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TS’s Top 20 Books Read in 2019

TS’s Top 20 Books Read in 2019

The featured image above was specifically designed by Felix Ortiz for Novel Notions’ Top 20 List.


Hello everyone!  This is the first time I’m listing my top reads for the year 2019.  Initially, I wanted to opt for Top 10 but having read 100 books and rated a lot between 4.5 and 5 stars, I felt that I would struggle to limit it to ten.  The parameters for my list are as follows:

  • Rereads don’t count
  • One book per author
  • Not limited to books which are released this year.  Those not published in 2019 will be specified.

With exception of #1, none of these are ranked.  I’ve merely listed them in the chronological order of when I’ve read them this year.  I’ve also included my favourite classic read of the year as we’ve started the Novel Notions Classic Club in July. All of these have been reviewed by me on Novel Notions and Goodreads.

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Kellanved’s Reach (Path to Ascendancy, #3)

Kellanved’s Reach (Path to Ascendancy, #3)

ARC received from the publisher, Random House UK, in exchange for an honest review.

Kellanved’s Reach by Ian C. Esslemont
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

Kellanved’s Reach was a great continuation to the story behind the rise of Kellanved and Dancer, and the beginnings of the Malazan Empire.

Judging from the direction of the narrative in this book, I strongly doubt that this would be the end of the series (which was marketed initially as a trilogy). Compared to the previous books, the number of character POVs in the third book had more than doubled. There were multiple storylines told from the perspective of all the different warring city-states within the continent of Quon Tali. Arising from these were several new characters being introduced. While most of these individuals will have significant roles in the later Malazan books, their respective subplots at in this book seemed largely detached from the main story. There was one character whose nickname was yet to be known by the end of the book, and it made me want to tear my hair out. I was certain that he’s a prominent person in the later books, but his character development at this stage did not provide sufficient clues.

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Deadhouse Landing (Path to Ascendancy, #2)

Deadhouse Landing (Path to Ascendancy, #2)

Deadhouse Landing by Ian C. Esslemont
My rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

Deadhouse Landing was another fantastic novel in this prequel trilogy of two of the most notorious characters from the Malazan series.

This sequel continued to expand on the origins story of Dancer and Kellanved, by bringing us to the infamous Malaz Island – where it all began. For readers of Malazan, some of the names in the Dramatis Personae were enough to make one incredibly excited for what’s in store. It was so hard for me to write this review without giving away even the smallest detail, which might diminish the impact of the “Aha!” or the “OMG, it is HIM/HER!” moments. These names alone aren’t actually spoilers in its truest sense. Nonetheless, my take is that a Malazan fan will derive more delight from reading these prequel books without prior knowledge of whom among the Old Guard might be featured.

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Dancer’s Lament (Path to Ascendancy, #1)

Dancer’s Lament (Path to Ascendancy, #1)

Dancer’s Lament by Ian C. Esslemont
My rating: 5 out of 5 stars.

My first 5-star rating this year, and it’s a Malazan book.

I love the world of Malazan, and the Malazan Book of the Fallen stands as my favourite grimdark fantasy series. However, these are not books which one can pick up to read for ‘fun’. Not only were the worldbuilding complex and the cast of characters extensive, but the prose was also dense and philosophical. Moreover, the narrative frequently messaged dark and bleak themes. To be honest, it felt like work sometimes to read MBOTF, albeit work that I thoroughly enjoyed.

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