comes across our lifetime probably only once or twice.

Now that I’m done talking about my book of the year so far, please, if there’s a book on this list that you haven’t read yet, you need to fix that ASAP. There are still approximately 50 books I plan to read before this year concludes, definitely expect the list to expand by December. Thank you again to every author who let their stories out in the world for me and every other readers to read! 🙂


A few things regarding the artist behind the featured image of this list. Not only Felix is one of the best rising artists in the industry, but he’s also one of the kindest people to talk and collaborate with. If you’re in need of an awesome-looking artwork for your book cover, blog header (Novel Notions’ header image is his work too), or anything SFF related, you really can’t go wrong with choosing him as your artist. Seriously, check out his portfolio on ArtStation!

To Felix: Thank you very much! I truly love and appreciate the artworks you provided for Novel Notions! 🙂

21 thoughts on “Petriks’ Top 10 Books of the Year So Far (January 1st, 2019-June 30th, 2019)

    1. Thanks, Pippa! I’m so glad you loved The Sword of Kaigen that much too! It will be soooo hard to find a book better than it imo!

      I hope you’ll enjoy the other books from this list that you haven’t read yet! 🙂

  1. This is an amazing list! I’m secretly glad that I’m not the only one who hasn’t completed ASOIAF 😅 Have you started A Feast for Crows yet?

    The Poppy War is my favourite book and I am terrified to read The Dragon Republic (I hope Nezha is well and happy huhuhu) I can’t wait for my copy that arrive.

    I’ll be reading Sword of Kaigen in August 😁

    1. Hahahaha thank you, Cam! I did actually, but A Feast for Crows and A Dance with Dragons were really disappointing imo!

      The Poppy War is definitely one of my favorite books too! The wait for The Dragon Republic will be worth it!

      YAYYYYYY for Sword of Kaigen! 🙂

  2. Its only three of the books on your list that is on my tbr, The Dragon republic, A storm of swords and the sword of kaigen which you recommended to me on GR, can’t wait to get started on them.

    I’ve read A time of blood by John Gwynne and I love it, the series just keeps getting better.

    1. Awesome! The Sword of Kaigen should be your priority, Deborah! It’s AMAZING! 🙂

      And woohoo for A Time of Blood! It’s John Gwynne, he never disappoints! 🙂

  3. Okay, okay, I’ll find time to read SWORD OF KAIGEN this year!!

    Honestly, so many of these are on my TBR – I read Red Sister in May and definitely want to get to the sequels…hmmmm……

    1. Seriously…. if there’s only ONE book you have to read this year, make sure that it’s Sword of Kaigen. A standalone fantasy as good as that just doesn’t appear easily!

      That said, you really should read the other books in this list too! 😀

  4. Your reviews are always thoroughly comprehensive and I use them regularly as a guideline for my book purchases and readings. With that said, and although I’ve read a number of the books listed, and only because you’re incessantly relentless, I’m going to procure the books M.L. Kang’s The Sword of Kaigen. Thank you for sharing your top ten with all of us along with the honorable mentions!

    1. Thank you so much, Ian! That’s so kind of you to say that. You can’t go wrong with The Sword of Kaigen, I loved it even more than The Poison Song and A Storm of Swords, that should say a lot on how much I loved it! You’re welcome and happy reading! 🙂

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