Petrik’s Top 20 Books of the Year (2019)

Petrik’s Top 20 Books of the Year (2019)

The featured image above was specifically designed by Felix Ortiz for Novel Notions’ Top 20 Lists. Check out his portfolio, he’s brilliant.


Click here if you want to see the list of all the books I’ve read this year: Petrik’s Year in Books (2019)

Here we are, we’re reaching the end of 2019 very soon! This year, I’ve read and reviewed 115 books (96 traditionally published books + 19 indie books.)

It’s lower than the previous two years, but I must say that it’s been another incredible reading year for me. Putting the high amount of 4.5 and 5 stars books I’ve rated this year into consideration, I will be applying four rules into this list; doing this will help me give appreciation to more authors, and I’ll be able to include both new and older books (many of them still need attention) rather than having only a few authors/books hoarding the list every year.

  • Rereads don’t count.
  • One book per author.
  • Unless specified, the books listed here are published this year.
  • Number one spot aside, none of these are in particular order. All have merit, and most have different strengths that make them stand out from each other; it’s too difficult for me to rank them accordingly.

All the books listed below received a rating of 4.5 or 5 out of 5 stars from me. Without further ado, here are the top 20 books I’ve read in 2019! (Full reviews of these books can be found on Novel Notions and my Goodreads page.)


  • The Rage of Dragons (The Burning, #1) by Evan Winter

Publisher: Orbit. First self-published in: 7th September 2017

“Evan Winter is another new fantasy voice to watch out for; his voice deserves to be heard and his book deserves to be read. If you’re still on the fence about this, let the flame of the dragons burn that dilemma to ash. The Rage of Dragons is a breathtaking fantasy debut that triggered tons of adrenaline rushes in me.”

  • 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 trilogies I’ve ever read.”

  • 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.”

  • Steel Crow Saga (Steel Crow Saga, #1) by Paul Krueger

Publisher: Del Rey (US) & Gollancz (UK)

“Multi-cultural, with diverse characters & superbly character-driven narrative; Steel Crow Saga is a brilliant Asian/anime-inspired fantasy.”

  • The Shadow Saint (The Black Iron Legacy, #2) by Gareth Ryder-Hanrahan

Publisher: Orbit. To be published in: 7th January 2020

The Shadow Saint is an unconventional, unpredictable, and undeniably scintillating sequel to the best fantasy debut of 2019.”

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

Publisher: Richard Nell (Indie)

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

  • The Lost War (Eidyn, #1) by Justin Lee Anderson

Publisher: King Lot Publishing (Indie)

“Thrilling mysteries, powerful magic, tangible tension, and great characters to root for; The Lost War has it all.”

  • 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.”

  • Darkdawn (The Nevernight Chronicle, #3) by Jay Kristoff

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press (US) & Harper Voyager (UK).

Darkdawn is an astonishingly brilliant conclusion to The Nevernight Chronicle. Every page of this book was seductive, compelling, and I found this concluding installment to be greatly satisfying.”

  • 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 to date.”

  • Genghis: Birth of an Empire (Conqueror, #1) by Conn Iggulden

Publisher: Delacorte Press (US) & Harper Collins (UK). First published in: 2nd January 2007

Genghis: Birth of an Empire is a stunning piece of historical fiction that tells a gripping story about survival and a legendary figure’s rise to power.”

  • 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.”

  • Sins of Empire (Gods of Blood and Powder, #1) by Brian McClellan

Publisher: Orbit. First published in: 7th March 2017

“McClellan successfully combined tense politics, intriguing mystery, accessible prose, bloody actions, and a new cast of great characters into one package. Everything in Sins of Empire worked impressively towards creating a furiously immersive and vivid reading experience.”

  • The Bard’s Blade (The Sorcerer’s Song, #1) by Brian D. Anderson

Publisher: Tor Books. To be published in: 28th January 2020

“Reading this book was time wisely spent: the tranquil moments transitioned to heart-pounding events seamlessly; the superb characterizations made the empathetic main characters linger in my mind after I closed the last page of the book; the pacing was imbued with an ebb and flow tempo that made me beg for an encore when the final note had played. The alluring song that Anderson orchestrated with his words enchanted me, and I absolutely loved every second of reading The Bard’s Blade.

  • 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.”

  • Jade War (The Green Bone Saga, #2) by Fonda Lee

Publisher: Orbit

On my honor, my life, and my jade, this is a magnificent example of urban fantasy of the highest tier. The clan is my blood, and the Pillar is its master; let the gods recognize me as a clan loyalist who has stamped Jade War as one of the best book published in 2019.”

  • 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.”

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

Publisher: Bantam (US) & Harper Voyager (UK). First published in: 8th August 2000

“Excluding the fame he received from the TV series adaptation, if you’re ever in need of 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.”

  • A Little Hatred (The Age of Madness, #1) by Joe Abercrombie

Publisher: Orbit (US) & Gollancz (UK)

“Fueled by furious action sequences, profound passages, compelling narratives, and characters that get under your skin; A Little Hatred is a bloody brilliant and breathtaking book.”

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

Publisher: M. L. Wang (Indie)

“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!”


What I said last year is still applicable this year, allow me to repeat them once again, and add some.

To every author, whether your book is on this list or not, I want to say—from the bottom of my heart—thank you for writing. The stories you wrote transported me into another world, circumstances, and time; that’s something irreplaceable to me. The insane harshness of reality became saner due to your imagination. I can only hope that the honest reviews and words I spread around help bring more readers to pick up your book; even if you get just one additional reader as a result, I’m satisfied.

To traditional publishers—especially Orbit (Emily Byron, Nazia, Angie, Brit, and Paola), Gollancz (Stevie Finnegan), and Tor UK (Jamie-Lee Nardone)—and indie authors, 2019 is by far the year where I received books to review the most, and I owe it to you all. Seriously, this year alone, I’ve read more than 50 ARC/review requests! That’s by far the highest I’ve ever done in a year so far. As an international reader, it means a lot to me that you took some time and money to send me books (both physical and ebooks) to read and review. Please know that I will treasure them with all my heart! None of the books you sent will be wasted! :’)

Lastly, to fellow readers and reviewers. I receive a lot of messages—on both Goodreads and Twitter—from you saying thank you for all the reviews I’ve posted; some have mentioned that the reviews I wrote have led them to books that sparked their love for reading again, some have sent me books, and some have asked to support me monetarily. All of you have no idea how much this means to me, seriously. I have considered y’all’s advice, and after putting a lot of thinking into this, I’ve decided that I will be launching a Patreon in a week or two from now. Nothing will change; I will still read and review books regardless of the number of Patrons I have there. If all goes well and I have the time, I might be doing Booktube next year, too. (More info on all of these soon!)

That’s all from me this year. Thank you very much, everyone! Keep on writing and reading! See any of your favorite reads of the year on this list? What’s yours? 🙂

27 thoughts on “Petrik’s Top 20 Books of the Year (2019)

  1. I need to catch up with Holy Sister & Poison Song.

    Brian Lee Durfee & Brian D. Anderson are both on my must-read list, and The Lost War is looking good too!

    1. Holy Sister and Poison Song were amazing! Definitely a must read!

      And yes, the Brians (I hope it’s okay for me to call them that :D) and The Lost War were some of the biggest surprises I’ve read this year. I hope you will love them when you do get around to it! 🙂

  2. I have to check out so many books on this list! Especially the sword of Kaigen and Recursion!

    (www.evelynreads.com)

    1. Thank you, man! I wish i could’ve read more. There are so MANY books I want to read but not able to get to this year. Hopefully for next year!

      I hope you’ll have a great 2020 too!

  3. Amazing list, Petrik! There are still many on this list I need to read, but I also have Recursion on my list. Congrats on keeping yours to 20, my has 35🤣

    1. Thank you, Tammy! Argh it was so difficult! Narrowing it down to 20 was a challenge on itself! Hahahahaha! I wish I could read and include more books into this list but I have to leave them for next year!

    1. Definitely check out Jen Williams! Super underrated author imo. And don’t forget to read my pick for the book of the year: The Sword of Kaigen!!! 😀

        1. I’m thinking of a very cheap perks. Most likely it will be a $1, $3, and $5/month subscription. So hopefully that’s not too much for you if you ever feel like it! 😀

  4. The only book you seem to have missed that I would recommend highly is A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World by C. A. Fletcher. Also House of Sacrifice by Anna Smith Spark which concluded her Empires of Dust trilogy

    1. Oh I’ve read A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World! It was great, but it fell a bit short from making it to one of my favorite reads of the year!

      As for House of Sacrifice by Anna Smith Spark, I’ve tried the A Court of Broken Knives three times already and I can’t seem to click with her writing style in the first half. I dunno whether it gets better in the second half or not, I may have to try it again one day! Thanks for the recommendation! 🙂

    1. Thank you, Mogsy!! Ahh yes, the problem of endless TBR. Seriously, I wish I have gotten to more. There are still so many books I want to read this year but not able to get to. I hope I can get to them all next year! 🙂

  5. Your top 10 list is so similar to mine, so far Poison Song & Kaigen are fighting for the top place 🙂 Just sweeping up those I haven’t read from your list to add to mount TBR.

    As we appear to have similar tastes just thought I’d post a wee recommendation that I think you may enjoy – Harmion by Richard A. Swingle (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/46270270-harmion)

    Happy 2020!

    1. Both Poison Song & Kaigen are fantastic reads for sure, and any of them deserves to be on your top spot!

      Oh I haven’t heard of this book, I’ll check it out. Happy 2020 to you too, Miriam! 🙂

  6. I agree so much with this list!
    I’ve been thinking about my favorite books this year. There were so many good ones but if I had no narrow it down it would be:
    1a) Sword of Kaigen
    1b) A Little Hatred

    1. Can’t go wrong with either choices! I think if it weren’t for The Sword of Kaigen, my pick would’ve gone to A Little Hatred, The Blackest Heart, or Jade War!

  7. Fantastic list, Petrik!! I definitely will need to read quite a few of these, especially if they have your seal of approval. I also love your format of this post, as weird as that sounds. May your 2020 reads be just as glorious and enjoyable as these!

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