Top Ten Tuesday was created by The Broke and the Bookish in June of 2010 and was moved to That Artsy Reader Girl in January of 2018. It was born of a love of lists, a love of books, and a desire to bring bookish friends together.
Previous Top Ten Tuesday Topics
- 4th October: Favourite Bookshops and Bookstores I’d love to visit
- 11th October: Books I Read on Vacation
- 18th October: Favourite Words
- 25th October: Black History Month
- 1st November: Unlikeable Characters You Cannot Help But Love
There is nothing better, is there, than discovering a new series – loving the first book knowing that there is book after book to explore afterwards! And this is good timing too as The Lost Metal by Brandon Sanderson is released on the 15th of the month – next week. So let’s begin there…
Mistborn, Brandon Sanderson
The original Mistborn series was my first ever Brandon Sanderson, and I adored both the characters and the mythology and, of course, the originality of the magic system. How naive I was and how little I realised the extent of the Cosmere!
In many ways, the original trilogy – The Final Empire, The Well of Ascension and The Hero of Ages – is in some ways very typical fantasy in its medieval setting, where a band of ragtag heroes challenge a tyrant, In other ways it inverts and subverts many of the tropes of the genre.
In the second trilogy, we move ahead in time to a wild west inspired setting as out two new heroes – Wax and Wayne – uphold law and decency, and the original heroes have become mythology and (literally) gods.
The Kingkiller Chronicles, Patrick Rothfuss
‘I have stolen princesses back from sleeping barrow kings. I burned down the town of Trebon. I have spent the night with Felurian and left with both my sanity and my life. I was expelled from the University at a younger age than most people are allowed in. I tread paths by moonlight that others fear to speak of during day. I have talked to Gods, loved women, and written songs that make the minstrels weep.
My name is Kvothe.
You may have heard of me’
The Kingkiller Chronicle opens with one of the most powerful and evocative introductions in the genre! And Kvothe’s character development from acting troupe to street urchin to lutist to magical prodigy at University … and somehow to the character of Kote living his days as a humble genial innkeep is fantastic! This series really is fantasy at its best, even if we have been waiting a long long time for the third book in the series: The Wise Man’s Fear was published in 2011, and we are still waiting for The Doors of Stone. If that is still its title…
The Bas-Lag Trilogy, China Miéville
The metropolis of New Crobuzon sprawls at the centre of its own bewildering world. Humans and mutants and arcane races throng the gloom beneath its chimneys, where the rivers are sluggish with unnatural effluent, and factories and foundries pound into the night. For more than a thousand years, the parliament and its brutal militia have ruled over a vast array of workers and artists, spies, magicians, junkies and whores. Now a stranger has come, with a pocketful of gold and an impossible demand, and inadvertently something unthinkable is released. Soon the city is gripped by an alien terror – and the fate of millions depends on a clutch of outcasts on the run from lawmakers and crime-lords alike.
The urban nightscape becomes a hunting ground as battles rage in the shadows of bizarre buildings. And a reckoning is due at the city’s heart, in the vast edifice of Perdido Street Station. It is too late to escape.
Oh man, this series was extraordinary – as all of Miéville’s novels are – with amazing casts of characters, a plethora of imaginative races and species, a wonderful creation in the bustling if corrupt city of New Crobuzon or, in later books, on a floating pirate city or a renegade train…
Chaos Walking, Patrick Ness
Imagine you’re the only boy in a town of men. And you can hear everything they think. And THEY can hear everything YOU think. Imagine you don’t fit in with their plans… Todd Hewitt is just one month away from the birthday that will make him a man. But his town has been keeping secrets from him. Secrets that are going to force him to run…
This series was wonderful – the concept of the noise, the uncontrolled telepathic projection of the chaos that is the inside of people’s minds was a fantastic imaginative idea. Add to that the thoughtfulness with which the novel explores deeply difficult ethical ideas without sacrificing character or plot development was wonderful.
The only this I would say… please don’t judge this book series by the appalling film with Tom Holland!!
Earthsea, Ursula K Le Guin
Ged, the greatest sorcerer in all Earthsea, was called Sparrowhawk in his reckless youth.
Hungry for power and knowledge, Sparrowhawk tampered with long-held secrets and loosed a terrible shadow upon the world. This is the tale of his testing, how he mastered the mighty words of power, tamed an ancient dragon, and crossed death’s threshold to restore the balance.
This was such a formative series for me as a reader – Ged / Sparrowhawk’s character progression and the vividness of the setting were fantastic. It is absolutely a series that I hope to return to again at some point.
The Gentleman Bastard Trilogy, Scott Lynch
They say that the Thorn of Camorr can beat anyone in a fight. They say he steals from the rich and gives to the poor. They say he’s part man, part myth, and mostly street-corner rumor. And they are wrong on every count.
Only averagely tall, slender, and god-awful with a sword, Locke Lamora is the fabled Thorn, and the greatest weapons at his disposal are his wit and cunning. He steals from the rich – they’re the only ones worth stealing from – but the poor can go steal for themselves. What Locke cons, wheedles and tricks into his possession is strictly for him and his band of fellow con-artists and thieves: the Gentleman Bastards.
Together their domain is the city of Camorr. Built of Elderglass by a race no-one remembers, it’s a city of shifting revels, filthy canals, baroque palaces and crowded cemeteries. Home to Dons, merchants, soldiers, beggars, cripples, and feral children. And to Capa Barsavi, the criminal mastermind who runs the city.
But there are whispers of a challenge to the Capa’s power. A challenge from a man no one has ever seen, a man no blade can touch. The Grey King is coming.
A man would be well advised not to be caught between Capa Barsavi and The Grey King. Even such a master of the sword as the Thorn of Camorr. As for Locke Lamora …
Everyone I know loves The Lies of Locke Lamora and the blurb has everything in it that would appeal to me: con artists and untrustworthy but charming rogues, a detailed setting and a sinister threat…. and yet I have never quite got around to it somehow….
The Poppy War, R. F. Kuang
When Rin aced the Keju – the test to find the most talented students in the Empire – it was a shock to everyone: to the test officials, who couldn’t believe a war orphan from Rooster Province could pass without cheating; to Rin’s guardians, who had hoped to get rich by marrying her off; and to Rin herself, who realized she was finally free from a life of servitude. That she got into Sinegard – the most elite military school in Nikan – was even more surprising.
But surprises aren’t always good.
Because being a dark-skinned peasant girl from the south is not an easy thing at Sinegard. Fighting the prejudice of rival classmates, Rin discovers that she possesses a lethal, unearthly power – an aptitude for the nearly-mythical art of shamanism. Exploring the depths of her gift with the help of psychoactive substances and a seemingly insane teacher, Rin learns that gods long thought dead are very much alive – and that mastering these powers could mean more than just surviving school.
For while the Nikara Empire is at peace, the Federation of Mugen still lurks across a narrow sea. The Federation occupied Nikan for decades after the First Poppy War, and only barely lost the continent in the Second. And while most people calmly go about their lives, a few are aware that a Third Poppy War is just a spark away…
The Dublin Murder Squad, Tana French
If you know me – if you have been reading my blog and these Top Ten Tuesday lists for a while – you will know that I adore these novels! A rotating cast of characters as a secondary character in one novel becomes the point of view character in the next, and all of them are vivid and credible and incredible real.
Add to that the very real and genuinely gothic atmosphere that pervades each novel, married to genuine and credible police procedurals…. and these are absolutely fantastic.
Millenium series, Steig Larsson and David Lagercrantz
Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist have not been in touch for some time.
Then Blomkvist is contacted by renowned Swedish scientist Professor Balder. Warned that his life is in danger, but more concerned for his son’s well-being, Balder wants Millennium to publish his story – and it is a terrifying one.
More interesting to Blomkvist than Balder’s world-leading advances in Artificial Intelligence, is his connection with a certain female superhacker.
It seems that Salander, like Balder, is a target of ruthless cyber gangsters – and a violent criminal conspiracy that will very soon bring terror to the snowbound streets of Stockholm, to the Millennium team, and to Blomkvist and Salander themselves.
I loved the character of Lisbeth Salander in Larsson’s original trilogy: the final two books, I read back-to-back because I needed to know how Salander coped with, well, a bullet in the head. I was not sure how I felt about another author continuing the series… but I have heard nothing but good things about Lagerkrantz’ involvement.
Jackson Brodie series, Kate Atkinson
A breathtaking story of families divided, love lost and found, and the mysteries of fate.
- Case One: Olivia Land, youngest and most beloved of the Land girls, goes missing in the night and is never seen again. Thirty years later, two of her surviving sisters unearth a shocking clue to Olivia’s disappearance among the clutter of their childhood home. . .
- Case Two: Theo delights in his daughter Lauras wit, effortless beauty, and selfless love. But her first day as an associate in his law firm is also the day when Theos world turns upside down. . .
- Case Three: Michelle looks around one day and finds herself trapped in a hell of her own making. A very needy baby and a very demanding husband make her every waking moment a reminder that somewhere, somehow, shed made a grave mistake and would spend the rest of her life paying for it–until a fit of rage creates a grisly, bloody escape.
As Private Detective Jackson Brodie investigates all three cases, startling connections and discoveries emerge. Inextricably caught up in his clients grief, joy, and desire, Jackson finds their unshakable need for resolution very much like his own.
Every single one of these novels is a delight – hilarious in places and hugely poignant in others, contemplative and profound with a genuinely convincing cast of characters where the past never seems to give up its hold on the present.
“A coincidence is just an explanation waiting to happen”
Wolf Hall Trilogy, Hilary Mantel
England, the 1520s. Henry VIII is on the throne, but has no heir. Cardinal Wolsey is his chief advisor, charged with securing the divorce the pope refuses to grant. Into this atmosphere of distrust and need comes Thomas Cromwell, first as Wolsey’s clerk, and later his successor.
Cromwell is a wholly original man: the son of a brutal blacksmith, a political genius, a briber, a charmer, a bully, a man with a delicate and deadly expertise in manipulating people and events. Ruthless in pursuit of his own interests, he is as ambitious in his wider politics as he is for himself. His reforming agenda is carried out in the grip of a self-interested parliament and a king who fluctuates between romantic passions and murderous rages.
I do have the final book in the series – The Mirror and the Light – queued up to read but somewhat rashly perhaps, endeavoured to re-read Wolf Hall and Bring Up The Bodies first.
One word. Exquisite.
The Seasonal Quartet, Ali Smith
This set of novels – and the new Companion Piece which I am yet to read – are extraordinary.
Deeply embedded in the contemporary politics from Brexit to covid but without any sense of gimmickry; redolent in literary, artistic and popular references with no sense of game playing; philosophical without being pretentious.
These novels are humourous, painful, pertinent and lyrical, full of both convincing characters and symbolism.
I fear that this week will lead to a lot more books being added to my ever growing to-be-read list!
Upcoming Top Ten Tuesday Themes
November 15: Favorite “Aww” Moments In Books (Share those sweet/cute moments in books that give you warm fuzzies.)
November 22: Thankful Freebie
November 29: Cozy Reads (Share books that give off a cozy vibe, whether through atmosphere, setting, or some other factor. Please tell us why they’re cozy for you, too!)
December 6: Freebie
December 13: Books on My Winter 2022-2023 To-Read List
December 20: Books I Hope Santa Brings This Year
December 27: Most Recent Additions to My Book Collection (What books did you get as presents this holiday season? Or what did you buy with gift cards?)