Suffice to say, 2023 has been my best reading year by far. And not just for the quantity read, but most importantly the quality.
I have read widely across the SFF spectrum, both self-published and traditionally published, reading many authors for the first time, and discovering some new favourites along the way.
This year has also rekindled my love of science-fiction, alongside my penchant for post-apocalyptic and dystopian stories.
Deciding on a list of top reads was difficult, but I eventually got it down to a top 10 (including books read between January and November).
But just before I get to my top 10, I must spotlight one of my many reading highlights from this year.
The Expanse series by James S.A. Corey
This was such a rewarding experience, and one of the best sci-fi series you will ever read.
You can read my series review here: Series Review: The Expanse by James S.A. Corey | FanFiAddict
Now, let’s get to my list…
10. Bob the Wizard by M.V. Prindle
This is a book I still think about often. A work of pure fantasy escapism that I couldn’t stop reading. With fresh spins on some tried and tested fantasy tropes, I got swept away on Bob’s epic fantasy quest, with so many great characters.
My full review can be read here: Review: Bob the Wizard by M.V. Prindle | FanFiAddict
09. Shadows of Nyn’Dira by H.C. Newell
The third book in Newell’s Fallen Light series really hits a high point. The author truly found her voice with this book. With gut-punch moments, bloody gruesome battles, vivid imagery, and great character moments, I felt fully immersed in all the glory and gore of this story.
Newell ‘famously’ wore a t-shirt at DragonCon that said “The next Ryan Cahill” on it. After this book, and certainly if the rest of the series continues at this level, there will be authors wearing t-shirts stating “The next H.C. Newell”! Definitely an author to watch and add to your TBRs in 2024.
08. Ascendant by Michael R. Miller
Ascendant gave me everything I expected from an epic fantasy dragon rider story – all the usual tropes are present, like coming of age, found family, good vs evil, magical bonds – but it felt so fresh and new. Miller has taken a tried and tested formula and made it his own. I loved Holt and Ash!
My full review can be read here: Review: Ascendant (Songs of Chaos #1) by Michael R. Miller | FanFiAddict
07. The Shadow Gate by L.L. MacRae
The Shadow Gate is a sweeping epic fantasy sequel that just kept getting better and better. Tight, fluid prose, exemplary character work, and extraordinary world building. Absolutely incredible, and as close to perfect as you are going to get.
My full review can be read here: Review: The Shadow Gate (Dragon Spirits #2) by L.L. MacRae | FanFiAddict
06. Of War and Ruin by Ryan Cahill
There’s no hiding the fact that The Bound and the Broken is my favourite ongoing fantasy series. Cahill’s writing gets better and better with each book. His plotting, pacing, worldbuilding, and character development is taken to yet another level in this instalment. Filled with action, suspense, emotion, and humour, it’s a wonderfully crafted saga, with one of the largest casts of characters I think I’ve experienced.
If you haven’t picked this series up yet, now is the time. With three books, three novellas, and more to come, I can’t recommend it enough.
05. The Necessity of Rain by Sarah Chorn
This is a book that can and should be appreciated by everyone, not just SFF readers. This is a work of literary fiction of the highest quality; I am in awe of the achievement, but not surprised. Sarah Chorn is still one of favourite writers. Ever.
My full review can be read here: The Necessity of Rain by Sarah Chorn | FanFiAddict
04. The Will Of The Many by James Islington
I haven’t actually written a review for this one yet, so I’ll just provide a few lines here to sum up my thoughts.
This book at some of the best plotting and worldbuilding of any modern fantasy I’ve read. It perfectly delivers some tried and tested tropes in a way that will appeal to both YA and Adult audiences, whilst alienating neither.
If I had to sum it up then it’s a Greco-Roman version of Hogwarts (think Goblet of Fire) meets Red Rising and Gladiator.
This book also has one of the most mind-bending epilogues ever written, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.
03. All Of Our Sins by Yuval Kordov
I could have included The Hand of God in this list, but decided on its sequel instead. This debut series has really blown me away this year.
All Of Our Sins is a psychotropic fever dream, the follow-up to The Hand Of God. The Dark Legacies series is proving to be one of the most all-consuming reading experiences I have had. The vivid, dark, and immersive hellscape introduced in book one is further explored and developed in this cerebral and cinematic sequel.
My full review can be read here: Review: All Of Our Sins (Dark Legacies #2) by Yuval Kordov | FanFiAddict
02. Cage of Souls by Adrian Tchaikovsky
Adrian Tchaikovsky is one of those authors I have always wanted to read. I finally made the plunge this year, starting with his award winning Children of Time (which could have also made this list), but it is Cage of Souls that stood out. It really impressed and entertained me.
A captivating work of speculative fiction of the highest order. A standalone that felt more like a series in scope and imagination. Adrian Tchaikovsky’s world building and storytelling is off the charts in this outrageously entertaining story.
My full review can be read here: Review: Cage of Souls by Adrian Tchaikovsky | FanFiAddict
01. The Book That Wouldn’t Burn by Mark Lawrence
This was my first foray into Mark Lawrence’s writing. And what an introduction! His writing, storytelling, plotting, characterisation, and twists and turns, left me in awe. This book burned itself into my mind and I cannot wait for book 2! Words alone can’t do justice to how good this book was for me.
My full review can be read here: Review: The Book That Wouldn’t Burn (The Library Trilogy #1) by Mark Lawrence | FanFiAddict
And so ends my list of top reads for 2023. I hope you’ve had as good a reading year as I have; I hope you pick up some new reads from this list, and the others published throughout December on FFA.
I want to finish up by saying thank you to all the authors, readers, reviewers, bloggers, creators, and everyone who help make this community such a wonderful place to enjoy the love of reading. Here’s to more awesome reading in 2024. Cheers!