Happy New Year, everyone!
As is traditional here on A Book Owl’s Corner, I’ve decided to welcome 2023 on a positive note by giving you a ton of suggestions on what to read this year!
Okay, well, maybe not a ton… This year, you’re actually getting a real top ten list of favorites. Although, of course, being me, I couldn’t resist squeezing multiple books into some of the spots, either. Among the 87 new-to-me books I read in 2022, there were just too many wonderful stories I encountered! Ranking them gave me an enormous headache, since I simply could not pick which ones I adored most, but I think I’ve finally come up with a list that I’m reasonably happy with.
So let’s get started! Without further ado, I present to you my favorite books of 2022!
🦉 My Favorite Books of 2022 🦉
#1 The Liveship Traders by Robin Hobb
Are any of you really surprised? Since The Liveship Traders were the very first books I read in 2022, I’ve had plenty of time to gush about them, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still use a reminder about how great they are. There are ships! And pirates! And dragons! And incredible character development, politics, and plot twists! 🥰🤗🥰
After having read the entire Realm of the Elderlings, I can say without a doubt that this one is my favorite series. Although I am still extremely bitter about seemingly carelessly Robin Hobb tied this story into her overall Realm of the Elderlings finale, I have just decided to ignore that so as not to taint The Liveship Traders’ perfection… In 2022 alone, I read this four times, so I think it’s safe to say that I love absolutely everything about it!
#2 The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison
(read in November)
While The Goblin Emperor would probably have several people running because of how intricately political it is, I wholeheartedly adore it! Maia, a young half-goblin who is thrust into the role of emperor when his Elven father and brothers are killed in an airship explosion, is one of the purest characters I have ever encountered. I loved watching him grow into his new position, I cried over how much he had to sacrifice to do his country justice, I was engrossed by all of the intrigue, betrayal, and paperwork going on around him, and I couldn’t get enough of how simultaneously depressing and wholesome his story was.
Political fantasy lovers out there – you have to read this! 😍
#3 The Cemeteries of Amalo by Katherine Addison
(read in December)
Katherine Addison has truly cemented her spot among my favorite authors because, honestly, I think I love The Cemeteries of Amalo just as much as The Goblin Emperor 🥰 Having to pick one over the other broke my heart, and I’m still not sure whether I did it right. So let’s just compromise on the fact that you should read both!
A crime fiction Goblin Emperor spin-off series following Thara Celehar, an elf with a gift for hearing the dead, The Cemeteries of Amalo has the perfect mix of intriguing plot and intense character-drivenness, as well as what is shaping up to be one of the best slow-burn romances I’ve ever come across. I laughed, I cried, I grinned while reading this, and Thara Celehar has, without a doubt, earned his place among my favorite characters ever.
Expect me to keep religiously rereading these until book three comes out!
#4 The Darkness Outside Us by Eliot Schrefer
(read in April)
Sci-fi set in space is already a good prerequisite for making me love something, but throw in a possibly evil A.I., mysterious hints at something not being what it seems, and insane plot-twists that will keep you up thinking for hours on end, and I will be a goner 😍 The Darkness Outside Us might just be the best YA science fiction novel I have ever read, and I can only highly recommend you try it!
#5 Legends & Lattes by Travis Baldree
(read in September)
Okay, look. Objectively speaking, I know that this book has its flaws. The plot mainly consists of characters brewing hot drinks and baking biscuits, the world-building remains very surface-level, and a lot of the events play out awfully conveniently.
Subjectively speaking, however, I think Legends & Lattes is perfect! 🥰 I don’t even like coffee, but reading about an orc trying to build her very own coffee shop? It immediately made me feel so cozy and at home! I would give anything to work alongside Viv, Tandri, Cal, Thimble, and Pendry, and watching their list of recipes grow steadily longer and longer was the most satisfying thing ever.
If you ever need something to cheer you up, like a mug of warm hot chocolate, go read this book!
#6 To Paradise by Hanya Yanagihara
(read in February)
Set in three different alternate versions of the United States of America – one in 1893, after the Confederacy has successfully seceded from the Union, one in 1993 in the midst of a global AIDS pandemic, and one in 2093 under the rule of a totalitarian government – To Paradise is probably the book that made me think the most this year. There are so many puzzle pieces that you as a reader have to fit together on your own, so many opportunities to theorize, and the stories, particularly parts one and three, really resonated with me.
To Paradise is a much quieter novel than the tearjerker that is Hanya Yanagihara’s A Little Life, but I loved it nonetheless. If you’re looking for something sad and thought-provoking, this might be the book for you!
#7 The Golden Fool by Robin Hobb
You didn’t think I’d stop at just one Realm of the Elderlings mention, did you? Not when there are so many amazing books in it!
The Golden Fool combined a ton of things I love about this world. We were back at Buckkeep, smack-dab in the middle of lots of political intrigue, magic, and complicated Farseer family ties, there was lots of Fitz and the Fool content – some of which had me bawling my eyes out 😭 – and we met Thick, whom I adore from the bottom of my heart.
In fact, if it weren’t for the absolutely shitty ending to The Tawny Man Trilogy that not even the tragically beautiful final chapters of Assassin’s Fate can fully redeem, this book would be far higher up on my list. But I’m petty and won’t forgive Robin Hobb for not following through on all the wonderful stuff she set up for in The Golden Fool. When your books are this interconnected, I guess you’re just going to have to deal with later ones affecting my opinion on what you wrote earlier!
#8 First They Killed My Father by Loung Ung
(read in May)
In First They Killed My Father, Loung Ung recounts the story of how she survived what is now known to be one of the biggest genocides in modern history. Through the eyes of a young girl, we get to see the reality of the Khmer Rouge’s invasion of Cambodia, of labor camps, of starvation, of torture, and of being a child soldier.
This memoir is horrifying and definitely not for the faint-hearted, but it is also eye-opening and thoroughly compelling. If you’re interested in learning more about Southeast-Asian history, I highly recommend it!
#9 Dragon Haven by Robin Hobb
This is the last Robin Hobb book on this list, I swear! But I couldn’t not include this, not when this was the story that made me fall utterly and wholeheartedly in love with Sedric! 🥰 For him, I was more than willing to put up with all of Thymara’s feminist whining and Hest’s general awfulness…
Besides, this book also has so many satisfying dragon scenes! I loved watching these previously weak hatchlings gain more and more strength and form reluctant bonds with their keepers. And we finally start to learn more about the Elderlings, too!
#10 Maus: A Survivor’s Tale by Art Spiegelman
(read in July)
Unless I’m mistaken, this is the first time a graphic novel has made it onto my yearly favorites list since I discovered Heartstopper back in 2019. But Maus thoroughly deserves it!
In two volumes, Art Spiegelman tells the story of how his father Vladek, a Polish Jew, survived the Holocaust, and how Vladek’s experiences leading up to and during World War II shaped his present-day relationship with his family. This duology is heartbreaking, witty, complicated, and beautiful, and worth checking out even if you are (like me 😁) usually a graphic novel skeptic!
So there you have it – those were my top ten reads of 2022!
Before I sign off, though, I quickly want to give a shoutout to some non-Realm of the Elderlings honorable mentions that narrowly didn’t make the list but still very much deserve to be read:
Also, in case an of you like to check out any of my favorites from previous years, you can find those here:
And that was it for today! If you’ve read any of these books, I’d love to hear whether or not we agree on their awesomeness – and if we haven’t already discussed your favorite books of 2022, feel free to tell me all about them, too! After all, I need some recommendations for 2023 🤗