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Emeline’s 2022 Reading Review

In 2020, I read 7 published books. In 2021, I read 39, and now in 2022, I read 71. It’s been a massive year for reading, clearly, and overall I’ve had a great time. I’ve used storygraph to keep track of my reading and my thoughts, and over this year left an average star rating of 4.01!

(Where 1-star = hated it / 2-stars = did not enjoy reading / 3-stars = I liked this / 4-stars = I really liked this! / 5-stars = I loved this book! It was something special)

Based on my storygraph statistics, I read 24,352 pages this year, which is approximately 6,088,000 words! Wow!

To keep it comparatively short, my favourite reads of the year were:

The Goblin Emperor by Katherine Addison
The main character of this book is a young adult, and is in the process of coming into his own through the story, but I would still recommend this book to adult readers. It’s one of many books this year that I’ve read described as “cozy fantasy” and while there are moments of tension, they are the exception, not the rule. I loved the characters, and found the background plot to be intriguing. I expect I will read this again, and hopefully on the second read, the long fantasy names will be less confusing.

Portrait of a Wide Seas Islander by Victoria Goddard

A short side novella to complement The Hands of the Emperor from the point of view of the beloved Buru Tovo. It’s a short and sharp and sweet and occasionally funny novella that I think of fondly and plan to reread.

Legends and Lattes by Travis Baldree
I genuinely cannot believe this a debut novel, it’s so good. Baldree really succeeded at exactly what he set out to do, which was to write an extremely cozy novel. This is the peak of what “cozy fantasy” aims to be. I enjoyed all the characters, and the setting was fun, though I suspect it’s an area that will be better in future books of his. The plot that was included was not necessarily my favourite, but it only slightly detracted from my enjoyment. I recommend reading this with a warm drink and a pastry on hand.

The Lights of Ystrac’s Woods by Alexandra Rowland
This was another book that felt like it was written, just for me, specifically! It’s a great little novella, about friendship and fear and creativity. It’s very cozy (reading word of the year, it seems!) and I loved the characters. The story is tight and contained, but gives hints to a wider world that I hope I get the chance to see.

Some By Virtue Fall by Alexandra Rowland
This was also excellent, but in a very different way than The Lights of Ystrac’s Woods. This didn’t feel written for me, but it was so tightly done, and such a fun fast read that giving it anything less than 5-stars would feel dishonest. The dialogue was witty, the characters were lovingly and frustrating human. It provides contrast to The Light of Ystrac’s Woods which is in the same series, but stands alone, was another delicious glimpse into the setting of the Seven Gods.

The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
This is a young adult novel, but like the other YA books I’ve recommended, I strongly feel it can be enjoyed by readers of any age. At its core, this story is a heist, and I would recommend it to enjoyers of Leverage or White Collar. Gen, the main character, is a real delight in this book, and in the other books of the series which I’ve also enjoyed, though none of the others have received a full 5-stars. The world felt a little typical at first, with a Mediterranean inspired setting, but the way Turner plays it out is unique. The setting also provides some good shocks and twists that had me putting the book aside for a moment to laugh in delight.

Going Postal by Terry Pratchett
This was a re-read of perhaps my favourite Pratchett novel, and it was a delight this time around as well. I love the main character, Moist Von Lipwig, and the setting of Ankh-Morpork. The book is clever and kind and witty, all in the right measures. I would recommend this as a starting place for readers looking to try out Pratchett’s wide selection of books.

At the Feet of the Sun by Victoria Goddard

Although this was the only one of Goddard’s books to get 5-stars this year, I read several of her other works and largely enjoyed them. At the Feet of the Sun, the sequel to The Hands of the Emperor, though, is special. It’s very different from The Hands of the Emperor which is always very down to earth, while this book rises to the heights of myths and legends. All the way through, Cliopher is a delight. I really don’t know if this will be as beloved to me as The Hands of the Emperor is. Unlike The Hands of the Emperor, this book doesn’t feel like it was written for me, but it was still fun. The pacing was better than in the first book, and the plot arcs allowed for things to resolve before the final arc, which seems preferable to me than the format of The Hands of the Emperor.

As you can tell by the fact only this book gets a second paragraph, I have some thoughts on it. It’s also extremely long, and quite a lot happens (unlike The Hands of the Emperor where it’s so long, and nothing happens, in the best way possible). I look forward to seeing what Goddard writes going into the future.

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