Books I Meant to Read In 2019 but Didn’t Get To
In news that should surprise no one, I did not manage to read all the books on my “Must Read” lists of 2019 (Jan to March, April to June, July to September, October to December), but considering that’s about 140 books all together, I think I did pretty damn well! I got to finish all but approximately 30 books, and here are some that I most regret not getting to. But who knows, there are still a couple weeks left in the year, and I may still knock a few more off the big old TBR yet, especially for December releases,
The Kingdom of Copper by S.A. Chakraborty
Nahri’s life changed forever the moment she accidentally summoned Dara, a formidable, mysterious djinn, during one of her schemes. Whisked from her home in Cairo, she was thrust into the dazzling royal court of Daevabad—and quickly discovered she would need all her grifter instincts to survive there.
Now, with Daevabad entrenched in the dark aftermath of a devastating battle, Nahri must forge a new path for herself. But even as she embraces her heritage and the power it holds, she knows she’s been trapped in a gilded cage, watched by a king who rules from the throne that once belonged to her family—and one misstep will doom her tribe..
Meanwhile, Ali has been exiled for daring to defy his father. Hunted by assassins, adrift on the unforgiving copper sands of his ancestral land, he is forced to rely on the frightening abilities the marid—the unpredictable water spirits—have gifted him. But in doing so, he threatens to unearth a terrible secret his family has long kept buried.
And as a new century approaches and the djinn gather within Daevabad’s towering brass walls for celebrations, a threat brews unseen in the desolate north. It’s a force that would bring a storm of fire straight to the city’s gates . . . and one that seeks the aid of a warrior trapped between worlds, torn between a violent duty he can never escape and a peace he fears he will never deserve.
Ship of Smoke and Steel by Django Wexler
In the lower wards of Kahnzoka, the great port city of the Blessed Empire, eighteen-year-old ward boss Isoka enforces the will of her criminal masters with the power of Melos, the Well of Combat. The money she collects goes to keep her little sister living in comfort, far from the bloody streets they grew up on.
When Isoka’s magic is discovered by the government, she’s arrested and brought to the Emperor’s spymaster, who sends her on an impossible mission: steal Soliton, a legendary ghost ship–a ship from which no one has ever returned. If she fails, her sister’s life is forfeit.
On board Soliton, nothing is as simple as it seems. Isoka tries to get close to the ship’s mysterious captain, but to do it she must become part of the brutal crew and join their endless battles against twisted creatures. She doesn’t expect to have to contend with feelings for a charismatic fighter who shares her combat magic, or for a fearless princess who wields an even darker power.
The Ruin of Kings by Jenn Lyons
There are the old stories. And then there’s what actually happens.
Kihrin is a bastard orphan who grew up on storybook tales of long-lost princes and grand quests. When he is claimed against his will as the long-lost son of a treasonous prince, Kihrin finds that being a long-lost prince isn’t what the storybooks promised.
Far from living the dream, Kihrin finds himself practically a prisoner, at the mercy of his new family’s power plays and ambitions. He also discovers that the storybooks have lied about a lot of other things things, too: dragons, demons, gods, prophecies, true love, and how the hero always wins.
Then again, maybe he’s not the hero, for Kihrin isn’t destined to save the empire.
He’s destined to destroy it…
Star Wars: Alphabet Squadron by Alexander Freed
The Emperor is dead. His final weapon has been destroyed. The imperial army is in disarray. In the aftermath, Yrica Quell is just one of thousands of defectors from her former cause living in a deserters’ shantytown—until she is selected to join Alphabet Squadron.
Cobbled together from an eclectic assortment of pilots and starfighters, the five members of Alphabet are tasked by New Republic General Hera Syndulla herself. Like Yrica, each is a talented pilot struggling to find their place in a changing galaxy. Their mission: to track down and destroy the mysterious Shadow Wing, a lethal force of TIE fighters exacting bloody, reckless vengeance in the twilight of their reign.
The newly formed unit embodies the heart and soul of the Rebellion: ragtag, resourceful, scrappy, and emboldened by their most audacious victory in decades. But going from underdog rebels to celebrated heroes isn’t as easy as it seems, and their inner demons threaten them as much as their enemies among the stars. The wayward warriors of Alphabet Squad will have to learn to fly together if they want to protect the new era of peace they’ve fought so hard to achieve.
The Fall by Tracy Townsend
Eight months ago, Rowena Downshire was a half-starved black market courier darting through the shadows of Corma’s underside. Today, she’s a (mostly) respectable clerk in the Alchemist’s infamous apothecary shop, the Stone Scales, and certainly the last girl one would think qualified to carry the weight of the world on her shoulders a second time. Looks can be deceiving.
When Anselm Meteron and the Alchemist receive an invitation to an old acquaintance’s ball–the Greatduke who financed their final, disastrous mercenary mission fourteen years earlier–they’re expecting blackmail, graft, or veiled threats related to the plot to steal the secrets of the Creator’s Grand Experiment. They aren’t expecting a job offer they can’t refuse or a trip halfway across the world to rendezvous with the scholar whose research threw their lives into tumult: the Reverend Doctor Phillip Chalmers.
Escorting Chalmers to the Grand Library of Nippon with her mismatched mercenary family is just a grand adventure to Rowena until she discovers a powerful algebraic engine called the Aggregator. The Aggregator leads Rowena to questions about the Grand Experiment she was never meant to ask and answers she cannot be allowed to possess. With her reunited friends, Rowena must find a way to use the truths hidden in the Grand Library to disarm those who would hunt down the nine subjects of the Creator’s Grand Experiment, threatening to close the book on this world.
Crowfall by Ed McDonald
A sorcerous cataclysm has hit the Range, the final defensive line between the republic and the immortal Deep Kings.
Tormenting red rains sweep the land, new monstrosities feed on fear in the darkness, and the power of the Nameless, the gods who protect the republic, lies broken. The Blackwing captains who serve them are being picked off one by one, and even immortals have learned what it means to die. Meanwhile, the Deep Kings have only grown stronger, and they are poised to deliver a blow that will finally end the war.
Ryhalt Galharrow stands apart from it all.
He has been deeper into the wasteland known as the Misery than ever before. It has grown within him–changed him–and now the ghosts of his past, formerly confined to the Misery, walk with him everywhere.
They will even follow him–and the few surviving Blackwing captains–on one final mission into the darkness.
The Rage of Dragons by Evan Winter
The Omehi people have been fighting an unwinnable fight for almost two hundred years. Their society has been built around war and only war. The lucky ones are born gifted. One in every two thousand women has the power to call down dragons. One in every hundred men is able to magically transform himself into a bigger, stronger, faster killing machine.
Everyone else is fodder, destined to fight and die in the endless war. Young, gift-less Tau knows all this, but he has a plan of escape. He’s going to get himself injured, get out early, and settle down to marriage, children, and land. Only, he doesn’t get the chance. Those closest to him are brutally murdered, and his grief swiftly turns to anger. Fixated on revenge, Tau dedicates himself to an unthinkable path. He’ll become the greatest swordsman to ever live, a man willing to die a hundred thousand times for the chance to kill the three who betrayed him.
Howling Dark by Christopher Ruocchio
The second novel of the galaxy-spanning Sun Eater series merges the best of space opera and epic fantasy, as Hadrian Marlowe continues down a path that can only end in fire.
Hadrian Marlowe is lost.
For half a century, he has searched the farther suns for the lost planet of Vorgossos, hoping to find a way to contact the elusive alien Cielcin. He has not succeeded, and for years has wandered among the barbarian Normans as captain of a band of mercenaries.
Determined to make peace and bring an end to nearly four hundred years of war, Hadrian must venture beyond the security of the Sollan Empire and among the Extrasolarians who dwell between the stars. There, he will face not only the aliens he has come to offer peace, but contend with creatures that once were human, with traitors in his midst, and with a meeting that will bring him face to face with no less than the oldest enemy of mankind.
If he succeeds, he will usher in a peace unlike any in recorded history. If he fails…the galaxy will burn.
The Wolf’s Call by Anthony Ryan
Peace never lasts.
Vaelin Al Sorna is a living legend, his name known across the Realm. It was his leadership that overthrew empires, his blade that won hard-fought battles – and his sacrifice that defeated an evil more terrifying than anything the world had ever seen. He won titles aplenty, only to cast aside his earned glory for a quiet life in the Realm’s northern reaches.
Yet whispers have come from across the sea – rumours of an army called the Steel Horde, led by a man who believes himself a god. Vaelin has no wish to fight another war, but when he learns that Sherin, the woman he lost long ago, has fallen into the Horde’s grasp, he resolves to confront this powerful new threat.
To this end, Vaelin travels to the realms of the Merchant Kings, a land ruled by honor and intrigue. There, as the drums of war thunder across kingdoms riven by conflict, Vaelin learns a terrible truth: that there are some battles that even he may not be strong enough to win.
The Dragon Republic by R.F. Kuang
In the aftermath of the Third Poppy War, shaman and warrior Rin is on the run: haunted by the atrocity she committed to end the war, addicted to opium, and hiding from the murderous commands of her vengeful god, the fiery Phoenix. Her only reason for living is to get revenge on the traitorous Empress who sold out Nikan to their enemies.
With no other options, Rin joins forces with the powerful Dragon Warlord, who has a plan to conquer Nikan, unseat the Empress, and create a new Republic. Rin throws herself into his war. After all, making war is all she knows how to do.
But the Empress is a more powerful foe than she appears, and the Dragon Warlord’s motivations are not as democratic as they seem. The more Rin learns, the more she fears her love for Nikan will drive her away from every ally and lead her to rely more and more on the Phoenix’s deadly power. Because there is nothing she won’t sacrifice for her country and her vengeance.
Dispel Illusion by Mark Lawrence
Nick Hayes’s genius is in wringing out the universe’s secrets. It’s a talent that’s allowed him to carve paths through time. But the worst part is that he knows how his story will end. He’s seen it with his own eyes. And every year that passes, every breakthrough he makes, brings him a step closer. Mia’s accident is waiting for them both in 2011. If it happens then he’s out of choices.
Then a chance 1992 discovery reveals that this seeker of truth has been lying to himself. But why? It’s a question that haunts him for years. A straw he clings to as his long-awaited fate draws near.
Time travel turns out not to be the biggest problem Nick has to work on. He needs to find out how he can stay on his path but change the destination. Failure has never been an option, and neither has survival. But Nick’s hoping to roll the dice one more time. And this new truth begins with a lie.
Blood of Empire by Brian McClellan
The Dynize have unlocked the Landfall Godstone, and Michel Bravis is tasked with returning to Greenfire Depths to do whatever he can to prevent them from using its power; from sewing dissension among the enemy ranks to rallying the Palo population.
Ben Styke’s invasion of Dynize is curtailed when a storm scatters his fleet. Coming ashore with just twenty lancers, he is forced to rely on brains rather than brawn – gaining new allies in a strange land on the cusp of its own internal violence.
Bereft of her sorcery and physically and emotionally broken, Lady Vlora Flint now marches on Landfall at the head of an Adran army seeking vengeance against those who have conspired against her. While allied politicians seek to undo her from within, she faces insurmountable odds and Dynize’s greatest general.
The Hanged Man by K.D. Edwards
The Tarot Sequence imagines a modern-day Atlantis off the coast of Massachusetts, governed by powerful Courts based on the traditional Tarot deck.
Rune Saint John, last child of the fallen Sun Throne, is backed into a fight of high court magic and political appetites in a desperate bid to protect his ward, Max, from a forced marital alliance with the Hanged Man.
Rune’s resistance will take him to the island’s dankest corners, including a red light district made of moored ghost ships; the residence of Lady Death; and the floor of the ruling Convocation, where a gathering of Arcana will change Rune’s life forever.
Yay to ‘The Hanged Man’ & ‘Wrath of Empire’! Can’t wait!
I’m looking forward to your opinion on ‘Kingdom of Copper’. Decided to not read it but you never know..^^
I definitely want to get to KoC before the third book arrives! I’ll definitely review it here if I do!
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I feel like this list is endless for me ahah (and most people!)
Yep, haha! This list would be many times longer if I didn’t draw the line somewhere 😉
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If you’ve got the time, I cast my vote for The Ruin of Kings – what a fantastic read!
The Rage of Dragons & The Wolf’s Call are both on my missed list.
Yes, your praise for The Ruin of Kings definitely has me curious!
Some fantastic books on that list
All the more reason I need to get to all of them at some point!
So many books and so little time. 140 books is great though. That looks like a great line-up for 2020! I really like Anthony Ryan and haven’t read The Wolf’s Call.
I know, I sometimes wish real life would just leave me alone so I can spend more time with my books, lol! I’m going to try hard to get to all of these in 2020, before I fall even farther behind!
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Oh good. I want to read your reviews and choose a few (at least).
Smoke and Steel was okay, and I really enjoyed Wolf’s Call, but I loved Crowfall. I’d have to recommend that for next year sometime! I also pushed Dispel Illusion and Blood of Empire back, but they just came out, so it’s cool.
Just knocked out Ship of Smoke and Steel, and I have to agree – I really enjoyed it, but it’s definitely not his best! Wolf’s Call and Crowfall will hopefully be on the schedule for 2020. And yeah, Dispel Illusion and Blood of Empire can wait just a tad bit longer, I don’t feel as pressured to get to them…yet! 😀
Sounds to me like you did great! I know Tammy loved The Hanged Man so I’m interested in your thoughts as well. I’m sure you’ll find some new faves in this list somewhere.
Yeah I definitely need to get to The Hanged Man! But since that one just came out, I can push it back a bit 😀
I gave up on The Fall, at this point I just need to move on. And I loved The Hanged Man!
Oh man, I should adopt that attitude for more books – sometimes I just have to let it go!
Ship of Smoke and Steel is one I might try to squeeze in last minute amongst the flurry of ARC reads this month. I’ve had a copy since January and I have yet to read it! So curious what you think when you finally get to The Ruin of Kings!
I managed to squeeze in Smoke and Steel! Worth it if you’re a Django Wexler fan, even though it’s probably not his best. Fun though, and now I’m caught up for the sequel that’s already dropping next month (seriously, where does the time go!)
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Loved both dispel illusion and crowfall! Hope you enjoy!
Yay! I’m especially excited to hear that you loved Dispel Illusion!
Blood of Empire is a magnificent conclusion to the trilogy and my only complaint is that… it’s over! ((SIGH)) . While Ruin of Kings still looks at me with deep reproach from the TBR where it’s languishing… 😉
Ah yes, the bittersweetness when a beloved series ends! Still can’t wait to read BoE though 😀
I only tried the first one but I really enjoyed it!
That’s awesome to hear!
I started Howling Dark but couldn’t get pulled into it like I could the first book. I suppose I should offer it another go once I finish my current read…
I remember loving the first half of book one, but even though I burned cooler for the second half I still thought it was enjoyable. Dang, now I’m nervous to start Howling Dark. If only it weren’t such a tome, just its page count is intimidating.
Also there are some amazing cover arts in this list!
Agreed! Lots of pretty covers!
Omg I totally forgot about the new Wexler!
I managed to squeeze it in this week! Go me! 😀
Kingdom of Copper and The Dragon Reûblic Mogsy!!! Tut, tut tut tut….you just NEED to read them LOL
I know, I know! I should be ashamed, lol! 😀
A lot of books on your list is on my list, too! 🙂 But I did read Crowfall and can heartily recommend it 😀
Thanks for the heads up! Knowing you enjoyed it definitely helps motivate me to pick it up sooner!
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There’s always far too much to read, but I’d rather that than the alternative. I’ve not read anything on this list, but I’d really like to try S.A. Chakraborty’s series, and I’ve wanted to try something by Brian McClellan since Promise of Blood came out.
So true! It just wouldn’t feel right if I weren’t constantly under threat of being crushed by the weight of my TBR, lol. Highly recommend McClellan’s Promise of Blood and that first trilogy, hope you get to check it out eventually!
Woah Howling Dark looks wild! that one’s new to me. Also, I still need to continue with that Mark Lawrence series- i liked the first one.
Howling Dark is actually a sequel, but the first book was really good! Definitely a hidden gem!
It’s so difficult to keep up with everything isn’t it – although you make a very good attempt to do so! I keep thinking, I can do it, fit in another 6 or 7 books before the end of December – and then I remember the holiday period, the socialising, preparing things, visiting people – and I realise I’m living on cloud dreamland. Oh well, one can but try.
Yup, though I’m determined to try and squeeze in a couple more books! I did manage Ship of Smoke and Steel, and now I’m working on Alphabet Squadron! Never give up, lol! 😀
Wow, 140! That’s amazing. Considering how many reviews you post, this is impressive.
So many good books on the list, most of them sequels. I have no idea why, but I am terrible with sequels as well, even when I really like previous books.
I hope you’ll find the time for The Dragon Republic, that one was one of my favorites this year and I was a bit afraid Kuang will drop the ball with book #2. She didn’t.
New Anthony Ryan is super readable and I love the siege sequence at the end. His fight scenes are always good. Solid book.
I’ve read both debuts on the list: The Ruin of Kings (which is a complete mess, but in a good way- I can’t really explain) and The Rage of Dragons (compelling, fast read).
And I also managed to read a lot of the books not on that list and discovered plenty more gems because of it, so I can’t complain, haha! 😀 And I think as book lovers, we all struggle with sequels – no matter how much we loved the first book, there’s just always another shiny new series to discover, all brimming with potential! Hard to resist a siren call like that!
And hmm, love your description of Ruin of Kings! I’m intrigued by a great book that’s a mess but in a good way!
You’re doing a lot better than me 😅 I’m definitely hoping to read Ruin Of Kings next year though as well as S .A Chakrabortys books. Some of the others sound really interesting too though and I’d be interested to see how you find Ship Of Smoke & Steel, it’s been on my TBR for a while.
I am so proud of myself that I managed to squeeze in Ship of Smoke and Steel this week, haha! It was good, but not Wexler’s best – still highly recommended and worth it if you’re a fan of his, but just expect a lot of tropes and some predictability 🙂
So many good books on here! Well, you just have that much awesome reading ahead of you. 🙂 I think you’re going to love The Dragon Republic and I’m very curious to see how you like The Kingdom of Copper and The Ruin of Kings. Reading The Hanged Man right now and really enjoying it!
Thanks! I’m excited to get to all of the above – whenever I can, haha! I am aiming to knock a few more off the list before the end of the year, starting with the shorter ones, and maybe after Christmas is over, during that sweet spot before News Years, I can find some quiet time to read one of the longer ones like Ruin of Kings or The Dragon Republic, which are both high on the priority list!
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I missed out on Ruin of Kings and Rage of Dragons too. I really wanted to read those. Hopefully next year.