Favorites of 2022

Okay, so, in the past I have sometimes done Top Ten lists at the end of a year. Best male lead … best cool plot twist … best overall … whatever.

I can’t really do that for 2022! I hardly read anything! I swear, every year has set a new low in number of new-to-me books read, and 2022 was almost certainly the lowest ever.

However, I will pull out a few.

1) Mask of Mirrors by MA Carrick. This is a penname for Marie Brennan (author of the Memoirs of Lady Trent) and Alyc Helms (author of the Adventures of Mr. Mystic). I read The Mask of Mirrors about this time last year, eg, in January sometime. It’s very good! With astoundingly great worldbuilding! But with some highly tense elements! Here are my comments about the first book.

I started the second book, but could not bring myself to go on with it because it was so high tension and some of the characters were in … not horrible places. But there were some kinds of inter-character tension that were difficult for me to tolerate at the time.

Nevertheless, a fine series and one I should definitely go on with eventually. I’m hoping that by the end, certain characters — fine, all the important characters — become allies and have forgiven each other for various unfortunate decisions they may have made and don’t hate each other. I may actually wait for the third book to be released and read reviews of that before going on with the second book myself. Unless, I mean, if my tolerance for high-tension stories improves a lot in 2023, maybe I won’t wait.

2) Crown of Shadows by KM Shea. This is the first book of an UF series. I liked many things about it, and also it was not very demanding. Here are my comments about this series.

3) Emissary by Melissa McShane. I liked this book quite a bit and fully intend to go on with other books by this author. Here are my comments about this book.

4) The Tally-Master by JM Ney-Grimm. I have somehow managed to let the second book slide down my Kindle again. Not sure why, since I am enjoying the book! I had something interrupt me. Moving it back to the top again now. Meanwhile, my comments about the first book.

5) Winter’s Orbit by Everina Maxwell. The worldbuilding, so shallow. The plot, so predictable. And yet, I really enjoyed this story. My comments here.

6) Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir. Many tidbits stretched credulity, but I enjoyed this story very much.

7) The runner-up for the year: The Phoenix Feather series by Sherwood Smith. I loved this series, honestly. It was much lower-stress than the first book on this list, and long enough to really sink my teeth into, and I enjoyed so many things about it, particularly how casually the villains were handled and how the phoenix feather itself was handled at the end. More extensive comments here.

8) And the ultimate standout for 2022: The Scholomance trilogy. It’s going to be a long time, probably, before I read anything I love as much as this.

And I’m stopping there. I don’t think I can mention more than eight. I may not have read all that many more books than these! I mean, sure, a handful of others. But if I counted carefully and discovered I read just twenty or thirty novels in all of 2022, I wouldn’t be surprised.

I’ll never know, however, as I didn’t actually keep track.

However, one more, in a separate list of its own:


  1. Someday I should do a list of my all-time favorite nonfiction books. An Immense World by Ed Yong will be at the top of the list. No other nonfiction book I’ve ever read in my life is cooler than this one. Here is my post about this book, where I pulled nearly random excerpts because you can throw a dart anywhere at this book and whatever paragraph you hit will be super neat.

Okay! Obviously there is PLENTY of room for YOU to suggest titles. What novels did YOU love most in 2022? I’m really curious! Please drop your favorites in the comments.

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18 thoughts on “Favorites of 2022”

  1. I think the only book I really loved this year that I haven’t seen mentioned on your blog (unless I missed it) was A Taste of Gold and Iron by Alexandra Rowland. It’s a fantasy romance, and for me at least, it was right up with T Kingfisher and KJ Charles for delivering all the romance feelings without sacrificing plot (as much as I enjoyed Everina Maxwell’s books, I did feel like I was enjoying them *despite* several notable flaws, as you mentioned).

  2. Beth Brower was new to me this year, but I found her through your blog. The Journals of Emma M Lion are among my favorites.

  3. Favourites new to me this year, in no particular order:
    (all of which I learned about through this blog, Thank You Rachel!)

    Murderbot Diaries, series by Martha Wells
    La Vie en Rose, series by Laura Florand
    Hidden Legacy, series by Ilona Andrews
    Suelen & Shines now and Hertofore, novellas by Rachel Neumier

  4. Thank you for all the book recommendations on this blog!
    My favourite fantasy books in 2022 were:
    – Sweep of the Heart (Ilona Andrews)
    – The Grief of Stones (Katherine Addison)
    – The Shuddering City (Sharon Shinn)
    – Legends & Lattes (Travis Baldree)
    – Keraunani, and the Tuyo series (Rachel Neumeier)

  5. I read ALL of your books in 2022 for the first time, plus most of Georgette Heyer’s books and Gail Carson Levine’s books and Lloyd Alexander’s books. It’s going to be hard to pick a favorite from those.

    I guess I’ll call out Sylvester, or the Wicked Uncle by Heyer, the Westmark books by Alexander, and A Ceiling Made of Eggshells by Levine. I assume anyone who’s here already has read your books.

    Other books I read for the first time and really enjoyed:
    The Dispossessed and The Word for World is Forest by Ursula K. LeGuin
    The Forgotten Beasts of Eld by Patricia McKillip
    Sabriel + sequels by Garth Nix (Sabriel is the best one, and Lirael and Abhorsen are pretty good too)
    Replay by Ken Grimwood
    The Sparrow by Mary Doria Russell (this is not a fun read, but it’s good). The sequel, Children of God is not as good, but you need to read it to recover.
    The Deed of Paksenarrion by Elizabeth Moon
    The Windsingers by Megan Lindholm a.k.a. Robin Hobb
    Tea with the Black Dragon by R.A. MacAvoy
    The Lost Metal by Brandon Sanderson

    Also I re-read so many favorites! The entire Vorkosigan saga + Sharing Knife books by Bujold. The Dresden Files + Codex Alera by Butcher. The Winternight trilogy by Katherine Arden. Uprooted and Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik. All of Jonathan Stroud’s books (but especially the Bartimaeus books).

  6. I read more nonfiction this year than I think I ever have, but let’s see . . .
    – The Galleries of Stone trilogy by C.J. Milbrandt – a fun, sweet, non-stressful little series about unlikely families and living statues
    – Dante’s Divine Comedy – twice, because it’s dense and I didn’t quite remember all the Greek allusions the first time around (if you want an easily readable version, Anthony Esolen’s translation is excellent)
    – The King of Elfland’s Daughter by Lord Dunsany
    – The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows by John Koenig, which firstly is a great title, and secondly is great fun to read. He comes up with all kinds of words for emotions/feelings/oddly specific situations that require a word but don’t have one.

  7. Emma Lion and Scholomance were my winners too, with honorable mention for Annette Marie’s Guild Codex UF series (really several connected series, bonus points for being on KU).

  8. Kriti, I really envy you your year of reading: what a great bunch of books to experience for the first time!

    My year was fairly sparse, and not a lot stands out in my mind. Phoenix Feather for sure. A fair bit of Victoria Goddard, including The Redoubtable Pali Avramapul and At the Feet of the Sun (both of which I enjoyed a lot, but the Pali book was a lot tighter, and I really liked her character (and was hoping for a lot more Cliopher-Pali clashing than i got in Feet of the Sun!)) Lots of Rachel’s books. Oh, and a new author to me: Adrian Tchaikovsky. Elder Race was good, and Children of Time was fantastic. And Legendborn was a great YA read.

  9. Wow, Kristi, so many great books, and I’m so happy you read all mine in there too!

    Sylvester is one of Heyers’ I haven’t read. Not the first time I’ve seen someone point to it — I should get it and put it on my coffee table so I actually read it!

  10. Melanie, have you read Florand’s Chocolate romances? Those are great too! Honestly, I don’t know which of her series is my favorite.

  11. I listed somewhere else that out of this year’s reading, my favorite fiction was Tuyo, Nettle and Bone by T Kingfisher, and At the Feet of the Sun. A close runner-up would be A Strange and Stubborn Endurance by Foz Meadows.

    For nonfiction, my favorite was The Plant Hunter by Cassandra Quave. It’s a memoir of becoming a research scientist in ethnobotany, finding plants that indigenous people use for healing and then testing them against modern medicine. The subject is fascinating and so is her story about becoming a scientist and lab leader who is a woman with a physical disability.

    I bought the Ed Yong book but haven’t read it yet.

  12. I love The King of Elfland’s Daughter musical album based on the book. Christopher Lee does the elf king’s songs. He’s great!

  13. OtterB, glad to see Nettle and Bone on your list, as I have it sitting right here. And the ethnobotanist book sounds fascinating!

  14. Finished the Crown of Shadows trilogy at lunch. Teared up a bit at the climactic scene. It really is about the friends we made along the way. Thank you for the recommendation!

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