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Sunday, January 19, 2020

2019 Review/2020 Preview — Justine Bergman

2019 Favorites

As my first year with Fantasy Book Critic comes to a close, I find it's the perfect time to sit back and reflect on what a wonderful year it has been. There was a lot of reading...I mean A LOT of reading, and when asked to round up my favorites, I actually had a really tough time narrowing it down. I'd love to give you all a "Top 20", but I'll do my best to follow the trend! Here goes.


Books


Smoke and Stone by Michael R. Fletcher – Ever since I took a peek behind the cover of Beyond Redemption, I've been a huge fan of Fletcher's, and I'll pretty much read anything he writes. Upon reading the blurb for Smoke and Stone, I knew I needed this story in my life - and I devoured it. So raw and tragic, original and immersive, beautiful and repulsive, I literally loved everything about this book. My only complaint is that I immediately needed more, and I'm still waiting...impatiently.


Already Comes Darkness by T L Greylock – Ho. Ly. Sh*t. What a remarkable conclusion to an incredible series! Greylock knows how to weave a tale that makes you feel as though you're experiencing something that has been passed down through the ages and withstood the test of time. Poetic prose, vivid worldbuilding, impeccable characterization, this is a Norse-inspired masterpiece, flawless in every sense of the word. I wish I could read this entire saga for the first time all over again.


The Deep by Rivers Solomon – This book fractured me into a million pieces. A fantastical interpretation of the savage effects of the African Slave Trade, of a people losing their history, and of a single individual forced to bear the burden of generations of pain. Achingly beautiful with precious moments of silent reflection, it's simply gorgeous. And it made me cry...at least three times.




Priest of Bones / Priest of Lies by Peter McLean – Yes, yes, yes! Tomas Piety, I love you, you glorious bastard. I arrived a tad late to the War for the Rose Throne party, but I ADORE this series to pieces. Strong characters forced to face their own inner demons, deceit and treachery, street gangs and secret undercover agents, magic and explosions and harsh justice! Oh, and Tomas Piety - did I mention him already?


The Court of Broken Knives by Anna Smith Spark – You know when you read that one special something and you're just left speechless? Yeah, that's this book. Poetic and beautifully lyrical, hyper-violent and melancholic, it's one of the most stunning and devastating books I've ever read. Confession time: This was the second time I've read this book, and after a not-so-great initial impression, it finally clicked. It's peerless in the world of modern fantasy.



Games

I strangely didn't get to play many games this year - yes, I did my yearly playthrough of some Skyrim (which I've put an obscene amount of hours into since 2011), and picked up a bit of Fallout 4 loaded with mods to simply build some settlements. New games...not so much.



Borderlands 3 – These games are INSANE. Just the epitome of chaos, and I don't think I could possibly love them any more. It's imperative to play co-op for this one, so there were weekends aplenty where my husband and I would split-screen this bad boy and cackle at the complete absurdity of everything we encountered.


Elder Scrolls Online – I'm not a fan of MMOs, but I am a lover of all things Elder Scrolls. I tried my best to not give in to this one, as I knew both my schedule and wallet would thank me for my resistance. Buuuut, I just couldn't say no anymore, and finally picked this up during December. And it's wonderful. Truly wonderful.


TV Shows


The Witcher – I know there have been a lot of mixed reactions to this adaptation, but I have to say I thoroughly enjoyed it. I have an unhealthy obsession with The Witcher (books and games), and this was my most anticipated ANYTHING of 2019. Seeing the short stories from The Last Wish and Sword of Destiny come to life was an amazing experience - the Three Jackdaws episode was absolutely breathtaking. On the downside, I cannot get "Toss a Coin" out of my head whatsoever.

Russian Doll – Excellent concept, excellent execution, this show was incredible. It began with a little bit of dark humor, then hit you with an unexpected emotion bomb towards the end, and wow! This was one that definitely surpassed my expectations.


What We Do In The Shadows – Utterly ridiculous in the most hilarious of ways. I don't know why I loved this one, but I did. I still walk around my house calling out with a sing-song "Guilleeermooooo". I can't wait for more.


Looking Forward to in 2020

Ok, I definitely wrote more than I wanted to above, so I'll keep this section short.


Books


Ash and Bone by Michael R. Fletcher - Book Two of City of Sacrifice, continuation of the book listed above. I need it.

Paternus: War of Gods by Dyrk Ashton - In all honesty, I didn't know I'd enjoy Urban Fantasy until I picked up Paternus a few years ago. I'm excited to see what the conclusion holds.


Twilight of the Gods by Scott Oden - I'm a sucker for all things Norse, and I absolutely loved A Gathering of Ravens. I'm looking forward to what Oden has in store for us with this one.


#nocabal


The Hollow Gods by A.J. Vrana - So, the title caught my attention, the blurb drew me in, and the charming author sealed the deal. Folklore, mystery, and an ancient evil...uh, yes, please.


House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas - I'll shamelessly admit I really enjoyed A Court of Thorns and Roses, and the blurb for this one sounds pretty great. Fingers crossed it's as lovely as I hope.



Games


Cyberpunk 2077 - I've been waiting for this game ever since the cinematic teaser premiered in 2013. It's a real thing now, and I CANNOT WAIT [she screamed into the void].

Ghost of Tsushima - Oh my, this game is gorgeous. Samurai and the Mongol Invasion, I have a feeling this game is going to break me.


Last of Us Part II - 'Nuff said.



TV Shows



I kind of go with the flow when it comes to shows, so I don't really have a list here. BUT...Cursed is looking to be pretty good. I'll take an Arthurian origin story for Lady of the Lake any day.

2 comments:

Jane Routley said...

I'm loving these 10 best book lists because there's always something new. More books for my already brimming to be read pile. Court of broken knifes looks particularly good

Justine Bergman said...

It's an excellent book, Jane. If you decide to pick it up, I hope you love it!

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