Top 10 Books of 2018

By The Speculative Shelf

By The Speculative Shelf


Tade Thompson

$16.99 $15.63

#10 - Really inventive…I enjoyed this novel on a conceptual level, but didn’t find the story to be compelling until it all comes together at the end. I’m interested to see where author Tade Thompson takes future installments in this trilogy because he’s set up a good foundation with this excellent first book.

A Conspiracy of Truths

Alexandra Rowland


#9 - An unexpectedly delightful story featuring a wonderfully eccentric narrator…When writing a book about a gifted storyteller, it helps to be a gifted storyteller. Luckily, author Alexandra Rowland shows a knack for spinning a charming and heartwarming yarn. A Conspiracy of Truths is an impressive and enchanting novel that was a joy to read.


Robert Jackson Bennett

$17.00 $15.64

#8 - This book has pieces of everything I want in a fantasy novel — an intriguing magic system, rich worldbuilding, interesting characters, humor, and heart. Those pieces coalesce into something really interesting and make for an enjoyable reading experience. Foundryside is swiftly paced, has great action, and features loads of sharp, snappy dialogue.

Before Mars

Emma Newman

$16.00 $14.72

#7 - A wonderfully captivating read that I really enjoyed…Before Mars is a compelling mystery box novel and a worthy addition to the Planetfall universe. With three books released and another on the way, Newman is crafting a superb series of interconnected works.

Iron Gold

Pierce Brown

$28.00 $25.76

#6 - A wholly worthwhile addition to Darrow’s story that breathes fresh life into the overall saga. Iron Gold is sprawling, electrifying, bloody, and represents a welcome return to form for the series. #5 - Aching God by Mike Shel (unavailable on Bookshop)

The Poppy War

R. F. Kuang

$26.99 $24.83

#3 - Wow, this was a gem of a debut novel. I have never read a book that evolves so thoroughly from beginning to end. This is bloody, brutal, and unrelentingly dark fantasy. Overall, Kuang has crafted a complex and absorbing debut novel that is unsettling and enthralling in equal measure.

The Philosopher's Flight, 1

Tom Miller

$17.00 $15.64

#2 - Author Tom Miller displays an impressive aptitude for storytelling as he deftly spins this wholly engrossing yarn. The Philosopher’s Flight is a wonderfully inventive historical fantasy that sinks its hooks into you and doesn’t let go. I truly enjoyed Tom Miller’s debut and hope a sequel is on the horizon.

Senlin Ascends

Josiah Bancroft

$16.99 $15.63

#1 (tie) - I was completely taken with Senlin Ascends right from the outset. Author Josiah Bancroft’s words paint a vivid picture of a peculiar world where nothing is as it seems. Bancroft’s prose is lyrical and conveys a sense of grand adventure that I rarely find in my reading life.

Arm of the Sphinx

Josiah Bancroft

$16.98 $15.62

#1 (tie) - Every page of Arm of the Sphinx is a delectable treat, with countless delightful passages, characters, and a story that gets more intriguing as mysteries build and questions are answered. It’s inventive, clever, and imbued with a sense of virtuousness and humanity. Bancroft is weaving together a wonderful series that has all the makings of a modern fantasy classic. Okay, #1 is a bit a cop-out since Senlin Ascends was originally published in 2013 and Arm of the Sphinx in 2014…HOWEVER, Orbit made the smart decision to snatch up the rights to Bancroft’s series and re-released these first two books in 2018…so, they qualify for this list on a technicality! They’re wonderful books, so I’m happy to bring attention to them in any way I can.