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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.)


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Book Review: Conqueror (Conqueror, #5) by Conn Iggulden

Book Review: Conqueror (Conqueror, #5) by Conn Iggulden

Conqueror: A Novel of Kublai Khan by Conn Iggulden

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Series: Conqueror (Book #5 of 5)

Genre: Historical fiction

Pages: 512 pages (US paperback edition)

Published: 27th October 2011 by Harper Collins (UK) & 21th December 2011 by Delacorte Press (US)


I have mixed feelings regarding the final book of Conqueror, one of my favorite historical fiction series.

I’m starting to think that there’s a real curse contained within five books series that haunts me. I don’t even know why or how this happens, but I’m never left completely satisfied by the concluding installment of all five books series I’ve read so far. Lightbringer by Brent Weeks, Heartstrikers by Rachel Aaron, The Shadow Campaigns by Django Wexler, and unfortunately, this series. All of them, somehow, felt plagued with the same issue that they either felt too long or unnecessary to be one whole book. That’s the thing with Conqueror: A Novel of Kublai Khan, it felt more like a spin-off of the previous four books rather than a direct sequel or a concluding installment.

“What sort of a man would I be if I could just wipe out my errors with talking? A man has to live with his mistakes and go on. That is his punishment, perhaps.”

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Book Review: Khan: Empire of Silver (Conqueror, #4) by Conn Iggulden

Book Review: Khan: Empire of Silver (Conqueror, #4) by Conn Iggulden

Khan: Empire of Silver by Conn Iggulden

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: Conqueror (Book #4 of 5)

Genre: Historical fiction

Pages: 416 pages (US paperback edition)

Published: 2nd September 2010 by Harper Collins (UK) & 28th December 2010 by Delacorte Press (US)


An impressive penultimate installment. Who was more terrifying, Genghis Khan or Tsubodai?

“It was difficult not to look on Tsubodai with awe if you knew what he had achieved in his life. The army owed their success to him as much as to Genghis.”

I’m nearing the conclusion of this series now. Khan: Empire of Silver is the fourth and penultimate installment in the Conqueror series by Conn Iggulden. I’ll try to keep this review as brief and spoiler-free as possible. In the previous three books, the title of each installment starts with the name “Genghis” at the front of their title; this one starts with “Khan.” That should give you a vague idea about what kind of stories you’re getting here. The previous three books focused on Genghis Khan’s life and conquest, Khan: Empire of Silver revolves more around the life of Temujin’s children and Tsubodai’s extraordinary conquest of Europe.

“If a man has gold, he lives with the terror that someone will take it away from him, so he builds walls around it. Then everyone knows where the gold is, so they come and take it. That’s the way it always goes, brother. Fools and gold, together.”

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Book Review: Genghis: Bones of the Hills (Conqueror, #3) by Conn Iggulden

Book Review: Genghis: Bones of the Hills (Conqueror, #3) by Conn Iggulden

Genghis: Bones of the Hills by Conn Iggulden

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: Conqueror (Book #3 of 5)

Genre: Historical Fiction

Pages: 434 pages (US Kindle edition)

Published: 1st September 2008 by Harper Collins (UK) & 24th March 2009 by Delacorte Press (US)


A seriously astounding piece of historical fiction that left me speechless in many ways.

“We are not here to earn riches with a bow. The wolf does not think of fine things, only that his pack is strong and no other wolf dares to cross his path. That is enough.”

I can’t help but start this review by saying that I’m thoroughly impressed by Iggulden’s talent for the creation of this series. Genghis’ conquest on its own, even if they’re written or told in a textbook manner, are very attention-grabbing already, but Iggulden successfully elevated the quality of Genghis’ legend so that it became much more engaging and emotional. Genghis: Bones of the Hills is the third book in the Conqueror series, and it—along with the first installment—are my favorites in the series so far. In the previous book, the story focused on Genghis’ conquest of The Chin; this book centered on Genghis’ breathtaking conquest of the Arabs. I must remind you, this series—especially this book—isn’t for the weak of heart; the atrocities and devastations committed in this war were terrifying in every sense of the word. I’m talking about wars with casualties that reached more than hundreds of thousands of deaths; innocents were instantly marked for the afterlife just for living in the opposing city. Genghis: Bones of the Hills is a bleak, intense, and also bittersweet book; it’s heavily centered around war, death, loyalty, heritage, achievements, and what truly matters in life and what legacies will continue after death.

“All men die, Genghis. All. Think what it means for a moment. None of us are remembered for more than one or two generations.” He raised a hand as Genghis opened his mouth to speak again. “Oh, I know we chant the names of great khans by the fireside and the Chin have libraries running back for thousands of years. What of it? Do you think it matters to the dead that their names are read aloud? They don’t care, Genghis. They are gone. The only thing that matters is what they did while they were alive.”

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Book Review: Genghis: Lords of the Bow (Conqueror, #2) by Conn Iggulden

Book Review: Genghis: Lords of the Bow (Conqueror, #2) by Conn Iggulden

Genghis: Lords of the Bow by Conn Iggulden

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Series: Conqueror (Book #2 of 5)

Genre: Historical Fiction

Pages: 547 pages (US Kindle edition)

Published: 2nd January 2008 by Harper Collins (UK) & 25th March 2008 by Delacorte Press (US)


A compelling, brutal, informational, and terrifying depiction of Genghis’ conquest of Yenking.

“Some words can be a cruel weight on a man, unless he learns to ignore them.”

Genghis: Lords of the Bow is the sequel to Genghis: Birth of an Empire; it’s the second book in the Conqueror series by Conn Iggulden. The story takes place approximately eight years after the end of the first book. Temujin, now called Genghis Khan, is 26 years old and the entirety of the book is about Genghis and the Mongol’s invasion of Yenking (Beijing today.) Genghis: Lords of the Bow was almost as good as the first book; the large-scale action scenes—more on this later—was definitely better. I felt like a lot of what makes Conqueror so enjoyable to read was because of Iggulden’s writing style that still follows the same engaging head-hopping narrative that he utilized in the first book, and I personally believe that many authors who use the same storytelling style could learn a thing or two from Iggulden here. As I’ve mentioned in my review of the first book, I never felt lost with the narration; Iggulden makes head-hopping narrative—which I usually despise—very easy to follow and instead of confusing the readers, his writing style made every scene full of emotions due to the constant exchange of dialogues accompanied by the speaker’s thoughts and feelings. I found all of these to be an incredibly positive point in my read.

“If you are asking if my family will take what they want, of course they will. The strong rule, Chen Yi. Those who are not strong dream of it.”

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

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


Genghis: Birth of an Empire by Conn Iggulden

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: Conqueror (Book #1 of 5)

Genre: Historical fiction

Pages: 403 pages (US Kindle edition)

Published: 2nd January 2007 by Harper Collin (UK) & 1st May 2007 by Delacorte Press (US)


Unbelievably good; this marked the first time I finished reading Iggulden’s work, and it’s VERY promising that this will become one of my favorite series.

Conn Iggulden isn’t exactly an unfamiliar name to me; despite the fact that he’s most well-known for his historical fiction works, Iggulden’s blurbs have been featured on some of my favorite fantasy books such as The Faithful and the Fallen series by John Gwynne and The Realm of the Elderlings series by Robin Hobb, to name a few. For years I’ve been interested in reading his books, and from what I’ve gathered, his Conqueror series seems to be the most often regarded as his best works by his readers. And so here we are and my god, I seriously didn’t expect it to be this great.

“Mongolia is an unforgiving land. The boy, Temujin, was never cruel, and there is no record of him ever taking pleasure from the destruction of his enemies, but he was capable of utter ruthlessness.”

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