My Top 10 Favorite Single Books of All Time

Illustrated by DanilLovesFood

When I make these types of lists, I typically focus on entire series. However, this time around I wanted to give a shoutout to my favorite single books of all time, whether they are part of a series or a standalone. These are books that wowed me and were basically perfect all around.

5 Honorable Mentions

Blood of Assassins (Wounded Kingdom #2) by RJ Barker

Underlord (Cradle #6) by Will Wight

Blood Song (Raven’s Shadow #1) by Anthony Ryan

Grey Sister (Book of the Ancestor #2) by Mark Lawrence

Royal Assassin (Farseer Trilogy #2) by Robin Hobb

Top 10

10) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter #7) by J.K. Rowling

“Do not pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living, and, above all those who live without love.”

I remember being utterly blown away by this final installment in the story of Harry Potter, the boy who lived. In particular, a certain battle was absolute insanity and so incredibly well done. This was the type of book that stole every free moment I had until I was done with it and ended this series perfectly even if it was in a heartbreaking way.

9) Rise of Empire (Riyria Revelations Omnibus #2) by Michael J Sullivan

“Power rises to the top like cream and dominates the weak with cruelty disguised as — and often even believed to be — benevolence.”

How could I leave out my favorite book from the series that has one of my favorite duos? Royce and Hadrian are so much fun to follow in these books. Their character development, especially Royce, is superb and entertaining. The plot is thoroughly engaging and exciting. When I was able to read more about Royce and Hadrian in the prequel series, Riyria Chronicles, it felt like coming home and hanging out with old friends.

8) The Rage of Dragons (The Burning #1) by Evan Winter

“I can’t imagine a world where the man holding a sword does not have the last say over the man without one.”

The Rage of Dragons is the definition of a fast paced novel. This revenge story features a compelling, oft blinded by rage protagonist that will stop at nothing to avenge those he lost. More than that though, this is a story that inspires. A story that shows that the station you are born to does not have to be where you end up, even if the system is rigged against you. The incredible battles and training sequences, along with the very interesting magic system didn’t hurt either. My favorite book of 2019 had to make this list.

7) The Warded Man (The Demon Cycle #1) by Peter V Brett

“There’s a wide world out there, for those willing to brave the dark.”

Where this book really shined was in its unique use of symbols in a magic system. This whole world is built around the wards that can keep the demons at bay when they come out at night. The tension was very high throughout the novel because if the characters made one minor slip up, one small mistake with the ward symbols, they were dead. This was an amazing introduction to the story of Arlen Bales and the people surrounding him in their efforts to save humanity from hordes of demons that want them dead.

6) Ruin (The Faithful and the Fallen #3) by John Gwynne

“We are what we choose to be. What makes a king a king? Is there something different about him? Does special, sacred blood run in his veins? No. He is chosen; he believes it, and the people believe. He rises to the task, or he fails it.”

John Gwynne is an amazing writer overall, but where he most shines in my opinion is getting the reader to care about his characters. I am talking I basically had some sort of feeling towards almost every single person in this story. Whether I wanted them protected at all costs or killed on sight depended on the character. The third installment in The Faithful and the Fallen series is another high stakes, action packed book that kept me on the edge of my seat and had an ending that was just very emotional and world altering. Ruin was the perfect setup for the concluding volume, Wrath.

5) The Lies of Locke Lamora (Gentleman Bastards #1) by Scott Lynch

“Someday, Locke Lamora,” he said, “someday, you’re going to fuck up so magnificently, so ambitiously, so overwhelmingly that the sky will light up and the moons will spin and the gods themselves will shit comets with glee. And I just hope I’m still around to see it.”
“Oh please,” said Locke. “It’ll never happen.”

The first book in the story of The Gentleman Bastards is my favorite of the series. The snarky wit and humor are a huge part of who the Gentleman Bastards are and I found myself laughing out loud on plenty of occasions. Not only that, but they are high end thieves that practice long term con games like an art form. The Lies of Locke Lamora also features the introduction of one of my favorite friendships ever, Locke and Jean. The found family, witty dialogue, ingenius scheming, and a plot and world that ends up being bigger and more engaging than you’d expect makes this my 5th favorite book of all time.

4) Golden Son (Red Rising Saga #2) by Pierce Brown

“Home isn’t where you’re from, it’s where you find light when all grows dark.”

This book was a crazy, intense, action packed ride to a climax that made me incredibly thankful I was able to pick up the next book immediately afterward. I remember when I finished Golden Son just sitting there with my mouth hanging open in shock thinking “what the heck just happened?!”. My favorite of the Red Rising Saga makes it to the 4th spot on my all time favorites list.

3) The Name of the Wind (Kingkiller Chronicles #1) by Patrick Rothfuss

“Words are pale shadows of forgotten names. As names have power, words have power. Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest hearts. There are seven words that will make a person love you. There are ten words that will break a strong man’s will. But a word is nothing but a painting of a fire. A name is the fire itself.”

I have read this book 3 times now and will definitely do so again. Rothfuss’ prose is musical and magical, making the most mundane of scenes feel fresh and full of meaning. Kvothe, although not always likable, is certainly a compelling protagonist in my mind. The plot is engaging even though it is quite slow paced. This is always the book that I have the most trouble describing why I love it so much. I just do.

2) The Hero Of Ages (Mistborn #3) by Brandon Sanderson

“In the end, I stopped worrying about how strange you seemed. I realized that it didn’t really matter if I understood you, because I trusted you.”

This book made me cry. I don’t know that I’ve ever come across a series that I was so attached to all the characters. There were so many amazing twists and turns in this finale. There was a ton of high stakes intrigue and mystery, engaging action with real danger to the protagonists (this book actually contains my favorite action sequence of all time), and in my humble opinion was a perfect ending to this part of the Mistborn story.

1) Ender’s Game (Ender Quartet #1) by Orson Scott Card

“I’ve lived too long with pain. I won’t know who I am without it.”

Growing up, this was the first book that made me feel understood. Ender’s story as an outcast, of struggling with self doubt and even questioning his own worth, are things that I struggled with a lot (and sometimes still do) and the emotions that Card describes in Ender’s thoughts was superbly done. Add to that the other characters, the story itself, and the Sci Fi world that Card built. This book had a huge impact on my life and for that it gets the place of my favorite book of all time.

This list was hard to make and even harder to rank. It may be up for change and I hope as the years go by to add to this list with other amazing SFF books, as well as some books of other genres as I am trying to get into thrillers and historical fiction more.

What are your top 10 single books? Or if that is too much, what is one of your favorite single books ever and why? I’d love to talk about it with you in the comments.

Also, check out DanilLovesFood on DeviantArt for more of this type of SFF art!

8 Comments Add yours

  1. The Name of the Wind and Ender’s Game would make my list too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. David S says:

      I can’t believe I never responded to this.🤦 NotW and Ender’s Game are absolutely incredible books! I love them so much!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. peatlong says:

    You might be the only person I know who likes Blood of Assassins more than the other two books in that series!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. David S says:

      Haha that’s okay! King of Assassin’s was amazing, but that bittersweet ending really killed it for me:/ and Age of Assassins is a really good intro but I don’t think it has as good of a plot as Blood. The only weakness for Blood is Girton is super annoying 😂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. peatlong says:

        SO ANNOYING.

        Tbf, if you can look past the annoyingness, you’ve got a point. I can’t and I love a good bittersweet ending so I’m on the KoA train, but I do see your logic.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. David S says:

        I also really loved the redemption arc in blood of assassins. The action in all three is really great.

        RJ Barker actually said one time that he almost named the second book “Girton needs a slap” lolol

        Liked by 1 person

      3. peatlong says:

        I don’t think I’ve ever had a discussion of the book that doesn’t include that quote!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. David S says:

        It’s hilarious because it is so so true. Every reader wanted to slap Girton during that whole book haha. But also, I think his character arc is realistic in the book as well so that’s part of why it still worked for me

        Liked by 1 person

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