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Petrik’s Top 10 Books of the Year So Far (1st January-27th June 2022)

Petrik’s Top 10 Books of the Year So Far (1st January-27th June 2022)

 

Click here if you want to see the list of all the books I’ve read so far this year: Petrik’s Year in Books (2022)

Between 1st January 2021 and 27th June 2022, I’ve read 39 novels + 55 manga/manhwa volumes (31k pages).

Please read this first. 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. These rules allow me to highlight more authors, and at the same time, I’ll also be able to include both new and older books (many of them still need attention) that I read within this year.

  • Rereads aren’t included.
  • One book per author.
  • The books listed here are not all exclusively published this year; the list consists of the top books I read for the first time within this year. Non-2022 published books on this list will have their first date of publication included.

Do note that although there’s a rank to this list, I HIGHLY recommend every book/series listed below because I loved all of them immensely, and they received a rating of 4.5 or 5 out of 5 stars from me. Without further ado, here are the top 10 books I’ve read this year so far! (All full reviews of the books listed can be found on Novel Notions and my Goodreads page.)

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Book Review: Of Darkness and Light (The Bound and The Broken, #2) by Ryan Cahill

Book Review: Of Darkness and Light (The Bound and The Broken, #2) by Ryan Cahill

ARC was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Cover art by: Books Covered

Of Darkness and Light by Ryan Cahill

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: The Bound and the Broken (Book #2 of 4)

Genre: Fantasy, High Fantasy, Epic Fantasy

Pages: 710 pages (Hardcover edition)

Published: 31st December 2021 by Ryan Cahill (Self-published)


Of Darkness and Light is a vastly superior sequel to Of Blood and Fire

“There is nothing more important in the darkness than a ray of light.”

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Book Review: The Fall of Neverdark (The Echoes Saga, #4) by Philip C. Quaintrell

Book Review: The Fall of Neverdark (The Echoes Saga, #4) by Philip C. Quaintrell

Cover art illustrated by: Chris McGrath

The Fall of Neverdark by Philip C. Quaintrell

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: The Echoes Saga (Book #4 of 9)

Genre: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, High Fantasy

Pages: 709 pages (Kindle Edition)

Published: 29th November 2018 by Quaintrell Publishing (Self-Published)


The Fall of Neverdark was a great start to the second trilogy in The Echoes Saga.

If you have been following my reading journey this year, you will see that I have enjoyed my time reading through one book in The Echoes Saga by Philip C. Quaintrell each month. The Fall of Neverdark signaled the beginning of the second trilogy in the nine-book series, and I think it’s a more solid start to a series compared to Rise of the Ranger. It is always a risky move to continue writing a new story in a series after it has reached its completion. But in the case of The Echoes Saga, as the author stated himself, he has planned the series to be nine books long divided into three trilogies since the first and second books of the series. And I am gladdened by this decision. The new storyline here felt seamlessly connected to the first trilogy; it never felt forced. Once again, similar to the previous three books, The Fall of Neverdark provided another entertaining reading experience.

The story in The Fall of Neverdark takes place thirty years after the end of The War for the Realm in Relic of the Gods. The Third Age of Verda might end soon with the rise of a new powerful race of enemies, the orcs, and the new generation of heroes will have to take a stand in this overwhelming fight. As you can probably guess if you have read the previous book, a time skip is needed for the rest of the series to shine more, and Quaintrell delivered what I wanted and more. Most of the storylines in this book featured new main characters taking the central stage, but the narrative is also balanced with plenty of returning characters from the first trilogy. Although I was immediately immersed with The Fall of Neverdark, I was slightly afraid the new story would end up feeling forced or like a cash grab. However, I’m glad this fear was unfounded after the first 35% of the novel. The Crow, the orcs, necromancy, and The Dragon Knight made the conflicts in The Fall of Neverdark so compelling. Seeing our new and returning characters doing their best to struggle against surprisingly overwhelming odds was the direction the new trilogy needed.

“As Dragorn, we carry the most precious gift and the most powerful weapon. With it, there is nothing we cannot accomplish… Can you not feel it, wingless one? It has passed down the generations of our order for thousands of years. We carry hope.”

Maybe it is not fair to compare the quality of writing to Rise of the Ranger, the first book in the series, but I feel it’s necessary to mention that as a new start to a new trilogy, the prose in The Fall of Neverdark is vastly superior. The author mentioned in the acknowledgment section that this is the book he first wrote after he transitioned into a full-time author, and I think the cohesive quality of the plot, battle scenes, and characterizations can be felt in it. The new characters, like Inara, Alijah, The Crow, Vighon, and more, can hold up their end against the returning characters. I admit I am not a fan of Alijah yet; he’s prone to anger, although understandably, and he’s the kind of character who keep secrets and feelings to himself while thinking that his actions are correct. But the direction that his story took was, without a doubt, intriguing. And the same can obviously be said for the returning characters, especially Master Dragorn, all the dragons, Galanor, and Doran Heavybelly. Doran Heavybelly, in particular, received a LOT of development which makes me happy because I’ve always liked his character since his first appearance in Empire of Dirt.

I am limited in what I can say in my review because, technically, this is the fourth book of the series, and many things or names I mentioned could end up being interpreted as spoilers. Overall, despite my doubts and the slow start to the novel, The Fall of Neverdark is an engaging fourth novel in The Echoes Saga series. It continued superbly from Relic of the Gods while also starting something new in the world of Veda without sacrificing its characterizations. Based on everything set up in the series so far and the literal cliffhanger of this novel, I feel like this is the last installment before The Echoes Saga escalates to a higher level in Kingdom of Bones. My time with the series so far has been, for sure, captivating, and I am looking forward to whether the halfway point of the series will be able to turn The Echoes Saga into something special for me.


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Blog Tour: She Who Became the Sun (Radiant Emperor, #1) by Shelley Parker Chan

Blog Tour: She Who Became the Sun (Radiant Emperor, #1) by Shelley Parker Chan

Hi everyone! Petrik from Novel Notions here. We, the team at Novel Notions, are very thrilled and honored that we have the opportunity to participate in the blog tour for She Who Became the Sun by Shelley parker Chan.  This is the first book in Radiant Emperor duology, and with its paperback release being imminent tomorrow, here’s once again my review on She Who Became the Sun and why you should read it soon if you haven’t read it!

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Book Review: The Last Stand of Mary Good Crow (The Crystal Calamity, #1) by Rachel Aaron

Book Review: The Last Stand of Mary Good Crow (The Crystal Calamity, #1) by Rachel Aaron

ARC received from author in exchange for an honest review

Cover Art by Luisa Preißler.

The Last Stand of Mary Good Crow by Rachel Aaron

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: The Crystal Calamity (Book 1)

Genre: Fantasy, historical fantasy, alternate history

Published: 1st June 2022 (self-published)


The Last Stand of Mary Good Crow was another effortless winner from Rachel Aaron, brimming with imagination, wonderful characters and captivating magic. 

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Book Review: The Well of Ascension (Mistborn, #2) by Brandon Sanderson

Book Review: The Well of Ascension (Mistborn, #2) by Brandon Sanderson


The Well of Ascension by Brandon Sanderson
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

I first read Mistborn: Era 1 a little over 7 years ago. While I loved it in its entirety, I remembered thinking in hindsight that The Well of Ascension was significantly weaker than the first and third novels in the trilogy. I was mistaken. While it wasn’t quite as fast-paced as its predecessor, this was still a phenomenal book in its own right. It’s not quite perfect, but it is much stronger than I recalled. And there was so much that I had forgotten! As with all of Sanderson’s work, The Well of Ascension is brimming with fascinatingly scientific magic systems, a compelling plot, mysteries that don’t give themselves away too quickly, and characters with flaws but a ton of heart. Rereading this series is reminding me of why Sanderson is one of my favorite authors of all time. He never lets me down.

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Book Review: The Grace of Kings (The Dandelion Dynasty, #1) by Ken Liu

Book Review: The Grace of Kings (The Dandelion Dynasty, #1) by Ken Liu

Cover art illustrated by: Sam Weber

The Grace of Kings by Ken Liu

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: The Dandelion Dynasty (Book #1 of 4)

Genre: Fantasy, Epic Fantasy, Historical Fantasy, Silkpunk

Pages: 640 pages (Hardcover Edition)

Published: 7th April 2015 by Saga Press (US) & 4th June 2015 by Head of Zeus (UK)


This debut is super underrated. Ken Liu’s reimagining of the birth of China’s Han Dynasty is nothing short of epic, complex, thrilling, and heartbreaking.

“Read a lot of books and try a lot of recipes…When you learn enough about the world, even a blade of grass can be a weapon.”

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Book Review: Legendborn (Legendborn, #1) by Tracy Deonn

Book Review: Legendborn (Legendborn, #1) by Tracy Deonn


Legendborn by Tracy Deonn
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

I had heard so many wonderful things about Legendborn that I was a little scared to read it. What if I didn’t love it? After all, YA tends to be very hit-or-miss for me. I needn’t have worried, because this book was absolutely fantastic. I was blown away by the world-building, the concept, and the character development. Bree was a phenomenal protagonist. She was far from perfect, but I loved watching her strengths solidify and rooting for her as she wrestled with the trauma and loss life had dealt her. And it’s a campus novel with a secret society, which is an added bonus. This is also one of the freshest, most original takes on Arthurian legend I’ve experienced, even making me want to go back and reread some of the source inspiration.

“Don’t make your life about the loss. Make it about the love.”

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Book Review: Pan’s Labyrinth: The Labyrinth of the Faun by Guillermo del Toro and Cornelia Funke

Book Review: Pan’s Labyrinth: The Labyrinth of the Faun by Guillermo del Toro and Cornelia Funke


Pan’s Labyrinth: The Labyrinth of the Faun by Guillermo del Toro
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

I’ve never watched Pan’s Labyrinth. I remember borrowing the DVD from the library about a decade ago, but Chris vetoed it about 10 minutes in because it was subtitled and our tv was small. While I always intended to go back to it one day, I just never got around to it. That’s going to have to change, because I absolutely loved this novelization of the story. I feel like “novelization” is almost an insult, actually. Because, while I’ve never seen the movie, I know that the care with which this book was written and illustrated demands more respect that such nomenclature usually provides. Pan’s Labyrinth: The Labyrinth of the Faun, is gorgeous in the same way poisonous mushrooms are: lush, inviting, but deadly.

“In our choices lie our fate.”

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Book Review: Legends and Lattes by Travis Baldree

Book Review: Legends and Lattes by Travis Baldree

ARC was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Cover art illustrated by: Carson Lowmiller

Legends & Lattes by Travis Baldree

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Series: Standalone

Genre: Fantasy, Slice-of-Life

Pages: 318 pages (Kindle Edition)

Published: 22nd February 2022 by Cryptid Press (Self-Published)


Legends and Lattes is the wholesome and cozy fantasy you didn’t know you need.

For those of you who don’t know, Travis Baldree has been well known for his role as the audiobook narrator behind Will Wight’s Cradle series. And many other series, really. Legends and Lattes is his debut novel, and I do think Baldree should now be known for his fantasy novel, too. I wouldn’t have known about Legends and Lattes if it weren’t for Twitter. Most of you probably know already, almost all of my favorite novels and stories are intense, emotional, dark, and serious in tone. But I do love slice-of-life as a genre as well. When I saw the cover art—illustrated by Carson Lowmiller—to Legends and Lattes on Twitter, with the premise indicating this is a high fantasy novel with low stakes, I knew I couldn’t go wrong with my expectations entering this book. I knew immediately I should read this when I’m in the mood for something short, cozy, and wholesome. Despite loving slice-of-life in other storytelling mediums such as manga, anime, and TV shows, I seem to struggle to find a terrific slice-of-life fantasy novel. But I got what I wanted here. Legends and Lattes is the slice-of-life fantasy novel I craved and received.

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