Best of 2022

Welcome to my annual post discussing my best of shelf picks for 2022! My regular readers will know that I rarely rate a book above 4 stars and even fewer of those make this list. Of the nearly 150 books I’ve read so far this year, I’ve chosen 5 for this list – a much lower number than recent years.

As a reminder of the criteria I use for this list, the book has to be published in the same year, I should have given it a rating of 4 stars or higher, with something that I felt made it stand out over the other books. The titles are actually ranked for a change this year. I usually have a really hard time doing so, but this time, there were some reads that were simply head and shoulders above the rest, so I figured it would be a shame to not rank them. Without further ado, let’s check out my favorite books of 2022!

1. Babel – R. F. Kuang

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I had my eye on this book for quite some time, and there was so much hype around it too, so despite having not read The Poppy Wars, I knew I had to pick this up. I’ll settle for calling this a fantastic work of art which is the best I could come up with because this book had me lost for words for several hours after I finished it, much less ones that would do it full justice. I myself speak multiple languages and I found the whole discussion of translation across languages and cultures and how the meanings of words change in the process to be not only fascinating but quite relatable. What I found most interesting was that despite this being a fantasy novel, the story at the heart of it wasn’t about the magic, but the effect it had on society, from silver worked enhancements to machines taking away the jobs of the working class, colonization and the slave trade, identities and ethnicities, racism and the complicated politics behind it all, with a lot of true history woven in, posing some thought provoking questions on morality to the reader.

2. Wrath Goddess Sing – Maya Deane

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Wrath Goddess Sing was a magnificent retelling of Achilles’ tale and the Trojan War where Achilles is a trans woman, a demigod daughter of Athena. Somehow, this book completely slipped my notice when I was putting together my TBR for the year, but after seeing it on HCC Frenzy’s Summer Preview, I knew this book would be right up my alley. I know a fair bit of Greek mythology, it being one of my favorite subjects for a retelling, but I’ve never come across something quite like this before. The key elements of the story are still there and as the book progresses, it becomes easier to pick out recognizable events and plotlines, but the way some of the other mythologies and cultures are woven in, particularly the gods’ stories, where the complex dynamics took some time to make sense of, were simply stunning.

3. Eyes of the Void (The Final Architecture #2) – Adrian Tchaikovsky

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

I picked up the first book of this series, Shards of Earth, pretty much because I was in the mood for a sci-fi novel at the time and it sounded interesting, but I certainly didn’t expect to get so invested in this story! In some ways, I liked this book much better than the first, because so much of the world building was in place and things were making sense right from the beginning. At over 600 pages, Eyes of the Void was no light read. The pacing too, was significantly slower, but there was just so much going on and I was so engrossed that I didn’t struggle with it at all. Not to mention that if it had been any faster, I would have probably lost the thread of the plot and ended up horribly confused. This book certainly managed to avoid the typical second book problem areas and has provided a solid storyline going into book three while developing both the world and characters.

4. House of Sky and Breath (Crescent City #2) – Sarah J. Maas

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Unlike book one, I considered and reconsidered the rating for this sequel before arriving at this. HOSAB was in equal parts so much better, so much more shocking, and so much more bizarre in some aspects than I expected. Knowing the background and understanding what was going on made it much less confusing this time around, and the story leaves Crescent City for the first time, something I’d really been hoping to see in this book. As amazing as the plot was, the characters are really what I’m here for in this series. The biggest surprise for me with regards to the characters was the new POVs that were introduced, since they were all previously secondary or side characters. After the cliffhanger of the last set of chapters, and yes, that includes the events of the epilogue, the ending was so evil and it was so good, and I am in despair that book 3 is atleast a year, but probably more, away from publishing.

5. Aru Shah & the Nectar of Immortality (Pandava #5) – Roshani Chokshi

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

This is the first middle grade novel that has made it to my best of year shelf in a very long time, yet this was one I fully expected to be on here this year. Aru Shah and the Nectar of Immortality was such an amazing finish to this story and I loved how everything came together in what was a very satisfying conclusion. Though this finale did not lack for adventure, quests and epic battles, the best part about it was the journey the heroes went through. The character arcs were amazing and it’s honestly the first time I’ve seen such depth in middle grade.

Special Mentions

How has your reading year been? Did any of these books make it onto your favorites this year? Let me know in the comments below!


12 thoughts on “Best of 2022

  1. mehsi December 22, 2022 / 9:11 am

    Such a lovely list of books! While Gallant isn’t a favourite (it did get a 4.5 stars, but as for favourites of the year I only count my 5+ stars with maybe a 5 star here and there that deserve special mentions), I did have oodles of fun reading it and it was a great book! Love the art, though I wish there was more of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Molly | Transatlantic Notes December 22, 2022 / 1:05 pm

    Wrath Goddess Sing looks and sounds like a really good read; one I could get into over the holidays. This is a great list of books I would have otherwise not heard of. I’ll have to check some of them out!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Fadima Mooneira December 22, 2022 / 7:09 pm

    Daughter Of The Moon Goddess is already on my TBR. But I haven’t bought the book yet. Hehehe 😛 The Last Grandest Dutches sounds interesting too. Maybe I should add that book on my TBR too. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. 24hr.YABookBlog December 22, 2022 / 9:06 pm

    Congrats on finding so many favorites of 2022 Raji! 😍 I like how you mentioned Babel is more about the society the characters live in than the magical parts, it makes me so intrigued to read & see what I’ll think. Lots of great fantasy books on this list too, I need to continue the Aru Shah series, I remember having lots of fun with the first book! Ooh I’d say a memorable read for 2022 was definitely Only A Monster, it delivered all those classic pieces of YA that made it feel sort of nostalgic to me 🥰

    Liked by 1 person

    • Raji (@journeyintofantasy) February 8, 2023 / 9:28 pm

      Thank you! Yes Babel was a very thought provoking read and the Aru Shah series ended on a great note. I’d highly recommend both! I’m so excited for the sequel to Only A Monster this year!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Fransic verso December 22, 2022 / 9:45 pm

    These are awesome suggestions and never read them before. I would love to read the Aru Shah & the Nectar of Immortality. Thank you for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

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