Top 10: Releases of 2020

Welcome to my second ‘Top 10’ post, this time ranking my favourite books of 2020! You can check out my 10 most anticipated books of 2021 here.

This list has changed quite a few times in the last couple of weeks, but I think I’m finally happy with my choices (full disclosure: I’ve altered it again since typing that). I’ve limited my selection to 2020 releases as, being a new, overly-excited book blogger, that’s mostly what I’ve been reading. It took me way too long to format this post, so instead of writing about why each book is in my top 10, I’ve provided a link to my original review.

I wish I had more time left to read this year, since there are a few books on my TBR that I think could have made it to my top 10 (thinking specifically of The House in the Cerulean Sea, The City We Became, and The Once and Future Witches). However, I don’t think I’lll ever have time to read over 50 books in a year again, so this is about as well-informed as it gets!

SO! Let’s start the countdown…


Afterland by Lauren Beukes

Goodreads | Amazon | (UK) | Book Depository | Hive | Waterstones

Publisher: Penguin Books

Publish Date: 28 July 2020

Page Count: 411 pages

“A slow-burn story about a mother and son on the run, Beukes’ dystopian thriller Afterland contains some of the most impressive prose I’ve come across recently. It’s a feminist critique of patriarchal society written from the least likely angle: by killing all the men.” – Full review


Stormblood by Jeremy Szal

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Publisher: Gollancz

Publish Date: 4 June 2020

Page Count: 544 pages

“STORMBLOOD is incredibly hard-hitting, and Szal pulls out all the stops but none of the punches… Brotherhood, both familial and found, is a central theme in the book, and it pulls ALL the heartstrings.” – Full review


The First Sister by Linden A. Lewis

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Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

Publish Date: 4 August 2020

Page Count: 342 pages

“The first thing that struck me about The First Sister was the dark sci-fi setting that Lewis has created. Between grey-clad priestesses in spaceship chapels and Ironskin battle-suits, this novel has a vaguely gothic atmosphere that I love.” – Full review


The Aggressive by Gem Jackson 

Goodreads | Amazon

Publisher: Self-published

Publish Date: 31 August 2020

Page Count: 380 pages

“The Aggressive by Gem Jackson is a gut-wrenching explosion of a debut, and one of the best sci-fi books I’ve read this year.” – Full review


Hollow Road by Dan Fitzgerald

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Publisher: Shadow Spark Publishing

Publish Date: 17 September 2020

Page Count: 243 pages

“In Hollow Road, Dan Fitzgerald has managed to create this kind of intimate experience within a few pages, simultaneously confirming my love of wholesome fantasy moments and completely debunking my theory about page count.” – Full review


Phoenix Extravagant by Yoon Ha Lee

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Publisher: Rebellion Publishing

Publish Date: 20 October 2020

Page Count: 416 pages

“Readers who get excited about new magic systems will enjoy Phoenix Extravagant as much as I did. Lee has some fantastic and original ideas, incorporating magic into his story in a meaningful way; he intertwines it with myth, culture and art to frame the moral struggle of the main characters: to remain true to themselves, their heritage and family.” – Full review


House of Styx by Derek Künsken

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Publisher: Solaris

Publish Date: 18 August 2020

Page Count: 500 pages

“There are no spaceships, battles scenes or interstellar journeys in this first instalment of Derek Künksen’s Venus Ascendant duology. Rather, it is an intimate tale of family, identity and belonging, set in the richly symbolic and sulphuric clouds of Venus.” – Full review


Chaos Vector by Megan E. O’Keefe

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Publisher: Orbit Books

Publish Date: 28 July 2020

Page Count: 546 pages

“If Velocity Weapon blew your mind, Chaos Vector will scrape your remaining brain goo off the floor and launch it into space to be vaporised with a full complement of laser guns.” – Full review


The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart

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Publisher: Orbit Books

Publish Date: 8 September 2020

Page Count: 438 pages

“Both the magical and the everyday details in The Bone Shard Daughter are fascinating and new. Stewart’s world and its culture feel fresh and entirely different from the more common European-inspired settings. The bone shard magic system is my new favourite example of ‘magic with a cost’, which can perhaps be interpreted as a vivid allegory of imperialist or government oppression.” – Full review


Nophek Gloss by Essa Hansen

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Publisher: Orbit Books

Publish Date: 19 November 2020

Page Count: 480 pages

“Much more than a coming of age story (and a very different one at that), Nophek Gloss is an emotional and vivid story about self-worth, overcoming trauma, and finding meaning in an overwhelmingly vast universe.” – Full review

Whew! I loved all of these books, so it was difficult to rank them, particularly when it came to deciding between The Bone Shard Daughter and Nophek Gloss. I recommend both books equally!

I noticed that none of the authors listed here are Black, so next year I’ll be on the hunt for more debut books written by Black authors. I’m pleased to see that 5/10 books were written by women, and 8/10 feature queer characters.

What were you favourite 2020 releases?

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24 thoughts on “Top 10: Releases of 2020

  1. Man, Nophek Gloss is tearing its way through year-end lists! It’s on my TBR, so I feel halfway competent. House of Styx is another one I might give a try, although I’ve been really wanting the ‘space action’ aspect of SF lately.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. So many great books 😍 several of them are on my top reads of the year list as well, I’ll have to check out the ones I don’t know yet👀

    Liked by 1 person

  3. You’ve definitely cemented Nophek Gloss on my top 5 tbr list 😄 Couldn’t agree more with Phoenix Extravagant and Hollow Road! That’s an awesome reading year you’ve had, judging by these along

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Yay! I loved the ending of Phoenix Extravagant. Not sure if it’s standalone or if he plans on continuing the story?
    I hope you enjoy NG if you get to it, I think you’d like it!


  5. It’s a standalone but I’ll be basking in his ‘The Machineries of Empire’ series next year to lessen the blow 😁 I think from everything I read about it, you’re right!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ohhh nice! I gave them 3 and 4 stars, but it’s still one of my favourite series (I also have some REALLY pretty special editions). My advice is don’t try to understand the science, because I think it’s actually magic in the guise of science, which I didn’t realise


  7. I absolutely have that problem too! I meant to keep my best reads list ongoimg throughout the year, adding a new fav book whenever i read one, but ofc totally forgot 🙈


  8. For some reason Phoenix Extravagant didn’t really catch my attention until I heard about the magic system. Honestly I’m not usually a big ‘magic system’ guy, but an occupying nation powering their mecha dragons by literally stealing and destroying the culture of the occupied people sounds like a very interesting way of exploring imperialism in fantasy.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’ve only read one of these but it also made my favourites list – the Bone Shard Daughter, and there are a couple of others on here that I would like to pick up once I get the chance.
    Lynn 😀


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