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VBC’s Best Books of 2018: V.E. Schwab, Ilona Andrews, Nalini Singh & more!

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Assembling our annual Best Books list is always a challenge, but I’m going to be honest this year was easier. Our team had really strong favorites this year. There were books that spoke to us, that we flashed in everyone’s faces until they’d buy the book, too. Sure there were some series enders (Kate Daniels), but we had some remarkable debuts this year that captivated us—and we hope you’ll add them to your to-be-read piles, too.

The twelve books we put on this list are the superstars of 2018. Expect amazing worldbuilding, characters you’ll love (or love-to-hate), and a plot that will hook you. Our team gives the official VBC thumbs up to all the books on this list.

Enjoy!

Top 12 Books of 2018

Vengeful by V.E. Schwab // VBC

1. Vengeful (Villains #2) by VE Schwab
Get it at Amazon

Chelsea told pretty much any person who would listen—and probably a half dozen who didn’t want to hear about it—that they needed to read Vengeful. The first book in this series, Vicious, made our list before for its unique take on what makes someone the villain or the hero and how much perception plays a part there. Vengeful, though, digs deeper. It makes us see everyone in shades of grey. It makes us relate to the “bad” guys. It sings of rage and hope in equal measures, and really you need to read this book.

2. Iron and Magic (The Iron Covenant #1) by Ilona Andrews
Get it at Amazon

Anytime an author(s) can take a character who, possibly at first, wasn’t meant to be center stage and most certainly was never meant to be the “hero” of the piece (a la Nalini Singh with Archangel’s Blade) we sit up and take notice. When said author(s) pull this off successfully, the book gets a top pick for Best Of 2018. When putting this list together Amy didn’t even have to think about the fact that Iron and Magic would be on this list. Ilona Andrews does a wonderful job of making Hugh stand out from the Kate Daniels series, but also still retaining that which makes Hugh, well, Hugh. Plus, we love that Hugh has finally met his match in Elara. The next book(s) should be pretty interesting with these two at the forefront.

3. Only Human (Themis Files #3) by Sylvain Neuvel
Get it at Amazon

Sylvain Neuvel’s sci-fi mystery Themis Files has dug into what we could do, who we could be, what motivates us as humans, and now with Only Human, he takes it further. We see what humanity looks like from the outside. This third and final installment in the trilogy goes in a brave direction, firmly grounded in the nature of family and the need to understand who we truly are. Simply brilliant storytelling.

Archangel's Prophecy by Nalini Singh (Guild Hunter #11) // VBC Best of 20184. Archangel’s Prophecy (Guild Hunter #11) by Nalini Singh
Get it at Amazon

Archangel’s Prophecy brings the series back to Raphael and Elena, and boy does it pack a punch. I think VBC reviewer Margaret put is perfectly when she said “Archangel’s Prophecy reminded me of everything I loved about the series from the beginning. It also sets the stage for major changes going forward, though at this point I have a lot of unanswered questions.” But we’re so excited to find out what those changes are going to be, and we know in Nalini Singh’s hands we won’t be disappointed. We love that 11 books in she’s not afraid to make these changes with her beloved characters and take risks.

5. Trail of Lightning (The Sixth World #1) by Rebecca Roanhorse
Get it at Amazon

Trail of Lightning, like its heroine Maggie Hoskie, packs a powerful punch in a small package. This urban fantasy debut is brimming with fresh, clever worldbuilding, a robust mythology, and visuals that simply slay.

6. Shades of Wicked (Night Rebel #1) by Jeaniene Frost
Get it at Amazon

Jeaniene Frost gave us an Ian book, and it’s utterly engrossing. You can spend 384 pages discovering what makes Ian tick. Verbal sparring? Obviously. Physical sparring? That too. A badass woman seeing through his bullshit? Oh, yes. Even better? You can enjoy this first Night Rebel book without having read the Night Huntress books. (Though, you really should read those, too.)

7. Markswoman (Asiana #1) by Rati Mehrotra
Get it at Amazon

Rati Mehrotra’s debut was a wonderful surprise early in the year. It had all the elements we love in fantasy with a strong female lead being high on the list. Not only is Kyra the main protagonist, but she’s in the company of an elite group of warrior women. After being betrayed by one of her own, Kyra sets out on a quest of revenge, but finds an ally in an unlikely place: the only group of male warriors left in Asiana. Markswoman has such an interesting world. We can’t wait to find out what’s next for Kyra.

8. Magic Triumphs (Kate Daniels #10) by Ilona Andrews
Get it at Amazon

Yes we couldn’t help ourselves, Ilona Andrews makes the list twice. Not only were they super successful in spinning-off Hugh’s story, but they also offered up a pretty satisfying series ending for Kate (TBD about other possible future spin-offs. Fingers crossed). The ever-complicated relationship between Kate and her megalomaniac of a father Roland was dealt with in an interesting and satisfying way—and somewhat unexpected, but that’s how they’ve rolled ever since Roland was formally introduced in Magic Breaks. We love this series, and we love how Ilona Andrews chose to end it.

Demon Forsaken by Jenn Stark // VBC Best of 20189. The Dark Calling (Arcana Chronicles #6) by Kresley Cole
Get it at Amazon

The Dark Calling explores what we would do if everything we asked for was given to us at just the wrong times. It looks at our desires to escape promises, and what it means to keep them. It delves into honor and betrayal and how closely linked they are. It will make you angry, and it may make you cry, and for once we actually weren’t on Evie’s side on a decision or two. Kresley Cole continues to bring emotionally complex storylines to her Arcana Chronicles series, and we are here for it.

10. Burn Bright (Alpha and Omega #4) by Patricia Briggs
Get it at Amazon

All of the Alpha and Omega novels have probably been our best of the year lists. This series is just so good! Burn Bright has a slightly different feel than the others though with Charles and Anna staying close to home and working with the old wolves in the pack who are all such interesting characters.

11. Demon Forsaken (Demon Enforcers #2) by Jenn Stark
Get it at Amazon

VBC’s Amy was surprised by how much she loved this second installment of Jenn Stark’s spinoff from her Sara Wilde series. Maybe it was the early holiday vibes (Finn has to complete his mission before the clock strikes midnight on Christmas Eve) that infused Demon Forsaken with the magic, but she really felt like this story transcended both the Demon Enforcers series as well as its parent series with how it handles things like good and evil and redemption. I was left feeling like Finn and Dana’s story could continue nicely on their own. I hope we get some form of that down the line.

12. Sightwitch (The Witchlands #2.5) by Susan Dennard
Get it at Amazon

How do we describe Sightwitch? It’s a magical artifact from the Witchlands—a journal belonging to a modern sightwitch, with photos and handwritten notes in the margins, that also tells the story of another who lived a thousand years ago. It’s also a prequel that ends in a cliffhanger, which sounds impossible. We can’t wait to see how the story ties in to the rest of the series.

2018 Readers’ Choice Best Book of 2018

Magic Triumphs by Ilona Andrews (Kate Daniels #10) // VBC

Magic Triumphs by Ilona Andrews

We’re with you guys! The finale for the Kate Daniels series was an epic book, and one that deserved to be on VBC’s official list and get the reader pick for Best Book of 2018. Runners up were Shades of Wicked and Archangel’s Prophecy.

3 Responses to “VBC’s Best Books of 2018: V.E. Schwab, Ilona Andrews, Nalini Singh & more!”

  1. Jen says:

    I have to say a big “YEP” when it comes to Ilona Andrews and Nalini Singh! Both had banner years.

  2. ssloo13 says:

    My two favorites this year were left out: Dread Nation and Muse of Nightmares.

    I actually thought that The Dark Calling was the weakest in the whole series so far… But I was very glad that we got a new book this year. Overall, I still absolutely love this series.

    2018 brought us some awesome reads…excited about 2019 starting with The Wicked King!!!!!!!

  3. DC says:

    This is a good solid list. Happy Vengeful came in at #1! I love every single thing that woman writes. Interesting that Kingdom of Ash didn’t make it-it’s on my to read to buy list but it NOT making the list might move it down so I can move these up!

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