Book Review 2022

Unlike last year, I didn't have any specific reading goals and read for pure entertainment. This means I didn't quite read as many books as last year. I came in at 28 books in total. I try to read different genres but most of those books were fantasy. I am also bad at tracking what books I read on Goodreads. I like to see what my friends are reading but I just don't want to invest the time in another social media site. This is why I've written this blog post, to track the books I'm reading and write up some quick reviews.

Before we get into the reviews I just need to take a moment to congratulate myself on finishing all 15 books in the Wheel of Time series! This was a multi-year effort. The story ended well. The last four books were well done and I'm glad I pushed through the slog to make it happen. I'm not sure that I'll ever have the time to do that again. Hopefully, I can now be classified as an official fantasy nerd.

Favorite Series

The Licanius Trilogy

The Licanius Trilogy was my favorite series that I read this year. I had read the first two books in the trilogy before but I needed a recap before diving into the third because it had been a couple of years. What I love about the series is the levels of depth. If you are looking for just straight entertainment, this series will give it to you. It's action-packed, there are twists and turns (some of which I couldn't see coming and I love that!) and each book ends on a major cliffhanger making you want more. I feel like a lot of authors recreate the same worlds over and over again but I felt that the world James Islington creates is unique and very exciting to learn about. I've seen complaints that it isn't on the level of someone like Robert Jordan, but I am ok not needing to read 15 books to complete a story. I enjoyed the character development as well, although not as well developed as say a Sanderson book, it didn't feel like it was done forcefully and I felt the inner conflict the characters were going through.

What gives this book depth to me is the philosophical ideas that the author explores. Characters struggle with understanding how fate, determinism, and agency work together. They struggle to know if there is a God or higher power. When they do meet a higher power they are torn between is this El a benevolent God guiding them or is it Shammaeloth an evil God intent on destroying the world. While I think it's pretty obvious what is going on there are arguments and conversations in the book that made me question if our heroes were on the right side of the conflict up to the end and I love that Islington doesn't ever resolve that for his characters.

Honorable Mentions

The Bobiverse Series

The Bobiverse Series was another enjoyable read. I'm dying for a fifth book to come out. The series is extremely Sci-Fi so if that's not your thing you aren't going to like it very much. The entertainment value for me though is off the charts. I listened to the audiobooks and the narrator does a great job. If you are into Sci-Fi and pop culture this is a series for you. I'd probably recommend it over Ready Player One as well. One thing that I loved about this series is how it changed how I view humanity, which was surprising to me as I don't think it was meant to be so much of a serious book. It turns out, as we saw this year, that humans nuking themselves out of existence actually could be quite realistic. On a less depressing note, I felt like the way all the Bobs (spoiler! lots of Bob clones running around...) interacted with different species and the critiques on humanity in general, serious or not, definitely got me thinking.

Arc of a Scythe Trilogy

I'm a sucker for pretty much any dystopian book. Scythe, the first book, introduces you to a world where humans have advanced to a point where they have conquered anything wrong with the human body including aging. Because of this no one ever dies and this leads to a problem of overpopulation so the Scythes were created. They are humans whose whole life is dedicated to killing other humans. The premise for the book is interesting, there is great action, politics, and a little romance. While I enjoyed the full series the second and third books don't quite live up to the first book. It almost felt like the author wasn't expecting such success with the first book so the second and third weren't planned out as well. I also wasn't a fan of how the trilogy ended and felt like some of the things that happened to the main character served absolutely no purpose to the story. They are short reads though and enjoyable enough for me to recommend.

Most Recommended

I Will Teach you to Be Rich and The Simple Path to Wealth

I've been recommending these two books to people all year. I Will Teach you to Be Rich is like a modern The Millionaire Next Door but much more interesting. The latter was written for an audience interested in finance and comfortable with lots of math and graphs. I think that it's a good book but only for people who are already interested in improving their financial situation and their brains work that way. I think that I Will Teach you to Be Rich targets a larger audience and is written in a way for people who know nothing about personal finance and probably don't even know what they don't know. I think that pretty much everyone should read it as they enter their adult years.

The Simple Path to Wealth is to the stock market what I Will Teach you to Be Rich is to basic personal finance. You don't have to be a financial genius to make it big. The path to wealth isn't full of secrets and doesn't require you to become a day trader. What I love about both these books is they focus on automating your finances. As a software engineer, that speaks loads to me. I love the idea of setting up everything so I don't have to constantly be making financial decisions, just set it and forget it. I wish that these two books had been the curriculum for the Financial Literacy class that I had to take in high school. Turns out I've never had to write a check in my entire life but I have had to invest money and pay my taxes.

Worst of the Best

The Lost Metal

I feel a tiny bit guilty doing this, but I'd say that The Lost Metal didn't live up to the expectations I had put on it. That is probably 90% my fault for setting two high expectations. Brandon Sanderson didn't plan on writing the book in the first place so I should be happy with any extra books I get from him. The whole of Era 2 Mistborn for me can be summarized as entertaining, geared more towards YA, and feels like a setup for bigger things to come. There are some small payoffs but I wouldn't say there are any significant sanderlanches like you would find in the Stormlight Archive. I did enjoy reading it though. If I had to choose a series from this year to reread right now I would chose The Licanius Trilogy or The Bobiverse series over Mistborn Era 2.

Full List of Books Read in 2022

I have enjoyed all of these books. I'd recommend each of them to different people based on their interests.

  1. The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing

  2. Never Split the Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It

  3. Team Topologies: Organizing Business and Technology Teams for Fast Flow

  4. The Licanius Trilogy

  5. Bobiverse Series (4 Books)

  6. Cytonic

  7. Artemis

  8. Mistborn Era 1 and Era 2 + Secret History (8 Books)

  9. Arc of a Scythe Trilogy

  10. A Memory of Light

  11. New Spring

  12. The Simple Path to Wealth: Your road map to financial independence and a rich, free life

  13. I Will Teach You to Be Rich: No Guilt. No Excuses. No BS. Just a 6-Week Program That Works

  14. Tomorrow, and Tomorrow, and Tomorrow