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TS’s Top 11 Books Read in 2020 So Far (1st Jan to 30th June)

TS’s Top 11 Books Read in 2020 So Far (1st Jan to 30th June)


2020 has so far been a truly strange, stressful and complicated year, but reading wise it has been pretty incredible for me.  I’ve read/listen to 73 books during this first six months of the year and quite a sizeable chunk of these garnered 4-stars and above.  In fact, I can’t remember the last time I’ve added so many books onto my favourites shelf in the same period of time.  If you’re interested, you can see my year in books for 2020 right here.

Similar to my previous list, I do not limit this to only books released this year.  There are simply too many great books that have been published prior and that I’ve yet to read, so there will always be older books included.  Below are the parameters that I’ve set for the list.

  • Rereads don’t count
  • One book per author
  • Not limited to books which are released this year.

None of these are ranked except for the top three, of which two are tied for first place.  The rest, I’ve listed them in the chronological order of when I’ve read them this year.  All of these have been reviewed by me on Novel Notions and Goodreads.

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Book Review: The Labyrinth of the Spirits (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, #3) by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Book Review: The Labyrinth of the Spirits (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books, #3) by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Cover illustration by: Matt Duffin

The Labyrinth of the Spirits by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

My rating: 6 of 5 stars

Series: The Cemetery of Forgotten Books (Book #4 of 4)

Genre: Historical fiction, Mystery, Thriller

Translated Edition Published: 2018 by Weidenfield & Nicholson, Orion Books (UK) & Harper (US)


The Labyrinth of the Spirits is one of the best books I’ve ever read. It has it all – evocative history, engrossing mystery, atmospheric setting, compelling characters, incredible emotional depth – wrapped up in writing so beautiful that it moves your soul.

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Book Review: The Angel’s Game (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books) by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

Book Review: The Angel’s Game (The Cemetery of Forgotten Books) by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

The Angel’s Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafón

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: The Cemetery of Forgotten Books (Book #2 of 4)

Genre: Historical fiction, Mystery, Thriller

Translation Edition Published: 2009 by Weidenfield & Nicholson, Orion Books (UK) & 2009 by Doubleday (US)


The Angel’s Game was equally as spellbinding and bewitching as The Shadow of the Wind, but in a totally different way.

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Book Review: Last Argument of Kings (The First Law, #3) by Joe Abercrombie

Book Review: Last Argument of Kings (The First Law, #3) by Joe Abercrombie

Last Argument of Kings by Joe Abercrombie

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: The First Law (Book #3 of 3), First Law World (Book, #3 of 10)

Genre: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, Grimdark fantasy

Published: 20th March 2008 by Gollancz (UK) & 8th September 2015 by Orbit (US)


I’ve been meaning to read The First Law trilogy for years, after hearing loads of accolades from far and wide across the fantasy bibliosphere. Now that I’ve done so, I could safely say that Abercrombie deserved all those praises, and I’ll contribute by heaping on more of the same.

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Book Review: Before They Are Hanged (The First Law, #2) by Joe Abercrombie

Book Review: Before They Are Hanged (The First Law, #2) by Joe Abercrombie

Before They Are Hanged by Joe Abercrombie

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: The First Law (Book #2 of 3), First Law World (Book, #2 of 10)

Genre: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, Grimdark fantasy

Published: 15th March 2007 by Gollancz (UK) & 8th September 2015 by Orbit (US)


This is when I start to bemoan about picking up this trilogy so late. To think that I actually met Abercrombie at WorldCon last year before completing The First Law. It was such a travesty of an opportunity, and I’m repentant for it.

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Book Review: Toll the Hounds (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #8)

Book Review: Toll the Hounds (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #8)

Toll the Hounds by Steven Erikson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars.

Series: Malazan Book of the Fallen (Book 8 of 10)

Genre: Epic fantasy, grimdark fantasy

First published:  2008 by Bantam (UK) and Tor (US)


In a series replete with epic endings, Toll the Hounds offered, to date, the most epic one of all. It is with much joy that upon rereading I could upgrade this book as one of my favourites.

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Book Review: Night Shift Dragons (DFZ, #3) by Rachel Aaron

Book Review: Night Shift Dragons (DFZ, #3) by Rachel Aaron

Night Shift Dragons by Rachel Aaron

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: DFZ (Book 3 of 3)

Genre: Urban fantasy

Published: 5th May 2020 (Aaron/Bach, self-published)


Night Shift Dragons delivered a spectacular and hugely emotionally satisfying conclusion to Rachel Aaron’s follow-up urban fantasy series set in the insanely cool, quirky and vibrant free city of the DFZ. 

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Book Review: Age of Empyre (The Legends of the First Empire, #6)

Book Review: Age of Empyre (The Legends of the First Empire, #6)

Age of Empyre by Michael J. Sullivan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Series: The Legends of the First Empire (Book 6 of 6)

Genre: Fantasy, high fantasy, classic fantasy

Published: 5th May 2020 (Grim Oak Press)


Age of Empyre proves once again that Michael J. Sullivan is a masterful storyteller that really knows how to captivate and conclude a well-crafted tale.  As I turned the final page, I couldn’t help feeling that I’m going to miss all the wonderful characters that I’ve grown to love.

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Book Review: The Bonehunters (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #6)

Book Review: The Bonehunters (Malazan Book of the Fallen, #6)

The Bonehunters by Steven Erikson

My rating: 5 of 5 stars.

Series: Malazan Book of the Fallen (Book 6 of 10)

Genre: Epic fantasy, grimdark fantasy

First published:  2006 by Bantam (UK) and 2007 by Tor (US)


Malazan Book of the Fallen really hit its stride coming into its sixth chapter of this massive tale. However, now that we have moved past the midway point of the series, it will get more and more difficult to compose a review without giving away too much. As such, you may see the length of these reviews getting shorter as I progress towards the finale.

Firstly, I have to say that in The Bonehunters, Erikson started to reveal a larger picture of the intricate tapestry that he has so masterfully woven. Almost every character that we have met from the beginning and their respective arcs or subplots were coming together to form a more cohesive narrative across all the volumes of the series so far. While the prose maintained its dense philosophical slant, the books were progressively getting easier to read. Easier being solely relative to its predecessors.

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Manhwa Review: Solo Leveling (Season 1) by Gi So-Ryeong & Jang Sung-Rak

Manhwa Review: Solo Leveling (Season 1) by Gi So-Ryeong & Jang Sung-Rak


Solo Leveling by Gi So-Ryeong & Jang Sung-Rak

Series: Solo Leveling (Season #1)

Genre: Fantasy, LitRPG, Progression Fantasy, Urban Fantasy


Petrik’s Review: 5 of 5 stars

I will level (pun fully intended) myself with you; this was by far the most badass and engaging LitRPG I’ve ever read.

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